One Adoption Journey: An Interview with Lawrence and Jina Yoo
If you have been around Waypoint for even a short time, you have probably noticed two very cute little guys with very big personalities, joining Lawrence and Jina on the front row for worship at the end of service. Hudson, the youngest Yoo, became part of their family last May, but their adoption story started long before they were finally able to welcome him into their home. I’m always amazed by the way God brings children and families together, and I was encouraged to hear a few more of the details of their journey.
How long has adoption been a part of your plan for growing your family? What prompted you to move forward with adoption?
Jina: When Lawrence and I were farther along in our dating relationship, we discussed what our future family would look like. Without hesitation, Lawrence said he definitely wanted to adopt children and that he had already prepared his parents for this possibility (so that they did not favor a biological grandchild over an adopted one). I have always enjoyed being around children and even chose a profession that specializes in pediatrics. This love for children was not conditional – it did not matter what he or she looked like, what language they spoke, if they were related to me, etc. When Lawrence made his emphatic statement about adoption, I knew (for the first time) that this was also my desire! After that moment, there was no doubt that if we moved forward in marriage, we would certainly have children who were adopted.
Fast forward five years later to our third year of marriage, with a two-year-old boy (Josiah), asking the Lord to grow our family. At this point we had “our plan” of having two biological children first and then adopting afterwards. The Lord, however, redirected “our plan” to His plan. It was clear He wanted us to adopt our second child so we began the adoption process. Two more years later, Hudson entered our lives and confirmed the Lord’s beautiful plan!
How does your theology shape your view of adoption?
Lawrence: Believers understand that God is Father. But what kind of father is He? He is an adoptive Father! Do you realize that there are no natural-born children in the family of God? None of us were born Christians. If you are a believer, it is because God has adopted you into the family. That’s it. All races are brought together by God’s adoption of spiritual orphans.
Paul expounds on the gospel of God’s adopting grace to the Ephesians, Galatians, and Romans. He shows us that God the Father administered our adoption, God the Son accomplished our adoption through his redeeming work on the Cross, and God the Spirit applied our adoption, giving us a new nature, a new position, and the indwelling presence of God that enables us to cry “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:7). Adoption was never plan B for God. It wasn’t an alternative solution. It was plan A. Before the universe existed, God had planned on adopting us into his family through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). God did not adopt us because of our attractive merits but because of His amazing mercy. Paul tells us to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1). His undeserved mercy on us compels us to reflect His adoptive love to a world in need. God’s love is active. Christian love is not based on the idea of just loving people the way we want to be loved. It’s more. It’s loving people the way God has loved us. He acted. He pursued. He showered grace on the undeserving. This is a gospel-centered perspective on adoption and orphan care.
Wow, you’ve really thought through this from a theological perspective! Why did you choose China?
Jina: I actually majored in Chinese studies and lived in China through a missions organization for a year after college. During that year, the Lord showed me His great love for all the nations, including all the people groups in China. When it came time to choose what country we wanted to adopt from, the Lord reminded me of my time in China. Lawrence and I looked at other countries like Uganda, Haiti, and Colombia, but these countries required families to travel for long periods of time, multiple times throughout the adoption process. The only country’s guidelines that aligned with our family’s availability was China. Needless to say, I was very excited.
I love that. So, what are some ways that we as a congregation can support adoption?
Lawrence: Obviously, not everyone is called to adopt, but every believer is called to act. That means not merely feeling sorry for orphans. Sentimentalism is no substitute for action. In addition to adoption, other ways we can be actively involved include hosting orphans for a summer, financially supporting adoptive parents, fostering children in our community, and discipling local boys and girls from functionally fatherless families. We can also be careful in our language, especially our jokes, never saying things like, “Oh, she was adopted,” speaking about a biologically born child as if it were an insult. We can always continue to pray.
Thank you for answering a few questions. I’m so thankful that we get to see God’s beautiful plan for redemption and adoption through your family.