My daughter Anna was talking about her senior thesis the other day. “The Plight of Russian Orphans” documents her adoption. She hopes to educate and motivate others to consider giving a Russian orphan the gift of a family. She chose not to include adoption costs in her paper because the “sticker shock” might deter some from even considering Russian adoption.
As we were driving to school one morning, Anna asked, “How much did I cost?” I was startled.
“What do you mean?” I replied.
“You know. My adoption. What did you and Dad pay for me?”
I had never thought about adoption as a purchase but Anna’s wording made it sound like a real estate transaction. I decided to answer her question directly.
“I’m not exactly sure, but I think it was around $30,000,” I said, a little nervously. I felt like I had just put a big red price tag on her head.
“Wow! $30,000 is a LOT of money!” she exclaimed in surprise.
“Yes, it is,” I acknowledged. “But you are worth every penny and a whole lot more. Dad and I prayed and prayed for a child and we trusted that God would lead us to just the child he wanted us to adopt. He led us to you and we paid $30,000 to get you out of that orphanage half way around the globe and bring you here, into our family. Remember that God adopted you too. And he paid a lot more than $30,000.” Anna smiled, understanding what I meant. Then she said, “But I have so many disabilities.”
“I know you struggle and that life is harder for you than most. But you don’t just have disabilities. You have gifts. God has given you special gifts and He wanted to plant you in a place where he could breathe his gifts into you and through you. You have come to know him through your adoption into our family and your adoption into his. I think he works through you precisely because you have weaknesses. Look at how you relate to those kindergarten children you help every day. They love you! Look at how easily you trust God, how happy you are for the simple things in life that most of us take for granted. Look at how you see the things of God more easily because you’re not chasing after worldly things. God speaks through you, Anna, in your words and in your actions. You are gifted. You ARE a gift. And remember, all the rest of us have disabilities too. No one is perfect. Look at me! Life would be so much easier if I had a ‘San Diego’ personality that’s nearly always sunny and in the 70’s; but I’m a true ‘Wisconsin’ personality—stick around five minutes and the weather might change.”
Anna laughed. “I didn’t think about it like that. I thought my disabilities made me useless.”
“Just the opposite,” I said. “God delights in showing us his reality and his power by doing in us and through us what we can’t do ourselves. His power is made perfect in our weakness.”
I could tell by the look on her face that she felt special in that moment. So did I. Before she left the car, she said something profound in her typical, simple fashion. “I’ve been adopted twice—and never returned.”
On my way home, I thought about our conversation. I thought about “For Sale” signs and “Sold” signs. Humanity needed a buyer—someone really good at restoration because each of us is a “fixer-upper”. In fact, each one of us had a “condemned” tape running across our front door. But God sees the potential in every person. He looked at each of us long ago, walked through every room, opened every closet, explored the dark basement, saw the condition, and still said, “I’ll buy him! I’ll buy her! I’ll buy them all! They are all exactly what I’ve been looking for!” So, he wrote an offer to purchase every one of us at the beginning of time. Each of us, no matter our location, no matter our condition, had the same purchase price. The sales transaction and restoration began with the cost of three nails and two pieces of lumber. And at the bottom of the contract, God signed his name in blood and wrote, “No returns.” Think about it.
You were slain and, with your blood, you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:9
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:5-8