By Chris Blair
I love how God uses our relationships with others to teach us about our relationship with him. There are many examples of this truth in Scripture, but few ring louder to me than Romans 8:14, 15:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
God has privileged our family to model this truth through the adoption of two of our five children.
My wife, Pam, and I first discussed adoption before we married. The issue came up again a few years after the birth of our second daughter. Over the course of a few more years we explored, prayed, and waited to see how and if this would play out in our family.
On January 25, 2002, friends who had just adopted gave Pam a picture of a baby girl, Doudou, from northeast China. Fully expecting me to resist, Pam showed me the picture, and somehow I knew this was our daughter. What neither of us knew at the time was that another life, soon to be our son, Daniel, was already developing in Pam’s womb.
The ensuing months were filled with paperwork, bureaucratic hassles, and building excitement for the two children God was preparing us for. Every day our family prayed for these children. However, trouble was brewing in China, and we started hearing that our request to adopt Doudou was not likely to be granted.
In early November, two weeks after the birth of our son, Danny, we were told for the final time about the possible adoption of Doudou: “No, and don’t ask again.” Someone in Doudou’s province had broken some adoption rules and the little girl, through no fault of her own, was trapped in her orphanage, unadoptable.
We were heartbroken. While full of joy at the birth of our son, we grieved the loss of our daughter. Our girls, Courtney and Cailey, continued praying. Even when pain from this loss stung too much for Pam and me to pray, our girls prayed.
In January 2003, we found a little boy, Xinlei, from east-central China and decided to adopt him. He had a lot in common with Doudou. They shared a birth condition where their outer ears and ear canals did not form properly. They were days apart in age.
We were excited that Danny would have a brother to grow up with. In September 2003, Xinlei became Joshua, and a couple of weeks later came home to his new family.
Really, it would be a nice story if it ended there, but it didn’t. Courtney and Cailey never stopped praying for Doudou, and soon Pam and I were able to resume our prayers for her too.
Over time, our prayers changed. In the beginning we prayed for a miracle—that God would overcome her circumstances and allow us to bring her home. Eventually, we were asking God to love her through the people caring for her in the orphanage.
Years later we were still praying, but were at peace with the understanding that perhaps God used her to lead us to Josh and to teach my daughters how to pray for someone over a long period of time. The latter really excited me because I had never been able to model that for my daughters.
We never forgot Doudou. We always prayed for her. By the summer of 2008, I’d say we had finally released her. We were at peace with our family of four children.
On January 13, 2009, our anniversary, I received an e-mail that changed our lives. I recognized the name on the e-mail as a family from Minnesota who had adopted from Doudou’s orphanage before the problems that closed the orphanage to adoptions. We didn’t know them, but they knew our story. They had found Doudou. She was once again adoptable.
This time our adoption of Doudou proceeded without a hitch. We still had to endure the endless paperwork and bureaucratic hassles, but this time there was hope. On January 25, 2010, eight years to the day after we first decided to adopt her, Doudou became Joanna Faith Blair. Everything we had prayed for regarding Doudou had come to pass.
We can only guess at what was happening through all of this. We have our theories, but few real answers. The experience taught us a few things about our relationship to our Abba, Father.
Adoption has highlighted in our family the diversity of God’s kingdom. We’re a Caucasian couple with two Chinese children. Both share a medical condition that affects their hearing. God has adopted a rainbow of skin colors and a multitude of special needs into his family. In this tiny way our family gets to mirror a truth of his kingdom.
Adoption is costly. But the thousands of dollars we spent on our adoptions compared to the cost God paid to see his Son on the cross is like comparing a molecule of water to the Pacific Ocean. God paid a steep price, indeed, to adopt me into his family.
Adoption produces family. There are five people on the planet who call me Daddy. It’s a VERY special term reserved for a very special relationship. Yet God has called us into the same sort of special relationship. He brought about our adoption, and by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Chris Blair is an information technology consultant, web developer, and president of eBLAIR Solutions Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio.