I used to hate adoption.

No, I never thought I hated adoption. As a matter of fact I always saw myself as enthusiastically pro-adoption. I was pro-life, after all. I believed that adoption was a better alternative to abortion. And I even talked about adopting children one day after my wife and I had had our "own kids."

And then God, through infertility, miscarriage, and two little boys in a Russian orphanage, changed my understanding of the gospel, of mission, and of myself.

Here in Louisville we're going to be hosting a conference on adoption entitled, "Adopting for Life," to take place February 26-27, 2010. I hope you'll join us.

You may be wondering whether this will be a conference about the doctrine of adoption or "real" adoption. Well, one of the things that we'll be discussing is the fact that you can't talk about the one without talking about the other. Also, it is not as though we master one aspect and then move to the other—from the vertical to the horizontal or the other way around. That's not the picture God has embedded in his creation work.

The Bible tells us that human families are reflective of an eternal fatherhood (Eph. 3:14-15). We know, then, what human fatherhood ought to look like on the basis of how Father God behaves toward us. But the reverse is also true. We see something of the way our God is fatherly toward us through our relationships with our own human fathers. And so Jesus tells us that in our human father's provision and discipline we get a glimpse of God's active love for us (Matt. 7:9-11; cf. Heb. 12:5-7). The same is at work in adoption.

So we've invited a number of great speakers to "Adopting for Life" who will seek to equip us to create a culture of adoption in our families and churches. We'll be answering questions such as, "What does adoption have to do with the Great Commission?", "How can I pay for adoption?", and "How can we start an adoption ministry in my church?"—along with so many others.

You'll meet people who are thinking like you about these issues. Some of them are ministers or church leaders who want to lead their people to care for widows and orphans. Some are families wondering if God is calling them to adopt. Some are folks who were adopted, or families who have adopted and are thinking through how to deal with some special issues.

I would love to see you here in Louisville for the "Adopting for Life" conference, as we think together about how God might be leading us to be on mission with Christ for the sake of the orphans of the world.