The Joy of Adoption
- Dwayne Hastings <i>Baptist Press</i>
- 2005 1 Jan
I enjoy watching the antics of Anne and Rebekah on Sunday mornings. Toddling around and peeking from behind their mothers' skirts, the two-year-olds are just like their other friends at church -- except their birthplace is more than 9,000 miles away.
Anne and Rebecca were given up soon after birth, perhaps because their birth parents wanted a boy, not a girl. The two little girls, from different provinces in the People's Republic of China, now make their homes in Tennessee because two families made the sacrificial decision to adopt. They were just two of the millions of youngsters in the United States and around the world who don't have the assurance of a "forever family." A shocking number of those children do not have their basic needs met because their countries do not have the resources to care for them properly. It's a serious and growing problem, particularly in areas where famine or disease is killing adults and leaving children without parents.
Only a small percentage of eligible children -- internationally and domestically -- are adopted. U.S. government statistics show that in 2000, American families adopted 17,000 international children from the hundreds of thousands estimated to be in orphanages outside the United States. Another 129,000 were awaiting a "forever family" while in foster care in the U.S.
While the number of annual domestic adoptions has not been compiled since 1992, the National Council for Adoption estimates that 20,000 or more U.S.-born infants are placed for adoption every year. Other groups estimate that upwards of 120,000 domestic adoptions occur each year.
It's a problem that should not escape our attention. Not only is Scripture replete with commands for followers of Christ to care for the fatherless, but Romans 8 also informs us the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we have been adopted into the family of God.
In His love, our Father has subsumed the debts we owe as sinners. We are joint-heirs with the Son of God. As children of God, we have all the rights of a member of His family. More than any other people, the people of God know the wonder and joy of being adopted (Ephesians 1:4-6). Our unconditional acceptance by God is a model for our embrace of the fatherless.
There is a need within all of us to be connected, to be loved and to be acknowledged. For those without a "forever family," the needs are great. Human life is precious.
It could be said that it is disingenuous for Christians to demand the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the end to abortion on demand while allowing so many children to languish in orphanages and children's homes. Can we be pro-life without actively being pro-adoption?
So what's a Christian to do? Obviously, adopting a child or becoming a foster parent can have the most direct impact, but there is plenty more we all can do. Foster parents and adoptive families need prayer and financial support. Children's homes need volunteers, as well as financial and other gifts to help the youngsters who are being served.
We need to support those who are called to add to their family by adoption and ask God if we should adopt or be foster parents to a child without a family. Children's homes and orphanages around the world are full of children who desire the love and security of a strong, Christ-honoring family. The sanctity of human life ethic requires we care for the born, as well as pre-born, children.
Ask God if you should open your heart and open your home to a child who needs a family. He will provide all that you need to care for a child who is in desperate need of knowing God's love through your arms.
Dwayne Hastings is vice president for print and editorial with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville, Tenn. His family is in the process of adopting a little girl from China.
© 2005 Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.