By Elisabeth Corcoran
If you've been reading my column at all in the past year, you know that I have a passion for Africa, that my husband and I considered adopting from there last year (but chose not to), and that one of my closest friends actually has been in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Well, three hours ago at O'Hare, I met that precious little four-year-old girl (who is even more beautiful than her pictures prepared us for) for the first time - and watched her Mommy, sister, brother, and grandmothers meet her too (her Daddy and Grampa had gone to Africa to get her and bring her home).
I cried like a baby. To say the least. I've got this running list of "top ten best moments in my life". The birth of my kids are on that list. Baptizing my mom is on that list. Going to Haiti is on that list. Africa next month will be on that list. And meeting Haile is now on that list. I'm not sure my words can describe it. Something magical, mystical, otherworldly was taking place in those moments, when a new version of an already amazing family came to be for the first time.
I had two thoughts. Okay, I've had about a hundred thoughts, but I'm going to share two. The first being that what I was watching happen was light breaking through the darkness. Haile's Ethiopian future was grim. Pretty much anyone's is unfortunately, but a little girl in poverty in Ethiopia doesn't really stand a chance. What they did in intervening to bring this little girl home to a real childhood is nothing short of beautiful and miraculous. And they had an enemy that didn't want this light to break through...but they fought against it, and, ladies, Light won out today.
And the second thing...I watched her Daddy hoist her up onto his shoulders from very far away and watched her Mommy, my friend, go running to meet them...and then I saw her whisper, "I love you, Haile". My friend already loves her daughter. Her daughter that she hadn't met until that moment. Her daughter who, technically, hadn't done anything to earn her love. She loves her...deeply. And I thought how this story sounded familiar to me.
Romans 5:8 (The Message), " But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use to him whatsoever." Haile had nothing to offer my friend and her family...we had nothing at all to offer God. Yet he woos us. He calls us by name. He considers us precious and honored. He pays a high price for us. He loves us in a way we'll never understand...and has before we paid him any attention. And he took it a next step...he offers us the opportunity to become a part of his family. Listen to Ephesians 1:5 (The Message): "Long, long ago, he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)" Haile, before even being picked up in Ethiopia, became a part of this family. And though it was a hard year with all the paperwork and waiting, what pleasure they took in planning for her!
A family was recreated today. And it was glorious. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. And God extends his hand of family and friendship to you and to me. If you've accepted Christ as your Savior, you're already a part of the family. But if you haven't, you can. The offer stands. You may not know God yet, but he knows you. He studies your face the way my friend and her husband studied Haile's pictures on their frig. He knows your name...he calls you by name...they practiced her name with their last name time and again. He wants to be your Abba Father...which means, basically, Daddy. And who of us wouldn't benefit from the healing of an intimate relationship with One who created us and has loved us before time began? I know the day that I called on his name for the first time is number one on my top ten life moments list. And it can be the same for you.
By the way, that sweet little girl came off the plane from Africa wearing a Gap Inspi(red) t-shirt...she inspired me, that's for sure. How I can't wait to run into my Abba Father's arms when all of this is said and done.
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