Words from Adam.....
Two months ago, we added a foster son to our family. I can't use his name online for various reasons, so he'll be "J" for the rest of this note. J was a scared little guy when he came to our family, and we barely knew anything about his situation. We were initially told it was bad, and that he would likely be with us for a long time, possibly even ending in adoption into our family. Without getting into details, it simply doesn't look like that's the case at all anymore. It's very possible he'll be reunited with his biological mother in a month or two.
As a father of three beautiful children, I know how deep my love for them goes. It may sound trite when parents say they would do anything for their children, but it's absolutely true. Children are a gift from God, and they each possess your heart in a way that can't be adequately described in words. With that knowledge in mind, I was honestly skeptical whether I could love someone else's child like my own. Two months ago, I would have said it wasn't possible. As time went on though, J convinced me otherwise. That realization caused me to consciously try to hold back a tiny piece of my heart from him. Perhaps out of fear of being hurt when he leaves our family. Perhaps so I could still show love toward his biological mom, even when I don't like some of the decisions she makes. Whatever the reasons, I was trying to not fully love him. I can say without a doubt, I have failed in that goal.
In my heart, J is one of my children. I love him as much as I love Connor, Bryce, and Alexis. He is part of our family. Every day, I watch him grow and flourish into a confident one year old boy. I watch him fall in love with Jennifer. I watch the bonds form between him and his siblings in our family. I watch myself fall in love with him more and more.
And now, I have to start preparing to give him up, and I don't like it.
This really struck me at First Tuesday when Matt Carter challenged us to consider what was holding us back from pouring out everything we had to God. I knew immediately what my current hang-up centered on. Giving up J. I don't want to do it, because I love J. It will hurt me. It will hurt Jennifer. It will make my children sad. As I wallowed in self-pity, the Holy Spirit pierced me with an understanding that was at once painful yet beautiful.
We will likely be sending J back to his mother soon. As much as I may not want him to leave our family, the fact is, his mother does love him. He'll be returning to a fairly good home situation, especially compared to most foster care cases. I may get angry or frustrated at some of the choices that will be made for him, or due to some of the situations he'll be placed into, but he's going back to his mom. A mom that loves him, even if she has made a few bad decisions. He's not going back to an abusive situation. He's not going back to a dangerous situation. That knowledge alone is a comfort, but that's when the bomb dropped.
God willingly gave up his "J" for me. God knowingly sent his son into a world where he would be mocked, ridiculed, hurt, tortured, and ultimately killed. His son that he had developed a relationship with for an eternity, not just two or three months. His son that he loved beyond anything I can imagine. It got worse.
God gave up his son to be Sin. He didn't just give up his son, he poured out the righteous wrath and judgement that I deserved onto his son. His only child was beaten. His only child was spit upon. His only child was tortured. His only child was nailed to a cross to suffer an extremely painful death. As if that wasn't enough, his only child experienced complete and utter separation from his father when he took on sin.
All of it was done for me. All of the sacrifice, all of the pain, all of the separation; for me. That's a depth of love that defies understanding. That kind of love is fanatical. That kind of love is intense. That kind of love restores my broken relationship with God the Father. That's a beautiful reminder of God's love for me.
I wish I could say this reminder will make giving J back hurt less, but I don't think I can say that yet. It's going to hurt. It's going to break my heart. But, I can rest in the understanding that any pain I might experience pales in comparison to what God did when he gave up Jesus to a broken world. I can rest in the knowledge that my God is perfect, and that J's time in our family brought glory and renown to His name. I can be confident that God's will is being worked in our family and in J. Even more comforting is the understanding that J has a Father that loves him more than I ever could.
I may have to give J up soon, but I know God has already given up everything for him.