Even though Niki has been with us for fully four years, we see her slip back in orphanage behaviors in the face of new competition for attention. And Levi has much to learn about the rules of the Chun house and how we expect him to relate to his sisters and us.
Andi, our biological daughter, probably has the toughest job of all. She's been in the family the longest. She knows the rules, how things work, and pretty much tries to do the right thing. But when the other two are snapping at each other or trying to get away with something, she finds herself caught in the crossfire.
Family adjustments are tricky business. But it is a business not simply for the adoptive family. It is also the business of the Church. After all, who is the Church but the "family of God"? And who are each one of us, if we are not part of that family through adoption? (Romans 8:15)
The business of family adjustments is essentially discipleship, a gentle retraining in the way we respond to others both inside and outside the family unit. It is all about relationship. We sit down with each of our children and teach how to respond to conflicts with each other, how to express their needs to us, and how live as responsible, loving human beings. We strive to teach them to love well. But these lessons are not learned quickly by children who have faced so much pain. And to be honest, it is incredibly exhausting for the family as a whole.
So also any church who is fulfilling the great commission and truly making disciples is faced with the constant, awkward, exhausting job of retraining people (some of whom, like adopted kids, are not so eager to be retrained despite their salvation/adoption experience). Those in the church who have been in the family of God the longest, like Andi, may sometimes find themselves caught in the crossfire, struggling to be the example and taking on responsibility you really never asked for. Others, like Niki, may feel threatened by the newcomers and may well serve more as a bad example than a good one. Still wherever we fall in the spectrum, we are called to disciple -- despite our deficiencies. Funny how God set that up.
So as the Chun family seeks to readjust and disciple these precious ones God has placed in our care, we find ourselves as parents being discipled in the process too. We catch glimpses of how much patience, longsuffering, and true love the God of Heaven must have for us, frail feeble wounded souls to be willing to adopt us in His family regardless of the required adjustments.