My family just spent a week at church camp. Tricia was the program chaplain and I was the worship chaplain. What this really means is that Tricia led the 42 elementary campers in a daily 45 minute “churchy” lesson and I led one 45 minute Holy Eucharist on Friday, but Tricia actually did the preaching so…well…I didn’t really do much all week.
Our son was a camper so he was covered, but our 4 ½ year old daughter (developmentally a 2 year old) needed tending. She is one adventurous fireball. While her momma was leading the churchy stuff, daddy was doing his best to wrangle daddy’s little girl.
Daddy’s little girl has a way of making her presence known and it took about 2 minutes before the whole camp knew who she was. The campers would see us playing around camp and we always ate with the group so many of them got to experience the fireball first hand.
During one of the meals towards the end of the week, the table conversation turned to adoption. Two of the girls sitting with us were adopted and Tricia said, yes that our daughter was adopted too. Sitting next to our little food smeared eating machine was a shy Filipino girl who seemed to eat at our table quite often. In response to our daughter being adopted she said, “Oh, that explains why she looks Asian.” Tricia says yes, that we adopted her from Vietnam when she was 7 months old.
The comment, “Oh, that explains why she looks Asian” seemed to be silly, but it was this shy little girls next comment that made an impact. She said, “You treat her like she was born to you.” Let that soak in for a minute… “You treat her like she was born to you.” I sat there dumbfounded, but Tricia responded without hesitation, “She was not physically born from me, but she was born to me in my heart.”
Personally I was not adopted by my mother, I was born to her. She had 9 months to bond with me prior to being born to her, and she has had 40 years to love me ever since. I have not always made it easy for people to love me, especially during certain times in my life, but I was born to my mother and she loves me no matter what. The shy girl said, “You treat her like she was born to you”…my only real response to that is, yes…no matter what. (Even when she makes it difficult at times)
In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans it says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ...”
In Christ we have been adopted by God and through this adoption we are loved by God no matter what…“you treat her like she was born to you”. Love others…all others...like they were born to you, even when they make it difficult.