The Call to Adopt: Christians and Adoption.

I’ve heard these phrases often:
“We always felt called to adopt.”
“We never felt compelled to have our own children, so we chose to adopt.”
“Adoption was laid on our hearts.”
“We prayed about it and decided we would adopt.”
“We prayed for this child.”
“Adoption was God’s plan for our family.” etc. etc. etc.

Each of these comments prompt me to ask this question: If you knew you were called to adopt your children, if this was your prayer, then is it remotely possible that you misunderstood what the Lord was saying? And if you misunderstood, then how is it so many are misunderstanding what He is trying to say?

I am asking.

I know so many women that have struggled with the pain of infertility, even so, is it possible that maybe, just maybe, the desire of your heart is louder than the voice of the Lord? See, I don’t believe we are entitled to everything we want in this life. I think sometimes God says “No.”

For anyone that has ever attended an evangelical church, you know that adoption is as common as coffee in the atrium. The evangelical church is the largest lobby group for adoption today. Adoption has become a popular choice by both the pastoral staff and members of their congregation. Dare I say “trendy”? But, let’s go back to Scripture. How was adoption cited in the Bible? Other than Mordecai and Esther (a kinship adoption) I’m unaware of any adoption. Moses was- sort of- adopted but his mother nursed him and helped raise him, and there was no happy ending there considering his estrangement from the Israelites and subsequent flight into the desert. If we look more closely at a few of the verses that might be interpreted as reason to adopt, we find that there is a huge discrepancy between the verses pertaining to spiritual adoption into the family of Christ and adoption as it’s known today.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 82:3 Defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

Matthew 18:5 Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

Now, here’s the thing. I am trying to find the verse or verses that tell us to adopt another woman’s child and raise them as our own. I need to find it, but I can’t. If I found it, then I would understand why so many believe this to be something ‘the Lord has called them to do..’ I want to have grace for these decisions, including the decision I made 27 years ago. I was told this was God’s Will. I was told this (adoption) was the consequence for my sin. What I do see, over and over, however, is that we are to care for the orphans and widows. CARE FOR THEM. Do we see the difference? Imagine if the church made their ministry about keeping families together, rather than tearing them apart. Imagine if the tens of thousands of dollars paid to adopt a baby went to preserving a family instead? That IS the heart of Christ! Does He make mistakes? If he doesn’t then we must see that He had a plan when He allowed a pregnancy to occur. He had already chosen who He wanted to be the mother of that child. Was adoption a sin because we weren’t following the plan he had already put into place? Certainly a “calling” would have a clear scriptural reference.

(1 John 4) We are to search every spirit. We are to be like the Bereans searching scripture daily. This needs to apply to adoption as well. The church takes it as just so, but it never existed for 2,000 years until the last century.

Exodus 20:17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant, or his ox or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Coveting. This is a dangerous thing. And, if you profess to be a Christian then you strive to be like Christ. I have seen pages and pages of prospective adoptive parents requesting “prayers for the birthmother; that she will please make the right decision and give them their baby” (click here). The truth is, this isn’t their baby. It belongs to the mother that birthed the child and that’s where God intended this child to be. There’s no denying that they are praying that the “birthmother” will give them what they’ve longed and prayed for; what they believe is rightfully theirs. I’m trying very hard to understand why they feel this child belongs to them, via domestic adoption or international. Either one.

Matthew 6:2 When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Virtue signaling. It seems adoption has become more of an appearance thing and less of a God thing. It’s a heart issue, for sure. Adoptive parents stand out as virtuous, yet the scripture clearly states we aren’t to brag about our giving, yet, the child is the embodiment of their charity.

Does God definitively ordain the adoption of a poor and/or isolated women’s babies? Does God consecrate the paper orphan? If the answer is no, then the church is in a major crisis. If the answer is yes, then many of us are in a crisis of faith.

Proverbs 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice.

As long as we have adoption I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless, the infants that never asked to be removed from their mothers, be it forcibly or by subtle coercion. They never asked to be adopted and I’m certain every single infant would choose to remain with their own mother.

Written with help and support from Velvet Bocephus.

Photo credit: Anne Heffron

 

 

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33 thoughts on “The Call to Adopt: Christians and Adoption.

    • I’m in! Let’s do this!
      How many, indeed! Let’s keep talking until they listen. Thank you for your insight and words to help me get this done. I couldn’t have done it without you! You have a gift.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I wholeheartedly agree that there must be a large movement to keeping families together. The future or orphan care must be preservation of the family. I am glad you have found your (dare I say…calling) to be a voice for families. Your post reminds me of the political discussion about how republicans may be pro birth but not really pro life as there is little support for the struggling mom and family after birth (didn’t mean to get political but it’s what came to mind).
    There is a group of the voiceless though that are not being spoken for in this post. That is the million plus children already in orphanages around the world. Heartbreakingly these kids do not have a chance of being reunited with their moms and families and need someone to give them a voice. There is a place for adoption…as carefully and ethically done as Earthly possible, but those kids waiting deserve a voice and a family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One needs to realize that those portrayed as ‘orphans’ are many times not that at all. There is mass corruption in the international adoption industry, as has been documented in many places.

      So, yes, these ‘orphans’ you speak of do need a voice; a voice which empowers their mothers before trafficking and coercion take place and these babies, or children, are removed from their first families.

      Scripture certainly tells us to “care for the widow and orphan” but we are also to care for mothers, sisters, and daughters. Love them as our neighbor, which Christ instructed us to do. If we did that, we could stem the tidal flow into these orphanages by caring for and empowering mothers, which would enable them to keep their babies and maintain family cohesion, which is the ultimate goal.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I completely agree with your statement. What is your response to the children already waiting? That is my main question. You can work to stop to problem at its root but there are millions of children out there. I’m not talking the cute newborns. I’m talking older children with disabilities who need medical care. Is your answer to have them remain there? To care from them from a distance? I truly am asking.

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  2. DR KATE WALLER-BARRATT one of the finest Christian Women America has ever known from West Virginia, this Godly woman had above the entrance to every home she had for unwed mothers….NEVER SEPERATE THE SACRED BOND OF MOTHER AND CHILD…..the world CRIES OUT TODAY for women of her calibre, for FAMILY PRESERVATION not FAMILY DISINTEGRATION this truly causes FAMILY DEVASTATION and DESTRUCTION. Churches should sponsor teen families, and work tirelessly to support in every way FAMILY PRESERVATION.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Excellent, thank you! The “adoption journey” set are never willing to understand that they are sinfully coveting the child of vulnerable parents, but instead convince themselves that in their case, covetousness is a-ok and “God put the baby in the wrong tummy” so they could swoop in like vultures at the mother’s childbed and make off with her child. I also had the experience as a teen mom of being told that God wanted me to surrender my child to atone for my sin of having sex outside of marriage, and the whole rot about “giving a gift” to a more deserving couple who “did everything right” (code for “didn’t have sex outside of marriage”). I didn’t surrender my child, and left the church for 20 years. The “God” that these types have created to justify their covetousness and victimizing is a cruel monster – imagine a “God” who loves some of His children more than others, and if you either break the rules or find yourself poor, “God” will use your body and break your heart to give your precious child to a more favored one of “His” children. This is not the loving God they claim to worship.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I am a Christian adoptive mother. I have 3 biological children and we adopted a 6-year-old little boy. He had been in an orphanage for 3 years and had no hope of being reunited with his family. The father left and signed over his parental rights at that time. The mother tried, but was an alcoholic and was on several prescription drugs for psychological disorders. They put her in rehab and she ran away. They gave her multiple chances over 2 years and tried to help her get her life straight, but alas, she chose alcohol. He has been in our home for a year now and is doing well, although there was quite an adjustment period for all of us. We are still working through things and trying to help him remember his mom and his country. I don’t want him to ever think that I’m trying to replace her. I write this to say that I believe there is a place for adoption if done correctly. I don’t believe that it is right to coerce someone to give up their baby just because you want it. However, there will be orphans because some parents are abusive, drug addicts, alcoholics, etc and aren’t able to parent. In those cases, the children need a stable environment to grow, learn, and be properly cared for. After the parents have been given chance after chance to get help, but choose not to, then and only then should adoption be an option.

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Orphans”. I think it’s important to recognize the difference between a true orphan (a child with no living parents or extended kin) and the orphans we hear are languishing in orphanages. These are the adoption stories where I receive the most push back. Adoptive parents truly believe they are saving a child, and while I understand that in many cases this might be true, so many fail to see the actual coercion and trafficking that is happening in international adoptions today. These countries are aware of it, which is why many have shut down inter country adoptions, particularly to the U.S. (Most recently Ethiopia)

      I think, more than the corruption attached, which has been documented and reported, I look at the trauma. No child is exempt from adoption trauma. This happens each and every time we remove a child from their mother and/or family(trauma #1). Then we add in removal from their attachments to those caring for them in the orphanage(trauma #2), removal from their country, their culture, familiar faces, their language and food, then place them in a home with complete strangers (trauma #3).. its a recipe for disaster. The attempted suicide rate for adoptees is FOUR TIMES greater than that of non adoptees (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/810625) and the majority of those studied were international adoptees. They are over represented(by up to 40%) in mental health facilities, drug treatment facilities, and jails. Then let’s add in the amount of money it costs to buy a baby, often upwards of $50-$60,000. Adoption is a money making, for profit, multi billion dollar industry and when we have that much money at stake per child adopted then you better believe corruption and trafficking is a valid and very real concern.

      The best way to understand adoption is to listen to the voices of those most affected. We must listen to adult adoptees that have lived it. Not the adopted parents. They didn’t lose a thing.

      To listen to the stories, go to https://dearadoption.com/

      Thank you for sharing your story and experience with me. I understand not everyone is either willing or able to parent, but we now see that this is most often due to lack of support and resources. Foster parenting is a need, with the goal being reunification with their family, not as a faster way to adopt a child. Imagine a world where preserving the family was first, adoption last.

      Sincerely, Stephanie

      Liked by 3 people

    • Heather, I am a half orphan. My mother died and my father was widowed with 5 children.

      Before I tell you my story, let me say that I occasionally write under the nickname of “halforphan56” but more recently chose to go with “legitimatebastard” because it is adoption law that governs what happens to the adoptee’s identity papers. The orphan and the bastard both are re-born to the adopting “parents” via the new, amended birth certificate. Laws were written to legitimize the bastard, but I did not need to be legitimize since I was born to married parents.

      You claim “your son” needed to be adopted. Not so. Other family members could have been helped to keep him within his extended family. That is called Kinship Care. But since you insisted upon removing him form his home country, you took him away from his culture and language as well. That is cruel.

      Legal guardianship within the home country and city would have been the next possible solution for this boy. But you chose to make him “your own” via adoption. You have ownership papers in the form of the adoption decree and his accurate medical record of live birth was revoked and sealed, and a replacement birth certificate was made indicating that you gave birth to him. How does it feel to be a Christian who lies?

      Nothing you say convinces me that adoption was best for this boy. There are other alternatives, but you assume it is adoption as the answer. Because you are not aware of other alternatives.

      Here is my situation. Again, an adoption was not necessary for me, a half orphan:

      James 1:27 “…. to look after the orphans and widows in their distress …”

      I never held it against my 31 year old father for making the hard decision to relinquish me into adoption less than one month after my 30 year old mother died. He was a devout Catholic and followed the advice of his parish priest.

      It is the PRIEST who I fault. He said to my father at my mother’s funeral, “The baby needs two parents.” Sure, if you look only at the constant care of an infant, but wouldn’t it have been so much more loving, so much more caring and helpful if the PRIEST had offered help in the form of suggesting that volunteers from the church come in and help to care for me and my older siblings? How about donations of food, clothes, diapers, money? My grandparents were sick. Other family members had babies of their own. My father was stretched to the limit. He gave away his 5th child because a PRIEST put the idea in his head.

      Oh, and, minutes after the priest spoke, a woman came up to my father and said, “I know someone who will take your baby.”

      Her brother became my adoptive father.

      Nice going, lady. Swoop down on a grieving husband and father. Take the baby off his hands, free up one more child that he didn’t need to feed so that you could pride yourself on procuring someone else’s baby for your brother. Nice going, Aunt Gertie, mighty Christian of you. May you rot in hell along with that priest.

      This is not to say I didn’t love my adoptive parents, this is to say that my adoption was arranged by Catholics who were anything but Christian. I remain, and always will be, a “good without god” atheist; how I became adopted is just one of many reasons that I am no longer “a believer.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this piece very much, except for one point–belonging.

    The baby does not belong to anyone but themselves because people are not property. This is the problem with the whole adoption industry: babies are people and people are not property to be bought, sold, bartered, or traded. I have never belonged to my adoptive parents or my birthparents. I belong to myself. I may choose to give my heart to my spouse and/or my soul to God, but I belong to me.

    Our children are not our property; they are or responsibility. A good person of faith who spends $40-$60k to adopt a child would be doing a greater service to the child and to the Lord if they used that money to help a mother in distress meet her responsibility to her child, to help keep a family together.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. As an adoptee from the baby scoop era I have always struggled with the concept that I was the most precious thing that had happened to one woman and the worst thing that had happened to another. I was one woman’s joy and a very young woman’s sorrow. I wrote a story about it and compared myself to a piece of silver being polished up, and how it wore away at part of me. It is a very complex emotion…this being adopted, I wouldn’t choose it or recommend it to anyone, it scars your soul even in the best of families and circumstances.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. A lot that you wrote is sadly true. Adoption is more about how much attention you get off of doing it. Many people don’t understand that it isn’t about them it is about the child and what is best for the child. These “want to be parents” do not understand the precious life that they are responsible for take away from its original home.. it actually does hurt the person when they get older and wiser.. you get no explanation you get nothing. Literally all you have to run off of is faith and any possible hope you can find in yourself.. you feel like you never belong. However I will say I have also heard of many fully successful adoptions but these people went into adopting the way our God wants us to not how social media wants you to.. I hope you can explain to more people how serious it is and bring it to their attention that it doesn’t matter how Christian you look on your Facebook page, it matters if your feel in your heart that God want you to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Uh what about kids with dead parents. Who are they supposed to belong to. Also i find it funny how you sit here and try to fit pieces of new information into your cookie cutter ideology instead of adapting to new information with the understanding that god controls and knows all. And lastly why must you search endlessly for a verse to back up adoption. Who cares if there is one or not? The bible does not have everything in it and even if it did it is not literally the word of god. It is man made. No, the bible is not perfect because it is written by man. Go ahead and try to tell me it isnt but i guess i missed hearing about the time god manifested himself as a pen and wrote the bible. People who have a relationship with god know what god wants them to do and what he doesnt want them to do. Maybe its not for everyone but being orthodox myself and having a strong relationship with god i know that taking care of my son was the right thing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Interesting blog post! you raise some great points in this post, and in your other posts. the church should be focusing on supporting struggling families, if the church is pro life then it has a responsibility to help mothers and families struggling – absolutely!
    Nevertheless, there are true orphans in this day and age – I’m in the UK and it’s very different to America. Most often children in the system here have been taken off their biological parents due to their own protection or the parents want nothing to do with their child. The professionals always try to reconcile the relationship but if they cannot these children are in dire need of being adopted. would you agree?

    also, we live in a fallen world, there is trafficking and corruption in some international adoptions – of course. but there are a lot of children in state/private orphanages dying through a lack of love and nourishment – regardless of how these children got there, if they are not adopted they will die there or age out and statistics show, a great percentage will go into a life of crime/prostitution or commit suicide. so should they not be adopted? should they be left to perish? an ongoing dialogue needs to continue within governments (whom are often corrupt) to change this. but i can’t help but wonder, when we question these genuine people who are willing to adopt – what would the other choice be for these children in african/russian etc… orphanages – because the corruption will continue, the mothers will not always be found and some are genuine Orphans. what is the other solution. the church working in American to equip mothers is of course an option. and Christians running children’s homes in foreign countries is another option, but do you think their is anything more powerful then belonging in a family, being loved, being a part of a nuclear family where you are seen, heard, loved and cherished?

    i personally see the narrative of adoption right throughout the bible. when you look into roman adoption and see the power of what God is saying when He tells us we are adopted by Him- that right there is proof that adoption in the bible means, taking another woman’s child, if she cannot or will not look after them herself.

    such an interesting conversation and so important to stretch our thoughts and look outside of our narrow perception – thank you for encouraging this!

    blessing xo

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. I’m glad to see this even as an agnostic person… Those who use the condescending “we were called by God to adopt” attitude and then start spouting off bible verses to justify it (particularly the one about caring for orphans) drive me nuts particularly because the blogs I see rarely acknowledge that the child comes with two biological parents… Whether dead or alive, adopting a child must acknowledge that this is a complex situation and that there is history we are not a part of as adoptive parents. I’m so glad to see that there is open and semi-open adoption now that allows for a relationship between both sets of parents rather than act like the child’s popped out of a vending machine. (That being said, it’s often those who have never experienced infertility who say “just adopt” or “just foster” as if those are the easiest processes in the world to go through, and as if those choices are perfect for everyone)

    As a side note, one of the hardest things for me is to see that people with children already are often scooping up children right and left while those like my husband and I who are unable to have children are deprioritized in the process. Some adoption agencies also discriminate against those who are not of the same religious background, and I’ve also found that the agencies that are hyper-religious are also the ones charging the most money. Ironic to put it mildly.

    Liked by 1 person

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