In the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a young couple longs for a baby but remains unable to conceive. They dream up their ideal child, writing down descriptions of him and then burying the slips of paper in their backyard. They wake up to find a 10-year-old boy claiming to be their son, who by the looks of the leaves sprouting out of him, has grown straight out of the ground. It seemed to me a rather ludicrous premise for a movie…that is, until Double Blessings Day.
My friends Heather and Rick have been wishing and hoping and praying for a baby for six long years. After several miscarriages, failed infertility treatments, and adoptions that fell through (you can read more about their story here), they finally got the phone call they’d been waiting for. I’ll never forget walking into their house for a party one evening to find Heather with an irrepressible grin on her face. After leaving me in suspense for a while, she said, “Come here—I have something to show you.” She pulled out her phone, and there on the screen was a picture of a tiny baby boy wrapped in a blue blanket.
On cue, my eyes welled up. “Is this really…?” I could barely get the words out. After so much heartbreak, it hardly seemed possible. “Is he…yours?”
Heather nodded and grinned wider, but before letting me squeal and give her a hug, she said, “Wait, there’s more.” She flipped to the next picture, and suddenly I had no air left to project my squeal. There on her phone was another tiny bundle. This one wrapped in pink.
“Twins!” Heather’s smile broadened into a full-fledged beam. “The adoption papers won’t be final for a few months, but we can take them home from the hospital as soon as they gain a couple pounds.”
In that moment I had the surreal sense that even if these babies hadn’t grown out of the ground, maybe they’d been somehow been prayed into existence.
It’s been several months since the babies came home to Heather and Rick, and on the day they all went to the courthouse to sign the papers to make the adoption official, they threw a party for everyone who had prayed and hoped alongside them for the past several years. They called it Double Blessings Day. The day their son and daughter officially took their name and legally became theirs, although they’d loved these little bundles even before they’d met them.
As I held Claire and Alex on the evening of the blessings party, I thought about the significance of the names Heather and Rick had chosen for them. Claire: bright and clear. Alex: helper of mankind; defender of the people. Indeed, I saw a bright future ahead for both these little ones. I envisioned how the extravagant love of their parents would lead them on a path of serving and defending others as well. And now they officially had Heather and Rick’s last name—including a signed piece of paper that proved they belonged to them; they were their forever family.
It’s no wonder Paul used the metaphor of adoptive parents to paint the picture of God’s love for us:
You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
When we are adopted in God’s family, he gives us a new name: Son. Daughter. Beloved child. Redeemed one. But it hadn’t occurred to me before that once our adoption is finalized, he gets a new name too. Abba. Daddy. This fierce, magnificent God, unapproachable in his holiness, humbles himself, taking on the role of our Daddy. He loosens his tie, changes out of his work clothes, and gets down on his knees to play with us.
That’s what kind of Daddy we have. One who not only does the work of making our adoption official and bestowing on us his name, but who also throws a party to show the world how happy he is to have us in the family. One who loves us as his very own sons and daughters.
I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.