Friday, January 7, 2011

Fatherhood As a Bridge

On January 15, 2004 Sonya and I flew half way across the world from China to America.   Once back in the United States it took another full day to finally touch down at the Fort Wayne airport where Sonya’s daddy patiently awaited our arrival.  As I hurriedly carried Sonya through the airport making our way back to Randy’s waiting arms, Sonya spotted her father from a distance.  As though she knew him already, Sonya locked her eyes on her father and never looked away.  As I drew nearer to Randy, he reached out to hold his baby girl.  As soon as she was in her father’s loving arms, Sonya’s mouth opened into a perfect little “o” shape, as though in awe of this man, as she so delicately placed her tiny hand on Randy's cheek.  That is a moment I shall never forget, a moment of true recognition.  Having never seen a picture of her father in her life, still she knew him.   

When the three of us made it home that night, I put my arms around the two of them as Randy and I gave each other a kiss.  As Sonya observed this loving gesture between the two of us, she looked at her father and then she looked at me, and then she let out a big sigh as she settled into Randy’s arms more deeply.  That night I saw in my daughter’s eyes an awareness, that what was once incomplete was now made whole.  What had been lacking in her world was now fulfilled. 

Sonya’s response to Randy and me together demonstrates so clearly the importance of both the mother and the father present in a child’s life in a loving, committed marriage.  To this day, I reflect back on that one moment in time and marvel at how God must hardwire into a child’s brain the necessity and irreplaceable nature of both mother and father wherein neither can ever adequately fulfill the other’s role and place in that child’s life and development.  I know for a fact that Sonya would be lost without her father, and I could never possibly begin to fill his shoes nor would I even begin to know how.  

Recently, Sonya and I met Randy at the downtown post office so we could fill out an application for Sonya’s passport in order that all three of us can travel to China to bring her sister home.  As is customary, whenever Sonya has any distance to walk, her father makes himself available for her to be carried.  Generally, I share with Randy my concern that because Sonya is so small and people tend to view her as younger than she is, holding her the way he does will most certainly stunt her emotionally and keep her from growing up.  That day, while walking up to the post office, I asked Randy what he plans on doing when both of his daughters want to be carried.  Randy quickly declared, “I will carry one in each arm.”  That day, I pictured Randy carrying both of his little girls in his arms, and thought it such a lovely image that I haven’t said anything to him about carrying Sonya since.  

I stand amazed at the father God is molding Randy into now in spite of having no modeling of such loving fatherly behavior in his own life.  I know fully well the importance of needing the love of an earthly father, and when that love is absent, a vacuum is created in one’s soul, and the bridge to our heavenly father damaged or destroyed.   How great our Father’s love for us that he so readily and completely redeems and restores what the enemy has stolen from us! 

Soon after our joint decision to adopt Mei I confided in Randy that I believe with all my heart that the area God wants for him to shine the brightest is as a father to his two adopted daughters.  Not only will Sonya and Mei experience full redemption by Randy loving them fully, but Randy will experience redemption as well, as will I, as perhaps will others – simply by watching him live out his role as a bridge to our Heavenly Father.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Romans 8:14-17


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