But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (KJV, bold added)

This kind of spiritual adoption is mentioned again in Ephesians 1:5. Adoption means that God loves us enough to bring us into his forever family.

But what about actual, physical adoption of one human being to another? Does God have an opinion about this? Does he care one way or the other? Christians can see by looking through Scripture that the answer to those questions is a resounding Yes! God shows that he is concerned about the way orphans are treated not only by commanding his followers to care for widows and orphans, but also he demonstrates the importance of adoptive relationships by placing key adopted characters throughout the Bible.

How God Uses Adoptive Families

Adoptive relationships are obviously special in God’s eyes. He sent his own Son to earth to have an adoptive father, Joseph. He must have known exactly what it felt like to be different, to share the love of Joseph and his name but not his blood or his genes. Joseph played the role of a foster father, knowing that Jesus really belonged to another dad and that he was the earthy stand-in, a significant part of God’s plan for his Son’s human experience.

Adoptive Families Touch Others with Their Stories

Adoptees play key roles throughout the Bible. Many important figures in the Bible stories were adopted, and all were used to save God’s chosen people from destruction. These key characters were the turning point whenever God’s chosen were on the brink of disaster. Adoptees have an incredible call by God on their lives to make a difference in this world. What a privilege it is to be the adoptive parents called to love, guide, and accept one of these special chosen ones. The stories of adoption, in both Bible times and today, touch and change lives. They demonstrate God on the move, at work, and in control. The saving grace in these stories of redeemed lives often inspires people to seek their own redemption.

For example, Moses was placed by his mother in a basket made of reeds and left to float down the Nile River in order to save his life after Pharaoh ordered the infant Hebrew boys be killed. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses as her own son and raised him in the palace. As an adult, God called Moses to lead the nation of Israel out of captivity from Egypt and toward the Promised Land – all because Moses’ adoptive relationship put him in a position of influence (see the book of Exodus).

Adoptees May Influence Their Birth Countries

The Old Testament figure of Joseph was another prominent adoptee. As a teen, he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He ended up with a position of power in Egypt and was used by God to save a nation and his own family from starving to death during a famine (see Genesis 37, 39 – 50). The prophet Samuel was taken as a small boy by his mother and given to the high priest Eli to raise (see 1 Samuel 1: 24 – 28); and Esther, the queen who saved the Jews, was adopted by her cousin Mordecai after her parents died (see Esther 2: 7, 15).

The biblical message seems clear that not only has God deemed adoption acceptable, but also that he uses adoptees in great ways to preserve his kingdom. God is still using adoptees today. Some adopted children from nations where their lives were not valued will return to their birth countries to help change laws. Some adopted children may go on to also adopt children. Many are bringing their adoptive families a better understanding of God’s great love for them, and some will even lead family members to Christ.

Adoption is an Example of His Love for Us

Perhaps there is no better correlation on earth for the way God draw us into his family than adoption. When you choose to bring a child home who was not born into your family and make the decision to love that child unconditionally, you experience how God calls each of us to become part of his family. When people reconcile their relationship with God by accepting the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus, he embraces them as full-fledged members of his family. In fact, the Bible states in Titus 3: 7 that those who accept Christ are justified by his grace so that “we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (NIV).

When someone dies, who are the heirs to the person’s estate? Family members, first and foremost. God loves us enough to make us his heirs, his children. Adoption provides an earthly picture of that heavenly kind of love.

From Successful Adoption by Natalie Nichols Gillespie. Copyright (c) 2006 by Natalie Nichols Gillespie. Reprinted by permission of Integrity Publishers. 
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
is the author of seven books and the managing editor of mtl magazine. In addition, Natalie’s articles have appearead in more than two dozen publications including Christian Parenting Today, HomeLife, Charisma, Christianity Today, Spirit-Led Woman, Christian Music Planet, and CCM magazine. Natalie is a happily-married mom and stepmom of seven who range in age from 1 to 23 years old.