I remember back when I was in school before children had self-esteem and the P.E. teacher would pick two boys as captains and then tell them to take turns choosing their team. Immediately, other kids would raise their hands frantically as they called out, "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" How my stomach would become anxious and churn knowing that being one of the shortest boys in our class meant that I was going to be waiting on that line for awhile. The longer I waited, the less kids there were to be picked, the worse I felt. It's hard not to be chosen until someone has to pick because you are one of the only ones left standing there on the line. All of us want to be chosen because to be chosen means to fit in.
It's the nerd in me, but I love to look up words in the dictionary. Sometimes I'll even just flip through a dictionary to learn a new word. So when I started thinking about being chosen, I wondered what old Webster had to say about it. One of the definitions was, "To select from a number of possibilities; pick by preference." Another was, "To want; desire." These are all active, not passive.
To not be chosen is to be rejected. At some point in our lives we've all been felt rejection. For many, the rejection they felt in their youth has carried over into their adulthood so that they cannot get past the hurt. One example that immediately comes to mind, is Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan was one of the greatest basketball players of all time. When he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he didn't take that opportunity to thank all of those who had gotten him there (such as Dean Smith, his coach at Carolina), but chose instead to berate all of the people who didn't believe in him, especially the high school coach who didn't pick him for the team. After all those years and all his success, Michael Jordan could not see past the early rejection. This is a man who got nearly 30,000 points in a single season, who'd been in 41 NBA finals, and was picked as MVP 6 times. But none of that mattered.
Scripture tells us that " . . .God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong." (1 Corinthians 1:27). How different that is from our way of thinking? Can you imagine a team captain intentionally choosing the "weak things"? His team mates would question his leadership. "What? Why did you pick him?" (Something I heard said when a boy did pick me early on for his team in gym). Henrietta Mears, who was a Bible teacher at Hollywood Presbyterian Church and who would go on to teach Billy Graham, once said, "God does not always choose great people to accomplish what He wishes, but He chooses a person who is wholly yielded to Him."
To be chosen by God is to be "hagios" or "set apart." This means they were chosen for His purpose. Just as when God chose Abram to be the father of many nations, why God chose the Jews to be His people, and, after Christ, why He chose to adopt us into His family. Many of us wonder at God's taste. Certainly the
theologian Charles Spurgeon did when he wrote in his autobiography, ". . . I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him . . . and He must have (chosen) me for reasons unknown to me, for I could never find any reason why He should have looked upon me with special love."
Yet God did.
The idea of choosing and being chosen has been much in my mind as our family draws closer to the time that we go over to Ukraine to chose our child. From what we've heard, when we go over there, the government will show us photo albums of children within the age range we are approved to do adopt from. We then have to pick a child from among all those photos of children. Part of me is thrilled by the idea that one of them will be our child, but part of me is heartbroken for all the children who we cannot pick. This will become even harder when we actually go to the orphanage the child is in. We have heard from others who've adopted about how other children ask, "Won't you adopt me?" or "Are you here to adopt me, too?" One family told us of a little boy who would run outside to wave goodbye to them every time they left the orphanage. On the last day, when they were leaving for the last time, he was standing outside in the rain, waving. When I heard this and saw the photograph they showed us, I found myself in tears.
People keep asking us, "How do you know what you're going to get?" or "How are you going to know which child to pick?" All we can say is that we are trusting God. We pray every night that He will guide our decision and lay it on all of our hearts exactly which child we will adopt. There is a part of me, deep down, that believes I will just know when I see the photograph of the child we are to adopt. I believe the Holy Spirit truly will prompt us.
But it will be hard.
I've written before, but I'll repeat myself (a Blackwell habit), that when I looked up the word "Adoption" in the dictionary it gave the definition as "to be accepted." That is something we all want. All of us want to be chosen, to be accepted for who we are, to believe that someone else finds something loveable about ourselves. That's why kids call out, "Pick me! Pick me!" They want to be seen and for someone to not only see them, but to say, "I want you." This to me is the whole miracle of adoption.