She’s tiny and light on her feet, darting about like a butterfly that never lands for long.
Bubbly and outgoing, she doesn’t know a stranger — sometimes to her own peril. Boundaries are an issue. There have been calls from the teacher that she talks too much and sometimes struggles to stay on task. It was only natural that someone so effervescent would tell her classmates about the adoption and her new last name.
Her story paints a broad-brush parallel to the story of Easter, of darkness giving way to light, of pain and fear giving way to restoration and hope.
Long-time friends could have sailed the seasons of life with the sun in their faces and the wind at their backs. Their children were mostly grown; they were what we’d call “comfortable” in this life. They could have eased into the expected things that come with middle age and beyond. Instead, they trained to become foster parents and willingly entered turbulent waters.
She came to them when she was in kindergarten. It took no time at all for a judge to sever all ties with the place (it would never deserve to be called a home) from which she came. Her file revealed gut-wrenching details. The compilation of notes was sickening.
This little girl endured evil that makes sane people grieve for the world as it is. Others might have turned away from her, but they determined to never let her go.
Exercising the most radical and genuine form of love known to man, they took in a hurting stranger and made her one of their own. They promised before a judge and God to care for her, love her and provide for her. They adopted her.
Easter is a story of adoption as well. Christians believe that on Good Friday, a judge from a different realm allowed his son to endure death on the cross, becoming the ultimate sacrifice for sin, and in so doing bridging the gap between man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness.
The debt was paid and a door opened, the pathway to adoption by a Heavenly Father. He, too, is a judge, one who offers mercy, grace and the promise of new life to all who will come.
It was cloudy the day that little butterfly was adopted, but the sun broke through as they walked up the steps to the courthouse. It was a resurrection morning of sorts as she left the old behind and embraced the new. The judge was kind and gracious, posing for pictures with the newly expanded family.
Summer came and went. When she returned to school, one of her classmates asked, “Are you still adopted?”
“No,” she said, “I’m just their regular kid now.”
Grafting into a family comes with growing pains, realignments and the putting down of new roots grounded in love. As the grafting takes hold and the roots strengthen, you no longer think of yourself as adopted, but simply a member of the family.
The branch tips bud, gently unfold and once again, new life blooms.