For a number of years, Father’s Day was set aside for my wife Misty and me to visit with our dads. The day was devoted to sharing time with the men who have played such influential roles in our lives and development as responsible Christian adults.
As the years of our marriage passed, Father’s Day was one of the days of the year that became bittersweet. Misty and I felt an ever-increasing void in our lives. We desperately wanted a child, but one never came our way. As we saw others with small children we felt that tug at our hearts and wondered if there ever would be a time in our lives when we would be called “Mom” and “Dad” by our own son or daughter.
As it became apparent that perhaps we could not conceive we came to the realization that maybe it would be better for us to pursue other options of becoming parents.
With 20-20 hindsight, it is easy to see that adoption is always a part of God’s plan. God tells us in His Word that we all are His adopted children.
First John 3: 1-2 declares: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (NIV)
We are children of God, so why should we not imitate the Father and follow His lead by adopting children of our own?
When you start to look, the Biblical narrative is full of adoption stories.
- Moses, one of God’s chosen children, was found by Pharoah’s daughter, adopted into the royal family and eventually led the Hebrews out of Egypt as a faithful and blessed servant of the Lord.
- Even Jesus, God’s own son, has an adoption story. He was conceived through the Holy Spirit and was adopted by His mother’s husband Joseph, who took Jesus as his own.
- Esther was adopted by her cousin following the deaths of her parents and went on to become a queen, being used by God to bring deliverance to the Jewish people.
As Christians, we give our hearts to Christ, believing and trusting in Him alone for salvation, and we become part of God’s family. We’re adopted. Bringing a child into a family through the adoption process is a choice made out of love, similar to that God made when He adopted us into His family as we’re told in Ephesians 1: 5: “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will ….” (NIV)
God adopts those who receive Christ into his spiritual family, so why shouldn’t we consider adopting children into our own physical families? Such an act brings tremendous blessings to those adopted and those adopting.
After all those years – 11 to be exact – without such a blessing, God rewarded our faith in Him and answered the many prayers lifted up for us by delivering a son on Nov. 27, 2007.
Our son is adopted, and he came to us after much prayer. His birth mother allowed God to use her as an instrument of His mercy and grace. We count her a blessing every day.
Our child did not come to us without travail, and our faith was tested in ways that are still painful. But God was faithful throughout and rewarded our faith in Him by entrusting a child to us as Mom and Dad.
The only commandment with a promise, “You shall honor your father and your mother,” now calls Misty and me to a life of sacrifice on behalf of another: our child. Until becoming a dad through adoption I don’t think I ever understood the nature of God’s adoption of me nor the profound responsibility of being entrusted with the spiritual nurture of another human life.
The experience of adoption is a miracle that God worked in our hearts before He worked out all the details in space and time. We give all the glory for the gift God gave us in the form of Landon Nathaniel Key.
“Nathaniel” is, as most people assume, a nod to the name I bear as his earthly dad, but the name means more than that. Nathaniel means “gift of God,” and that truly is what this child has been to Misty and me.
While Landon is the only child Misty and I have at this stage of our lives, he certainly has brought much joy to both of us. I sometimes find myself chuckling when I watch this rapidly growing boy trying to engage his mother in activities more suited for a man. My wife is 100 percent girl, all prim and proper, and our son is 100 percent boy, all sweaty, dirty and energetic. To see the two of them interact and become part of each other’s world is gratifying, even if it means mom has to throw baseball or be tackled during a game of football.
Our pastor often has said God has a sense of humor, pointing to the relationship between my all-girl wife and all-boy son as proof.
And then there’s me. In no way could I be more proud of the little man we are raising. Does he misbehave? You betcha. Does he always do what he’s asked or told to do? Nope, he’s 5, and staying on task sometimes can be a chore.
For good or ill, Landon is just like his dad. His likes, dislikes, mannerisms … he is me. As if my own heart were walking around outside my body, this child is not of my flesh, but he is my son, adopted into the deepest love I have ever known.
Through adoption God bears witness to His own redemptive plan wherein we become restored in relationship and nurtured in love. A family in which we grow up in every way into Christ. A family that is indeed the household of God.
Through adoption God brings together the parents and children who are intended to mesh as a family.
He gave Misty and me the son we were supposed to have, made us the family we were called to be and did so according to His plan.
It is our mutual hope that the decision to adopt will always be a reflection of our love for children and a desire to conduct ourselves in a Christ-like manner to be witnesses to them, something I seek daily as I try to be the father Landon needs and that God has called me to be.
On Sunday, June 16, I’ll celebrate a sixth Father’s Day with my little boy, a child who can throw a tantrum in the blink of an eye and bring you to tears in an instant with the kindness and compassion he shows. He can make you want to pull out your hair because he won’t listen and then show you later through his actions that he was paying attention after all and soaking up all you told him.
I’m grateful that a young woman listened to God and decided adoption was the best alternative for my son. Because she acted selflessly and not selfishly, my wife and I have the child God intended us to raise, and His path for the three of us continues.
We take the Word of God from the prophet Jeremiah to heart: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11, NIV)
I’m so thankful that God has given me the privilege to be a father to this precious child. He gives me joy and a sense of fulfillment each and every day. My prayer is that I don’t let him down, that God would give me the strength and wisdom to be the guiding influence in my son’s life. I need to be the father to him that God is to all of us.
As each of us has been adopted into the family of God, let us live as His beloved children, seeking every day to make it Father’s Day for the Lord our God.
Personally from is a new offering from The Layman Online designed to help readers get to know the writers behind Layman reporting. Former editor of the Lenoir News-Topic, Nathan Key now serves as the assistant editor of The Layman. Nathan is a deacon at his church and, as you’ve just read, the husband of Misty and the proud father of Landon. The Key family lives in Hudson, N.C.