“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)
In 1999, my beloved husband and I journeyed halfway around the world to Siberia—to adopt a little boy named Alexei. Our lives changed forever.
It’s a “God story,” one that began with infertility and went through years of paperwork and delays. At one point, our situation even went before the Russian Supreme Court and our U.S. State Department! In God’s faithfulness, He blessed us with a son, now 25, who has grown into a loving, kind, and compassionate young man…we are so proud of him.
Last week, after praying for a childless couple for more than two years, I learned that they had adopted a new baby girl. I had goosebumps!! I’m always so excited to hear about adoption.
Since November is National Adoption Month in America, I want to champion this cause. Adoption is not for everyone, and it’s definitely not for the “faint of heart.” But neither is parenthood in general. Once a child enters your life, you’re always on a roller-coaster ride!
Are you and your spouse considering adoption of a child? Are you a pregnant mom-to-be considering your options? Or were you adopted yourself?
Look at what Scriptures have to say about orphans and adoption:
“…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
[Jesus said] “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
While the Creation mandate calls us to be fruitful and multiply, the Bible never demands that we give birth to our own children. Instead, in multiple Bible verses, God requires that we act kindly toward those in distress, especially orphans and widows around us.
One of the obstacles is that newborn babies available for adoption are extremely scarce in today’s America. Outside of the United States, orphanages overflow with young children available for adoption. If you accept the challenge of adopting from another country, you will need grit, financial sacrifice, flexibility, perseverance, and lots of prayer.
If you are open to adoption, let the Holy Spirit guide you toward making wise decisions. Here are some of the considerations you should take to the Lord as you seek His will about adoption:
- Are you willing to parent an older child? Little babies are cuddly and highly desirable, but they are scarce. Most children available for adoption, especially in foster care, are toddlers all the way up to teens. You need to determine if God is calling you to accept an older child with the liabilities that increased age brings.
- Are you willing to parent a child with special needs? Children with disabilities—blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, AIDS—need parents, too. Do you have the Spirit-given gifts to handle their issues in stride? Do you welcome the challenges of parenting one of these orphans into adulthood? God may be calling you to step far outside of your comfort zone to embrace the difficulties and blessings of this special parenthood.
- Are you willing to parent a child who doesn’t look like you? Children who are biracial or a different race/nationality from your own are no different from any other children when it comes to their need for loving parents. You need to prepare for cultural differences, foreign languages, or travel/paperwork requirements.
- Are you willing to parent a child whose birth parents want an “open adoption”? Some adoptions involve an ongoing communication with birth parents throughout the growing up years of your adopted child. You need to decide from the beginning where to set the boundaries for the benefit of your child.
- Are you willing to delegate a significant amount of your financial resources? Adoption isn’t cheap…it can be moderately pricey all the way up to astronomically expensive. If your income is insufficient, pray about asking family members or close friends if they would like to help support your decision with a one-time donation.
- Are you willing to adopt a “snowflake baby”? This term refers to frozen embryos conceived by other couples but left unused and unwanted after in vitro fertilization treatments are done. These children are abandoned to a cryobiological freezer and destined for a slow, deteriorating death. Adopting one of these babies requires certain permissions, capability for carrying a baby to full term, and procedures for implantation. The benefits, though, are the life you can give them and the blessing of experiencing a pregnancy.
- If you already have a child or children, are you willing to bring in others who could potentially disrupt their lives? Having a sibling can be a wonderful experience, but recognize that adoption could throw your existing children’s world into a turmoil. Include your children in the decision-making process, even if they are young, so that they understand what is happening and can prepare themselves for it realistically.
Warnings: Don’t adopt for the praise of others. Don’t adopt because it’s a fad—celebrities get lots of publicity for it. Don’t adopt because other Christians are doing it. There’s nothing spiritually superior about adopting children, even special needs children or those born into poverty. Adopt because you want to love that child or children the same as if they were born to you biologically.
As you and your spouse talk with God about adoption, remember what God has done for you—if you have accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as your Savior and Lord, He has adopted you into His family. You are now part of His family, heirs to His kingdom.
And if you’re a single person thinking about adoption, as I once contemplated, consider becoming a mentor first. You can make a profound impact in an at-risk child’s life, and it’s a great opportunity to practice parenthood, observing how you would react as an adoptive parent.
Adoption is a just a step on the journey to parenthood…like childbirth, it becomes “past tense” in how a child’s life becomes intertwined with yours. And just like other important decisions, it needs to be covered in prayer. So go sit at the feet of your Heavenly Father—if you have given Him your heart, He has already adopted you!
Heavenly Father, in Your great love You have adopted us to be Your children, choosing us as sons and daughters in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. If Your will is for adoption in our family, give us the spiritual fortitude to love a child as You do—sacrificially, unconditionally, with complete abandon! Remove all bondage to fear, that we may receive the Spirit of adoption in You, as we cry out “Abba, Father” to You. Let us seek Your glory, whatever You have planned for us. In grateful praise, Amen.
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© Copyright 2021 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Adapted from A Crocus in the Desert: Devotions, Prayers, and Stories for Women Experiencing Infertility— © Copyright 2019 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Crocus-Desert-Devotions-Experiencing-Infertility-ebook/dp/B07SFXW8JX/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=crocus+in+the+desert+book&qid=1636941811&qsid=130-9304839-7933727&sr=8-1&sres=1733123105%2C1477824758%2CB07H2N9W15%2C0345326490%2CB077P9DR7T&srpt=ABIS_BOOK