"Can you not have children of your own?" I bit my tongue as I responded to the question. "She is my own," I replied. The usual reaction was given, "Oh. Well, you know what I mean." Yes, I do know what that person and the countless others who have asked similar questions mean. They want to know if my wife and I are capable of having biological children. After all, don’t most people only adopt after exhausting all other means of starting a family?

As a Christian and an adoptive father I have a burden for the multitudes of orphaned children around the world. There are seemingly countless boys and girls that are desperately in need of a godly family to raise them. Yet, sadly, to a large extent they are passed by, unnoticed and unloved, even by Christians.

On one hand we rightfully oppose abortion by championing a child’s right to live. On the other we seem to overlook the fact that although life begins at conception, it also continues after birth. As Christians we have a responsibility not only to fight for a child’s right to live, but also for their right to grow up in a home with parents that love and nurture them.

At this point the questions and objections come easily: "But what can I do?", "Isn’t adoption expensive?", "I don’t think I could handle it." To some extent the questions and objections that are often raised are valid, for the adoption process can be lengthy and difficult. Yet, I believe these objections are often based more on fiction than fact.

Most of us have probably heard the horror stories. "I knew someone who adopted and...." You fill in the blank. Ultimately, all the stories end the same. We hear of a family’s bad experience with an adoptive child and therefore conclude that it is a dangerous endeavor. The fallacy of this logic is obvious, for many families experience similar difficulties with biological children as well. Instead of listening to the myths and misconceptions concerning adoption, we need to listen to God and seek His will. It may not be the usual path, but starting or building a family through adoption is a God-honoring and blessed ministry.

With the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, it is right for us to renew our fight for the unborn. However, as Christians we have experienced first hand the blessing of adoption into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5). Therefore, we should be leading the charge to contend for the future of the born as well as the unborn.

For many, it’s hard to imagine loving a child who is not biologically yours as your own son or daughter. I have been told that the way I love my daughter makes one think that she is "my own." She was four months old the first time I had the privilege of holding her, and I can assure you of one thing -- there could have been no greater love in my heart for her. She is my forever daughter, regardless of what biology tells me.

I am thankful to know that my heavenly Father, who not only created me, but also adopted me as His own son, will never look at me as someone else’s child. Rather, He will love me for all eternity as His very own. Clearly, adoption requires sacrifice, but we shouldn’t forget what God sacrificed to adopt us. As Christians, it’s time to ask ourselves what we are doing to fulfill the ministry of adoption.

Brian Priest is the education pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Calhoun, Ga.

© 2006 Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.