Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Hitting The Jackpot

I was blessed this past Saturday to spend an hour-plus at a nearby Starbucks drinking coffee with Hanna. After not seeing her for several years, we've crossed paths twice in three months. Hanna is embarking on a new stage of her life, beginning a Masters degree in the legal field this month. I did my small part by writing her recommendation, just like I did when she was a high school senior. Hanna came to Westbury Christian from one of the big Houston public schools in her junior year and immediately became one of my teacher aides. Together, Hanna and Chelsey kept me on track the final three semesters of their high school careers. I needed the help!

And as we talked last weekend, we spoke of Hanna's life. You see, we have something in common beyond high school memories. In four weeks, I will leave for my sixth trip to Can Tho, Vietnam, which has become my second home. And Hanna? She was born in a village about two hours from Hanoi in the north of Vietnam. Her birth mother was unable to care for her and she ended up in an orphanage. At age three, an amazing family in Houston adopted her and that's how she ended up in Texas and eventually, as my teacher's aide. As we talked, Hanna repeated a statement her boyfriend had made in regard to her life. Tommy said Hanna, "won the adoption lottery." I know what he meant. There are so many children around the world, and here in the US, born into desperate poverty and difficult circumstances. That Hanna was adopted by a loving mom and dad who have been able to give Hanna, and her sister who is also adopted, a life with endless opportunities, is tremendous. Besides the necessities, her parents have blessed her with the chance to reconnect with relatives in Vietnam as well as giving her a first class education both from K-12 and through her college undergrad work. It would be awesome if every child in need of adoption was as blessed as Hanna........ but we know that is not going to happen. Thank God for wonderful mothers and fathers who take that huge step that Hanna's folks did. We need more of them.

I was born into my family of origin but my close relatives been involved in adoption on a number of levels. Dad's last job was as family counselor for Christian Family Services, a faith-based adoption agency in St. Louis. He had some beautiful stories and some gut-wrenching tales about the process of adding children to a family. And from what I understand, the process is often frustrating and often expensive. But what a joy for both the child and the parents to be joined into the same unit! Did you know the term adoption is used five times in the New Testament but only by one author, Paul? I thought that might be the case but what I did not know was this; in each of the five references, at least in the NIV, adoption is always followed by to sonship.  We come into the family of God as blessed children, as full-fledged members, as chosen for the promise of eternal life. I would guess only rarely does one choose whether to accept a physical adoption- usually, the child is a minor and cannot speak for themselves. But as believers, we get  to make that choice ourselves! Tonight, the best news at Bible study was that Vincenzo's dad put on Jesus Christ in baptism Monday night. Vincenzo, a member of our congregation as well as a veteran/high school teacher/highly regarded soccer coach, had been studying with and praying for his earthly father to join his spiritual clan for a long time and forty-eight hours ago, those prayers were answered. Before they were simply father/son. Now they are brother/brother. Welcome to the family. Adoption as its finest!

Applicable quote of the day:
“I firmly believe that I have received the same child I was meant to receive, whether I gave birth or adopted. The same soul, the same entity, was meant to be mine, from the beginning of time.” 
Debra Shiveley Welch

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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