With great anticipation, my wife, three kids, and I anxiously stood in a hotel conference room in Nanchang, China last May with twelve other families. Each family waited for the new child that would soon be their own precious blessing and great responsibility. After almost a year of paperwork, waiting, and praying, “gotcha day” had finally arrived. Our little 11-month-old girl, Ning YaPing, soon to be Megan Anne Sapp, was brought into the room by her nanny, and my wife knew instantly that it was her. We were blessed to experience the miracle of adoption through a little baby that God uniquely formed and entrusted to us.
While we think of this as an unbelievable adoption story, it has caused us to have a greater appreciation for our adoption as sons by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:5-6 states that “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Before conversion, we are like a lost baby with no home, no family, and in desperate need of a Savior. That God would bestow grace and mercy and adopt us into His family is a miracle that we can embrace and boast in God.
My wife and I believe that when God gives children to their parents, He may use different methods. We have been blessed with three biological children, and God has chosen to bless us with a fourth child through the miracle of adoption. Similarly, God will use different methods to bring His children into the family of God. Some come to faith through childhood experiences, some through effective witnessing in adulthood, and some will have a road to Damascus experience. In each of these circumstances, God adopts them as His children. We might want to bring that concept into our evangelism, knowing that people are searching for the family they never had. As Christians, we sometimes get into the mindset that unbelievers are satisfied in their lives and not interested in God, but many are actually feeling like orphans with no hope and no promise of a future. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we explained to them that the family of God is open for them and that through placing their faith in Jesus Christ, they have an eternal home in the family of God?
God has also used our adoption experience in several other ways. First, many of our unsaved friends and family are obviously curious about our experiences, and it has given us a format to talk about God’s use of adoption and the work He has done in our lives. Other evangelism opportunities developed between Chinese citizens and some of the families that were with us. Sometimes I wonder if God invented planes for witnessing. Second, this same format has allowed us to share with believers how our relationship with God has changed and matured. Third, we have been very fortunate to feel the prayers of so many friends and family members before, during, and after our trip. Finally, our family was able to spend two incredible weeks together bonding, praying, traveling, and sharing in the new addition to our family.