Who’s Your Daddy?

Noah's card to his dad on Father's Day - notice which word he made the biggest

Noah’s card to his dad on Father’s Day – notice which word he made the biggest

Nathan and the boys in worship on Father's Day

Nathan and the boys in worship on Father’s Day

My favorite picture of me with my dad - I was seven or eight at the time

My favorite picture of me with my dad – I was seven or eight at the time

Father’s Day. For some, it’s a beautiful day of celebrating a guy they love dearly. For some, it’s a painful reminder that their dad never lived up to what a dad should be. For some, it’s the grief of missing someone so vital to their lives, or grieving the fact that they haven’t had the opportunity to be a dad. And for many of us, it’s a combination.

This year for me had a different twist, though. Noah puts an entirely different spin on things. Here’s this 9 year old boy who we plucked out of another culture, country, and language, and said, “Here. I’ll be your Daddy. I’ll be your Mommy.” What does that mean? What is he thinking?

We got up and went to church that morning. It was a Family Sunday which in our church means the kids stay for the service rather than leaving for the children’s program, so Noah and Toby stayed with Nathan and I and the girls. They started worship and I saw that Toby had come to stand in front of Nathan and Noah had come to stand in front of Toby. They were singing, Toby hugging Noah, and Nathan with his arms around them both. I was thinking about my dad which is always a little hard for me on this day, and then the band started playing “Good Good Father” and I lost it a little. Nathan right there was such an amazing picture of what my heavenly Daddy did for me! He chose me and plucked me out of my sin and the life I had in that, and put me in a new space and loved me and everything changed.

In regards to the adoption, we’ve heard a lot of “I can’t believe you did that” and “You must have felt really clearly called” and “I could never do that, you must be saints!” I find myself confused a bit by the hyperbole. Yes, we felt called, but we are in no way saints, and frankly, we haven’t done anything that I don’t think anyone can do. It’s not easy, but it’s also not the insurmountable thing people have made it. We were definitely scared, but God helped us. There were obstacles, but He provides. And whether God has spoken to you audibly and personally or written with a sky-writer over your house “Take care of orphans!!!” it doesn’t matter. He’s told us that in His Word, and therefore, He’s told us.

That may not mean that you are to adopt a child. But, have you ever seriously thought that it might? Have you even let that be part of your conversation with yourself and with God?

Picture this. You see on the news that there’s been a war that leaves thousands dead and incredible destruction in it’s wake. They publish a picture of two little boys, brothers, crouching alone in the wreckage of their home holding each other. Do you know how many people would clamor to know the names of these boys? How many would offer to take them immediately into their homes and families? If you were walking that very street and saw those boys, would you really just walk on by and leave them there?

And yet there’s a crisis of orphans in the world. These kids have been through the war but their picture isn’t out there on Facebook today. We can ignore them because we don’t have to see them. There are children in foster care who have been through the war of abuse and neglect. There are children in orphanages around the world who have been through the war of poverty and earthquakes and medical conditions their parents can’t handle. There are millions of children who need families who will never have their picture published so they can really be SEEN. We, as the big “C” Church need to see them. And we need to be open to the possibility that God really might be calling us to do more.

People have asked us if we want a big family. My family is the biggest blessing on earth to me and I would do anything for my kids. I adore them and love them fiercely. But I did not adopt to get more kids. I’m just being real here. Many people adopt to grow their family and that is wonderful. That was not why we adopted. We had three kids and that was great. We adopted because the Lord sent us places that forced us to see the children in need – to really SEE them. We adopted because we are blessed with a house that can hold more people and resources that would let us care for one more. We adopted because God showed us a little boy who would never get medical care or a family if someone didn’t say, “Mine. Give me that one – I will take responsibility and love on purpose right there.”

At church, they handed out a sheet to the kids called “Fun Facts About Dad” that they could fill out and give to their fathers. Things like, “My dad’s favorite thing to do is ____.” Noah brought his to me so I could read it to him and wanted me to fill it out for his dad. He was very insistent about it. His English is pretty good now, but it’s still hard for him to express himself, and some of the questions were stumping him. The final phrase was “I love my dad because ____.” He was really struggling and I said, “It’s okay, Noah, you don’t have to answer it.” and he said, “No, mom, I – it’s a good, good question! A good one!” but he couldn’t answer still, so I said, “Do you want to say it in Chinese?” and he said, “No! No, I say in English for dad!” and I realized he had tears in his eyes as he was thinking about this and then he whispered to me, “Can you just write ‘everything?’ ‘Everything.’ That is why I love dad.” Oh, my goodness. It’s looking into the eyes of a kid who has never had a dad and seeing just a piece of his heart and realizing the enormity of what this means to him. This is HIS dad. Someone who chose him. Someone who won’t leave, a home he’s been told is his forever. And he’s starting to believe it.

People look at these kids and they don’t realize the blessing they are waiting to be. They think, “Oh, that’s sad, but it’s too hard, it’s not my problem.” And they are right. It isn’t. But I wasn’t God’s problem either, and yet, as my Abba, my daddy, He stepped in to the mess we created here and chose to love on purpose and at great cost to Himself. He said, “Mine. Give me her – I will take responsibility and love on purpose right there.” And He did. He’s my daddy. How can I not try to be like Him as I grow up?

I married a wonderful man. He’s not perfect but he runs after Jesus, and he’s got more integrity than anyone I know. He’s a great dad. I had an awesome dad – hilarious and larger-than-life and he loved me fiercely and beautifully. He was a picture of my heavenly Father. But more than all of that, I have a heavenly Daddy who stepped in, turned my life around, saved me, gave me purpose, and sent me out to do more, love more, choose more. If I’m His, how can I help but to want to love like Him?

Who’s your Daddy?

PS If you want to do more right now, you can start by sponsoring a kid in real need through our partner, Compassion International. We’ve been with them in the field, and know they do beautiful and important work in Jesus’ name – let’s love with actions and in truth together!

2 Responses to “Who’s Your Daddy?”

  1. Joan says:

    Your writing is amazing – your hearts are beyond amazing and my heart is deeply touched by everything you say. May God bless as you bless others through your words and actions. Praying for you in these days! you write songs – you might as well start writing a book, wow!! You have incredible gifts from the King!

  2. jennifer says:

    Thank you, Joan, that is very kind! God is good, all glory to Him! And I’m working on a book about worship right now, although I can’t imagine I won’t write one about Noah. 🙂 I’ve also written a book about our other son, Toby, and his struggle with SPD and the Lord’s amazing intervention there – it’s called “Life Not Typical: How Special Needs Parenting Changed My Faith and My Song.”

Leave a Reply