Thirteen years ago, in Moscow, Russia a little baby boy was born.
Thirteen years ago, in Abingdon, Maryland a young married couple began their first adoption journey. They had talked about adopting for years and when the time seemed right, they stepped out in faith, full of hope and excitement.
The little Russian boy had light blonde hair, a chunky little body, and the most beautiful olive green eyes. Upon his birth, he was placed in an orphanage.
The young married couple was completing their adoption paperwork at record speed. When the wife was at work one day, she received a thrilling call from the adoption agency.
"Mrs. Smith...we have a 3 month old boy that we would like to refer to you. He is in the city of Moscow. His name is Aleksandr."
Immediately the young wife had tears in her eyes and the second she hung up the phone, she called her husband and told him that they were "having" a son!
Thirteen years ago, in Moscow, Russia, my son Stephen Aleksandr was born.
I marvel at the hand of God. I am overwhelmed by the love of God that literally united our hearts and lives with his - before we even knew he was born.
I loved my son before I ever saw a picture of him, read his health report, or learned about his family history. I loved him as soon as I knew he was going to be ours. We waited 13 months to meet him and bring him home.
Today, as I look back over the past 13 years, I thank God for the precious gift that he is to me and to our family.
Stephen is a gentle soul. He is shy but very thoughtful. He's creative and artistic and he dreams big. I love that about him. Most importantly, we see a heart for the Lord and a desire to know God's Word.
I love you Stephen-even. I could not be more proud of the young man you are becoming. Another 2" and you'll be taller than me! I am grateful to our Savior for leading us to you and you to us. His plans are marvelous, aren't they?
You see, our lives are part of a much bigger story. It's a story about another Son.
It's a story about a Father who loved sinful, foolish people so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to planet earth. Jesus lived a perfect life - He never sinned, ever. That means He obeyed his earthly parents in every possible way - in action and motive! Can you imagine that? He was tempted yet never stumbled in any way. He chose to die a criminal's death, on a wooden cross, at the hands of sinful men. He shed His blood and became our substitute on that cross. He bore the full wrath of God, His father and suffered in ways we will never understand.
You know the rest of the story. He was buried and three days later he rose again, just as He said He would. This is the greatest news in all of history, as we sung at church today this Easter morning.
Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice on the cross, made a way for us to be made right with God. If we repent (turn away) of our sin, and put our trust in Jesus and what He did for us, then we can become His children.
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." (1 John 3:1)
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are a sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying 'Abba! Father! So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." (Galatians 4:4-7)
His death on the cross redeemed us; bought us back; adopted us.
The story of how we came together as a family, Stephen, is amazing. It's miraculous really. But what makes it glorious is that it points to the much bigger story of how God made a way for us to become part of His family - for all eternity.
I love that your life points so clearly to the best story ever.
Happy 13th Birthday!