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