In our branch of Protestantism, babies are usually dedicated to the Lord rather than baptized, and the family commits to raising them in a Christian home and teaching them about Jesus. For Abi, who actually probably was baptized Orthodox, we still participated in the dedication service today, even though she isn't technically a baby. Making a public statement that she is our child and we will do all in our power to raise her to know God is something we were delighted to do.
Yesterday, we went shopping together for just the right pretty white dress that she can have as a keepsake. I put flowers in her hair too, which was so novel and special to her, she almost didn't know what to do with herself. We also had the other kids stand with us, as a family. A family put together from across the continents by God, and we need His blessing to build it together into a strong, single unit.
The pastor preached a parenting message about grace to accompany the dedication. I was so blessed to hear the words again: that though we fail in our duties as parents, we are upheld by the grace of God, and that He will strengthen and help us to raise Godly children in spite of our weaknesses.
We're blessed to have pastors who are adoptive parents also. He mentioned that adoption shows us a picture of God bringing us into His family, and I felt myself grow teary when he said it. It's so true that the way a child becomes mine through adoption really makes it real to me what God has done, taking me out of a doomed future from being born with a sin nature, and adopting me into His family. It doesn't mean I am expected to be perfect from here on out; rather it means I have a new identity, a new belonging, as a child of God through my belief in the work of Jesus on the cross. Like my daughter could do nothing on her own to change her destiny, so I did nothing to earn a place in God's kingdom, yet I'm accepted and loved there anyway. To me, that's mind-blowing and breathtakingly beautiful.