Today I was doing my daily bible reading and I was in Galatians 4. These verses speak about our adoption as children of God when we accept Jesus as our Saviour. Suddenly I was thinking about Ken. This cute picture above labeled "Jimmy Joe June 9, 1952" is actually the first picture we have of Ken. Ken was born on May 14, 1952 and he was left in the hospital to be placed for adoption. The nurses gave him the name James Joseph - Jimmy Joe for short. He was small and underweight and needed to stay in the hospital to gain weight and strength. This picture was taken on June 9, 1952 and given to Ken's mom and dad to "see if they might want to adopt this baby". Of course, they wanted this little baby boy. There is a long story about why his mom and dad wanted to adopt a baby in 1952, but the short version is that they had one child (Ken's sister) and then suffered many, many pregnancy losses over the next 7 years. So this was a most welcome call for them. They happily brought this baby home and named him Kenneth Alan. Just this last year in talking with Ken's dad, we heard a very different reason why the name Kenneth was chosen! Ken's mom had always said that he was named after a favorite cousin of hers. However, Ken's dad insists that HE chose the name after a friend from college. So we don't really know why this name was given to him.
Here is the first family picture, the day that they brought Ken home. His sister is 7 1/2 years old. Although Ken was about 6 weeks old, he really looks like a newborn. He has always known that he was adopted. After Ken and I were together, his mom told me many times that she was afraid that Ken would search for and find his birth mother. She was sure that Ken would not want to be in their family if that happened. Surprisingly, Ken has never ever wanted to search for or find out anything about his birth parents. When he turned 21 it became possible for him to get information regarding his adoption, but he is simply not interested in this search. Quite honestly, with Ken now being 61 years old, the chances are pretty good that his birth parents are dead.
But truth telling here - I have always been curious about his birth parents. During the time that Doug was so sick, it was always on my mind. Over and over I had to fill out forms and answer questions about our family health history. And of course Gwen and Doug only have 1/2 of their history. We don't know anything at all about Ken's genetic picture. I can say with confidence that there is NO cancer in my immediate family (Mother, father, sisters, brothers, grandparents). That is amazing. I also have length of life for all of these family members. But Ken doesn't really know. Should he have early testing for various cancers? Is there heart disease in his family? Unknown. Ken is not the only person in this situation. All adoptions were "closed" in the 1950's and earlier. How much easier it is for children adopted today. Even if it is not an open adoption, medical histories are taken and most often parents are given information about the birth families.
I realized that I have been thinking about my new little unborn granddaughter. How blessed are we that she has already had her first real "physical exam" (biophysical ultrasound) and found to be developing normally. It is really amazing the long list of problems that can be discovered at a 20 week ultrasound. That list means that they can ELIMINATE those problems also! What a blessing to be able to celebrate her health as well as her gender! Even though we don't have all of her family health history.
You know, the idea that we are all adopted into Yahweh's family is really powerful. We have been made sons and daughters of the King of Kings. We are heirs of the Father and will inherit the Kingdom of our brother Jesus! I am beginning to understand Ken's perspective on adoption. Once we are grafted into a new family, why look back? Spiritually, we are born into the world of sin and death. Once we are adopted into Jesus' family, we have righteousness and LIFE! What an amazing thing. So tonight I am celebrating adoption. And I am celebrating Ken and the life that Jesus chose for him.
Jesus, thank you for the amazing gift of adoption. Our adoption into your family and also the process of the adoption of children into earthly families. Holy Spirit, thank you for showing me a greater depth of understanding of adoption. Bless all those families that have been touched by adoption. Jesus surround all those families that have given children for adoption. Shower them with your love and your peace. Jesus, help us to live in our rightful place as heirs of your Kingdom. And Jesus, thank you again, for Ken. Amen