I wanted to stop having kids after the second child. Then after the third child. Then after the fourth child. I thought we were all done. After all, it’s been 15 years since the last one came along. No! “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11)
This summer I had the privilege of meeting a young man working at our children’s camp. We introduced ourselves as I stopped by his station with my small group of boys. We continued to talk even after my boys were done a leaving with the other sponsors. I asked questions about this young man’s college and family. I quickly learned he has never known his dad and his mother died a couple of years ago just shortly after his high school graduation. I asked if he had other family still around to which he replied, “No”. He assured me that it was okay. I was more interested than ever before.
I pressed further with questions, “How did you get enrolled in college and where do go during Christmas?” He is essentially homeless. He explained, “I became a Christian my sophomore year in high school and my youth minister discipled me. He helped me get enrolled in college. My pastor asked me to his house for Christmas since the dorm would be closed.” I asked about the time between working at camp and moving back into the dorm, to which he said, “The BCM director told me I could sleep on the couch at the BCM.”
My heart was overwhelmed with such great heaviness and I stood up, pointed straight at him and said, “Well, I choose you. I choose you!” “What?” he asked with a quiver in his voice. I said it again, “I choose you! I want you to be in our family. You even look like us.” Then I hugged him. We both began to cry. I said again, “I choose you, and I know this might be a little creepy but I choose you.”
I helped him finish his work and we walked away together with an understanding we will talk more about this. We exchanged cell numbers and I texted him every day to say, “I choose you and I am not changing my mind.” I slipped away after that encounter and called my wife, “Honey, I have something to tell you…” If you know Connie, you know what an amazing mother she is. She and our daughters, Kaylie and Gracie, came that afternoon to meet together with this young man. We cried and laughed and agreed to meet at our house for Independence Day.
I picked him up at the campground and drove him to our home. We had much more to talk about now. It was a wonderful weekend of meeting our son Zac and his wife as well as extended family. We were getting to know each other even more. We invited him to go on vacation with us just before school started so there would be no sleeping on the BCM couch. While on vacation, we had such a terrific time. He looked over at me one day and said, “I’ve never been on vacation.” He met our other son Wes and his family as we spent a few days with them.
He and I were riding in the car alone on the last day of vacation when he asked me, “Why did you choose me?” I thought for a moment and said, “It wasn’t about you. It was about obeying God. When I met you, God impressed on me to choose you and welcome you into our family. So I did.” I continued to explain my commitment to him, “We choose you. We plan to sit where your mother would have sat at your graduation. We will sit where your mother would have sat at your wedding. We plan to be your children’s grandparents. We choose you!”
He replied, “I choose you too.”
Those words are beautiful to me. I really can’t describe how much. God has given us another son and hopefully in May we can make the adoption legal.
(So sad Zac was not in the picture!)
Tokain is 20 years old and I was delighted to learn that a person can be adopted at any age.
I’m so grateful for God’s gift of another child. I have been supporting adoption and seeking to raise money for adoptions through the sell of my book, “A Dad’s Gotta Do What a Dad’s Gotta Do” but never realized I could understand this side of welcoming a child into my family.
National Adoption Awareness Day is November 21. Be sure to announce it to your church and help others become aware of the great blessing of adoption. My Dad book will be on sale for $10.00 this month to support adoptions www.mrmarksclassroom.com/store. Will you buy some copies for Christmas presents?