The Gospel and Adoption

When my husband and I began dating, one of our earliest conversations was about adoption. Knowing children were growing up without the stability of a loving home deeply troubled both of us. We felt led to pursue adoption as part of God’s plan to build our family. We would come to realize just what a painfully beautiful journey it would be, that adoption is much more than simply becoming parents. Adoption is the result of deep loss and keenly represents the brokenness of our world. Adoptive parents, like all parents, get to participate in the work of Christ as we raise our children.  

We are privileged to spend the rest of our lives walking alongside our children as they learn to live and pursue healing from the wounds they carry because of their early losses. Our God-given duty is to help our children realize that sharing our last name is only a facet of who they are, but their ultimate identities are in Christ. Providing a home where they feel safe enough to grow and thrive allows them the opportunity to be who they are meant to be.  All of this, the entering in and taking of their hands in the midst of their stories, this is where adoption meets the gospel.

In Hebrews 4:9-11, the author tells us about God’s promise of Sabbath rest to those in Christ. Sabbath rest is constant and secure trust in God’s plan and is only achieved when we stop striving and trust God with our lives.  When a child is adopted she will not be able to rest until she knows that she will be fully loved and cared for. When she is sick, she will be held, when she falls, she will be picked up, and when she is hungry, she will be fed. She will not thrive until she feels safe enough to rest. This reflects what we see all through Scripture. As His children, we will not fully rest until we are able to grasp who we truly are in Christ. We will continue to live with an “orphan spirit” until we feel secure, and until we are able to live in and enjoy that promised Sabbath rest. 

Caring for widows and orphans is a mandate given to all who know Christ, but adoption is a unique call—it is a call to step into our children’s grief and trauma, joys and milestones, tears and laughter. It is a call to walk alongside them in the process of healing until they feel radically safe. That is what Jesus did and still does for us. We read in Isaiah 61:3 that God makes beauty where there are ashes. When we enter into our children’s stories and allow them the space to trust and heal, we are mirroring what Christ has done for us. Jesus stepped into our chaos and mess to restore what was broken, to bring us Sabbath rest.

When there are positive outcomes from adoption people celebrate the fact that our great God brings beauty from brokenness. Sometimes the story we walk out is more difficult than we would have expected or it doesn’t end the way we would have chosen—the story isn’t wrapped up with a neat little bow. This is true no matter how you become a parent. We can trust that the same great God is still in the middle of it and lovingly walking us and our children through to the very end. Either way, God will still get the glory if we surrender to Him. God did not plan the brokenness of our world, but He made a way through Jesus for healing and Sabbath rest. Adoption, for those who are called, is one beautiful, tangible way to live this gospel reality out on this side of heaven.
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