When I was younger I never envisioned myself as an adoptive father. Adoption was alien to me as a familial concept, and the reality of orphans was nothing more than an abstract category in my mind. I assume that all men at some point in their maturation imagine family life and what it will be like to be a father. Regrettably, I never anticipated the joy of being the father of an adopted son. And now I have three adopted sons!
For over 20 years Yolanda and I tried to conceive a child through natural means. The frustration of our struggle became an ever present reality in our marriage and fluctuated between acceptance and disappointment. Being at the age when most couples conceive and give birth to children only exasperated our desire to be parents. Our infertility lowered like a dark cloud on the both of us until the possibility of adoption broke through like warm light on both of our hearts. The hopeful possibility of raising an adopted child first settled on Yolanda’s heart, and then on my own; and I am glad it did. Our adoptions have taught me more about God’s grace and the gospel than I could have ever imagined.
Deep In My Soul
As with most men, there is a drive deep down in my soul to raise children that will continue the family name and lineage. Part of my disappointment in our inability to bear natural children was the recurring vision of a child reflecting our image and idiosyncrasies, a child that would never be. Or so I thought. After we had already started the process of adoption I remember coming to a truth that helped reshape my understanding of lineage and heritage. I realized that my primary goal as a temporary trustee of a child is to pass on the gospel of faith (Ephesians 6:4).
As a father, I have been entrusted with our children by God as a sacred stewardship. Perhaps this is an advantage that I have as an adoptive dad. When I see Ytzaak’s beautiful brown skin and look into his dark eyes, or Eddie’s wonderful sense of curiosity, or Yosev’s incomparable smile. I am reminded of this temporary stewardship.
Though not in mine, our sons have been created in the image of their Heavenly Father. I anticipate that they will, like every other child, struggle to find their place and identity in this world. My prayer is that they will come to see that adoption, if it is about anything, is about belonging. Prayerfully, the experience of adoption will give them a deeper understanding of the gospel. As a father, I have pulled them into our household and declared that Eddie, Ytzaak and soon Yosev are one of us.
In a similar way, it is through Jesus that we are declared sons of God (Galatians 4:6). An adopted child is not the natural offspring of his adopted parents, but neither is their presence in the household an accident. Just like the ancient world, when Paul explored the doctrine of adoption in his letter to the Galatians, being brought into a new family meant that not only was there a change in status, but also new expectations were placed on the child as a son or daughter (Galatians 4:7).
It is my calling to leave a heritage of Christ to our sons, just like we see in Matthew 5; where Jesus teaches that children of the Father are called to reflect their family likeness in their conduct. The most important aspect of my role as a father is to point them to Jesus through my own faith and repentance. This is much more important that passing on any physical characteristics. Although children possess the physical characteristics of their parents, this is by far the least of all the ways in which they reflect their parents. Consider all the people my sons will encounter who do not know Yolanda and I. How They live their life – how they’ve been taught and raised – will be the truest reflection of our parenting, not the color of their eyes or the shape of their nose.
In God’s world there are no “plan B’s”. Long before we made the plan to adopt, and long before our sons were born, God planned for them to be in our home (Acts 17:26). We may have had the privilege of knowing the backstory in our situation, but God’s sovereign hand is the same in every adoptive family and with every adoptive child (Psalm 139).
I count our adoptions as a great privilege and a stewardship granted by God. When we celebrate birthdays, watch movies as a family, and wrestle like superheroes I am reminded of the beauty of adoption that brought us together as a family. These children who were once orphans now love me and call me daddy. When I look at them I don’t see our differences, I see my sons. The first time I held Ytzaak as a baby in the hospital, I fell in love with him. The day Eddie walked into our house as a frightened three year old who had been through more than a child should have to go through, I fell in love with him. And the day I held Yosev in my arms and comforted him as the case worker brought him to our home, I fell in love with him.
Though I am not a perfect father, here are two things I do know. God providentially arranged for Eddie, Ytzaak and Yosev to be in our family, and I am called to continue the Christian heritage – both in gospel word, and kingdom deed.
May God grant me wisdom!
A Word From Eduardo Quintana
A Call To Action
Men, our families need godly men. Our wives need godly men. Our world needs godly men. Will you be a man with me? Let’s show ourselves strong by living for the Lord. Today I ask you to decide, will you be a man or a mouse? Will you be a Godly man or will you turn your back on God? Will you be a man that lives to serve his wife and children or will you be the man that lives to please himself? Choose today what kind of a man you will be, as for me and my sons, we will serve the Lord and be the men that God created us to be. Will you join us?
You don’t need a Bribe to Join my Tribe… Go ahead, make it official!