A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON ADOPTION
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land" (Psalm 68:5-6 - NIV).
COMMENT: Who would you consider to be lonelier than a baby or child without a mother and father to lovingly care for it? Since it is God who arranges families for these lonely children, do you really want to try to stand in the way of His will by not even considering the possibility of adopting a family-less child?
"For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will — to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves" (Eph. 1:4-6 - NIV)
COMMENT: What's interesting to note here is that we were predestined to be adopted . . . before the creation of the world! In other words, adoption was God's original plan. With that said, why do we tend to look at adoption as a last resort? Shouldn't we, like God, be more proactive in this area? Has it ever occurred to you that God may have already picked out one or more orphaned children for you to raise, regardless of how many biological children you may or may not currently have?
"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Rom. 8:15 - NASB).
COMMENT: The emphasis here is on the confidence our adoption into God's family brings us, to "the Spirit-produced awareness of the rich reality that God has made us His children and, therefore, that we can come before Him without fear of hesitation as our beloved Father. It includes the confidence that we are truly sons of God" (John MacArthur). Since we have this kind of confidence with our adoptive Father, couldn't we at least entertain the thought of offering an earthly model of that kind of confidence to some adopted earthly children?
"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" (Gal. 4:4-6 – NASB).
COMMENT: Notice the beginning of the sentence immediately following "…that we might receive the adoption of sons!" It says, "Because you are sons…" In other words, once adopted into God's family, we are sons (and daughters) of God. . . . case closed! Does this not give us an indication of how we are to view adoption? I mean, if it's good enough for God, who are we to question our possible involvement? God has set the precedent, has He not?
CONCLUSION: Think about it! If every Christian couple decided to adopt an orphan into its family, giving it all the rights of a biological child, several things would happen:
1) Every adoptable child would have the opportunity to be raised in a loving home/family environment;
2) Every adopted child would be raised in the Lord (vs. in a non-Christian – or even homosexual – home!);
3) Christian childless couples would be able to raise a family;
4) Couples with biological children would be able to create "a culture of adoption" in their biological (and adopted) children that would benefit future adoptable children.
I am not writing on this topic in a vacuum. My wife and I adopted our two daughters while on the mission field in Brazil. Our daughters are both Brazilians. Our oldest, Amelia Elinor, just turned 18 (We adopted her when she was nine months from a Spiritist orphanage.); Jessica Sarah is 12. Jessica was only one month old when we were able to adopt her from a Catholic orphanage.
Many Brazilian Christians counseled us against adoption on the basis that a child may be inheriting the curse of God on his or her biological "father" (i.e., parents) due to his sins. They based this on Exodus 20:5 (NASB), which says, ". . . for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me . . ." We first need to consider the context for that statement. This affirmation was given in the context of the Second Commandment, which was idolatry. In other words, an idolatrous father – a God hater - would be causing his great grandchildren some sort of consequence for his idolatry. But even if we choose not to limit the context to idolatry, a subsequent Old Testament verse negates the generational curse found in Exodus: "The person who sins will die The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20 - NASB).
Another issue that was brought up was that you often don't know the genetic tendencies of an adopted child. While this is true, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think about it! If you have a genetic tendency to develop a certain type of cancer, your adopted child could be free from this tendency! Isn't that a good thing? Sure, there are more unknowns with adopted children, but just because you know your biological child's tendencies doesn't make it any easier to accept his or her serious illness. How many biological parents are suffering with their biological children over a serious illness? So far we have been spared such a scenario – with our adopted daughters. Ultimately, God is in charge, right? If He chooses to allow a serious illness take place with either a biological or an adopted child, so be it! I will thank Him in the midst of the storm. Will you?
I could cite countless examples of adoptions that worked, but our human nature tends to grab onto the "horror stories," which I'm sure exist. I think it all comes down to one's view of God. If God is a sovereign God, that is part of His nature. In other words, He can't be in control of some areas and not of others. When you have biological children, you take what God has given you and you learn to live with it. Should we consider treating adopted children any other way? When we first laid eyes on Amelia, our oldest daughter, we were not initially very impressed. Amelia didn't look like she could have been our biological child, but that didn't matter in light of her need for loving, Christian parents. We were given 24 hours to decide if we were going to adopt her or not, and the whole time I couldn't get her face out of my mind! We reasoned that we wanted to adopt a child and Amelia needed to be adopted, so who were we to try to hold out for a child that looked more like we wanted her to look?
When the opportunity came to adopt Jessica, I was out of the country. Aïda took Amelia to see recently born Jessica in the orphanage. Then she e-mailed me, telling me about this opportunity. I was ecstatic! I stopped by the orphanage on my way home from the airport the day I arrived in Rio de Janeiro to meet my potential second daughter. Again, Jessica didn't look like she would have been a result of Bill and Aïda, but we knew she was the one God had handpicked for us!
We've had our ups and downs over the years with our two daughters, as would any biological parents with their biological children. But when it's all said and done, we have absolutely NO regrets on having adopted these two wonderful girls who are developing into the women God wants them to be! We want to encourage you to take off your cultural glasses regarding adoption and put on scriptural glasses. When and if you do, you'll be glad you did! In other words, you'll have NO regrets! If you are an adopted child of God, you can be assured that God has NO regrets over His adoption of you either!