This is the part of the story where I begin asking the question, “Where do we go from here?” There are so many intricate details woven into my adoption story that it’s hard to separate them out into a logical order. In the next few posts, I’d like to share about the move from adopted child to adoptive parent. My experience as an adopted child led me to adoption as a parent. I wanted to pass along one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. When my wife and I married, we shared the same desire and we knew adoption would be a part of our family at some point.
As I spoke about in Part 4, I took words spoken to me very personally. Some words took root in my life and caused hurt, pain, insecurity and doubt. The only way to overcome those things was to choose to see adoption a different way.
Most of my life, my family attended church regularly. I’ve heard countless sermons about loving your neighbor and fearing the Lord. As well, I heard about how God loves us so that He sent His son to die for us. At age 11, I trusted Christ as my savior. Since that time, I’ve tried my best to trust God, learn His teachings in the Scriptures and how to live as He taught us.
There are 2 very poignant themes in the New Testament relating to adoption. One is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans and the other is found in James.
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
(Romans 8:15-17 ESV)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
(James 1:27 ESV)
In Romans, the Apostle Paul says that we have been adopted as sons into a family. This family has God as its Father and all those who follow Christ are part of the family. In this adoption, we are given the ability to cry out to God as Father or in Hebrew, “Abba!” Abba is an intimate term much like we use Daddy. It is a reminder that, in Christ, we belong to a family.
In James, he writes that pure and undefiled religion before God involves taking care of those who can’t care for themselves – orphans and widows. He says we are to “visit [them] in their time of affliction,…” An orphan’s affliction is particularly in not having anyone to care for them. As Christians, we are challenged in this passage to be that person; to care for orphans (and widows) when they can’t care for themselves. Simply put, it’s compassion toward widows and orphans.
As a Christ-follower, I’ve been adopted into a family and been called a son. Then, I’ve been given the responsibility to care for orphans which, often times, can and should lead to adoption. These two themes always stood out to me in the Scriptures. The more I understood my adoption as a son of God, the more I realized the calling to bring adoption into my own family.
More than all of this, I realized exactly what adoption meant. Just as God welcomed me into His family, my parents chose to welcome me into theirs. It was an active decision that they made to make me their son. This is completely different from becoming pregnant and having a baby. That can happen with little or no choice at all. However, they actively pursued me through adoption and brought me into their home. I can now look at this and see an immense amount of value, worth and purpose in God’s handiwork through adoption.
Adoption, at its core, was God’s idea. His plan of salvation revolves around redemption and adoption. These things laid a foundation for me to see adoption as a gift rather than a curse; as a process and not an identity.
How has God’s adoption of you as His son or daughter shaped what you think about adoption? How do you respond to these themes in Scripture?