No Longer Orphans

"I love you," said Pat McCollum, in a loud, clear voice, as her son DJ, leans his left ear towards her mouth. As soon as he hears those three special words, the twenty-one-year-old erupts with giggles and squeals waving his arms about with excitement. Moments later, DJ grabs a grape from his plate, pops it in his mouth, and leans toward his mother again repeating the process until all the grapes have been eaten from his plate.

"They tell me he's deaf," said Pat, but "I don't believe them." And why should she? DJ has been proving the experts wrong for nineteen years, ever since an accident burned over 85% of his body, and left him without: both his feet, his right hand, and, his right ear. Though he isn’t able to speak, and struggles with many other things, Pat has believed he can hear, ever since he came to live with her when he was just seven.

Of course, back then, DJ was just one of the seventy foster children that Pat has cared for over the past twenty-one years, but in 2002, when he was eleven, DJ became one of the four foster children that Pat adopted as her own. 

Despite her excellent reputation for doing so, Initially, McCollum doubted she could care for such a severely disabled child, and many who knew her seemed to agree. Though none “criticized” her decision to adopt DJ, all of them warned her that doing so would require a great deal of hard work, heartache, and sacrifice; and they weren’t wrong.

Yet, once she met DJ, she fell in love, and nothing else mattered. Though caring for him hasn’t been easy, by any stretch of the means, as far as Pat is concerned, it’s been well worth the effort and sacrifice; for despite his many disabilities and deformities, he is, as she says, the love of her life.

There are currently over 100,000 kids awaiting adoption in U.S. Of them, less than 1% are actually orphans, in that all of their relatives are deceased. No, most are there because they’ve been abused, neglected and abandoned. Nevertheless, while all have reason to be discouraged, if we looked into their eyes, we’d find many who were patiently hopeful, knowing someone could come along at any minute to adopt them and rescue them from their painful existence.

By contrast, if we looked into the eyes of the kids with special needs, who are also awaiting adoption, we’d likely see many in pain and despair. As one social worker put it, “it’s just hard for them to imagine why anyone would adopt a child with so many challenges and problems, when they could have one who is mostly healthy.”

In many ways, it’s a perfectly valid question. In fact, it’s one with which all Christians must wrestle. Though we’re not all called to adopt special needs children we’ve all been adopted by God.

Despite our sin and selfishness, despite our failures and brokenness, we’ve all been accepted by G and received into his family because of our faith in Christ, his life, death and resurrection. Through him, we’ve been adopted by God. We are no longer orphans. 

To find out more about our adoption by God, join us this Sunday, 10 am, @ Mercy Road Fellowship.