Being Thankful for Adoption
Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, let’s hope we all counted at least some of our Creator’s wonderful blessings. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change,” the apostle James tells us (1:17). The object of our gratitude is not a mythical and impersonal Nature Mother but the true and personal God the Father.
One of His greatest blessings is a loving, secure family. Yet tens of thousands of children in our own country do not know this blessing. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, in 2014 there were 107,000 children awaiting adoption in our country.
That’s why, during National Adoption Month this November Christians should consider those children who languish in foster care, awaiting a family to embrace as their own.
King David called God “the Father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) and Paul the apostle reminds Christians that “in love, (God) predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:4-5). God has a heart of compassion for every person. That includes every child, unborn and born.
That’s why adoption is so essential, and why the following quotes will, I hope, inspire you not only to pray for the children waiting for a mom and a dad but also to consider whether you and your family might be the very family a child, whether one or 17, might need.
(It is) a great work of justice to defend orphans and widows who are destitute and stand in need of assistance. … For God, to Whom everlasting mercy belongs … commands that widows and orphans should be defended and cherished.
Adoption is beautiful, but it’s not natural. It’s a result of the fall. Yet God in his stunning grace has redeemed what’s been broken. He not only redeems the fatherless; he’s woven adoption into the gospel itself.
Chelsea Patterson, “Why You Should Consider Adoption,” The Gospel Coalition
The deepest and strongest foundation of adoption is located not in the act of humans adopting humans, but in God adopting humans. And this act is not part of his ordinary providence in the world; it is at the heart of the gospel.
Adoption is a great example of the redemptive power of God. It might not actually be the easiest option for the birth mother, but the results of the process are incredible for the family waiting for a child to love. Also, we know from our experience that the birth mother receives great comfort — not only was she able to bless a family with a child, but she can know her child is going to be well cared for. For any woman thinking of going through with an abortion, we can attest that there are many families waiting for a child to love. Our culture needs to know that adoption is a beautiful option.
Adoptive parents Erik and Nikki Vonderhaar, “See How Adoption Changed This Family,” Christian Post.
To adopt a child is a great work of love. When it is done, much is given, but much is also received. It is a true exchange of gifts. Adopting children, regarding and treating them as one’s own children, means recognizing that the relationship between parents and children is not measured only by genetic standards … (adoption) is in no way inferior to one based on a biological connection … in a family united by the stable bond of marriage, (adoption) assures the child that peaceful atmosphere and that paternal and maternal love which he needs for his full human development.
Pope John Paul II, Address to the Meeting of Adoptive Families, September 2000.
One vivid way for us to participate in His story of redemption is to mirror our Father’s heart for the vulnerable, and to act on that compassion in the most tangible way on earth: getting together with other believers for adoption.
For my wife and me, this is all more than a matter of principle or belief. In our case, after years of infertility and at least two miscarriages, the Father of Lights blessed us with three children through adoption. For nearly 18 years now, our twin boys and, for going on 13 years, our daughter have been the joy of our lives. We are eternally grateful that the Father of the fatherless entrusted us with three of His little ones. The truths articulated in the statements above are, for us, daily realities.
Incidentally, those Pilgrims who celebrated Thanksgiving in the New World landed in what became Massachusetts, the first state to pass an adoption law in 1851. The law “recognize(d) adoption as a social and legal operation based on child welfare rather than adult interests.” The Bay State should take pride in that.
We began with a quote from James, and his counsel is worth returning to as we close. “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,” he writes (1:27).
God takes adoption seriously. We should, too.