I'll never forget the words said to me one day seven years ago: "They are clearly your children."
The day before, my husband and I had finalized the adoption of our six-year-old twin daughters from Russia. Together for the first time without an interpreter, we made a last stop at the United States Embassy in Moscow to get their visas before returning home.
The girls and I had gone to the restroom. When I asked the girls in English to wash and dry their hands, they did so with me almost simultaneously. A woman observing our synchronized actions was puzzled at the harmony of our communications. She exclaimed, "They speak Russian, and you speak English, but they are clearly your children!"
I thought, Yes!
Her comment was an exclamation point for me, affirming everything I had been praying to understand and demonstrate, particularly in the months leading up to the adoption. What wonderful confirmation to me that our new family belonged together (it sure felt that way!)—and that God had brought us together and would provide for us. After all, I had reasoned, God created each of us, so we had the same source, were the same fabric, so to speak, and so I just expected that we wouldn't need a prolonged time to adjust to one another since we each were included in the one divine family forever.
My prayer from the beginning had been to recognize that God is the forever and only Father and Mother of every man, woman, and child. For years I'd prayed daily for God's guidance in every detail of my life and had so often seen clear evidence of divine Love's direction. Why wouldn't I turn the design of my family over to this same Love?
Sometimes in prayer I turned to this beloved Psalm: "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (100:3). And this brought the comfort of knowing that whatever fears, ambitions, or designs I had could be set aside for God's perfect plan for our family.
The first chapter of Genesis is a good starting point in understanding Good as the only creator. It states that everything is included in God's primal, perfect work. That the origin of our intelligence, substance, and being is spiritual—made in God's likeness (see 1:26).
Nevertheless, a common belief is that we ourselves are creators, and that environmental, biological, and cultural factors make us who we are. Yet not one of these conditions adds to or detracts from our individuality, which is permanently woven into the spiritual fiber of our being.
As children of God, we can know that spiritual individuality or identity is the permanent makeup and design of who we are. Jesus, when speaking to his disciples, told them, "Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). To me, this verse means that our individuality is unique and distinct to each of as a child of God and that our divine nature is indelibly known to God. Who we are is God's thought of us as a perfect, complete idea. We belong to God as His creation and glorious work.
Does the nature, intelligence, beauty, health, athleticism, musicality of a child depend on the right combination of birth parents? To any parent or child—and maybe most especially to any adoptive parent and adopted child, as I've learned—Christian Science makes clear that every child, man, and woman have one parent—the divine Parent. The true parent of our children is divine Love, Life, and Truth—a few of the synonyms for God that Mary Baker Eddy included in the Glossary of Science and Health (see p. 587). These names describe the majesty and greatness of God. So, as we see our own children and all children as the expression of those synonyms, what incredible sweetness, kindness, and gentleness we can expect from the child of infinite Love! And we can trust that vitality, health, and purity are ensured in a child of eternal Life. Truth's child is fortified with honesty, balance, and uncompromised integrity. And while geneticists may insist that the entire makeup of a person is embedded in their genes, our mortal ability to create little Einsteins or possibly perpetuate the worst in our human history, is not actual reality. And that's because God alone is our Maker and has created each of us as a perfect, complete individual.
My prayer from the beginning had been to recognize that God is the forever and only Father and Mother of every man, woman, and child.
Considering that intelligence emanates from God, what incredible potential exists for our children! The goodness, talents, and abilities that we see in others do not find their source in parents, genes, or genetic engineering. Our entire makeup comes from God. No matter what stage of experience our children or we are in, no mistake has to remain with us. Culture, education, nutrition, atmosphere, personal experience, and environmental influences are completely ineffectual in altering the perfect, complete work of God. What we are, who our children are, derives from Spirit alone and is perfectly designed and preserved by God.
At one point, my desire was to pray for the children of the world. I couldn't stand by and accept the empty prospects that so many children around the world face daily. My prayer was to understand more about the rich inheritance and largess of Love inherent in every child. I was delighted to discover the wonderful individuality, joy, purity, innocence, talents, and intelligence in the little children and big children around me. I was discovering that each of us is like an unlimited fountain flowing with unstoppable good.
When we met our adopted children for the first time, it was as if we had always known them—and they knew us. And why not, because the universality of God embraces in one common parentage the heart, soul, and mind of all humanity. Strangeness or estrangement isn't likely when we realize that we all have one Parent. Adjustment isn't necessary since we already belong to and have always been in the family of God. Our Father-Mother has nourished and provided for each one forever. This will never change. Whether a child has been in one stable home or been in and out of temporary care, the fact remains that the nonstop source and presence of home is Love.
If you are holding your newborn for the first time, or considering traveling half way around the world to adopt a child, or meeting someone new, you know who they are. Right there is the child of God—an absolutely complete and perfect member of God's universal family. You are together because God brought you together. Trust God's design to be beautiful beyond description. Everything necessary for the progress and success of family is part of the divine design.
This explains why the statement. "they are clearly your children" made me smile. Our togetherness couldn't have been measured in minutes, days, or years. We had always been family, bound together and held in God's loving embrace forever. The girls knew who I was because they reflect Mind, which is always familiar with its own creation. I knew who they were as the joyous children of God. Our purpose of togetherness is to glorify God in our unselfish unity of expressing His infinite love. It is no surprise that what that woman in Russia saw was the harmony of God's universal family forever at one, "held in the gospel of Love" (Science and Health, p.577).
Lois Marquardt is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in St. Louis, Missouri.
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