A few nights ago Kyle and I watched the movie Instant Family. It was Felipe’s idea. He’d watched it in the theater with Marcella, and he’d told us then, you’d like this one. And then, again, at the Village retreat, back in January. Adoptive moms chatting around a ginormous dining room table at the Linden Hills Mansion, and they’d said it, too. You should see it. And so finally, this week, we did.*
We were talking about it still on Sunday. Kyle and I, sitting by a sunny window at Chipotle, eating burritos, picking up takeout for boys still sleeping at home. That girl, Lizzy, she asked the same question Felipe asked, a couple of years ago. “Why did you adopt us?” And we’d given our answer.
God told us to.
He’d been telling us, actually, for several years. When Grant was a little boy, he saw a picture of an orphan from Sudan, and he asked lots of questions. His questions led to prayers and conversations. And then, years later, the summer of 2005, we went on a mission trip to Ukraine, and we met Katya. Katya lived on the streets of Odessa, came to English Camp with a missionary family. She took a liking to Kyle. Spent ten days with her scrawny arms draped around his neck. Before returning home from Europe, we enjoyed a long layover in Switzerland. Driving our rented Audi toward our mountain retreat, we’d asked this question. “What if Katya could be adopted?” Luke burst into tears from the back seat. He had not known what to make of that wild girl hanging all over his dad. Later we inquired, found out Katya could not be adopted. But God was getting us ready. And then a couple of years later a friend from church returned from teaching at an orphanage in the Philippines. Michelle told us about three little boys who needed a family. The oldest boy was named Anderson. We wondered if Anderson was supposed to become Anderson Anderson. Again we inquired, found out there was another family already in the process of adopting the three brothers.
And so we waited. Not really pursuing, just waiting for God.
We can see now what God was doing. Getting us ready. Making sure we’d say yes when the time was just right. All those years, and of course, He knew. He’d already chosen. You.
You – Felipe and Jimmy. He’d chosen you for our family.
The fictional parents in Instant Family were incomplete without Lizzy, Juan, and Lita. Our family – the nonfiction Andersons – were incomplete without Felipe and Jimmy. I believe this is true, and I believe God knew.
And He CHOSE YOU. Do you know what this means? Do you understand how amazing this is?
In a few short months some things will be changing. Addresses, for one. Dad and I will probably be sharing an address with Pop and Grammy in Cambridge. Felipe, maybe, will be sharing an address with Uncle Brian in Andover. Jimmy’s address will likely be Crown College. Nils will get his mail, for one more year, in Cedar Falls. And then, of course, there’s Des Moines and CO Springs. That’s SIX different locations for this one big family. Which I will admit, means some pretty big changes. But it doesn’t change for one minute who we are.
It struck me this morning, reading my Bible, what an awfully big deal inheritance is. To be an heir means you get to share in the family fortune. This means our five boys will someday divide up what’s left over after twenty-one years of private school education, college for five, 20+ years of investing in athletic activities and musical opportunities, plenty of friends on various mission fields, a dog, and (we hope) a future lake house where you can bring our grandkids. Which is to say, don’t hold your breath regarding that family fortune. The Lamborghini’s on you.
But. It also means – all of you, whether birthed or adopted, get ALL of the benefits of being an Anderson for the rest of your life. And that, if I do say so myself, is quite awesome.
But. Don’t miss this, too. HE CHOSE YOU! He – as in the God of the Universe. He chose you, not just for our family, but for HIS. I’m convinced of this. All the evidence – a lifetime of Him getting this Minnesota family ready – and a lifetime of Him getting two Colombian brothers ready – and there is no other way any of this could have ever happened. Which is to say this, too. At the same time God was choosing Kyle Anderson to be an earthly father, He was also showing you, in all kinds of ways, that He had every intention of being your Heavenly Dad.
And boys. HIS inheritance is HOLY WOW! Let’s just say His family hits the jackpot BIG. Here’s a sample from one of my favorite letters:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19
And how about this one:
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him… 1 Corinthians 2:9
You get the idea.
Here’s what I’m saying. The answer to your question, Felipe – about why did we adopt you? – is the best answer ever. We adopted you because GOD TOLD US TO. And that answer is worth an inconceivable fortune.
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:5
*Quick disclaimer to grandmas and parents of young children reading this blog. I do not endorse this movie for all audiences, due to its bountiful use of colorful language.