Very short background: I'm the little boy in the bright yellow, Ronald McDonald pants in the photo to the right. To answer your obvious question, no, yellow pants were not in style in 1993. They are still not in style nor should they every be. And, while I may not have the best sense of fashion, I do not still wear yellow pants.
This photo was taken when I was 8 years, 1 month and 4 days old. September 11th, 1993. This was day that my adoption was finalized. This was the day that I was given a new family. Since that day a lot has changed. I have met part of my biological family. And I love them dearly. They mean the world to me and I cannot imagine life without them.
I also have this amazing family that made me part of their own during a time that I was alone. Up until this day, I spent a lot of time in foster homes and with other family members. To say that many of those experiences were unpleasant would be a great understatement. The truth is that many of those times were hell. Pure hell.
People used to tell me that I was special because I was adopted - I was chosen. That truth didn't take away the pain in my heart, but it eased it a little. As I've grown older, I've come to a deeper understanding of the word adoption. Particularly as it says in Ephesians 1.."He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world...In love He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ..."
During my junior year of college I started struggling. Really struggling. I grew up with so many unanswered questions. What ever happened to my birth parents? Why did they give me up? Why were my father and uncle so abusive? What was my story?
I contacted the adoption agency and requested whatever information that they could give me. A few short weeks later I was mailed a 5 five letter describing the first 8 years of my life. I was mailed evaluations from a psychologist. And I was sent a document that I have never been able to forget. The title of the document simply reads "Raymond's Story". This was the short version of who the courts said that I was. The two people in the photo above read that story along with the psych evals. The story reads something like a bad Lifetime movie. I have probably read that story hundreds of times since then. The story was of a little boy that was troubled, hurt, untrusting, and somewhat of a problem complete with 8 different social disorders including something called intermittent explosive disorder, anxiety, depression and the list goes on. Every time that I read that story, I wonder why in the world my parents read that same story and said "that one. We'll adopt that one". Were they nuts because I don't know that I would have chosen me if I were them. But I am extremely thankful that they chose me.
As I really think about that story, I come back to this verse in Ephesians, "...He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world...In love He predestined us for adoption...". I can't help but relate the two. Here is the very God that created the universe. The very God that is omnipresent; One who sees all. He reads my story too. And still, IN LOVE, He chose. Before the world was created He knew that man would rebel against HIm. And, IN LOVE, He still chose.
I look at my life and often think the same thing as I think about that letter. Why? What could He possibly see in me that He chose me long before I was even a thought? Then I read on in this beautiful letter to the Ephesians..."Even when we were dead, God made us ALIVE". "...you who once were far off have been brought near". "You are no longer strangers but you are fellow citizens...members of the Household of God".
On September 11th, 1993 I was officially made a member of my new family. My names was legally changed and my well being was placed in the hands of my new parents. That could only happen through adoption. Likewise, the transformation that Paul writes about to the Ephesians about can also only happen through adoption as well.
You see, God not only reads our past but He reads the future as well. God, the very artist that created life, sees the end masterpiece where we are one with Him. It is why He can call us His sons and daughters.
My earthly adoption was not free. It came at a cost to my parents. I do not mean simply a financial cost. Sure, that was there, but there was a deep emotional cost as well. I know that I did not make it easy on them. I refused to call them mom and dad for a long time. In fact, I remember telling them that I hated them very often; I wanted to hurt them because I was hurt. I rebelled. I pushed and fought. I kicked and screamed. And they loved. They held on tighter. I ran and they chased. Sound familiar?
Likewise, the process of adoption cost God a great deal. It cost the death of Jesus to cover the price. It meant bringing death into a world that God created for LIFE. It meant that God would feel the pain of rejection as His creation treats Him as I first treated my parents. Yet still...He chose. He loved. He offered life where there was once death. Hope where there was hopelessness. Redemption where there were offenses.
God chose because YOU ARE WORTH THE COST. You always were and always will be worth the cost. It is easy to get wrapped up in our past and feel worthless. But God - the very essence of life and love - sees you as the son and daughter that He created you to be. He sees you as created in the very image of Himself. And He loves.
© 2015 Ray Smith