Love unshakeable, unconventional, unconditional.
by Dave Skipper
I’ve been waiting to write this article for a long time. The backstory in brief:
2015-2016. My wife had been talking about wanting to adopt for a long time. We already had 2 kids, and I was reluctant to have a third child – then we’d be outnumbered!
Summer 2016. Eventually I decided to take the matter seriously, so I started to take time out once a week to think and pray about what was holding me back. I could only conclude that it was my own fears and selfishness. Everything else in my beliefs and values definitely saw adoption as a wonderful and necessary course of action.
Spring 2017. Finally God’s gentle power broke through into my heart, transforming my fear into confidence, my selfishness into compassion. “Ok, let’s do it!” I said to my wife. And so the long process of applying to adopt a Japanese baby began.
February 2018. Scroll forward, and we had the immense privilege to welcome a four-day old baby boy into our family. His birth mother knew beforehand that she would be unable to care for him, and she had decided to seek adoption for him as she wanted the best for him. She then wanted to meet us at the hospital where she gave birth, and she handed this beautiful bundle over to my wife there. An incredibly surreal and bittersweet moment.
Spring 2019. At long last the legal process of full adoption through the Japanese family court was completed – he is now formally our son, having already been our true son in our hearts and a perfect part of our family for over a year. (There is still a lot more paperwork and various processes to work through on several fronts, though.)
It’s been a long process, and not without its frustrations at times, but it has been an overwhelmingly joyful and blessed year-and-a-half! We are continually thankful and amazed at God’s precious gift to us who we have the honour to love and care for.
We have love to give.
We are already an international family (my wife is Finnish), and we believe that love and family transcend nationalities and borders. We have lived in Japan for nearly 9 years, and we love our Japanese friends dearly, so it means a lot to us to have such a close bond to this place and culture through adoption.
There is a great need: many babies and children need a safe and loving home to grow up in. Too many are stuck in institutions, or face neglect or abuse, or are aborted before they can even enter the world.
Adoption is one way to make a real and practical difference to the darkness and problems in the world.
Christians are mandated in the Bible to care for the poor and those in need. One of the classic verses is James 1:27, and I was deeply challenged to take it seriously:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
from the Bible – James 1:27
The bottom line is that we felt this was the right thing for us to do on many levels. It is not noble, it is not a sacrifice, it is our pure joy!
Adoption of Noise
Early on I started pondering the parallels between adoption and noise music.
What are some of the characteristics of noise and of harsh noise timbres?
Cast off sounds.
Sounds that cause discomfort, sounds that disturb the security of the status quo, sounds that generate uncertainty, sounds that challenge and stretch, sounds that are too difficult to handle, sounds that don’t fit into the mainstream, sounds that are a burden.
As a noisician it is my pleasure and my compulsion to give such sounds a home. I fully embrace the noise. Noise is there to be valued, loved, and included. Noise can belong and make its home with me!
But this goes beyond mere desire or artistic preference. I see and relish the potential of noise, and so I feel a responsibility to pursue this musical path. I also see a lot of despair and darkness and disgustingness (sic) in noise culture/imagery amongst which I want to be one alternative voice.
And it’s not just about the sounds either. People into noise come from all kinds of backgrounds and contexts, and some of those include people who are on the fringes, ignored or rejected or despised by society. I love to hang out and be friends with these guys as much as anyone else. I love that we can share sonic passions together, and that we can find spaces together to explore and unleash our creativity. It’s very inspiring for me!
I must absolutely stress that all of this has nothing to do with pity or for feeling sorry for others. Whether it’s people or sounds, I am all about affirming others, recognising their strengths and inherent (i.e. God-given) worth. They enhance my life perspective and challenge my own comforts and introspective tendencies.
And what is the result?
Some sounds stay ugly.
Some sounds are beautified by their use and their new home/context.
Some sounds were really beautiful all along, and it took something outside the box to make us see it.
The parallels between noise and adoption should be obvious by now. There is no shame in adoption: it is a precious and beautiful gift, a vital antidote to narrow and violent and dysfunctional versions of family. It is a wonderful thing to forge new bonds that transcend culture, tradition, or expectations. Break the mould! Share the love! Make noise! Or adopt!
But there’s a far greater parallel, one planned and designed from before the laying of the foundations of the world…
Adoption by God
I left out above one crucial reason for why we adopted: adoption is in the very nature and heart of God Himself. He adopts wayward children into His eternal family, in fact, this is one of the key descriptions of what it means to be a Christian. For example:
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘ Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
from the Bible – Romans 8:14-17
Jesus came to the rejected, to seek and save the lost.
And Jesus came to be rejected.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
from the Bible – Isaiah 53:3
“As you come to [Jesus], the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him”
from the Bible – 1 Peter 2:4
Moreover, Jesus was himself adopted, conceived by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, the supposedly illegitimate son of the carpenter Joseph. He had no biological father, but Joseph was his true human father by adoption and love.
And Jesus came so that his Heavenly Father, the eternal God, could adopt many sons and daughters into his family.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
from the Bible – 1 John 3:1a
The adopted son, the adopted sound, does not stay outside, does not stay unbelonging. But they remain always special and unique. They ever inspire a fresh perspective, an unconventional angle. Their place in my heart continues to strengthen and deepen.
Of course the relative importance of adoption over noise can hardly be overstated. Nevertheless, the parallels are fascinating and significant to me personally.
Chaos a priori.
(If you enjoyed this poem, you can read more of my poems here.)
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no-one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
from the Bible – Ecclesiastes 3:11
He who has ears to hear, let him hear!