Monday, 9 November 2015

Celebrating World Adoption Day

Today is World Adoption Day. Here is an article I wrote a couple of years ago comparing our adoption of children to our adoption into God's family.
Quite a few people have asked us why we wanted to adopt a baby. There are many reasons and circumstances which led us to this point.  This response was written on May 30th 2010, four days after our successful adoption hearing in the High Court of the country where we had been working for the previous four years:
In some ways, the answer is incredibly simple. Working as doctors here, we see parents dying every week on the wards, often leaving very young children. The extended family often struggles to cope. We hear of children being abandoned, with desperate relatives seeing no other solution. There are too many children here without families, with a future which seems so uncertain. We longed for a home filled with children, and to be able to give a home and a family to an orphaned child was to be a great privilege.
When we were first married, we became frustrated by those who discussed contraception and childbearing as issues completely within human control. Adoption was often seen as a last resort, something only considered when all other avenues had been exhausted. Sometimes it is easier to form your stance on an issue when it does not affect you directly. Through the Christian Medical Fellowship, we were encouraged to consider biblical truth regarding issues of life and death, including matters surrounding fertility treatments, contraception and abortion.
The Bible makes clear that life begins long before birth. God reminded the prophet Jeremiah: ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you’.[1] A new life does not come about by accident. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that murder is contrary to the will of God;[2] so most Christians would agree that termination of pregnancy is wrong. However, if women requesting termination are counselled to consider alternatives, including putting the child forward for adoption, how should Christians respond? These children need a loving home where they will be nurtured.
We met many families who have adopted; each told a story of blessing and grace. We asked frank questions, and received honest, helpful answers. Each conversation increased our certainty that we should adopt. Nobody has pretended that things are always easy. However, I don’t know any family with biological children who would claim this either!
Our decision to adopt was also shaped by our understanding of the gospel. As Christians, we are adopted into God’s family. We were lost, helpless, without stability or direction and yet we have become heirs with Christ. I feel intensely aware of this. In the church I meet people who are my brothers and sisters, knowing a bond and a closeness which I never knew growing up in my home.
A biological link means something, but true Christian fellowship is far greater. God rescued us from darkness,[3] slavery,[4] pain[5] and death,[6]bringing us into his kingdom of light,[7] freedom,[8] joy,[9] peace[10] and everlasting life.[11] ‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship by whom you cry out, “Abba, Father”. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ’.[12] We are shown grace[13] – the abundant blessing of God which we could never have earned through our own actions.[14] We are given a brand new start.[15] John Piper describes adoption as ‘the heart of the gospel’[16]mirroring many aspects of our salvation in Christ. In adoption, a child is taken from a difficult situation and given a new start. The child is given the same legal rights as a biological child. The orphan who had no family is given a home.

[1] Jeremiah 1:5
[2] Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21; Romans 13:9
[3] Colossians 1:13
[4]Romans 8:15
[5] Romans 8:22
[6] 1 John 3:14
[7] Ephesians 5:8
[8] Romans 8:21; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1
[9] Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22
[10] John 14:27; Romans 14:17
[11] Romans 5:21
[12] Romans 8:15-17
[13] Romans 5:15-21
[14] Psalm 14:3; Romans 3:12,
[15] John 3:3; Galatians 6:15
[16] Piper J. Adoption: the heart of the gospel.

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