November is National Adoption Month. It is dedicated to educating others about the need for adoption, steps to take to adopt or support those who will, how to make a difference, and the work that is being done by our state governments.
National Day of _______
These days, every month is dedicated to a cause or remembrance of some sort. Every day is now a National Day of (fill in the blank). Have you seen a national day calendar? Each day is filled with multiple observances.
Did you know that February 5 is National Weatherperson's Day? Or that June 13 is National Sewing Machine Day? How about October 18: National No Beard Day (oops! missed this one this year)?
Sure, most of these things are made up, but many of them draw attention. Most of them, we don't really care about. However, National Adoption Month is one that we should all care about.
Because as Christians, we are all adopted.
Facts About Adoption
Let's first look at a few key facts and statistics about adoption in the United States from the Children's Bureau:
- There are over 122,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted who are at risk of aging out of foster care without permanent family connections.
- Approximately one in five children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted is a teenager.
- Only five percent of all children adopted in 2019 were15 - 18 years old.
- The risk of homelessness and human trafficking increases for teenagers living in foster care.
- According to the most recent AFCARS report, of the 122,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted:
- 52 percent are male
- 48 percent are female
- 22 percent are African American
- 22 percent are Hispanic
- 44 percent are white
- The average age is eight years old
- 11 percent are between 15 and 18 years old
- The average time in foster care is 31 months.
UNICEF estimates that there are 153 million orphans around the world. Don't read past that number quickly. Let it sink in.
So many kids require a permanent, safe home that will care for and provide for their needs. Beyond that, these kids need the love only a parent can give.
The Love of the Father
Every person alive has specific physical and emotional needs. The greatest of these is love. We need a safe place to be cared for and loved unconditionally.
As sinners, we have been separated from God, our creator. Because of sin, we have been left fatherless. This isn't something that we can fix on our own.
Fortunately, we haven't been abandoned and left hopeless.
Thomas White in a Baptist Press article titled Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel writes this:
Romans 8:14 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Scripture confirms that those led by the Spirit are adopted as sons, and vice versa, those adopted as sons are led by the Spirit. As part of salvation, believers receive the Spirit that confirms newly adopted sons as children of God. Romans 8:16 adds, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
God not only provided a way for our sin to be justly dealt with through his Son Jesus, but through this act of grace, love, and sacrifice, we have been adopted as sons of God. Again, don't read past this quickly. Let it sink in.
We are adopted sons of God and will receive his inheritance right alongside Jesus.
Adoption Is a Picture of the Gospel
John Piper writes this:
"The deepest and strongest foundation of adoption is located not in the act of humans adopting humans, but in God adopting humans. And this act is not part of his ordinary providence in the world; it is at the heart of the gospel."
When we see parents sacrifice to graciously welcome an orphan into their family, it reminds us of our adoption through Jesus.
The act of adopting a child is not easy. It truly is a sacrificial act. And it isn't a one-time sacrifice, but rather an ongoing one. Not only is there a rigorous process of preparation and a large financial requirement to be able to adopt a child, but this is also just the beginning of a life-long journey.
When the judge finally declares the child a son or daughter of their new parents, it is a final and permanent act. This is something that can't be undone. From that moment forward, the parents continue to selflessly love, care for, and sacrifice for the sake of the child.
What a beautiful picture of the gospel. May we never forget the price that was paid for our salvation and sonship. God gave his Son to take on the sin of the world and endure his wrath. And this was only the starting point.
Forever, we are permanently and irrevocably attached to our heavenly Father. He cares for us, guides us, and provides for us every moment of every day, for all of eternity.
When we see an orphan adopted into a new family, it is an exact picture of what God the Father did for us.
Be Reminded, Celebrate, and Get Involved!
This November, tune into what National Adoption Month is all about. Let it be a reminder to you of the sacrifice and resulting sonship that you have received through Jesus Christ. We can celebrate the inheritance that has been given to us and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
As a Christian, I encourage you to not just observe from a distance, but to get involved. Maybe God is calling you toward adoption. There is no doubt there is a great need worldwide and even right here in our own country.
However, not everyone is called to adoption. That doesn't mean you are stuck on the sidelines. I'll wrap up with a few ways that you can engage in orphan care as given by Aaron Menikoff in his Gospel Coalition article titled First Comes Love, Then Comes Adoption:
Of course, there are many ways to serve the Lord, but here are a few simple reasons to participate in orphan care:
Parents in the trenches of foster care and adoption need help. Even if you don’t foster or adopt yourself, you can serve families who do. Getting the necessary screening to provide respite to foster parents is a crucial ministry. Encouraging adoptive parents with a night out is an easy but meaningful way to bless.
Orphaned children need a home. In Georgia, where I live, the number of state-sponsored foster kids rose from 7,600 children in 2013 to more than 13,000 in 2016. Thankfully, some of these children will be reunited with their birth family. It’s important to remember not all foster kids are orphans. Many have biological family who are unable to care for them. A Christian foster parent should strive to see children reunited to their families. Our love should overflow not only for the children, but also for the parents who can’t properly care for their kids. Yet far too many kids will not be reunited to a family member; they are looking to be adopted. Let’s be ready to help.
Orphaned children need the gospel. Children united to a Christian family don’t just receive a home; they get the best news ever. God is the author of salvation, but we are the means. Orphan care is an opportunity to make Christ known.
You need the gospel. Christians who have adopted often say something like, “Before I adopted, I thought I understood the gospel. After I adopted, it made more sense than ever.” Christians engaged in orphan care strive to make a difference in a child’s life. They quickly discover how God uses the child to deepen our love for our Father who adopted us.