SPOTLIGHT - an adoption
About The Spotlight Writer
My name is Brooke McManus and first and foremost my heart beats for Jesus and students. I graduated from Texas A&M in 2016, and am now the girls minister at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, TX. I love a good cup of coffee, reading + writing, Fuego queso, and jumping on planes to anywhere and everywhere.
by brooke mcmanus
I think I’ve delayed writing about this for far too long because I’ve been afraid of not quite doing this story justice, but I believe it’s a story worth telling so I’ve decided it’s time.
A little background on my family dynamic: for 13 years it was always my younger sister (Allie) and me. Just the two girls growing up, and for as long as I can remember, I always wanted a sibling that was way younger than me, but it never happened. Until…until my freshman year of high school. Yep. My mom had my younger brother, Jake, my freshman year. While most high schoolers might have been mortified, I was THRILLED. So we all learned together how to adjust to our new family life quickly with a tiny human in the house. I thought I knew a lot about babies before Jake was born, and quickly learned that I basically knew nothing. Holy smokes babies are a lot of work. And I don’t even have one of my own. I can’t tell you the amount of times that people have looked at my family and tried to figure out who relates to who and then just gave up trying to put us all together and finally asked. Needless to say, we have a big age gap in my family. Now of course we can’t imagine life without Jakey (who is now 8)!
My sister spent last summer in China interning with a non-profit called Bring Me Hope. During her time there she got to love on orphans during the camps that Bring Me Hope puts on. Every week she’d have a new camper or two, and we loved getting the updates from her on who her sweet little buddies were for that week. Her last week, my family specifically prayed for who her last camper of the summer would be. We were so pumped when she told us how they instantly connected, and we received the most precious pictures that week of her and her camper (TaoTao).
Allie came home at the end of that week, and I can still vividly remember everything that played out after that. My dad, brother and I picked her up from the airport and could not wait to hear about everything! My family curled up on the couches in our living room that night and got to hear story after story of her summer and all the Lord taught her through her experiences. However, something was different when she spoke about TaoTao. Her face lit up and her eyes had that special twinkle (or maybe those were just the tears in my own eyes), but regardless, she had fallen in love with this precious little boy and we could tell. She kept asking, “Who do we know that wants to adopt?!” And as much as we tried to think of families we knew that were in a place where they were ready, we couldn’t think of any at the time.
Two days later my sister and I were standing in the kitchen talking about who knows what. My mom popped out of her room and says, “I think we need to adopt TaoTao.” Our response? “Mom, you can’t just say things like that!” But she wasn’t “just saying things”. She had very clearly felt the Holy Spirit nudge her in that direction, and she couldn’t shake it. One week after Allie got home from China, my parents were starting the adoption process after much prayer. There was no part of my family’s situation at the time that screamed, “You should start the adoption process right now!” But isn’t that just how God works sometimes?! Our timing is not His timing, and our ways are not His ways. Praise the Lord for that!
The adoption process is long and messy and excruciatingly slow at times. I’ve seen my mom and dad sift through stacks of papers and write autobiographies and fill out forms so long they’ll make your head spin. My mom’s driven all over the state of Texas to have forms approved and signed and sealed. And that’s just scratching the surface of it all.
But through it all I have seen the Lord’s faithfulness. I have seen how He has so perfectly aligned even the smallest of details. I’ve experienced His peace and comfort in the unknown. And more than anything He has shown me time and time again the beauty of His gospel and how those now in the family of God were all orphans at one point.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” –Romans 8:14-17
I have been continually reminded of the Father’s love for me. I didn’t do anything to earn His love. I couldn’t prove myself to Him or live a life “good enough” to please Him. I had nothing to offer but my brokenness and my own sin.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” –Romans 5:8
The ultimate sacrifice was paid so that we could be adopted into the family of God. It was costly. And when we trust in Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are fully embraced as His children. In Romans, Paul says we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ! This is stunning. Fully embraced, fully accepted. He gave it all for us. And the thing is, adoption was not God’s back-up plan. This was not Plan B. It was His plan for us from the very beginning.
We really do have a good, good Father. It’s not just a song we sing. It’s truth. A Father who gave it all. Whose heart breaks for His children. Who pursues His children relentlessly. Who loves His children in ways unfathomable to our human minds.
While my family has been moving along step-by-step in the adoption of my new brother, the Lord has so sweetly reminded me of my own adoption story. The picture of adoption is at the very heart of the gospel, and man am I grateful.
TaoTao’s gotcha day is July 15th (less than one year after Allie first met him)! My family will be headed to China soon to go and get him, and we could not be more excited! God is good and we’re so thankful for the way He wove our story into TaoTao’s. I had no idea how much I would come to love someone I’ve never even met, thousands of miles away, but boy do I love TaoTao. Our new, more complete family will consist of my parents, me (24), Allie (22), Jake (8) and TaoTao (6). God is the best gift-giver, and usually in the most unexpected ways. We’re praising God for all He is and all He’s done. We would love for you to join us in prayer as we continue this journey together!