Imagine it

Imagine it: the perfect family. The three of them are inseparable. Theirs is a home, overflowing with laughter and love – magnetic, generous, complete. Nothing missing, nothing needed.  Their heartbeat is security, trust and, above all, joy.

‘Love you.’
‘Proud of you!’
‘You’re the best!’

They don’t need anything. And yet they want to give. So much love, it can’t be contained. So they make a plan. An incredible decision, to bring someone in from the outside.

But who will they choose?

They can have anyone they want. The most attractive candidate; with a glossy, wipe-clean cover.  A perfect gene pool; a guaranteed success.

Be smart. Don’t spoil what you have. Don’t risk what you’ve got.  Think of your son – play it safe. Protect him. Protect yourselves.

But they keep looking.

A torn envelope: Do not open. 

This child will destroy you.

Boxes of case notes. A family of felons – murderers, rapists, criminals and addicts. Unwilling and unable to change; genetically damaged. Defiance that’s off the scale.

Give a home to this child and it will wreck it.

It will rebel.  It will refuse to recognise you. It will take your time, your money, everything you have.

It will eat your food and spit in your face. It will spurn your love and chase after others.  It will sell itself to the highest bidder; then give itself away for free.

This child will take all you give and still want more. It will curse you and, laughing, break your heart.

There’s more.

It will put your perfect family through hell.

It will unleash an unthinkable nightmare.

This child will kill your son—if you take it in.


Close the file. Go back to your world; the one you created. No-one will think less of you. The very opposite. Protect yourself.  Protect your son.

But they don’t.

“We’ll take him”, they say.
This one.
Though it cost us everything, this one. This one; a million times over.
The child that no-one wants.

We will set our love upon him.

And we will bring him home“.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are (1 John 3:1).

Author’s note:

A reader (and fellow adoptive mother) raised a valid concern that, read in a certain way, this article might perhaps make an adopted child feel hurt or ashamed—which would be the opposite of God’s intent. In our family, we tell our adopted child the same truth as our birth child: that they are a special gift to us from God, not a burden or cause for “sacrifice.” To be clear, this piece is not about human adoption, but divine adoption; the rebel is the one whom God adopts into his family. Adopted children on earth are infinitely precious and an incredible blessing from the Lord. Instead of wrecking a family, they are its beating heart—and a picture of the way God cares for us.

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7 thoughts on “Imagine it

  1. This is a beautiful re-telling of the glorious wonder of the truth and love of the Gospel story. Amazing grace. Thank you Emma.

  2. Wow!! So shockingly beautiful! We are that unlovely child upon whom the Lord has placed his love.
    I am a mother who has adopted two children through foster care. I am also a sister of two siblings who were adopted through the foster system. The journey may be difficult at times (the Lord’s sanctifying work in us), but the power of God can transform even the hardest of hearts! I have witnessed it in my own life and the life of these precious kids.

    I’m so glad we didn’t succumb to the voices of the naysayers who made similar comments you mentioned while we were pursuing our foster care license. Our kids have been a blessing beyond measure. Yes, these ones. A million times over!

  3. Dear Emma,
    I LOVE love love this article so much and have told a few women of my bible study group about it this morning. (We’re currently studying 1. John). Would you allow me to translate it into German and include and refer to it in my blog? (I’m living in Germany. So it’s a German blog).

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