Ugh, today is my birthday. I don’t feel older but even more so, I don’t feel a lick wiser. I do feel grateful though. I have great friends and even more importantly a great family who have already made this a great day for me. I am far from the best friend, father, or husband, yet this group of people who are so dear to my heart make me feel loved and appreciated. For that, I am grateful.
Of all the things I am most grateful for today though it is just simply being alive. As a co-worker of mine confused the date of my birthday with yesterday, she asked me this morning ”what is it, do you have two birthdays?” She was shocked to hear me answer “yes, yes I do have two birthdays.” No, I am not talking about my original birth date and the day I was baptized. I am talking about having had the wondrful blessing of having been adopted as an infant by two God-fearing and far from perfect individuals. In my family, my parents have always celebrated both the day of my birth into this world (Jan. 27) but also the day that they received custody of me. Growing up, it was just another day to cash in on some presents, but now that I am a man, that day is more special to me than even my own birthday that is today.
As I may or may not have ever disclosed on this blog, in the year 1976, a young fifteen year old girl from the area of Montgomery, AL became pregnant by a boy not much older. I can’t imagine what she must have felt and the amount of judgment, advise, counsel, and scorn that must have come her way. She, just a kid, was surely faced with the opportunity to have an abortion as this was only three years removed from the landmark Roe vs. Wade case. Surely she had the option of keeping her child and as a child raising him herself. I cringe when I think about what that would have been like. She surely had many options to choose from.
She made another choice though. For whatever reason, possibly not wanting to be linked to a murder, she decided to carry out her pregnancy to term. Then, after nine months of gestation, certain bonding, and discomfort, she would turn her child over to become a ward of the state of Alabama so that some other, possibly more well equipped family, would have the opportunity to take that child and raise him, train him, and provide him with the things she would not be able to. I say, “good call,” girl.
I don’t think about my adoption much but the one thought that has long prevailed in my mind has been how hard it must have been after delivery to let that child, this child go. She had gone as far as named me (which will not be disclosed because it was possibly the WORSE NAME EVER) for the birth certificate and I know that she must have loved me. Not only did she give me life once, she gave it to me twice. By making the decision she did I was raised in a life of great comfort. It was not luxurious but we lacked for nothing we needed. How would the life she could have given contrasted to the one I have known. Yet, I did nothing to deserve that and if anything, I at times spit on the wonderful gift I had been given.
Romans Chapter 8 talks of Christians being given a spirit of adoption. What a glorious promise. The fact that due to Christ’s decision to sacrifice Himself on the cross of Calvary that we might have hope of life is such a beautiful story. That because of this, we no longer must live in fear of what will come of our lives. We know that we have been placed in good hands and that because of His love, not our own merit, His grace is poured so freely upon us that He now considers us His brothers and sisters. Praise God!
In the coming days, much will be made about the upcoming Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother. In this ad, she will speak of her decision to put her own health at risk in order to give life to her son. Despite what the world was yelling to her, she took her opportunity to give life, even at the risk of her own. We all know what came of her son Tim. For every Tim Tebow though, there are millions of men and women who for whatever reason were given a chance to live because some brave woman refused to do what the world told her to do. To the woman who made that decision for me, I am thanking you today on my birthday. Because of you I celebrate two birthdays each year. Because of Jesus Christ, I live with the assurance that I will someday celebrate another birthday in which I along with Christians I love will arise new and glorious creatures. I hope to see you there.
If you know someone who has maybe had a child and given them up for adoption, please take time today to thank them for me and glorify them for being givers of life instead of agents of death.