I started writing this a week ago, and it became one of the pieces in a pile of un-concluded thoughts. Because I think that it’s important I’m going to attempt to finish it up.
Today is the first World Adoption Day. Some might claim it’s a day of celebration. Others will argue that it’s not a day of celebration. Adoption is coupled with loss and tragedy. Don’t tell me that an orphan is an unhappy child. I know it, know it know it all too well. Adoption is not a “complete repair,” speaking in heart-surgery terms here, but it is a “palliative fix.”
“What?” you ask. “I thought that adoption was supposed to be forever; a forever family, love forever, unconditional love and hope and happiness?”
It’s not. Because children are not supposed to become orphans. And if they’re not supposed to ever be orphans, then adoption isn’t supposed to be something that happens. But it does, and that’s sad.
However, the concept of adoption was birthed long before there were “orphanages” or “termination of parental rights” or “poverty orphans.”
The concept of adoption began in Genesis chapter 48. Jacob – a blind and dying old man, adopted Ephraim and Manasseh. He gave them tribes – the full privilege and inheritance that would belong to a son. That’s what adoption is – it’s not simply the addition of children into a family. It is giving these people the full privilege that comes to children in our families.
“Adoption gives us the rights of children, regeneration gives us the nature of children: we are partakers of both of these, for we are sons.“
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13
Let’s swivel and look at adoption from another angle… from a heavenly one. Let’s look at the adoption that John spoke of when he said that to us “He gave the right to become children of God.” Because this is adoption, y’all.
God has not just rescued us from the bondage of sin and the future of complete seperation. He has brought us into His home, into His inheritance. We are sons and daughters of the Most High. This is vertical adoption, and when a family brings a child, who was once left alone and given up, into their family, they are demonstrating this vertical reality through a horizontal action.
Sometimes people ask silly questions, such as, “which are your real children?” They ask because they don’t understand.
Think about it – when we die and those of us who have a relationship with God meet in heaven, will the angels ask this question of us? “Which are your adopted children, and which are your real children?” Um, no! Because those who are in heaven will ALL be sons and daughters of Jesus Christ. We are all adopted into His family.
Pastor Voddie Baucham says that we have “an overblown reality of biology.” Who are we closer to, those related to us biologically, or those who are fellow believers? The blood of Christ is so much “thicker” than the blood of heredity.
The inheritance of Ephraim and Manasseh was based upon the promises of God.
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:14-17
You. Me. We have an inheritance.
But doesn’t someone have to die in order for us to have an inheritance?
Yes. Yes, someone died.
When a family “adopts a child” they should not look at adopting as an inheritance for them -filling an empty spot in their lives, fulfilling them. Neither should we look at adoption as as an inheritance for the child, the social justice angle.
“We must adopt children with the view to raising them in the discipline and instruction in the lord with the view of Christ having HIS full inheritance… The only thing I have of worth is that which has been promised to me by God. “
-Pastor Voddie Baucham
When Ephriam and Manassah were adopted it wasn’t because Abraham needed sons. He already had 12 of them. The adoption wasn’t about a need, it was about love. I mean, think about it… were we chosen and saved by God because He needs us? No, it’s because He LOVES us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6
Just by reading the verse above, who is adoption about? Us? No… it’s about Christ. It’s ALL about Him. And we adopt others because of our love for Christ, and for His glory and honor and namesake.
Will an adopted child one day have an identity crisis? Want to know their birth-parents? Want to know their history? Yes. But this should not keep families from adopting. It’s not about us. The fear of a child not growing up to feel that their adopted parents were “enough” is real, but it’s not right. Because this is about Christ. It’s not about getting love for ourselves, or glory, or just having a bigger family. It’s about giving Christ MORE glory, and leading MORE to Himself.
November is National Adoption Month, and the 9th was the first World Adoption Day. I think that it’s neat that someone has decided that the nation and the world need to set aside time to ponder these things… there are orphans who need families. If not us, then who? But I think that by focusing all of our advocacy and energy upon the pleading-eyed children in another country we miss out on something very important.
Our adoption. Our adoption as sons and daughters of Christ. If we could realize these truths, it would be like Easter all over again. Like Reformation Sunday and Good Friday and Christmas all in one.
Pastor Baucham said it this way (and I can’t listen to it enough!):
“We are adopted. God could have saved us and made us slaves. But he saved us and made us children. If God had saved us and made us slaves… that would have been good enough. It would have been more than we deserved! And yet he has adopted us and made us his children.”
Adopting children is not about us, or the children, really. It’s about painting a picture of God, who is the adopter of us, His precious children.
And this is something to celebrate.
thoughts adapted from my notes from Voddie Baucham’s sermon on Genesis 48 which you can listen to here – I highly recommend it!