Adoption has been close to our hearts for a long time. We have been talking about adopting off and on since we were first married, but we were not ready to make a decision by the time we were ready to have kids. We have done a lot of thinking and praying about it over the past several months, though, and we believe that God has called us to adoption at this point in our lives.
One reason we were open to it was that we would like to have a daughter, and having a third biological child only gives us a 50 percent chance. But the main reason is that we want to provide a home for a child who wouldn’t otherwise have one.
Caring for orphans is a top priority for God and an area in which the American church - if we are willing - is in a position to make a real difference. God is a “Father to the fatherless” and defends the cause of the orphan and the widow, and we are to imitate God as dearly loved children. The Bible references God’s special concern for orphans dozens of times. Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless necessarily includes looking after orphans, and as James points out a few verses later, “If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
When we stand before God, he will evaluate us in large part based on our treatment of the least fortunate: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Job shared his bread with the fatherless and “reared them as a father would.” His motivation? “For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor…” (31:16-23).
God chose to portray himself as a father to illustrate the kind of relationship he has with his people. When children grow up without parents, the world sees a skewed representation of that relationship and falls further away from God’s ideal for humanity. And in regard to orphans and the least fortunate around the world, I worry that the American church – us included – had to this point not cared as sacrificially as we should.
But God has begun to restore creation, beginning with his own son paying a penalty we deserve so that we could be offered adoption into his family. He has promised that “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
Adoption provides a way for us to imitate our Father. It is an opportunity to share the love of God with an individual in the most effective way possible. It puts our money (and time) where our mouth is when we say we stand for a culture of life. And it provides a life for a child who might not have one otherwise. Adoption can be the part we play in God’s restoration of the world.