Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In 2013, an amazing true story on TV got everyone talking. Fifteen-year-old Davion Only had grown up in the American foster care system. He had struggled all his young life. He learned the name of his birth mother only to find out she had died—and he was devastated.
But one day he went to a church service at St Mark Missionary Baptist church in St Petersburg, Florida. He asked the minister if he could speak. He went to the pulpit, dressed in his best suit, and pleaded for someone—anyone—to adopt him. He wasn’t picky—it didn’t matter who it was—they could be ‘black or white, old or young, a mum or dad’. He just wanted someone to love him until he died. He had almost given up. “I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either,” he said. “I don’t care who you are—I would appreciate any help”. It was a very emotional moment, and many cried listening to young Davion.
The response was amazing. It hit the TV news and tens of thousands of people wanted to adopt him—from Canada, India, Mexico, Australia and the UK. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. He even went to live with a prospective adoptive family, only to be returned to foster care over conflict with his adoptive siblings. Over the next year, he lived in a succession of four more temporary placements. Throughout his journey to find a ‘forever’ home, Davion leaned heavily on his caseworker, Connie Going, repeatedly asking her if she would be his mother.
“God sent Jesus to buy freedom for us, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Galatians 4:5
Connie, who had two daughters of her own, as well as a son whom she had already adopted out of foster care, was not keen, holding out hope that there was a great home waiting somewhere out there for him. But Davion wasn’t giving up. He wanted Connie to be his mother. She said: “I just knew—when he asked me, my heart felt this ache and I just knew he was my son.” Connie Going followed the prompting of her heart and entered her application for his adoption. And it became final April 22, 2015. Connie knows it won’t be easy—Davion has a temper, he struggles in getting on with others, has depression and self-esteem issues.
But she is undaunted. “I want him to know he is unconditionally loved for who he is, the way he is,” she says. “The changes he chooses to make in his life, and the choices, are his to make. As a family we will be there through it all, the good and the bad for our lifetime. He is home.” Isn’t that a wonderful story? Davion honestly described what we all want—we want to belong. And to be accepted. Davion wanted people to love him for who he is—no matter what.
Searching for Love and Acceptance
Have you searched for unconditional love and acceptance from the world, only to be turned away time and time again? Are you still searching for the moment when you will be ‘claimed’ by someone who promises to love you no matter what? That kind of security can come from God alone. He has created us to be connected with each other. Can you imagine what it was like for Davion to be unwanted since the day he was born? No wonder he was a fragile young boy. God’s offer of adoption is for you and me. And in that experience, we feel accepted.
Brené Brown is a researcher storyteller, and she did what is called a TED talk, a talk that’s on YouTube. She thought maybe a few hundred people would pick up the talk. Well, 11 million people have now listened to this talk, and here’s the essence of it. She did research, and she found out that the greatest struggle people deal with is shame and fear, and the fear and shame are related to:
- Am I worth belonging to somebody else?
- Am I of value? Do I matter?
- Will anyone ever value me?
I want to take this a bit further in Part 2. The amazing thing about our Heavenly Father is in that moment, when we call upon God to become our adoptive parent, that the heart that has ached for us, he claims us as his own. The moment we do that, we have come home! Have you come home? Do you belong to your Heavenly Father’s family?
Here’s what the Bible says: “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:5 – NLT) and “God sent Jesus to buy freedom for us, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:5-6 – NLT).
( To be continued in My Need to Belong – Part 2)