Dear Ian,

Looking at God’s Word years prior to your birth, our gracious Father allowed me to see you there on the pages. Not that I knew your name (Remember our song?), nor did I know what you would look like, what beautiful features you’d possess. Naturally, your daddy and I imagined then that you’d have blonde hair like me or green eyes like him. Perhaps you’d have fair skin that doesn’t tan, maybe skin that tends to darken in the sun.

Looking at you in passages like Psalm 37:4–

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Or Psalm 113:9–

He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!

… Enabled me to hang on all those long, lonely years. My arms, though empty, discovered purpose–my womb, though a tomb that encased the death of my dream, came alive with hope, birthed by such promise.

Yes, as I looked at you on those tear-stained pages, my heart, not yet my eyes, saw you there.

And then, finally–you arrived just when God said you would, despite the days when I shook my fists impatiently or nearly fell faint in the waiting. (It was only for the wanting of you, dear.) God’s never late and His patience, like His love, is everlasting.

Your daddy and I looked at you in those first few moments after you dawned like sun, as though you might vanish from our sight behind clouds of uncertainty. Staring we believed to be rude but manners weren’t minded in those early minutes, as we fell all over ourselves in love. Still, the hush of a girl only a few feet away, after an hour or more of pushing, crying out, was loud, labored, and we wondered–couldn’t help ourselves–

Will she change her mind? Will it be enough for her to look at you today, with no absolute promise, aside from our word, of tomorrow? She barely knows us, after all.

Perhaps she was silently pondering the possibility, thinking–They’re only human, despite what they’ve said and the hope they’ve given. She’d certainly have been justified in thinking such.

And stormy fear welled up, I must admit, and part of me wanted to flee–carry you quickly to where, no matter what she decided, you’d be safe with me. I wanted to horde you, that’s just the honest truth–at least that’s what my flesh felt. But Faith knew best, calmed my fears, reminded me of the Gift you were–how you’d come with promise, and to her we’d promised that we’d share you, that she, too, might look at you. Because you grew inside her, and that’s indeed no small matter, so it seemed the very least we could do.

And … she didn’t change her mind but went quietly back to her life, though only after a gentle kiss and an “I’ll always love you” whispered in your ear. Yes, she let go to let God do His thing, and it was then that I understood that Psalm 30:5 wasn’t written merely for me. Those words were hers too–

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning …

Only, while my “morning” had come, for her, “mourning” had begun–a dark night of her soul for a season. Your daddy and I prayed that her weeping, too, would be turned to joy, that she’d come to understand personally the end of that same song–words I’d clung to and claimed for years prior to your birth, a lyric in verses 11 and 12 that her choice helped me better understand.

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
You have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
That I may sing to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

It was our desire, Son, to help her heal, and that’s what propelled us forward into the unknowns of the future, because we hoped our sharing of you would become a balm, that each of our broken places would, in time, become beautiful.

And thus, as you grew we looked at you and laughed as we discovered her smile. Despite dark skin like your birth daddy’s, you blush sometimes, your face flushing in sunshine like hers–as though a little pink’s been added to the brown of your cheeks, similar to the hues of sunrise on good soil, the way earth awakens in morning and welcomes the day. And I look at God’s Word again and read in Psalm 90:14–

Oh, satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days!

Yes, dear–that right there’s the color of your skin in sunlight, and I’d sometimes find myself dancing, my heart made so glad.

And we’ve looked at you together as you’ve grown over years–this unique blended family of ours. Birth mom and husband are a part of our joys and sorrows, as we’ve been part of theirs, just as it should be since we share this Gift.

With your brother and sister, both who are proud, your dad and I have held hands with your nature as they’ve joined hands with your nurture–one family tree that blossoms beauty, tells a story.

“Redemption” is its title and proclaims Paul’s words in Romans 8:28–

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

We see it clearly as we look at God’s Word, as we look at you. Even this career path you’ve chosen, so noble and brave, is part of this working together for good as you step into God’s purpose. As your parents, we once again must choose faith over fear–just as I did all those years ago in that delivery room. To do otherwise would be to hold you back, keep you fettered, and God desires to deliver you to the world–with all its injustices and inequality, darkness and dread.

Because we believe, Son–all of us!–that you’ve been brought to this day just like another adoptee. Her story, too, was one of redemption, though hers was also of royalty (something you’ll have to wait until Heaven to have!). Right there on the pages of Esther we read (4:14)–

And who knows but that you have come to your … position for such a time as this?

Who knows? In this time in our history, you’re right where you’re supposed to be, Son. We believe that–each one of us. And so, while we’ve spent many moments looking at you over the years, the time has come to look on–to trust that you have been prepared for all that God has prepared for you, hopeful that perhaps, flawed though we are, we’ve helped enable and equip you to do just what He has in store. As Jeremiah 29:11 says–

“For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

What a joy for us to look on–along with others in our family–as you step into that which has been prepared for you, just as Ephesians 2:10 proclaims–

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

We’ll still look at you, dear Ian, but we promise to look on even more, as we entrust you to the One who’s called you.

And what is it that He requires of you, Son …

But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)?

With all our love,

Dad and Mom

Sweet Savior, thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for family. Thank you for Ian. Please bless him and keep him. Make Your face shine upon him, and give him peace. Amen.