1. Adoption reminds us of who God is:
God has a particular concern for the fatherless and throughout the Bible He shows His special love for those without a family.
“Give justice to the weak and fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and lonely; rescue the weak and needy.” ~ Psalm 82:3
“Father of the fatherless…is God in His holy habitation. God settles the lonely in a home.” ~Psalm 68: 5 & 6
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.” ~James 1:27
We were just reading recently that the term “visit” means to truly meet the needs of the orphan and one way to do this is through adoption. God doesn’t ask everyone to adopt, but He does ask each one of us to care for the fatherless in some way. We love that He cares in a special way for children. We know that He put a specific desire in our hearts to adopt. Lydia and Selah (as well as our other children) are truly gifts from Him.
2. Adoption reminds us that God is in control; He has a plan and purpose for each life:
We consistently read missionary biographies and each time we’re struck by the way God orchestrates even the smallest details to become part of the story He’s writing through the lives of His followers.
Two really stuck out recently: Hudson Taylor & and Rachel Saint. Hudson Taylor knew God was calling him to be a missionary in Burma. No mission organization would let him go there, but due to a terrible storm, his boat was wrecked and was forced to land in Burma, where he continued on as a missionary. Rachel Saint had a specific dream when she was a teenager of a people group that she knew God wanted to send her to. In her dream the chief was wearing a very unique headdress. When her brother, Nate Saint, was killed by some Waorani men in Ecuador, it opened the door for her to live among them and they were the exact people she dreamt about 20 years before that. God used her to bring all five of the men responsible for killing the missionaries to a saving faith in Him. We love thinking about how nothing made sense in the middle of their stories, but how at the end, it was clear that God’s hand was directing and guiding everything and that He was very purposeful.
This is particularly important to remember with adoption. There may be times when adoptive parents question their decision to adopt.
When we were at the hospital with Selah, things didn’t seem to make sense and seemed a bit purposeless. In the middle of the story, when you can’t see around the next corner, it can be really confusing and scary.
But already, we are starting to see some of God’s working through Selah’s adoption, life, and even through her death. We’ve had a chance to share about Jesus and our love for Him with people we never would’ve met otherwise.
I encourage adoptive parents to write down somewhere how God brought their adopted child into their lives and the confirmations along the way. We saw so many confirmations along the pathway to our adoption of Selah and looking back, we can see His purpose in matching us with our fifth child, our Lydia.
3. Adoption can have an eternal impact:
Because of a decision to adopt, an adopted child can experience the blessing of being raised in a home with parents who love the Lord.
A parent’s faith is not a guarantee of a child’s salvation, but we see all throughout the Bible that God uses parents to bring children to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. The decision to adopt can have an eternal impact.
In Randy Alcorn’s book about Heaven he uses the Bible to explain that our relationships and memories on earth will carry forward in some form in Heaven and throughout eternity.
We love adoption because it has forever impacted what our lives will be like in Heaven. We love knowing that because of Selah’s adoption, our relationship with her will exist into Heaven. Through adoption, God took a child from Georgia, who we probably never would’ve met and gave us a special relationship with her.
Now we look at sweet Lydia…and know that regardless of what the future holds here on earth, God can use this adoption to help us build a relationship with her that will last into eternity.
4. Adoption is a step of faith:
Almost everyone likes to have a sense of security. We like certainty. In 2006, we read Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life, which contains the following quote:
“One of my aims is to explode the myth of safety and to somehow deliver you from the enchantment of security. Because it’s a mirage. It doesn’t exist. Every direction you turn there are unknowns and things beyond your control.”
Adoption is one way to take a step of faith and to trust that the safest place for each and every one of us…. is in God’s will.
Right before Selah’s adoption we read an article by Andree Seu Peterson titled “Security Counsel”. In it she quotes C.S. Lewis– “Shall we not take the adventure that Aslan hands us?”
Andree writes, “It is no other place than on this scary adventure that we learn to trust Jesus.”
God can use a step of faith in adopting, to grow trust in His love and sufficiency. Our second adoption process was absolutely emotionally exhausting, but God was real and present in our lives as we hit every hurdle and valley. Lydia’s adoption is just such evidence of His love.
5. Adoption affirms that children are truly a blessing and that each life is valuable:
If we’re honest, the world (and even sometimes the church) views children as a bother, a nuisance, and a huge expense. We frequently see and hear messages telling us how much our kids are going to cost by the time they are 18.
Adoption fights that unbiblical view of children and affirms their value in our sight and in the sight of God; we love that.
Russell Moore, the Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, (who has 2 adopted children), wrote an article titled “Why Have Children in a Time of Trouble?”
He was responding to a reader’s comment that now is not a good time to have children. We appreciate his words:
“Followers of the Lord Jesus face persecutions and sufferings. They always have. Jesus promised it. At the same time, He loves the children and receives them, as His Father does from the beginning of creation, as a blessing. When the Israelites are in bondage to Pharaoh, God sees their children as a blessing. It is Pharaoh who sees them as a curse. When the people of God are under persecution from Babylon, Assyria, Rome, and in every other way, God always pronounces children as a blessing.”
Hudson Taylor had 11 children while on the mission field. 8 of them died. But he viewed each one, each new life, as a gift even in the midst of hunger, imprisonment and persecution.
A person’s stocks may be down, money may be tighter, job security may be lower, but adoption is one way to purposefully affirm that children are a blessing from the Lord. Lydia’s birthmom considered abortion…but something stirred within her when she saw Lydia’s little profile on the ultrasound….and we are so thankful!
6. Our horizontal adoptions are an incredible picture of our vertical adoption:
John Piper, who adopted his daughter Talitha at age 50, explains that our spiritual “adoption in God’s mind was not Plan B. He predestined us for adoption before the creation of the world. Plan A was not lots of children who never sin and never need to be redeemed. Plan A was creation, fall, redemption, and adoption so that the full range of God’s glory and mercy and grace could be known by His adopted children. Adoption was not second best. It was planned from the beginning.”
J.I. Packer (whose 3 children are adopted), wrote in his book, Knowing God, that “Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption…adoption (spiritual) is the highest privilege the gospel offers.” Our justification through Jesus Christ gives us the righteousness of Christ and frees us from the penalty of our sins, but our spiritual adoption makes us members of God’s family and gives us access to all the benefits of being a true child of God.
People may ask an adoptive parent if their child is their “real child” or if they have any children of “their own”.
The implication of those questions is that adoption is somehow less real.
The first Gentiles believers faced similar questions when the Jewish Christians questioned if they were really Christians, if God really included them as part of His family. Justin Taylor, who has adopted children writes:
“In other words, these well-intended questions reveal that too many of us are still accustomed to thinking that biology is more important than legality. There is something about ‘adoption’ that makes us think the relationships are somehow less real….but we must put on our gospel-centered glasses and ask ourselves: Am I really a child of God or not? Is God really my Father or not?…For those who trust in Jesus, the answer is unambiguously YES!”
We love knowing that even Jesus was adopted.
Joseph adopted Jesus….not just by teaching him the ways of a carpenter and being his earthly father, but in the Bible, God traces Jesus’ lineage back to David through Joseph’s lineage (which fulfills so many Old Testament prophecies). And we love that one of the strongest encouragements for adoption in James 1:27, was written by the brother of Jesus, who most likely knew of his brother’s adoption.
With Selah, the reality of adoption was confirmed in our hearts. We couldn’t-wouldn’t have loved her anymore if she had shared our biological DNA. And our grief wouldn’t have been any deeper if she had somehow looked just like us. We don’t love Selah any more or any less than our biological children, but we do think in our love for her, we have learned something even more of the Father’s love for us and have gained a better understanding of His adoption of us.
Lydia is our daughter. We love her. We watch every flutter of her eyelids and sleepy smile and it fills our hearts.
Adoption is real.
7. Adoption brings joy and is evidence of God’s goodness:
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” ~Psalm 27:13 & 14
God promises a future of great joy and blessing with Him in Heaven for those who have a relationship with Him through Jesus’ death and resurrection. But in His goodness, He also displays His love for us in ways we can understand during our time here on earth.
Selah’s adoption was evidence of God’s goodness and love!
Lydia’s adoption is evidence of God’s goodness and love!