He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will.—Ephesians 1:5
By Amanda DeMeola
What do we know about faith? For me, the question of faith is inseparable from the story of how I came to join my family.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the U.S. at just under five months old. I have often heard the story of how I arrived at JFK Airport on Nov. 22, 1979, Thanksgiving Day, in the midst of a snowstorm. I was met by my parents, my older brother (who was also adopted from Korea) and my grandparents.
I had what I felt was a typical American childhood, with the occasional reminder that my story was different from most of the other children I knew. I was often asked by my peers in school, "What do you know about your real parents?" This always felt like a strange question to me. I knew that I had birth parents in Korea, but I never thought of my adoptive parents as anything less than real, and I would usually respond to such questions by making that clear.
When I began attending Sunday School, I learned about what it means to be a child of God. Ephesians 1:5 told me that God destined us for adoption as God's children through Jesus Christ. Thinking of our relationship to God as an adoptive one helped me to make sense of a potentially difficult concept. Just as my parents adopted my brother and me and love us unconditionally, so God has loved and adopted all of us who believe, and made us brothers and sisters to one another. This reinforced for me that family is not only about blood, but can be defined in many other ways.
I came to believe that God, as the original adoptive parent, planned my story and that of my brother to bring us together with our parents. And I came to believe that as children of God, we are all adopted. So maybe my story is not that different from others’ after all. The knowledge that through Christ I am part of a family with all believers is the foundation of all other aspects of my faith.
There are many things I don’t know about my birth parents, because my adoptive parents were simply not given a lot of information to pass on to me. While there are certainly times I wish I knew more, I have to come to accept that there are some questions I may never have answers to. I have often prayed for my birth parents, but I have never felt that I was missing out on having a real family. Not only do I have a wonderful adoptive family, but I have been fortunate to be part of a larger Christian family since childhood.
I have been privileged to give back to my Christian family here at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church by twice serving as a Deacon. I believe that if God has been faithful enough to bring me from across the world to my parents, and to bring me into a loving and vibrant Christian family like FAPC, then there is nothing else that is impossible for God in my life.
One thing I know for certain: Thanks to God, no matter where I go, I will always have a real family.
Amanda DeMeola been a member of the church since 2008 and served as a Deacon in the Officer Classes of 2012 and 2017. She shared this testimony on Sunday, March 11, 2018. This season of testimony accompanies the Lenten Sermon Series, Sifting the Real from the Fake in Life and Faith.