Among other observances, November is Adoption Awareness Month. It is possible that we personally know a family who has adopted a child—or children—or we know someone who has shared that he or she is adopted. On this theme, I offer these reflections, which come from columnist Hope Bolinger.
Whether we feel called to adopt a child, have been adopted ourselves, or were raised by a biological family but have experienced spiritual adoption, we understand this concept of being grafted into a new family on some level.
What does the Bible say about literal adoption?
Although the Bible doesn’t have a specific verse that commands parents to consider adoption as a viable way to raise a family, we do see instances in biblical examples. For instance, when Moses’ mother could not care for him, since Pharaoh had mandated the slaughter of all the male infants, he was placed in the care of the Pharaoh’s daughter and reared in the palace (Exodus 2). Because she adopts him, he eventually grows up and saves the Israelite people from the oppressive power of Pharaoh. Esther lost her parents at a young age, but her cousin Mordecai adopted her (Esther 2:7). Like Moses, she goes on to save the Jewish people.
In addition to biblical examples we encounter several verses which mention caring for orphans: (for example) James 1:7 tells us to care for widows and orphans in their distress. Matthew 25:40 Scripture tells us that whatever we did for the least of these we do for God. Although we can care for orphans in a number of ways, one of the most practical is to welcome them into our families. What better way can we care for someone without parents than to provide for their biological and spiritual needs? How can we prevent the world from taking advantage of them? By offering our homes and our love to these children, we can help defend them and give them the tools they need to thrive and succeed. Even though we are all created equal in God’s image, society, especially society during the time of Jesus, did not view orphans as equals. In many ways, they were the least of these.
The Bible talks about this spiritual adoption in a number of ways. Through Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross, He has paved a way for us to reach the gates of Heaven and call God our “Abba” Father (Romans 8:15). Like the orphans in Ancient Rome, we were extremely exposed, vulnerable, and lacked agency. We could do nothing to relieve ourselves from our circumstances, until Jesus rescued us and adopted us. Psalm 27:10 says even when our own families abandon us, God takes us in. Even when our families fall apart and parents leave us, God will never forsake us. Once He grafts us into His family, we remain a part of it forever.
What does adoption mean for believers?
Whether we have experienced literal adoption, spiritual adoption, or both, we can come to acknowledge we know how it feels to be in a vulnerable position. But because God chooses to be our Father and adopts us into His family, we have a place where we belong. We have a heavenly Father who loves us, where our earthly fathers may have failed us.
Furthermore, since we have experienced this love from the Father and this adoption, we can show our love to orphans and vulnerable children. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean all of us are called to adoption, but many of us are. When God calls us to adopt, we’ll be ready with love overflowing since He lavishly has poured out His love upon us and called us sons and daughters of God.
(Bolinger, Hope. Reproduced from biblestudytools.com)
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