“How many kids are in your family?”

I always brace myself for the shocked response to my reply: “There are nine of us.” I never feel the need to automatically clarify the gigantic age gap between me and the brother right below me (three years) and me and the brother after him (fourteen years), but, when I do, it leads to clarifying that seven of us were adopted.

“So, you’re one of the adopted children?”

“No, I wasn’t adopted.”

“But you said us.”

Because it’s… us!

The gap between my oldest younger brother and my nine-year-old brother presents a natural demarcation between the “bigs” and the “littles,” but that’s the only line that’s been drawn between Baucham kids: any one of my baby brothers is as much a part of the “us” of Baucham sibling-ry as my biological brother, and the same goes for my sister.

Adoption is a beautiful picture of God’s relationship with his children. He welcomes us into his family with all of the rights and privileges of sons and daughters, loving us as a Father with no hesitation, no caveats, and no backsies. And, the same way that we are beloved sons and daughters without reservation, we are beloved siblings with boundaries broken down.

As Trillia states in Chapter 5 of United, “Understanding the family of God is yet another weapon against racial intolerance in the church. As we recognize, accept, and embrace our new family, the walls of hostility crumble.” (p. 95) Quoting Russell Moore from Adopted for Life, she offers another gem: “Our adoption means… that we find a different kind of unity. In Christ, we find Christ. We don’t have our old identities based on race or class or life situation. The Spirit drives us from Babel to Pentecost…” (p. 92)

The quest for diversity isn’t an “us vs. them” journey to forced acceptance; rather, it is affirmation of the fact that we’re just “us,” the ransomed and blood-bought children of God from every tribe, tongue, nation, and people group. We don’t forget the individual stories that make our backgrounds unique and our presents potent, but we tell them alongside the stories of others in beautiful harmony.

Have you accepted your brothers and sisters as just that: siblings, with no ifs, ands, buts, or caveats about it?

This week’s questions come from Trillia’s discussion guide for United:

  1. How, as Christians, are we really the same? Does that seem like a new concept to you? Is it strange to think of Christians from all over the world as brothers and sisters? Why?
  2. God’s family is special and set apart. How does Jesus express the importance of this new family?
  3. How might understanding the family of God be a weapon against racial intolerance?