Sword Art Online, Episode 12: Learning to Adopt
Adoption is a beautiful thing. In the U.S., adoption is so powerful because in one process, a child’s life is changed forever through the immense sacrifice of an individual or couple.
While Yui is never officially adopted, for all intents and purposes, she might as well be. This theme of adoption runs strongly throughout episode 12 of Sword Art Online.
Caring for Orphans in Church (Digital and Real)
The episode begins in the church-turned-orphanage. Some two thousands years after the brother of Jesus defined “pure and faultless” religion as looking after the widows and orphans (James 1:27), the church is still visualized as a place where orphans are cared for.
On a side note, I found it interesting that the caretaker of the kids notes that the children have been with her since early on, but doesn’t mention any being adopted. Perhaps this is another thing that sets the loving Asuna and Kirito apart from other players.
You Are My Daughter (and Son)
Indeed, Asuna and Kirito readily and fully give their love toward Yui, despite knowing very little about her. In the closing moments of the episode, as they find out what she truly is, they respond again with love. They see her as their daughter, in spite of the true state of her existence.
I’m reminded of the oft-used analogy in the Bible comparing believers to adopted children. God showers us with love as his adopted daughters and sons. Despite knowing who we are, God cares for us – so much so that He gave His life, through Jesus, for us to live. He loves his adopted children as much as possible, as if we were physically His biological children.
Saving Mom and Dad
The episode also turns the table, as Kirito and Asuna become dependent on Yui. The father and mother rely on the daughter for salvation – it is she who saves the two from possible death.
I’m reminded of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Joseph was by all accounts a man ahead of his time, literally adopting a child that was not His own. He cared for Jesus and raised Him to be carpenter, as he would his biological child. Mary, too, was in a peculiar position – both mother of Jesus and daughter of God.
Though Joseph was likely deceased by the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection, Mary was put into an ironic situation; her son’s sacrifice would save her very life. As Kathy Mattea’s song puts it, the son “that [she] delivered would soon deliver [her].” Asuna and Kirito received life, too, by their child’s actions.
And now, for the readers: If you are a believer, what does it mean to you to be considered an adopted child of God? And for all readers, have you yourself considered adopting children one day?