We adopted our daughter from an orphanage when she was 6 and I was 39 years old. Since then my life has changed. In these years, I struggled and fell into deep sorrow, and also climbed to the highest point of my life, now at the point where I can see myself better. Friends asked the same question of me, “why do you want to adopt?”. I asked myself same question for several years when I was feeling broken. After more than seven years, I finally have an answer. The purpose is reach the destiny that everyone has in their life, which is to know God and learn about God’s love. Here I would like to share my story with you.
Several years after our adoption, one time I cried out helplessly to God, “why does my daughter continue to act like an orphan? When is this situation is going to change?” God showed to me the characteristics of a spiritual orphan. Previously, I saw these characteristics in my daughter , but did not see the same characteristics in myself as spiritual orphan too. My daughter behaved toward me just as I was acting toward God. How poor and foolish I was! Spiritual orphans do not have a sense of security. They may snatch things and hide them, and hide inappropriate behavior instead of being honest with themselves because they desire the approval of others. When they make a mistake, they portray themselves as innocent, and try to do everything, appropriate and inappropriate, to receive attention. They may not see the care being given to them as sufficient. They may not recognize that the situation in their adopted family is different from the environment they had before. They don’t know to adjust their behavior to adapted the new environment. They continue to act the way they used to, with the same ideas, same survival skills, despite those being inappropriate to life in the new environment.
I have had all the same spiritual reactions as my daughter had in our family when I was new religious practice in God’s family. In order to adjust our daughter’s behavior, I started put up the house rules. The rules became a formula that had no effect on changing behavior. When we don’t want to follow a religious commandment or a house rule we all have ways to get around it, isn’t it true? My daughter couldn’t see that the purpose of the rules was for her protection and benefit. In the same way, when I began to follow Buddha’s teachings for many years, commandments were just a formula to me. My own helplessness and weakness became an excuse to disobey the teachings. Because of my wrong attitude toward God’s commandments, I received no benefit from them. I didn’t realize the benefit until I determined to follow them and really started doing it. After I began to practice with sincerity I began to see it as the way of loving God, the peace and joy came along. Baha’u’llah said “Wert thou to speed through the immensity of space and traverse the expanse of heaven, yet thou wouldst find no rest save in submission to Our command and humbleness before Our Face.” This is how I experienced it too.
When I gained faith it was like I accepted to be adopted into God’s heavenly family, which means I became a member of the God’s family. Because I was a spiritual orphan for so long, I was not really understanding the meaning of adoption and the new roles I should play. When I encountered a challenge or difficulty, I reacted with fear and doubt. I only trusted my own decisions and the way things are controlled. I carried on myself all the risks and lived the fear for many years and I did not feel the Love of the Father.
In the family of God, the Father is sufficing and loving. He has given us no shortage of spiritual food, clothing and a place to live. But we often want more than what we really need in order to satisfy our own insecurity. The commandments our Father want us to follow are like His house rules for our protection, for us to be able to grow under His guidance and gradually grow into maturity to become assistants in His Kingdom. Don’t we have family rules in our family? Don’t these rules serve for the purpose of protecting us or to protect our child? Isn’t the purpose of the teaching from our parents (or from us to our child) for us (our child) to become an honest, loving, self controlled, reliable and good mannered person? God’s wish for us is similar, so we can inherit His characteristics and be a merciful, giving, loving, kind person in His family. The mature ones in His family will learn to share the responsibility and help the Father take care of the most needy ones and the new members.
In our earthly family, we have our parents love. Also, when we perform well our parents show their appreciation and will arrange special activities or give us a special reward. We have the same relationship with the Father. We always have His love, and also He pours down more of His grace when we choose to be a good child, but also when have been bad but return to Him and sincerely ask for forgiveness. When we do something wrong, our parents will have special requirements for us to learn or correct our mistakes. The same is true with our Heavenly Father. He will create learning opportunities for us, which we may see as difficulties or chastisement, when we do things that are against His commandments. The difficulties and the challenges from Him are an expression of His love for us, so we can learn and grow. We should understand that. We know how it feels when our kids don’t understand or they disapprove of what we try to do. Think about how God might feel. God wants us to love Him the same way we want to be loved by our child.
So what is faith? Accepting faith is accepting the adoption of the Father, and have a home for our spirit. Having faith means we need to adjust our behavior and attitude to adapt to our new family. We learn about God’s attributes, learn how He acts in the Kingdom of creation, learn His commandments and try to follow Him, so we can renew ourselves and let go of our orphan spirit. Relying on God and in God’s love, we can start to live without fear, we can be our true selves and not rely on the approval of others. We all need to put effort in trying to be like Him. Learn to help and rely on each other in the Family. Learn to love ourselves and others, learn to transform ourselves from weakness to strength, and learn to undertake and share the Father’s work to love Him who gave us new life.
It is true that the Kingdom of God is different from our earthly life, the adopted family is different from the orphanage. We all need to adapt to the new family so we can really live a new life. We won’t feel how amazing and how great is God’s grace until we adapt to His family. What happened in our past doesn’t matter as soon as we accept the adoption. All we need to do is put our effort to transform our orphan spirit and become a life full of grace from the Heavenly Father.
Adoption is God’s grace to meet Him, to feel His love and to love Him. This makes me realize the meaning of turning a dilemma to a blessing. We all have challenges in our life. Don’t run away from then, instead of taking opportunity to walk toward God. You will find your peace and joy when you know Him and love Him, and turn the challenge into a blessing.