A number of years ago, a young man we’ll call Robbie came to the Ranch because he was having “behavior problems.” He had trouble interacting with others and when conflict arose, Robbie acted out, trying to hurt others or himself. He also trashed his room and threw things when he was overwhelmed emotionally.
Robbie’s dad wasn’t in the picture, and his mom was unable to find the time, resources, or patience to provide the nurturing and structured environment Robbie needed. While Robbie was at the Ranch, his mother told him she didn’t want to be his mother any longer, and she terminated her parental rights. She severed all contact with Robbie, and left his alone at the Ranch, under the custody of the state.
Alone, without a family and no hope of a home on the horizon, Robbie fell apart. His behaviors escalated as he entered into a deep depression and lashed out at others even more violently. Things were very bleak for Robbie, but as they say, “It is always darkest before the dawn.”
In the spiritual life programming Robbie attended at the Ranch, the chaplain talked about the perfect love of our heavenly Father. At the Ranch, Robbie was introduced to a perfect loving parent.
He learned how God adopts each of us into his eternal family—a family that never leaves you or abandons you—a family that sticks with you no matter what. The message of a father who loved the broken and hurting people of the world so deeply he gave his only Son to claim us as his own, resonated very powerfully with Robbie. Soon things started to turn around.
As Robbie learned more about his gracious heavenly Father and his loving Savior, his behaviors improved. He learned to interact with his peers and those in authority in healthy ways. He stopped trying to hurt himself. His story was a success as far as treatment was concerned, but his story wasn’t over yet.
A pastor in the community, who had been working with Robbie during his darkest times, knew a couple in his congregation wanted to expand their family. At the pastor’s recommendation, the couple began visiting with Robbie and building a relationship with him. In time, as Robbie was healed through his adoption into God’s family, he was given the amazing gift of being adopted into this couple’s family as well.
After being adopted by his loving, new parents, Robbie asked to be baptized.
Robbie went from being abandoned and alone by everyone he knew in this world, to having a brand new loving and gracious family, both in heaven and on earth.