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Spirit of Adoption


For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” – Romans 8:15 NASB

My friends Derrick and Hannah recently adopted three young sisters. Derrick and Hannah had sensed God leading them to adopt a child for a while, but they never imagined they would become a family of five overnight. The young girls’ lives had been filled with difficulty and strife, void of parental love and care. Given this history, Derrick and Hannah expected the girls to be a bit standoffish and hesitant at first, but they were determined to love the girls as their own children.

The girls arrived and began adjusting to life in a new family. They experienced the normal transitional issues associated with adoption, but overall the girls settled into life with their new parents without any major difficulty. Derrick and Hannah were grateful for the relatively easy transition and continued to pour their love into these three young lives.

When the girls arrived, the oldest of the three asked my friends what they should call them. Derrick and Hannah told the girls they could call them whatever they wanted, since they didn’t want to add any pressure during their critical transition. The sisters started calling their new parents Mr. Derrick and Miss Hannah. Derrick and Hannah were fine with this and just thrilled to have a home filled with three happy, healthy, young ladies.

One Saturday afternoon, Derrick overheard Hannah talking with their oldest daughter in the living room. The conversation ended and the girl ran into the kitchen where Derrick was working on his laptop and stood next to him. Derrick turned to her and asked, “Did Miss Hannah ask you to tell me to get a snack for you?” To his surprise, his oldest daughter said, “No Daddy. Mama told me to ask you to get it for me.” Finally, the girls were truly settling into their new reality.

As Derrick and Hannah shared this story with me, I was struck by the parallel to the family of God. In Romans, Paul states that through Christ we have been given a spirit of adoption, which results in a natural desire to respond to God as an intimate father. Unfortunately, many of us don’t respond this way immediately. All too often, past wounds, painful rejections and difficult relationships hamper our response. We live in fear instead of responding to God as our loving, faithful, trustworthy father. We approach him as Mr. God instead of as Abba! Father! Daddy! How many of us can relate to the three sisters?

Just as the three girls settled in with their new parents, allow yourself to become settled, secure, and comfortable in God’s love for you. You can rest in the knowledge that he is the one who pursued and adopted you because of his desire for you. I pray we all move from relating to God as Mr. God to experiencing him as Daddy.

Donna Downs

About the Author

Donna started working with the Lifetime board and staff in the fall of 2010 as they were redefining the mission and vision for the ministry. In May 2011, Donna assumed a permanent role and joined the Lifetime team as Executive Director. In this role, Donna provides leadership and direction for the team as they execute the vision that God has given for Lifetime.