Adoption has always made sense to me. It’s more than growing my family – although that has been an awe-inspiring thing to experience. Adoption is part of my (over-simplified) version of “love wins” narrative that’s woven so deep within my soul, I have trouble digging it up to examine the individual threads.
Imagine my relief when I read this wonderful and thorough written work by Dan Cruver explaining connections between adoption and Christ in a way that brought many of my personal adoption concepts to light as integral pieces of Christianity – which I see as my heritage passed on to me by my parents, grandparents, and lineage as well as my choice each day as a Christ-follower.
5 Reasons Adoption is “Natural” to Me:
- Adoption came before us and always was. Many times, as an only child (until my sister arrived when I was the age of 10) I embraced the concept that people walked into my life and became family. My parents and I lived in newly established adult foster care homes where individuals living with disability, developmental disability, mental illness, etc. would move from an institutionalized setting to live in a home setting as a family bonded by choice and purpose. My mother would establish familial concepts with the residents as she worked to manage and oversee a team of staff that would take the reins before we moved on to establish another home. Within my young construct, family was built by acceptance, unconditional love, and hard work. I’m forever grateful that my concept of family and adoption predated any contemporary influence.
“In Ephesians 1:4-5, Paul states that God the Father ‘chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ’ (emphasis mine). When we take those two verses together, we discover that God chose us for adoption before he created the universe, before the universe sprang into existence. Yes, adoption is older than the universe.”
- Unconditional love is born through the adoption. We “adopt” those around us that become our family (whether they are blood related to us or not) and that bond is unbreakable through the love story we build. Why are we teaching our children that unconditional love is reserved for our romantic partners and birth children? This is a love that was created to be shared as a larger love story with humanity. Love at first sight with our children can happen in the hospital delivery but it also happens in third-world orphanages and caseworker’s offices.
“The universe was created as part of a much larger love story: ‘the eternal love story of the Father and the Son.’ As massive as the universe is and as long has human history has been thus far, they are just a part of the eternally unfolding story of the Father’s love for His Son.”
- Adoption gives me a continuous reality check of love, meaning, and purpose. I often tell friends who are struggling in the chaos of life that I find perspective when I stop splashing and gasping for air long enough to stand still and realize I’m muddy in a puddle and not drowning in an ocean.
“Adoption provides the end of our search to ‘make sense out of the anarchy of existence.’ It’s the Story, the climax and consummation of which, that enlarges for us the circle of the Trinity’s communion of love to enjoy forever. Nothing else can provide the meaning and significance that the Story of adoption does.”
- Adoption is a redemptive story – a redefinition of self and family. One of my sisters was adopted and at 12 years old she helped my parents decide on her name. My husband and I have multiple adoptions through the years of children ages 1-12. Name changes require great thought and I rely heavily on those around me to help guide us through the name-changing process. In most cultures much of one’s identity is wrapped in their name, but our culture seems to only feel comfortable with name changes through marriage/divorce events. I’ve received much negative feedback about changing my adopted children’s names beyond taking our last name as their own and I finally came to realize that the importance of naming my child comes as part my “religion.” (note: we utilize therapeutic advice and we usually keep names of origin within the child’s name and add other names to connect them to our family.) We have had much success within our family with naming our adoption children just as we named our bio children. We have stories we share with them about the naming journey and the fun choices we made as we decided on their meaningful name.
“But what distinguished Israel’s Father-son relationship from the father-son relationships the other nations boasted was that Israel entered into theirs through adoption. It was through this unique adoptive relationship that God, in due time, would address the crisis of man’s lost relationship with Him as Father.”
Romans 8:23, Paul writes, ‘And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.’
My husband, Josh, adds, “The thing we need to realize about biblical adoption is that it wasn’t just to create family: it was to provide a continuation of a name, a purpose, and an identity. Without a born heir, a person’s life ended and along with it, his purpose, his estate, his very identity—his heritage. Adoption allowed a person who had not born a son to carry forward his life’s purpose after he was gone. God’s adoption of us is not just to bring us into his family, as noble as that is; it’s to further His purpose, His Name, and His work of redemption.”
5. Family is forever. Forever family is a term I see all over the internet from heart-felt dog shelter videos to blog posts chronicling an international infant adoption journey but for me, that term is simply redundant. If you are family, then it is forever. Every child that called my house “home” is family now and forever. In our family, we do distinguish the difference between foster kiddo and perma-kiddo, but if you have been part of our family as a #TeamWilmoth kid, your face is permanently on our family pictures on the wall (with bio parents’ permission). Your memory box is here if you want to look through it, or take it to share with your family. Your memories are in my Amazon photo storage, in my stored video files, and in my heart.
“Through adoption he brings us into the warmth, love, and gladness of his own family, forever.”
Quotes not cited are from Adoption in Christ: A Story of Unimaginably Good News by Dan Cruver https://www.uniontheology.org/resources/doctrine/adoption-in-christ-a-story-of-unimaginably-good-news