Why We Adopt
Last Saturday we had a fundraiser here in Edinburgh for our adoption. We raised just under £1500 (that’s about $2000). It was a fun night and pretty amazing to think about. After that fundraiser we find ourselves one step closer to bringing Grace home. We only need to raise another $23,000. It is always amazing to think about how many people have come on board to help out with this adoption. We are blessed to have great friends and family surrounding us through this journey.
Obviously, as this process keeps moving forward, I find my mind wondering regularly to the bigger idea of adoption. Why should we adopt? Why has this always been a major part of a Christian social ethic? We only to need to read early church history and we see from the very beginning the early church was out saving unwanted children from exposure to the cold; saving children’s lives. Quite literally the early church was bringing children out of the cold into their homes and raising them as their own children. Why in a Greco-Roman context, where this was most definitely not part of social ethic, did the church begin this practice?
The easy answer to this question is that the Bible commands it. We can glance at Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Or we can look at James 1:27:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
The command to look after the least and the last in society is notable all over Scripture, and if it was just a command, that would be enough for Christians to obey. However, I think that Scripture provides us with an even deeper understanding for why we care for the orphan.
Scripture tells us that we care for the orphan because we once were orphans, and our heavenly father brought us into his family. When we look at Scripture, we see a tale of two families. You have the family of Satan (even Jesus speaking about the Pharisees says that they are just like their father, the Devil - John 8:44), and you have the family of God. The sad truth is that after Adam’s sin in Genesis 3, everyone who is born of man finds themselves born into the family of Satan, a family that only leads to death.
Here’s the thing though, we don’t realize that we are born into this family. The family we are born into we think is normal. We don’t realize that every family isn’t like our family until we encounter other families. This is the case in a natural family, and this is the case in a spiritual family. So, we are born into this family that leads to death, but we don’t know that this is not the way it is supposed to be. We don’t know that this isn’t the way it is supposed to be until we encounter another family, another Father.
This is the interesting thing about how Scripture portrays our situation. Being born into a family that leads to death, God sets his love on us and adopts us into his family. He takes us out of one family and places us in a new family, his family. We become children of God. He does this not because of anything inherently lovely in us, but because he loves us.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. - 1 John 3:1
This adoption is not free though, it costs a great deal. The Father has to send his Son, his only begotten Son, to live a righteous life in our place and die a death that we deserve so that we are able to receive the righteousness that is Christ’s. We receive an inheritance; becoming joint heirs with Christ. The Father not only gives us Christ’s righteousness, but he gives us himself. He places his Spirit on us that we may call out to him as our Father.
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. - Galatians 4:1–7
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. - Romans 8:15–17
This is the reality that motivates the Christian to care for the orphan. We live in light of the reality that God has adopted us into his family. He has removed us from one family and put us into a new family. Even when we didn’t realize that our lives were going nowhere but toward death, God plucked us out of that family. He places us in a family that gives us life, happiness, rest, and a loving Father who guides us.
This reality changes our heart to the world around us. We not only have a heart for the orphan but we want to be like our Father. Children naturally want to be more like their parents. It is easy to see this with kids and their parents. When God saves us from death, our response is a desire to be like him. We go out into the world with a desire to save others from death, so we pursue adoption. We care for the widow. We provide to the poor and vulnerable in our society. We read verses like:
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. - Psalm 68:5–6
Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy. - Hosea 14:3
These verses tell us who our Father is, and our only response is to long to be like him. So, we turn back to the commands to care for the orphan and widow, and we fulfill them. We fulfill them not because they are some arduous task for us to complete for God to love us, but because he is our Father and we long to be like our Father.
If you would like to give toward our adoption, you can do so at our agency’s website. Make sure you indicate that it is an adoption sponsorship and it is ‘for the child to be adopted by Cameron and Taryn Clausing’. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.