This past weekend I had the blessing of meeting up with 4 grown children adopted from Rainbow, along with their parents. It had been about 9 years or more since I'd been in Knoxville, TN. Since I was already working with a church in a nearby city, it just seemed like a must do. Claudia Wise set up a dinner at Calhoun's on the River (TN), near the UT campus. It was a beautiful August night and I found myself disengaging from the conversation from time to time, taking it all in, watching the young people I had only known as babies and toddlers. It was a delightful time.
It was a great time! It was almost like seeing grandchildren I'd been away from for nine years. Of course, they're not my grandchildren, but it felt similar. When they, and others, were at Rainbow, Susan and I had the role of mama and papa. Having just experienced the giving away of my youngest daughter in marriage, I know what it's like feeling great joy, yet some farewell sadness. When the time came for them to be united with their families, we handed them off with both joy and a little sadness.
Probably the strongest impression from this reunion on the river was the strong bond between the Filipinos, and that of their parents. Their is a special identity for each adopted child (many now in their teens). One parent shared that their son had told his teacher he had three families—his family of origin, his extended Rainbow family (lots of brothers and sisters!), and his adoptive family. They all have their own stories to tell, usually with difficult beginnings. That's why it is such a treat seeing them growing up, developing their own lives and interests, and bonded so well with their families. Many have asked over the years, "Isn't hard to let these babies go when they're adopted?" Seeing these four special young people and their families is exactly why the answer is, no. Because we experience the sheer joy of seeing each child bond with their family, as if they were naturally born into them.
Listening to each of the parents reminiscing about their journey through adoption, and sharing stories of childhood, I was also reminded of the very special love adoptive families have for these children. Susan and I believe it is a gift of God's love placed into their hearts. It is no small matter to adopt a child, but what great rewards come from doing so. If you're thinking of adopting, or in the process of it now, it's truly not for the faint of heart. But it richly fills the heart of everyone concerned, including God's—for He puts the solitary in families (Ps 68:6).
Although Rainbow Village Ministries' tag line is, "Caring for the Abandoned and Abused," seeing these families reminded me no one is abandoned by God. He chose each of these young people and He chose their parents and siblings. Children adopted out of Rainbow's ministry are spread throughout the world in many different countries. Although we play a role in caring for them, it is God who places each child in their own family, wherever they may be.
BTW, check out our new Rainbow Village Ministries FaceBook page! If you've got some photos and stories that honor the Lord, please post them on the RVM FB page. All we ask is—please be discreet and gracious... blessings!