JACKSON, Tenn. – To make themselves tired, the boys got out of the bed on Christmas Eve to run up and down the hallway outside their rooms. Their thinking went like this: If we get up and run, we will get tired. If we get tired, we will go to sleep faster. If we sleep fast, Christmas morning will come quicker. If Christmas morning comes quicker, we will open presents sooner.
Oh, the logic of a child on Christmas Eve.
Sugarplums had not yet begun to dance in boys’ heads when we heard that special ring on the phone. Weeks ago, we programmed a special ring for the person who would be calling us with our referral. As soon as we heard the phone, we knew we were parents for the fifth time. News of our 3-month-old boy came on Christmas Eve. Perfect.
They call him Fesseha Adama. We are told “Fesseha” means happy. He was found abandoned in the city of Adama in Ethiopia. While his paperwork says “abandoned,” we are confident of God’s gracious and sovereignly strategic placement of this child into our family. We have been praying for him. Now we have a face to go with his name – Miller Elijah Brady.
The last three days have been full of joy for us, but we realize that for us to experience our joy, sorrow has had to come on the other side of the world. While we may learn more when we travel to Ethiopia, circumstances surrounding Miller’s birth may forever remain a mystery to us.
No child should ever have to face the perils of abandonment or fatherlessness or neglect. We’ll always remember receiving the phone call on Christmas Eve, pondering the mystery of Miller’s birth and waking up on Christmas morning to remember the mystery of our Savior’s birth.
In the midst of our journey, we are mindful of other families in our faith community who are walking along similar, but different paths. Our friends are personally wrapped up in legislative wrangling concerning Russian adoptions. Who would have thought that we would end the year with Vladimir Putin signing Russia’s ban on U.S. adoptions?
As families around us struggle with infertility, with the seemingly never-ending waiting process of international adoption and with the wildly jerking emotional roller coaster of domestic adoption, we are realizing more and more that godly family is no walk in the park.
God designed the family. When the Bible speaks of salvation, we often hear the language of family. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
Since the family is God’s design, no wonder Satan desires to prevent it from ever happening. No wonder women kill those living in their wombs. No wonder parents abandon their babies in the dark of night. No wonder nations vote to ban adoptions.
No wonder family is a challenge. It is God’s design. Satan hates God’s design. Therefore, those who desire to lead a family must remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Some think family is admirable. Some think having children is admirable. Some think adoption is admirable.
It’s all more than admirable. It’s spiritual warfare.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Todd E. Brady is vice president for church relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.)