After Thanksgiving at the zoo yesterday and before a check-up at the clinic tomorrow, we had a day to spend simply resting and playing. We walked through a park, rode on some rides, paddled in a boat, and played on a playground. In everything we do, Mara Ruth joyfully and securely clings to her mommy, which is healthy on so many levels.

As wonderful as this is to watch, I must admit there are times when this can be a bit tough for this daddy. Ever since we met her, Mara Ruth has been pretty tentative around me. We knew this would be the case due to a variety of different factors: she has looked naturally to a woman to care for her all her life, she has had rare interaction with men in her past, and she has formed a tight bond with Heather through what has been quite a traumatic week. Knowing all this, we want to keep things as smooth and stress-free as possible for her, which means me needing to sit back at many points and simply let her rest in the arms where she feels most safe. In time, she will learn the security that is found in a father’s arms. In the meantime, though, we are content with taking small strides. I will hold her occasionally, particularly when Heather has something else she needs to do, and I will play with her while she’s on the floor next to Heather. Day by day, she cries less and laughs more around me, and this is good. But as much as my heart aches for my little girl to know that I will take care of her, she has a ways to go before she realizes that.

And this is where I realize that I have a ways to go, as well. I, too, have a Father who loves me, cares for me, and wants me to know the complete safety that is found in His arms. And I, too, resist His attempts to provide for everything I need. Some times, I am slow to trust Him. Other times, I cling to the things of this world, hesitant to let go of them in order to look to Him for my security and satisfaction. Yet He is patient in His pursuit of me. In spite of my resistance, He goes to extremes to show His love for me.

Earlier today, Heather had temporarily left the room, and Mara Ruth was stuck with me. She immediately began crying as I walked her around the room, rubbed her hair, patted her back, played with her feet, sang songs to her (which may have contributed to her crying), held her still, walked slower, walked faster, bounced her up and down…I tried everything I could, but the cries continued. Then I saw the solution.


I took a cup of Cheerios, held them in front of her, and had her attention. She quieted down and let me wipe her cry-soaked eyes. And then I took out a Cheerio, held it up, and with a good old-fashioned airplane noise, zoomed it into her mouth. She was hooked. Thus began a game where sometimes I would feed her and other times I would hand her the Cheerio to feed herself. That’s when she decided she wanted to have a little fun. She would take a Cheerio, put in her mouth, let it dissolve a bit, and then she would take it back out and try to put it in my mouth. What should I do? Looking at her smiling face reaching out to me with that outstretched hand, I did the only thing I knew to do and chomped down on that slobber-soaked Cheerio. Unfortunately, I was now hooked, and this game continued until mommy returned to the room.

Oh, I praise God for the extremes to which He has gone to demonstrate His love for me. That the Father would send His Son, and that the Son would stoop to serve by taking my sin-soaked condition upon Himself. That He would assume all of my rebellion, refuse, and rubbish, only to assign to me all of His righteousness. I have a good Father who is supremely worthy of all my affection, all my attention, all my trust, and all my obedience.

I know these challenges with Mara Ruth are relatively and extremely small, and I know many parents with children they adopted who years later are still struggling to attach to their mom and/or dad. For that matter, I know this is a struggle for just about any parent at some stage with a child. But in it all, I/we certainly have an opportunity to learn about the love of our Father, and in the process, I pray that I/we will be a clear reflection of His patient pursuit of us.