Despite efforts at awareness of such a miracle of life, sometimes people still don’t embrace adoption. Sadly, many of those ideas emanate from Christians who are pro-life.
Recently another sad story of a “returned” child made news, leading others to question whether adoption is the best thing—at least for the parents—especially when children are difficult and need more support, whether emotionally or physically. “You don’t know what you’re getting,” they say, often adding that an adopted child could be “damaged.” He or she could make your life uncomfortable, ruin the family dynamic.
To the Christian, the answer to all of that should be, “so what?”
First, the reality for Christians is that the Bible talks of God adopting believers into his family thought the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of Christianity. To reject adoption as a special calling for “other” people, or only adequate for extreme circumstances such as for infertility, is to reject the principle that God himself modeled. The actual question should be “is there any good reason not to adopt?”
There are good reasons not to. It would be irresponsible to suggest everyone should run out and sign up for home studies and adoption lists solely because it’s the model of Christianity, but the question must be an honest inventory of why nots?
Second, the Bible abounds with scriptures about orphans, and it is clear that the job of the Christian is to take care of the orphan; James 1:27 describes this as “pure religion” that God accepts. One of the most oft-cited verses is Psalm 68:6 “God sets the lonely (some versions say solitary) in families.” It brings a sort of comfort into pro-life circles to know this: “God will take care of the orphan; he loves the orphan and will give him a family.” But it can also become a cliché, a cloud without water, if the next question is not “Do some of those lonely belong in my family?”
God does set the lonely in families, but God is a supernatural being who uses human beings to execute his work on earth. God gives resources and love and families to people, so they may share those things with others. To say “God sets the lonely in families” then shut the door to the lonely outside of our homes is missing a key point of the gospel.
As pro-lifers, we rightly demand abortion stop. We decry the killing and pray for hours at abortion clinics, weeping over the loss of life. We post pictures and sayings on social media and proudly announce we only vote for pro-life candidates. But beyond that, the solution for abortion remains solely in our hands. It’s negligent of us to expect everyone else to do the adopting. Not all pro-lifers are Christians, but the majority of those on the forefront are vocal about their faith. That voice must translate to adoption—in one way or another.
True family can be any lifelong bond God has knit together, and blood isn’t a requirement for it to be real or somehow better because some DNA connects in a special way. Birth children can end up with severe problems just as adopted children can. Love doesn’t get to choose which goods are damaged, just as God didn’t dictate who was too damaged to be in his family.
Family is a committed, loving relationship that is in our power to offer and support—whether by doing the adopting or by actively, financially and emotionally, supporting those who do.
Recently a comment appeared on a public site saying that adoption wasn’t a “natural” thing, but to a Christian, it’s the most natural thing that can be.
God didn’t have to send Jesus, and Jesus didn’t have to go to the cross to allow us a way to the Father. The goal of this was to expand God’s family through adoption. That statement sometimes gets so overused in Christian culture that it loses personal meaning, and yet it’s the reality of the gospel.
Janette Pettey and her husband Tim, who adopted both of their daughters, tells the story of how her daughter Hannah used to explain her adoption: “She used to say she was ‘double adopted,’ referring to her adoption into her natural family and also into her eternal family as a Christian,” Janette says.
And that’s the most natural thing of all.