Laura and I have decided to begin the adoption process- hoping to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. If you would like, you can follow our journey here. We are very excited!
I truly believe that God has worked in our hearts and lives, individually and together, in showing us the joy and priority of adoption.
For me, the journey began in college. I will never forget when I visited an orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala almost 6 years ago. In this specific orphanage there were hundreds of children who had been abandoned by their parents for various reasons.
At one point during the day we were taken into a room lined with cribs, a small room where the workers attempted to care for 20-30 infants. This was a powerful moment that has been seared into my mind. I will never forget it.
I walked through the room with tears streaming down my face- wondering “who will care for these children?” “Who will hold them and let them know that they are loved?” “Who will nurture these children as they grow older?” I can see, and feel it, like it was yesterday. What I did not understand at the time was how God would use this moment later.
Looking back at that experience as a college student in the Guatemalan orphanage, I remembered that I was not only weeping over the abandoned children, but over the fact that there was very little I could do.
The words of Jesus are so powerful here- I wish I could have whispered them to each one of those precious children;
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
The raw emotion that adoption stirs in my heart has only grown as I have studied the theology of adoption. Adoption one of the metaphors Paul uses in the New Testament to express the multifaceted grace of God shown to us in salvation. (See here)
The very word translated adoption in your New Testament is a compound of two words, “son” and “placing.” Adoption in the New Testament is a term that denotes the legal act of transfer into a new family- “the placing of a son.”
With this transfer come all of the attending privileges and responsibilities of being part of the family. Adoption is a powerful image because the adoptee is taken out of his previous state and placed in a new relationship…thus, the adoptee starts a new life as part of his new family. The new family embraces their adopted son or daughter as their own. (Great resource here)
For the Christian- images of salvation should be so blatant and obvious here because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When Christians are adopted into the family of God- it is through, and only through Jesus Christ. There is no ‘natural tie’ between sinners and a Holy God. Our spiritual adoption is a decision of God. God adopts us, orphans, out of His free love. We are given the rights of sons and daughters- as heirs!
For me, this truth has illuminated the biblical mandate and given me a solid foundation to accompany the emotion I felt six years ago in the Guatemalan orphanage.
I am in total agreement with Russell Moore when he writes;
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans…as we become more attuned to the gospel, we’ll have more of a burden for orphans.” (Adopted for Life, 18)
Pray for us as we begin our adoption journey. Ultimately, pray that we trust in Christ- because he is the one who blazed this trail.