The first time I met my adopted son, Derrick, it was love at first sight. Every bone in my body ached to hold him, to cradle him, to position him in my arms as if to say, “You’re mine now. You’re my son. You’re home now, and I’m never letting you go.” It was a powerful moment filled with tears, a pounding heart, and immense gratefulness to the God who led us to our little boy.
Derrick is now three months old, and he is such a beautiful child. I am literally blown away by all of his handsome, adorable features…And that smile of his, oh my! It will literally melt you. In fact, I have never met such a happy, smiley baby in my entire life.
But as I stare into that picture-perfect smiling face, I wonder, “Where does that smile come from? And will he always smile like this?” Forgive me for being a little dark and twisty, but this world is such a difficult place and the amount of pain and suffering out there can be overwhelming, even to the brightest of personalities.
I often think of Derrick’s birthparents. We’ve seen pictures of them. They are beautiful people. Derrick’s birthfather is tall with an athletic build, and Derrick’s birthmother has exotic features that are striking. But as beautiful as Derrick’s birthparents are, they are broken. They live in a world of darkness. They are people torn apart by homelessness and drug addiction. From such a dark world, came our son…
You know, it’s a weird feeling being so intimately connected to people I’ve never met before. I long to meet Derrick’s birthparents, to become their friend (like a real friend – a true friend), and to share the hope and light of the Gospel with them. For weeks now, just before I get up to preach, my imagination is captivated by the thought of them wandering into our little church and sitting in the back row…Maybe one day. I pray for them. I love them. How can I not? They gave to me my son. No matter their struggles, addictions, and demons, I will forever be grateful to them.
Derrick will grow to know the brokenness of his birthparents and the darkness of this world. I hope none of that extinguishes that smile of his. But Derrick is a fighter. He’s been fighting since the womb, battling drugs of every kind. He then fought in the NICU during the detox process. Derrick is a fighter. As his father, I hope that one day Derrick not only understands the brokenness and darkness of this world, but I pray that he comes to understand and embrace the hope and light of the Gospel. From there, I pray that he will be a Gospel fighter, battling the darkness of this difficult world with faith, hope, and love, “these three; but the greatest of these is love.”