My Adoption

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Odd One OutIt’s an old school song. I remember a sesame street video with cookie monster singing, “One of these things is not like the other things.” It’s a simple concept. By looking at a group closely, you’re able to determine which one doesn’t belong. For years, I’ve had people look at my family’s pictures and ask why I so much darker than anyone else in my family. For years, with a somber face and a sigh, I’ve recounted the story of my adoption. It’s the story of a loving family who found a baby boy on their doorstep and took him in, making him one of them. People listened with such complete sympathy, in complete silence, until I couldn’t take it any longer. Finally, I would break forth into deepest laughter. It’s not true. I wasn’t adopted. I was born into this family. I have the pictures to prove it.

I haven’t had the chance to pull off the joke nearly as much in the past few years, and the reason is simple: with each passing year, I begin to look more and more like my Father. I remember a few years ago, the weekend of the graduation program for the ARISE Institute, my folk made the drive up to Troy, MI. Sabbath morning, as I pulled into the church parking lot to let my passengers out, one my classmates ran up to me and said, “I saw your dad, dude! I thought it was you, and then I was like, ‘That’s Ben’s dad!’ You guys look the same.” For the first time I understood what Jesus meant when He said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”

Now, what does all of this have to do with my adoption, especially since I wasn’t actually adopted by my parents? I’m getting there, so hold on. The truth is, my biological family has always been mine, but it isn’t my only family; however, by looking at my biological family, it can teach us lessons about my other family. In my family, some are dark, some are light, some are short, and some are tall, but we’re all one family. When you look at us separately, sometimes it can be hard to see any resemblance, but when we’re all together, the relation is clear.

The Middleton and Edwards Family.
The Middleton and Edwards Family.

My other family is the same. I was adopted into the family of God. The family of God is huge, and some of us are tall, some are short, some are light, some are dark, but we are all God’s children. When you look at us individually, it can be hard to see any resemblance at all. But when you look at our Father, the connection is clear.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. {Ephesians 1:3-6}

God’s plan was for Christ to come down, showing us what God was like, and for each of us to begin to be transformed, by looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, into the same image as of the Father. In my younger years, I may not have looked much like my earthly father or my Heavenly Father, but by God’s grace, as each day, month, and year goes by, as surely as I increasingly resemble my Dad, we all may also increasingly begin to look like, to live like, and to be like our Father in Heaven.

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