The Rescued and the Rescuer

When you adopt a child, there isn't just one person who is rescued. There are two.

Virginia Spence July 07, 2018
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“It’s important to realize that we adopt not because we are rescuers. No. We adopt because we are rescued.” – David Platt

There is a true story of a South Korean pastor named Jong-rak Lee. One night, a baby was left on his doorstep. He felt such a burden for the other babies abandoned on the streets of Seoul that he built a little-heated box in the wall where mothers could place their babies instead of abandoning them on the streets to die. Whenever a baby was placed in the box, a bell would ring in the house. Then Pastor Lee, his wife, or one of his church staff, would immediately bring the baby inside. This review of the documentary of Pastor Lee’s ministry states that “The arrival of each new baby…354 by the time of filming…is a chaotic jumble of frantic activity, grief, and thanksgiving. And despite possessing a level of compassion that seems almost superhuman, Pastor Lee admits that it nearly crushes his heart every time he discovers that another baby has been abandoned. He says he clings to Psalm 27:10, which reads, ‘For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.’” Their orphanage functions differently in that the children have a mother and a father in Pastor and Mrs. Lee. When asked why he rescued the babies, Pastor Lee said, “The reason I decided to become their father was God has adopted me.” A selfless act of love done to mirror what was done for him.

There are many misconceptions about love. In this book, Lauren Chandler points out that we often have the wrong view of true love. We know that true love is not self-centered, and we associate true love as being centered around others (other-centered); however, both of these fall short of their truest meaning. True love should be God-centered. His great love caused him to send His sinless, only Son to take the punishment for the wrongdoing of the entire world! When God is the central focus of our lives and the object of our love, our lives begin to exhibit patience, kindness, gratitude, humility, gentleness, truth, and endurance—all characteristics which are needed before, during, and after the adoption process.

Adoption tends to make the object of love the child. When one thinks about adoption, people are usually put into two categories: the rescuer (self-centered) or the rescued (other-centered). David Platt cleared up this thought process when he said, “It’s important to realize that we adopt not because we are rescuers. No. We adopt because we are rescued.” This quote gets to the heart of adoptive love taking on the God-centered form of true and abiding love. Ultimately, it’s not about the child; it’s not about us. Rather, it’s about the act of God showing His ultimate love for us upon the cross, granting us adoption into His family, and inviting us to be a reflection of that to the world around us.

When my husband and I embarked on our adoption journey, we too had to face new questions about how to think about this new world of adopting a child into our home as their forever family. It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-centered love or others-centered love, especially if the child comes from a dire situation, and we bring him to the safety of our own home. But Chandler hits the nail on the head when it comes to a healthy-focused love. While in some cases the child may be taken out of a bad or less than ideal situation and brought into a loving family, the adoptive family can never be a true rescuer. The adoptive family has the same need that the adopted child does: to be rescued themselves. Fortunately, there is One who can rescue everyone who chooses to call on his Name. In the Bible, John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The book of Romans tells us in chapter 10 verse 13 that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Steven Curtis Chapman, founder of Show Hope.org  once said, “I did nothing to deserve God’s love; in fact, I was living as an orphan, without hope. Yet God chose to pursue a relationship with me, and through the death of his Son Jesus, I was adopted into God’s Family.”

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Virginia Spence

Virginia Spence and her husband Eric are the proud parents of two awesome boys who joined their family via domestic infant adoption. Their journey through infertility and into the world of adoption awoke in her a passion for life at all ages/stages, especially the tiniest lives in the womb and the women who carry them, and a desire to champion the cause of those who choose to adopt. Virginia desires to be a voice for adoption through advocacy and education as well as an encouragement to those suffering through infertility. Virginia loves to read and considers herself a coffee connoisseur. When she isn't writing or drinking giant mugs of coffee, Virginia can be found watching Paw Patrol and racing hot wheel cars with her boys.


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