August 11, 2017

Photo: (l-r) Alex, Callie, Kierra, Eva, and Lowell Highby on the girls’ adoption day.

Lowell never dreamed that a short summer stay by a little eight-year-old boy from Russia in 2009 would change both of their lives forever. Shortly thereafter, that same little boy, Alex, became a member of Lowell’s family. Likewise, Lowell never, in his wildest dreams, thought that several years later a temporary summer stay at his parents’ farm site—and getting involved in a local pageant about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder—would lead to the adoption of three daughters, all sisters!

Lowell, who himself was adopted as a child, has a heart for kids, especially kids without a family or who have been neglected or abused in their present living conditions. To that end he is an advocate for adoption and foster parenting. He is a licensed foster parent. That process taught him a wealth of parenting skills and continues to provide learning opportunities that help him through some of the hard knocks of parenting.

Lowell will tell you that adopting older children is not an easy task. Each child is different and comes with his or her own baggage from his or her past, which can be quite frustrating at times, but he loves his kids and is grateful for this journey of fatherhood that God has placed him on.

One definition of adopt is “to make one’s own.” I imagine that this definition could have a negative connotation for some, especially for those with no family or who have come from a home of abuse and neglect. But, for those who long to be part of a loving family, it is a wonderful definition!

Lowell’s concern for children in need of a parent’s love and care reminds me of our Heavenly Father’s concern for us. We were in great need of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. We were in great need of being saved from our sinful and wretched state. The Bible is very clear about our relationship with God. God is our Father; we are His children. Scripture reveals 265 times that God is identified as our Father.

Through Christ, we are the adopted sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father. God sacrificed His only Son to make us His own, to adopt us into His family.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).

God, our Heavenly Father, is a good Father—a Father who cares for you. He knows you so well that “even the hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30).

“[D]o not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-31).

Our Heavenly Father has a plan for our lives: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Just as Lowell prepared a place for his children, God, our Heavenly Father, has a place for us.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

A prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have made us Your own. We praise You for calling Lowell, and parents like him, who have been called to foster and adoptive parenting. Help parents everywhere to follow Your example, through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Children of the Heavenly Father

Children of the heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given

God His own doth tend and nourish
In His holy courts they flourish
From all evil things He spares them
In His mighty arms He bears them

Lo their very hairs He numbers
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His every blessing
And His help in woes distressing

Author: Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903. Translator: Ernest W. Olson, 1870-1958

Text copyright © Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission.