December 13, 2013

Adoption: It's in the Bible!

I want my adoptee friends to know God’s love. 

I want them to see Him for who He really is.

Photo Credit: Ryk Neethling

I long for the whole world to know Him. If you are a Christian, I feel certain you join me in that desire.

Many adoptees have a hard time seeing who He is clearly because they keep hearing, “Adoptive parents pray for their children, and do what God did for us! Our adoptive parents pursued us, just like God pursued us and adopted us into His family!”   

When people share that what God does for us, by salvation, is the same thing as what adoptees receive from adoption as an institution -- created by man and regulated by the government --  many don’t want to say yes to God. 

They want to get as far away from God as possible.

Because if what God  can do for them is the same thing that a man-made government institution has provided, many of them think, “No thanks.”

“Well, what people think is not the important thing. It’s what God thinks.” 

What does God think?

“Adoption is in the Bible!” is a standard Christian response.


The word adoption is in the Bible.

To be exact, it is there five times -- used only by Paul in the New Testament. 

We find the actual word, adoption, in Romans 8:15, Romans 8:23, Romans 9:4, Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5. 

Each time it refers to the same thing.

What is it’s meaning? 

When the word “adoption” appears in scripture it speaks only of what God does when we accept His Son, Jesus. 

The five times adoption is mentioned in the Bible refers to salvation.

It’s not referring to a man-made 13-billion dollar a year institution regulated by the government whereby one can expand their family. 

What is Salvation?

Jesus came to earth because we needed a Savior. He came as Emmanuel, meaning, "God with us" --  fully God yet fully human, like us, yet without sin. He became the sacrifice for the sins of the world. 

All a person has to do to receive salvation is come to Him, as they are.  

Salvation is not about rules, it’s about relationship. 

Salvation is coming to Him and admitting our need for Him and accepting His grace.

Many Christians believe adopting of a child is the same thing that happens when God adopts us into his family as believers. They say infertile adoptive parents pursuing a baby is just like how God pursues us. 

Not exactly.

Adoptive parents aren’t saviors.

They didn't die on a cross for us.

They are fallible human beings.

And God is complete. He is not missing anything. He doesn’t need us to fill His empty heart or hands.

When God accepts us as part of His family He doesn’t bring us into a broken system, spiritually bypass our loss, and re-write our history replacing it with untruths about our origin.

God is truth. He is light, and openness.

Photo Credit: Jemimus,Flickr

 What About Adoptees in the Bible?

Christians have compared our adoptions as children to that of the experience of Jesus, Moses and Esther. The three of them didn't have a foster home, an adoption agency, an amended birth certificate, or sealed records.

Regarding Jesus' "adoption" as some call it -- his record has been well documented in a book. It has been published, open for all to see, and distributed more widely than any other book in the history of the world. 

God felt genealogy was so important much of it is carefully recorded in His book about Jesus. 

There is nothing hidden about who or where Jesus came from.  His record is open and He longs for the entire world to read it. 

As far as first mothers, Mary is by no means out of the picture. She is honored. This is not the experience of most first mothers (birth mothers) in the world today.

To parallel what the flawed man-made government regulated worldly institution of adoption does to what God does when He adopts us through salvation is a mockery to what Jesus accomplished by His sacrifice on the cross. 

But, isn’t adoption as an institution sometimes necessary? 


There are times children are separated from their original family because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.  

Sometimes original parents rights are terminated for just cause.

And yet, even when this happens and a child is adopted, it is still not same as what the Bible refers to as adoption.

But doesn't James 1:27 does give us a command to care for orphans?


 Sometimes caring means caring enough to keep a family together that without your help, may be separated forever.

To "care for" may mean to adopt in certain circumstances, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that. 

There are a lot of steps to take to truly care for a child as Jesus would have us do -- before an adoption takes place.

What Would Jesus Do?

Since Jesus never actually said the word adoption in the scripture, we can consider what He would do based upon everything else we have read about Him. 

In John 14:6 He declares Himself to be, "the way, the truth and the life."  

Caring for orphans as Jesus would have us to do would include his core value of truth-telling, and reaching out to women in need.  Jesus crossed all the barriers of the day to reach out to people like the woman at the well, in John 5. Surely He would reach out to the single mothers.

Helping might be messy.  Inconvenient. Costly in ways we never expected.

Doing things Jesus-style is like that.

Adoption as an institution is necessary in certain cases. And, because of the trauma that is present in every adoption, it should never be a first response but a last resort after preservation of the family has been attempted. 

When a child must be adopted, a plan needs to be in place that will provide the child with the knowledge of their origin, heritage, and medical history. Maintaining ties to their original family should be prioritized if at all possible, and safe to do so.

When the Bible speaks of mother and child being separated or children being abandoned, God says He will comfort. Why would He indicate a need to comfort if there were no reason to mourn? God takes no delight in mothers and children being separated, although He promises to help us through it when it does happen.

Are individual words all that is important?

No. Context is important.  The same word often has many different meanings, biblical or otherwise.

So yes, you will find the word, adoption, in the bible. 

There is no doubt it is there.  It is there five times.  And all five times the word is mentioned, it refers to salvation, not the legal substitution of a child's natural parents with adoptive parents. 

Note: Many of you who read here are not Christians.  Thank you for your understanding about the fact that AR exists not only to be a safe place for adoptees to heal, but also to expand the Christian understanding of adoption. Today's focus was on the latter. I love and respect you all.