Font Size » Large | SmallBy Randall A. Bach King Xerxes, who ruled a vast territory that extended from India to Ethiopia, sent his servants on an empire-wide search for a queen. His quest led him to Esther, a young woman noted for her beauty and lovely figure (Esther 2:7). Keeping her Jewish heritage a secret, Esther won the queen “sweepstakes” and became Xerxes’ queen. It was an astounding “poor-girl-becomes-beautiful-queen” story. Although Esther’s selection was initially because of her stunning appearance, her influence with the king grew as she quietly listened to counsel from Mordecai, her father. In an astounding story of palace intrigue, Esther persuaded Xerxes to sack his second in command (who had conspired to perpetrate a Holocaust upon the Jewish people) and empowered the Jewish people to rise up and overcome the order for their annihilation. Mordecai ultimately served as prime minister under Xerxes. This remarkable turnaround for a father, his daughter, and an entire people led to the establishment of Purim, a festival that continues yet today as a Jewish holiday celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from extermination. The Old Testament book of Esther memorializes and continues to proclaim this heroine’s inspirational story. RELATED: “This Is Your Home” What makes this story even more exceptional is the fact that Esther was adopted. By birth Mordecai was Esther’s cousin. After Esther’s parents died, Mordecai raised her as his daughter. What could have been but a sorrowful account of a tragedy became a cherished account of an orphan blossoming into an attractive person of influence. Adoptive father and daughter developed a loving, devoted bond and effective teamwork. Important to note: Esther’s advancement to the pinnacle of influence and position was the result of both birth parents and adoptive parent: Her birth parents’ genes gave Esther her stunning looks, the initial gateway to becoming noticed and selected. Whatever Mordecai looked like, he had no influence on Esther’s natural beauty. That came from her birth parents. Her birth parents’ genetic contribution provided Esther with intelligence. They were never able to develop and refine her intelligence, but they gave Esther her start. Her adoptive parent, Mordecai, cultivated Esther’s intelligence and instilled values that guided her transformation into a savvy, courageous young woman. Her adoptive parent provided sound counsel and transformative coaching, both as a parent and as a political confidant. Esther continued to look to Mordecai for wise counsel even as she became queen. RELATED: “Looking For Cinderella” Esther’s accomplishments served as a tribute to both her birth parents and to her adoptive parent. She honored both with a life of excellence that served as a testimony to the blending of their contributions. Many adopted children today have the same privilege as Esther did of benefitting from the redemptive tutelage of their adoptive parents. In like manner, every one of us has the opportunity to benefit from our heavenly Father through God’s“ spirit of adoption” (Romans 8:15, NASB), a redemptive embrace of loving care by a loving Father. Nonetheless, He doesn’t force His love on us. It is up to us to accept that love. All we have to do is ask.