Some men are fathers by accident; they are ushered into parenthood by an inability to keep their zippers in the upright and locked position. For these guys, fatherhood is an unpleasant surprise that they could do without. Some men are fathers by plan; they marry and seek to reproduce. These guys want to be fathers; unfortunately there are those who for various reasons are never able to follow through. They want to be fathers, but they aren’t. Some men are fathers entirely by choice. They could have said no, but they made the distinct decision to assume the responsibilities and joys of fatherhood.
I’m one of those “fathers by choice.” On December 18, 1992, I adopted Sara. She was 14 years old, and her mom and I had been married for two years and five months. Next month will be our 16th anniversary; this coming December 18th will be the 14th anniversary of “Adoption Day,” a day that we celebrate each year. In fact, Adoption day is more important than celebrating Sara’s birthday. On that day, Sara stood before a judge and told him that she wanted to be my daughter. I stood before the same judge and said that I wanted to be Sara’s father, and after the judge reviewed with us the responsibilities I was about to legally assume, I said yes. I’ve never for a moment regretted that decision – it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made.
Adoptive relationships are special, because they are relationships by choice. There is a bond between Sara and me that is deep and genuine, and unlike any other relationship I’ve ever known. We are so alike in so many ways that people who know we are a blended family have been known to conclude that Sara must be my biological child, and Sharon the adoptive mother. We understand each other. We laugh at the same things. We”get” each other’s jokes while others are standing around saying “What?”
I think God has a very special place in His heart for adoption. He’s an adoptive father, too:
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6, NASB)
He became my father by choice. He decided to adopt me. He accepted me, complete with all my faults and shortcomings, and made me his adopted son. The passage above speaks to the closeness of that relationship. Abba literally means “daddy,” a term of intimate, heartfelt endearment. He loves to have me run to him with my arms extended, crying out “daddy, daddy!” It gives Him joy to have me simply choose to sit with Him and enjoy His company.
He is my Father by choice. I am also His son by choice — my choice.
Happy Father’s Day, Father, from your son… by choice.