This post isn't meant to dive into the theological roots of adoption, glorify our decision to adopt, or press upon you any sense of obligation. What John and I have discovered is that there are a lot of obstacles our earthly selves can put in between us and adoption:
FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
ROLLER COASTER OF EMOTIONS
DIFFICULT ANSWERS TO DIFFICULT QUESTIONS
And we've discovered that if we can turn to God's word to discover encouragement, to feel truly called and be guaranteed victory (in whatever way that might appear), then we can move forward in hope and be excited for all that God has in store for our future.
First, God shows us many beautiful stories of adoption throughout the entire Bible. I enjoyed going through a list of all of the Bible's "greats" who were adopted (including Esther and Moses), all the way to Jesus himself (Joseph's relationship as earthly father to Jesus). And then there's us, children of God adopted by Him, not brought into his kingdom by birth but rather by love and choice. "The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship." Romans 8:15. (See also: Ephesians 1:4-6)
But now, as a Christian being called to adopt, what verifies this decision for us? Really just two things: God is our example (and HE is the Father to the fatherless), and we're commanded to do it.
God is our example.
I love David's song to God in Psalms 68:4-6 giving us a glimpse of power as well as his love:
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Psalm 10:14 - But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
Psalm 113:9 - He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children. Hallelujah!
The scriptural support for adoption is undeniable. We're called to take care of those in need, to bestow huge amounts of love (including practical, actionable love) on the orphans and the widows.
Psalm 82:3 - Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Isaiah 1:17 - Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
For us, this looks like adoption. For others, it might look like something else entirely. Please don't think that I'm saying the only way to fulfill God's command is to adopt. But we've been called, we believe that right now, for us, it is adoption. And we know that this is going to tremendously grow our faith and our walk.
The blessings will be numerous.
We can say all day that we're being charitable to a family... but in all honesty, we know that through this experience we're going to be the ones TREMENDOUSLY blessed!
Acts 20:23 - In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Why? Well, there are many reasons including the joy of growing God's kingdom, delighting the Lord, the type of trust in God that fosters amazing faith... but in a more practical sense, here's what I see in adoption that makes it more blessed to give then to receive (and ultimately how the giving turns into receiving).
This child is going to make us parents.
WHAT. JOY. What blessing. I so look forward to this amazing feeling.
They are growing in our hearts.
Just like pregnancy, the child you're bearing or not bearing with every passing thought grows in your heart. Do you know what that does to a person?
They are going to touch the lives of everyone.
Just thinking about all of the people that will get to know this child—our parents, our friends, our family all over the country... they will bless and be blessed by all of these lives that are about to be interwoven.
I want to wrap up this post by making sure that we all understand that caring for orphans goes beyond adoption.
Just because we're adopting, and will someday be holding a precious little one in our arms, doesn't mean we can check off some proverbial Christian "good deed" from life's checklist. There are so many orphans in the world that need our help, orphans that cannot be adopted and where removing them from their current situation isn't an option. The church, WE, have to meet that need.
A book I highly recommend is Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adoption to help discover what we can do. What if we all became advocates for orphans in our church? What if we all strived to make a difference in the lives of the least of these, for one?
An adopted child of God,