Family Matters

As a small community college, we get a lot of new students who haven’t taken the ACT or SAT or any related thing that would let us speculate reasonably about the basic courses in which to enroll new students. Even though none of the tests predict whether or not any given student will be successful with a high degree of accuracy, the scores seem better than throwing darts at a class list. So, for those students without college readiness scores, we use COMPASS testing during the enrollment process.

Just after we sent yesterday’s group over for their session, one of the fathers in the group of waiting parents came up and began talking to me about his son. During that twenty or thirty minutes, he mentioned some of the challenges he and his wife had with the boy’s adoption and raising. “He’s not as academically gifted as his brothers,” the father confided. One brother was an engineer and the other a physician; this kid surprised his dad by even graduating from high school.

The man went on to describe the three-year process it had taken for them to adopt the kid, who had been in their care ever since he was six hours old. Just after other duties took me away from the conversation, I was called to evaluate writing samples to determine English placement.

One of the three topic choices asked students to describe some important event from their lives. Soon after I started reading the fifth or sixth sample, I realized I was reading the essay written by that man’s son. After describing the same time frame and challenges, the young man identified several of the blessings that came to him as a result of his adoption. He speculated that had he been left in the care of his biological parents, he might very well have ended up dead or in prison.

It was gratifying, touching and humbling for me to have this unanticipated opportunity from the converging stories of two strangers. It was especially poignant to be blessed by what appeared to be coincidences that could not have been predicted: this was the first father in seven years of enrollments to just walk up out of the blue and start talking to me and only the second time in seven years I’d been asked to evaluate the writing samples. I hope that I am being a good steward of the story.

His son’s expression of gratitude was simple, yet powerful. And if an adoption into an earthly family evokes such appreciation, how much more ought we to feel and express for having been adopted into the family of God?

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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