From Orphan to Son

Their hearts were racing as they stepped through the orphanage doors. For three years, they had been going through endless interviews, paperwork, books of research, and seminars.

In those three long years of work and worry, they wondered if they would ever hold a child in their arms. But, three weeks ago, my daughter and son-in-law were on the other side of the world meeting their little son, their first child.

As this young couple—who had valiantly waded through bureaucratic red tape and deep disappointments—finally stepped into that sterile orphanage room, they found a frightened little lamb who didn’t understand what was happening. All that was familiar to him was suddenly being shaken and changed. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the first moments of this little family’s coming together was laced with anguish and anxiety. None of them knew what to do.

But what Daddy and Mommy did know for certain was how much they ached to wrap him in their love. He would no longer live as an orphan: one face among many; one more mouth to feed; one more diaper to change; one more cry to go unanswered. That anonymity was behind him. That non-belongingness was about to be transformed into pure belonging and sonship.

The real story, though, is so clearly not about my daughter and son-in-law, but about a tiny little orphan desperately in need of love, nurturing, and medical attention.

This is his story because it is about what life would have given him, and what love has given him instead. Yes, Matthew’s story is about his journey from orphan to son.

This little baby boy, in a moment, became Matthew, beloved son; Matthew, the belonger.

As I have stood in the bleachers, so to speak, cheering on his parents and praying for them, I have become acutely aware that adoption is actually a living picture of our redemption—our adoption into the family of God.

At the greatest cost imaginable, the death of his only son, Jesus, our Heavenly Father has provided the way for us to become His children. HIS children! That takes my breath away as I consider the incredible transfer of my identity from orphan to child of God.

Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can now belong.

The debts for all we owe have been paid by Him and we inherit, clear title, all that the King’s children will be given: forgiveness, eternal life, the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide, and so much more.

What puzzles me, as I quietly am processing all of this, is why do we fight our Heavenly Father, then? Why do we continually doubt His love, or our position as His child? Or why do we resist the nurturing and love that He pours out on us so generously?

If only we could grasp, really grasp, all that our sonship means and the magnitude of our redemption, perhaps we would live our lives just a little differently.

Vicki Bowker began at Haven Today in 1985 to launch its first prayer and concern ministry. From 2005–2011 she took a hiatus to serve as children’s pastor at Peace Portal Alliance Church in White Rock, B.C., before rejoining the team. Currently she works part-time while spending the remainder of her time freelancing as a public speaker and writer (plus keeping her husband, Holden, who is the executive director at Haven Canada, on task!)

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