I’m not an adoption expert by any means. I’m just a man who loves Jesus. I’m married to a woman who loves Jesus. Both of us have been deeply affected by God and His Fatherly heart for the orphan. For us, that specifically meant pursuing a domestic adoption, a process that is just now coming to a close after a year of paperwork, lawyers, background checks and a ton of hurry up and wait.
But this blog is not about our journey as much as it’s about you and what God may be calling you to do. It’s for those who need some encouragement and a nudge in the right direction. It’s for the one who has been lied to or is lying to themselves. It’s to remind you of a few key things that may help you sort out what your involvement in the world of adoption should be. Again, I’m no expert. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned with those who sense a call towards adoption.
Here are just three common misunderstandings (lies) surrounding adoption.
1. “I Can’t Afford it!”
First I’ll just say that this could actually be the case. But more often a lie from the pit of Hell. Although I know that some financial situations are legitimately too rough for considering adoption in the current season, it’s not a good enough reason to throw in the towel altogether.
America is a country where just having a few loose coins in your car makes you richer than most of the world. Yes, I know first hand that adoption costs more than a few loose coins. Trust me, I know. But the notion that money is a deal breaker for adoption, in most cases, is just not thorough thinking. Not only is America rich, we have at our finger tips a variety of organizations, grants, churches and probably your own family and friends that would avail themselves to help you raise the money to give a child a family that loves them. But God Himself is richer that you can image. I don’t mean He’s just spiritually rich sitting on a mythical throne of gold up in the heavens, hording it all to Himself. I mean He owns the physical universe that you and I live in. All of it.
Do you think He can help you with the financial portion of adoption, if that’s your hearts desire, considering how passionate He is about it too, and considering that absolutely nothing that accords with His character is impossible for Him? If God is going to call you to it, He also knows what it’s going to take, and He will show you, equip you and lead you through every work week, overtime hour, bake sale, yard sale, grant application, awkward phone call asking for money from a relative and crazy money making idea you can ever think of. He will lead you through every minute of desperate and tear-filled prayer of supplication. And don’t forget that God absolutely loves to provide for His children in ways we never imagined He could.
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too difficult or too wonderful for You—”
2. “I Already Have My Own Kids”
We had three children when we began the adoption process with our agency. But the choice came long before even our first was born 11 years earlier. The decision was not to have some of our own kids and then some that aren’t our own. That’s the wrong perspective altogether. Adoption is so official and so final in the eyes of God that when it’s done there is no good reason to distinguish between biological and non-biological. I’m not saying that a pale white family adopting from Ethiopia won’t see any differences. But the differences in their personalities, quirks and physical uniqueness’s are the same things that distinguish every other image bearer of God on this planet and makes humanity beautiful.
Even still, I get it. It’s hard to wrap our natural brains around the idea. But here’s something that may help. The Gospel. Yes, the Gospel teaches a concept that is similar. Before you had faith in Christ you were not God’s child. At least, not in the sense that you were part of His family. Quite literally, you belonged to someone else. But God pursued you in that state in order to adopt you as His very own. On that day of new birth into His family, you instantaneously were counted as son or daughter through faith. No longer an orphan. No longer a slave to sin and a child of wrath. He doesn’t look at you as his “ugly duckling” that is there but doesn’t really belong to the family. He looks at you through the sacrifice of His Son and says you are His beloved son or daughter, and with you, He is well pleased. That’s how we need to see adoption. See the orphan through the Fatherly eyes of God and begin to envision the day when a little boy or girl, or multiple little boys and girls, who may look completely different than you, who once had nothing, no home, and no consistent care will fill your dwelling and have the loving embrace of a mommy and daddy who accepts them forever, no matter what.
Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Ephesians 1:5-6 “In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
3. “I’m Not A Good Enough Parent.” or “Our Family Has Too Many Problems.”
Let’s face it. Is there any parent on earth that, even when friends and family constantly say, “Wow, you guys are such good parents!”, that they actually become convinced of it? Not in a million years. That’s because we all know ourselves and the sins that beset us daily. What family exists that really has it all together? Only in fairy tales, right? Wait a minute! That’s not even true in fairy tales.
We all know that the most heroic moments, even in fictional tales, happen out of chaos and messiness, not out of complete order and perfection. That’s the beauty of it. We are all part of a broken system. It’s not just the orphan that is experiencing this fallen world. It’s everyone. It’s our homes, our marriages, our jobs and our communities. It’s all a mess without Jesus. Do you think He would demand perfection from you when He already knows you can’t do it on your own? Only Jesus was a perfect rescuer and redeemer. Only God is a perfect Father.
He never calls perfect people to accomplish His will. He calls those whom He has set His grace upon; those who know that everything of significance in life takes time, hurt, pain and messiness before we get there. If God is calling you to adopt, then just face the facts up front. It’s not going to be perfect. But it is going to be just what it’s supposed to be. God is going to use your imperfect life that is struggling to trust Jesus every day, and by His grace and mercy, work a miracle through your obedience and faith.
Yes, your kids will still fight. Yes, you will still fight at times with your spouse. Yes, life may not get any easier. After all, the Devil is still a liar and a cheat and will always try to destroy the beautiful work that God is doing in and through you. But he can’t, even when he thinks his efforts are working.
So whether it’s the Devil, another person in your life, or your own mind doing the talking, if you’re being convinced that adoption is not for people or families with messes and brokenness, be reminded that even Jesus was adopted. Do you recall the messiness of that story? Joseph adopted Jesus as a baby when what surrounded them was poverty, confusion and political upheaval, not to mention the false accusations of scandal. Joseph adopted Jesus because he knew it was right, not because it met his needs or because everything was going well.
God gets all the glory when a family makes it their endeavor to pursue the orphan while fully accepting that apart from God they can do nothing.
I really hope this helps some of you. I hope to have even caught the attention, perhaps, of a non Christian who loves the idea of adoption and feels drawn towards pursuing it. If you’ve never seen these correlations between Christianity and adoption then I pray God will speak these truths into your heart. God want’s families rescuing children, not just Christian families, but any family who will pour out grace and love, because all human life is precious. But at the end of the day there is only One who understands like no other, and that’s our Creator, Jesus Christ. May you find, in Him, the answers to your questions and doubts. May He lead you to the right friends and local church family that can counsel you through your fears and struggles surrounding this important subject.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.”
Joel is a husband, father of four, church planter and the pastor of New City Church in Bath, Maine. His desire for writing is that many would respond in love and faith towards God, and bring glory to Jesus.