I want to tell you a story about an insight that God gave me into John 14:1-4, the passage where Jesus speaks of going to prepare a place for us. This is the story of something that happened to me several years ago, when we began our journey to foster and then adopt our boys. “Come live in my home”. That’s something every father will tell his newborn child. He will make preparations for the new arrival. So will God.
Come live in my home
My wife and I had decided to adopt a child or several children if God allowed us to. We registered and got certified to become foster parents with BCFS and had expressed our desire to adopt a newborn. The caseworker told us that it would be nearly impossible to adopt a baby! This is due to the large demand for infants. Besides, legalities leading to the adoption usually takes months.
One day in early April of 2011, just a few weeks after our home was officially open to foster to adopt, I received a phone call from our Case Worker from BCFS. I will never forget her words, “Mr. Quintana, there is a baby at the hospital that needs a home. He was born 9 weeks premature but is healthy and ready to be placed in a foster-to-adopt home.” I told her to let me call my wife so we could pray and agree on this matter, but deep inside I just wanted to say yes! It took Yolanda and I about 2 minutes or less to discuss the matter and agree to this life changing event.
Our Lives Changed
Oh, we knew it would change our lives, we just didn’t know how much it would change and how fast. I called Miranda (the case worker) back to inform he of our decision to open our home to this baby boy. We still had to wait for the state to make a selection, we were just one of many homes that were submitted to the TEXAS Department of Family Protective Services. The chances of being selected were very slim. But we prayed about it and waited for what seemed to be an eternity. Within about an hour, Miranda called me back to tell me that our home had been selected for this new born baby! I jumped up and down like a 5 year old on Christmas day.
Scared To Death!
But the joy was short lived, a few minutes later I felt petrified! When I was able to compose myself, I picked up my cell phone from the floor (I don’t know how it got there) and Miranda was still there on the other end. I am sure she had seen this kind of reaction before, but I excused myself and asked her what was the next step. Then Miranda told me we needed to go pick him up right away. It was around 4PM and I was at work and would not be able to get away just like that so I asked Miranda if we could go pick him up the next day. She called the hospital and set it up for us so that we could go in the morning and pick him up.
I asked my boss if I could leave early that evening to go buy stuff for the baby and he agreed. So my wife and I went to several stores and got a crib, sheets, clothing for a premature baby, diapers and all the cool stuff that babies need. After getting home that evening and setting up his room, we went to bed exhausted but with the excitement of knowing that the next day we’d be holding our son for the first time. Because of the excitement I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep.
Awake at 4:00 AM
It must have been about 4 a.m. when I woke up early that morning. It was the big day! In several hours we would hold our son for the first time. I wrote for a while in a journal I was keeping detailing what was going on. I read a book I was interested in and then I decided to also read a little in the Bible before trying to go back to sleep. I’m not much of a “flip-it-open-and-read” kind of guy – I’m more of a chapter-by-chapter person – but on this occasion, I opened the Bible and it fell to John 14.
I read the first four verses and was overwhelmed by the Spirit. It was one of those rare occasions when the total understanding just came into my head at once. It was not there by my own thinking – it was a gift from God. I saw clearly what the heart of these verses was.
I’m not a crying person, but I was so overwhelmed that I just laid there and wept. It was one of the most powerful spiritual moments of my life.
I Have A Room For You
In those verses Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Some translations have it as “mansions” that are awaiting us. Others have it as “many rooms” in the Father’s house. Most people prefer the thought of mansions because it seems a better deal. After that 4 a.m. experience, though, I will forever believe that the correct (and better) translation is “rooms.”
Here’s what the Holy Spirit revealed to me in that moment.
As you know, having kids is expensive. Instead of spending all that money to raise a child, we could have just given the money to BCFS and said, “Here’s the cash – you all take care of him.”
But we (as parents will do) did something far more meaningful – we went to get him so that we could take him into our home. We were there to say to him, “I want you to come live in my house.” You see, just as I had prepared a room in my house for this wonderful baby, God has a room prepared for you and I in his house.
We can’t get all caught up in thoughts about heavenly mansions and streets of gold and stuff like that. That pales in comparison to the fact that God himself was so excited to know that you and I would be saved, that he prepared a room for us in his house. The most amazing thing about all of this is that God has looked at us, saved us through Christ, and then said to us, “I want you to come live in My house.” “I want to adopt you and give you my name“. God himself has invited us into His home.
This is an amazing gift. What’s more touching and meaningful than for someone to invite you to be a part of their family and come live in their home? So at 4 o’clock in the morning on that day in April of 2011, I understood the heart of the Father to adopt us and take us home with him. His desire and his longing to be a Father to you and I became a reality that I consider daily.
There is More
But that’s not all I learned. Let me elaborate on what happened next. My wife and I got ready and drove to the Hospital where this baby was waiting for us. We put together a bag with stuff we thought we needed, we put the rear-facing baby car seat in the mustang and drove off to what would be the most exciting day ever!
A few minutes later, we were looking at this tiny baby that barely weighed 4 pounds 15 ounces. We had to feed the baby twice (my wife once and I once) and we had to take some classes on baby care and first aid before we could take him home. My wife fed him first and although she tells me she felt clumsy, she looked like an expert to me. A couple of hours went by and I had not touched the baby at all for fear of doing it wrong, although I really wanted to just pick him up and tell him how much I wanted to love him and protect him. When I finally did and It was my turn to feed this tiny human, I picked him up, held him and looked straight into his eyes and immediately I knew what name we would give him.
His Name Will Be…
God’s spirit came over me and I knew that if God would grant us the opportunity to adopt this boy, I would change his name to Ytzaak Kalev Quintana. Ytzaak (Isaac) means laughter, Kalev (Caleb) was a brave man that Moses had sent as a spy to the promised land and only Caleb (Kalev) and Joshua came back saying that God would give them the promised land.
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.“— Numbers, 13:30
I had received a message from God that day. And the message was this:
“God shares a very important role with every man. The role of Father! For some, it will come naturally. For others, like myself, via adoption. But every father will have to make room in his house for the child or the children that will come. Just like God does! And when you feel that being a Father is just too hard, remember to laugh (Isaac) and silence the world and say, “We should go up and take possession of this thing called Fatherhood, for we can certainly do it.”
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