To the left is the cover of a new book I reviewed this week at GreenleafPress.com. If you have any connection to any of the “Families with Children from China,” you’re going to want to read this book. It will make you cry.
Ada has three names. Wang Bin is what her caregivers called her at her Chinese orphanage. Ada is the name given her by her American parents. And there is a third name, whispered to her by her Chinese mother:
“My first name was whispered to me by my first mother, when I was born. It’s someplace in my heart. I don’t know how to say it. I wish I could.
I didn’t see my first mother long.
I never saw her again.
I am from someone I don’t even know.
She is my China mother, and far away I have a father, too. They made my hands and my eyes and my dark hair, all the parts of me I can touch and see.
But they took me to an orphange.
I don’t know just why.
My heart tells me they were sad.
China is crowded and not rich.
It has rules about how many children a family can have.”
There is much more. The story is simply told with illustrations done in watercolor and colored pencil in a style the illustrator calls “ethereal realism.”
It is a gentle book, but with a powerful and moving message.
Cyndy and I have two adopted daughters from China. We adopted Corrie in 1997 and Sarah in 1999. Because I think adoption stories can be a great source of encouragement to other families, I’ve previously posted their stories on the Greenleaf Press website. you can read Corrie’s Story here, and Sarah’s Story here.
China continues to be one of the largest international adoption programs, with about 7,000 adoptions to US families each year. In the late 1990’s, the rate was about 4,000 adoptions per year. There are interesting statistics available from the US organization Familes with Children from China (FCC). Since 1985, there have been approximately 70,000 adoptions by US families of children from China.
There are three relationships which the Bible uses to describe our relationship with God. One is marriage – in Ephesians, Paul describes Jesus as the bridegroom and the church (us) as the bride. He teaches explicitly that marriage is a picture of our relationship to God. The second image is parent-child, or more specifically, father-son (to be very politically incorrect about it). The parable of the prodigal son is the best-known illustration of the analogy, but far from the only one. The third biblical image of our relationship with God is adoption. Paul writes of the “spirit of adoption” by which we are able to call God “abba.”
I understand all of this much better as the father of two adopted daughters. Occassionally folks have asked us whether it was hard to adopt. The answer is, being a parent is often hard. Being an adoptive parent is hard in different ways, but not any harder or easier than being a birth parent. Sometimes folks ask us if we had noticed any difference in our feelings for our adopted daughters. The answer to that is no. Loving our sons and daughters is as natural as breathing for us. We try to understand and love each of them as individuals, but we’re bonded as strongly with our adopted daughters as with each of our other children.
God has adopted us into his family – and given us a new name! Part of our response to God’s love is to seek to worship and serve him. And God says true worship, true service, is to care for widows and orphans.
Christians through the centuries have taken the example and the biblical call to care for widows and orphans seriously. It runs counter to the zeitgeist (the “spirit of the age”), but it is our call – and there are rich rewards. For any families who are thinking about adoption, I offer encouragement. If you sense God tugging at your heart, don’t ignore the tug. Get more information and pray about what God would have you do. There are a wealth of resources on the internet. We gave our adoption agency the ultimate endorsement by adopting through them a second time two years after first adoption. I recommend them highly – Children’s Hope International and their subsidiary, China’s Children.