I was born Betty-Catherine Carolyn-Michelle Widenhoffer. It’s a mouthful-I know. Fortunately, eight years later I was adopted and my name changed to Betty Catherine-Michelle Pompell. I was so proud of my new name. I told anyone about my adoption who would listen! I remember leaving 3rd grade for an appointment with the judge in my “Sunday Best” gleefully exclaiming to my classmates-“I’m leaving to get adopted!” My aunt mailed me a card with my new name on it and I pinned it to my wall and kept it there for years, and years, and years. I love the family that God gave me. I shudder to imagine what my life would be like without the Pompells. Apart from my salvation, adoption has been the biggest blessing God has given me here on earth. It is neat to think about and reflect on the gift of earthly adoption, and compare it to our gift of heavenly adoption.
My name was hardly the only thing that was changed-that was just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, my whole world was morphed into a new one.
- My birth certificate changed. That’s right, the official document now says that my adoptive mom, Karen, gave birth to me on July 31st 1989 when she was 34 years old, and that the father is her husband, Robert, who was 38 years old. I know that may seem little to you, but to me, that was the coolest thing. To me it brought comfort that people couldn’t look at my past and dig up, “oh look who you were the first 8 years” no, according to the State of Virginia, I am now, and have always been a Pompell.
- So I got a new birth record, a new name, and not just new parents-but a new family. Bob and Karen had a daughter, so by default, she automatically became my sister once the adoption went through. I am so glad she is-what a gift God has given me in her! Though not flesh and blood, our bond is deeper than our DNA. Bob’s mom became my grandmother, and I had new cousins and new aunts and uncles too!
- Also, when I was adopted, my birth mother had certain restrictions placed on her. She could no longer be within so many miles of me; she could not ever take me back. She forfeited all of her rights to Karen and Bob, and could do nothing without their consent and approval. The adoption was permanent; I was safe.
- Lastly, I love that I played no part in my adoption-except to joyfully receive it! Mom and Dad were not “impressed” with me, or excited about what I could bring to the family. They didn’t see excellence in me, or hope of a comfortable retirement from me in their old age. No, no, no. They saw a broken, difficult, neglected young girl with a dulled sparkle in her eye and spirit. They saw a child whose innocence was taken too young, and whose life begged for attention, love, and direction. Despite being warned by psychologists, counselors, and the like of my high probability for leading a life of disaster, my Mom and Dad in faith, took me in, loved me as their own, and breathed a joyful hope into my young, fragile spirit. Since they didn’t choose me based on my good behavior or because of hopeful expectations they had for me, but solely because of their love-I had no fear of them getting rid of me if I didn’t “measure up!”
Can you see how this mirrors our salvation?
Your spiritual birth certificate says that you have ALWAYS been Christ’s. He knew and choose you before the foundations of the world. There has NEVER been a time where his eyes have not been on you and his heart has not been for you.
You not only received a new Father, but also a new family. You are a co-heir with Christ. You have a family of sisters and brothers in the Lord that are stronger binds than any earthly relationship.
Your birth mother of sin has no hold on you. You don’t have to worry about the adoption being retracted or her coming back to get you. Nothing can happen to you without your Father’s approval. You are a child of God! Sin no longer has a hold on you! No one can ever pluck you from your Father’s hand.
And lastly, 17th century Presbyterian theologian John Flavel says, “As God did not at first choose you because you were high, so he will not forsake you because you are low.” What comfort in our adoption! God did not choose you because you were really bringing a lot to the table, or because he thought you would be a great asset to the kingdom. No. He chose you solely based on his perfect grace. Thankfully, since that is what it is based on, you can do nothing to earn it and you can do nothing to end it.
Our gift of being adopted as God’s own child is something that we should all marvel at and rest peacefully in more. Think about the true implications that your salvation has in your own life. What does it change? What fears vanish in light of who your Father is? What lies dissipate knowing whose child you are? What gratitude is brought forth knowing what your life would be like if you were still with your “birth parents”?
Romans 8:14-16 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.