Every Tuesday our social worker meets to discuss our case, every Wednesday we wait at the phone, anticipating the call to let us know our little girl is ready to come home. For the last five months we have waited, but the phone hasn’t rung…perhaps tomorrow will be different.
To make the waiting a little easier, I was blessed with an opportunity to see just how far adoption reaches to completely transform the orphan into a son/daughter. I’m blessed with being a dual citizen, both South African and Swiss. South Africa is such an amazing place with so much to offer, but I am also extremely fond of my Swiss heritage and of course the little red book that goes with being a citizen of this great country, much to the jealousy of many of my friends.
The thing that strikes me most about adoption is how it takes the fatherless and creates sons and daughters, how it takes those without anyone and grafts them into a family, creating new relationships, a new present and new futures. Adoption creates opportunities and realigns the paths of these children in such a massive way. This is shown by the adoption letter that accompanies the court order which states:
“This child is now your son/daughter as if they were born to you”
I love adoption, and I am so thankful that this is exactly what I received in Jesus.
So, a few weeks ago I went to my local Swiss embassy to register the birth of my son, in the expectation that I would be applying for his Swiss passport as well. I have known all along that my sons become Swiss citizens, but for some reason I have never really had the significance of this hit me as squarely as it did on this occasion.
As a Swiss citizen, you have a place of origin – mine is Huttwil in Bern – that’s how it works. I suppose the idea is that if you ever become destitute, you can come back to your roots and find some form of sanctuary.
While chatting with the consul about adopted and natural-born children, these words suddenly popped up, “There is no difference between natural and adopted children”. Simple enough, except that something inside me clicked into place.
When we adopted our son, he took our name, he became part of our family, he became our son, an heir who couldn’t be differentiated from his brother, save for his lovely chocolate skin; on paper they are equal.
After my visit to the embassy it suddenly dawned on me, not only does he have a new name, a new family, a new future, but he also has a new past. My son is now a citizen of Switzerland and his place of origin is now Huttwil in Bern. It didn’t come as a surprise, but I suddenly found myself experiencing the completeness of adoption occurring before my very eyes and in my son’s life.
Practically, his past will always be his past and we will journey the discovery of this as and when he decides to, but he also has a new heritage, one that has been grafted into his heart as he has been grafted into ours. Adoption facilitated the creation of a new present, a new future and it also re-wrote his past. That’s the power of adoption, the completeness of adoption and an example of the redemptive power of adoption that crosses race, nationality, beliefs, past and present circumstances and leaves in its wake a new work, a completely new creation.
As I said, I love adoption and I love being adopted!