Adoption Matters

A father of the fatherless…is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families. Psalm 68:5-6a

There has been and will always be orphans, children devoid of parents either by abandonment, death, or disease. That is why the Bible speaks over 60 times about visiting the fatherless in their oppression and reaching out to the fatherless.

That is why Adoption Matters.

God declares He is the “father of the fatherless” and true religion unadulterated is to “visit the fatherless…in their affliction” yet for centuries the average Christian in the world has overlooked the plight of the orphan. The Church had not risen up to do what God has set forth as a standard and avenue to receive great blessing through caring for orphans. However, it is just “such as time as this” that hearts toward orphans are beginning to change.

In the first century church Christians looked after the orphans of their cities. It was an outgrowth of their understanding of the scriptures as well as following the example set by their Jewish predecessors. The custom of their faith was to take orphans and give them to childless couples. Children were also placed with widows for the mutual benefit of each looking after the other. R.J. Rushdoony wrote in his book “The Atheism of the Early Church”:

…. when the unwanted babies were born, they were promptly taken and abandoned under the bridges of the river Tiber in Rome. In other cities there were places which were routinely used for abandoning babies. The Christians made it their habit immediately to go to the places where these babies were abandoned — to be devoured, as Tertullian said, by wild dogs — to collect these infants and parcel them out from family to family. This tells us something about the life of faith among these believers. How many members of congregations today would welcome an officer of the church coming by with an abandoned baby or two, and feel it was their duty to rear them in faith!1

This tradition can be seen today in part with Crisis Pregnancy Centers, foster care systems, orphanages/children’s homes, and adoption agencies. But instead of “an officer of the church” placing the orphans in homes it is the Lord moving the hearts of his people to pursue adoption.

In fact, adoption is becoming a rampant norm in America. You may be seeing it played out in micro-version within your home and/or community but it is actually becoming a national phenomena. More precise Christians are being called by the Lord to adopt or to participate in facilitating adoptions like never before seen in this country. Part of that explosion can possibly be explained in the fact that adoption does not carry with it the stigma that it did 50 years ago or even 20 years ago. At that time adoption was considered what to do when you could not have a birth-child, not what to do in spite of birth-children. (This is still the case in countries such as Russia and the Philippines where adoption is seen as a stigma. Therefore even Christians do not step out in faith to take in their own orphans and countrymen.) Also the mind change that is apparently occurring in Christians asserts “It is not about having children. But it is about reaching out to children who need a family, who need to know Christ, who need discipleship to follow Christ.”

The Lord is doing this marvelous work! It is reminiscent of the early church. And that too is why Adoption Matters are on the rise. Bringing strangers into your established home and expectations, especially if they are older children, is often akin to combining fire and gasoline in your kitchen. Not a practice conducive to peace and joy! Yet if God has placed this call on a family, then they are to trust him as well as be obedient to this work. Adoption issues are as diverse and involved as the children and families they affect. Yet there are common threads of grace. Our desire is to be a ‘voice crying in the wilderness’ to lead the way for adoptive homes to be full of peace and joy and not regret and misery. Our hope and prayer is that Christian families who risk all to bring an orphan into their home may bear witness to the Lord’s glory through the calling on their lives to adopt.

Adoption Matters because God’s heart is for the fatherless and He calls Christians to the work of caring for them.

Adoption Matters are as varied and distinct as the families who open their hearts and homes to orphans.

That is why Adoption Matters.

1. R.J. Rushdoony, The Atheism of the Early Church (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1983, 2000), 10.

Copyright © 2007 Robert Sanford. All rights reserved

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