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Bunny Dropped into Love} ?> In fiction, life as an orphan is often not a rosy one. Harry Potter lives as a second-class citizen with the abusive Durleys. The BFG sweeps Sophie away from a difficult life in a children’s home. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny flee their murderous custodian, Count Olaf.
Although strife is always involved when children transition into adoptive homes or foster case, the end result can be extraordinarily positive. A child doesn’t need to experience the fantastic or extraordinary lives of Harry, Sophie, or the Baudelaires to find his or her place in the world. Sometimes, and more applicable to real life, simple relationships are those that make a difference. And the picture of love in adoptive bonds is profound.
Bunny Drop, a 13-episode anime, revolves around one such relationship, that between Daikichi, a single adult, and Rin, the six-year-old girl he adopts. Daikichi first meets Rin at his grandfather’s funeral. There, the family is stunned to discover that the young girl was apparently fathered out of wedlock by the deceased. The family also finds out that the mother is out of the picture, and soon negativity spreads among the attendees who quickly assert that they will not take the girl into their homes.
It’s almost out of spite that Daikichi finally speaks up, deciding to care for Rin. Aloof and career-focused, Daikichi looks like the last person who would consider rearing an orphan, but he’s the only one willing to speak out for a child in need.
It’s not an easy road for the new family—after all, relationships are hard work. To expect two people of any kind to get along seems to be wishful thinking. Even familial relationships, joined by blood, sacrifice, and kinship, are challenging. My marriage takes so much grace on both my wife’s end and my own. Parenting, too, requires diligence and endless doses of forgiveness. So how much harder is it to bring a child, carrying brokenness and challenges, into a new home and expect that young one’s relationship with an adoptive parent to prosper? And knowing how much pain will result, why would anyone adopt a child?
The answer, of course, is love.
The road is challenging for Daikichi and Rin. The new parent adjusts his lifestyle and learns through the crash course of adoptive parenting how to care for a child. Most telling, Daikichi abandons a career that was leading him toward worldly success to take a more flexible job that allows him to attend to Rin’s needs.
The love that Daikichi demonstrates toward Rin is one that I wish I could demonstrate more in my own life. He gives love to her not because she deserves it and not because he must, but simply because of who Rin is. She is his daughter.
As a Christian, I find it hard to fully accept the Bible’s analogy that tells me I’m an adopted son of God. I admit that, as with Daikichi’s relatives, my cold heart still differentiates between “adopted” and “blood,” “burden” and “duty.” My mind won’t let me recognize how special it is to be adopted.
But Daikichi and Rin show me why there are few dynamics better than those in play during adoption. It’s not just the initial choice—it’s the sacrifice and sweat and tears that come from developing such a complex and challenging relationship. It’s the decision the parent makes in saying, “I love you, no matter what. After all, you’re family.”
And even more, adoption is this: when Rin was weak and small, unwanted and unloved, she was taken in by Daikichi, rescued and cherished and lifted up from an orphan to a daughter, from ragamuffin to beloved. To think that God adopted me and made me, a throwaway, into his own, well that kind of grace changes my heart. And Dursleys be darned—my picture of adoption won’t hinge on jealous or bitter guardians but on a kind father who loves relentlessly, and how that kind of love changes everything.