by Peder Eide
Several years ago, my wife and I, along with our three children, were sitting around the dinner table. Suddenly, my wife looked around and said, “I have the feeling we are not all here yet.” I counted my kids – one, two, three-- yep, we’re all accounted for. But my wife’s moment of realization soon began to take hold in my own heart as we began to talk about possibly adopting a child from overseas.
November is National Adoption Month and there are many families who are also wondering if they are complete, and if adoption is an option they should possibly explore. Sherri and I have five children now. Our last two are adopted. Makenzie, who is now 7, was adopted from South Korea and Teshome, now 4, is from Ethiopia. Two completely different children from unique cultures and are now totally ours. No matter where they were born, they are now and forever, our kids.
Many people considering adoption have asked us what steps we took to make the adoption process as smooth as possible. First, we began integrating our adopted kids with our three biological children long before we brought them home from their birth countries. We diligently researched the countries and cultures in which they were born. We would eat some of the foods from their countries. Sherri involved our biological kids in painting their rooms and deciding what themes the rooms would have. In adopting Teshome, God actually used our son Taylor to guide us to Ethiopia. Taylor had a heart for the Ethiopian people and was always concerned about the number of orphans in that country. We would let our kids read the referral information and we would all pray together as a family as we prepared to say “yes” to each child. The more involved they were in the process of choosing their future brother and sister, the more excited they became.
After bringing each child home, we carefully introduced them to our children, making sure the first experience with them was bonding. Our kids were always allowed to ask questions about anything. As we have moved along in the journey, we make it a point to teach them about possible prejudices they may encounter and questions other people may ask them. Adopting orphans has changed our family tree in ways my wife and I would have never imagined.
The word “Adoption” in the Bible literally means being “placed as a son or daughter” in the home and presence of the father. There are times in my life that I realize I have gone into God’s courtyard, but didn’t feel worthy to go into His house. When the prodigal son finally went home, his dad didn’t run outside and demand an apology or tell him, “Oh, we are sooo going to talk about this later.” Instead, he went out and gave him a pair of shoes. Servants didn’t wear shoes; only sons wore shoes. He was welcoming his son back to the family with no strings attached. And that’s a beautiful picture of the tender heart of God’s fatherly love toward all of us.
For me personally, adoption has given me a whole new perspective on God’s love. I was fourteen years old when my mom died. My oldest son is now that same age and I look at him and think of how very young I was to lose someone so integral in my life. When I became a dad to two kids who started their lives as orphans, I began to understand that I had learned to be a survivor at an early age, which led me to have an orphan spirit. Trusting people never came easy to me and it still doesn’t. When you have that orphan spirit, it’s like having a crack in your cup. God keeps pouring His love into the cup, but it is always leaking. It never fills to overflowing. The crack represents fear of something. The crack in my own life was fear of abandonment and of being invaluable.
But loving Makenzie and Teshome has brought alive the Scripture in Ephesians 1 that says God takes great pleasure in adopting us. As an adoptive father, I can honestly understand God’s love on a whole new level. I love all my kids as favorites and I’ve come to believe that God does the same. In Zechariah 3:17, the Bible says He sings over us. As a worship leader and singer, that spoke volumes to me. God sings over me. That is the kind of father I want to be every day to all my children. I want to sing over them as long as I live.
Peder Eide has been in full-time ministry for over fourteen years. His “Taste Worship” events combine music with teaching to arm families with practical tools to transform their lives into living worship lifestyles, drawing them closer to God while growing closer to each other. Proceeds of Eide’s latest CD entitled Rescue are benefiting the Highly Vulnerable Children’s Fund via Compassion International. Eide and his family reside in Minnesota. Visit www.PederEide.com for more information.