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The theology of adoption: A pastor's perspective

Many people view adoption as a response to a need. While it is that, it is so much more. When we begin to view adoption as God views it, we will have a passion for it like God has a passion for it. Adoption is not just a response to a need, but a response to God.

The Biblical word for adoption means “the placing as a son.” When we think about the theology of adoption, we must determine how exactly God places us as his son or daughter. Romans 8:12-17, Galatians 4:4-7, and Ephesians 1:3-6 all speak to our adoption into God’s family.

Due to sin, we were all born as spiritual orphans. The only person ever born who was not a spiritual orphan was Jesus. God believed in our adoption so much that he sent that same Jesus, his Son, to die on a cross for our sins so that our adoption would be possible. We are adopted, or placed as a son or daughter, when we receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Understanding our own adoption through Christ helps us realize that the adoption of orphaned children on this earth is a response to God’s adoption of us.

The challenge we face as believers is to reflect and respond to the heart of God. God has a heart for orphans and so should his children. God’s children must move from believing that we should do something to actually doing it. James was blunt when he wrote, “So, for the person who knows to do good and doesn’t do it, it is a sin" (James 4:17). Often we are expecting the “church” to engage in orphan care while forgetting that we are the church. A theology that is not lived out is really just a theory.

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul talks about love and makes the statement, “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” This verse is not the typical adoption verse, but it paints a beautiful picture of what takes place though adoption.

Faith is speaking to us. First, our spiritual adoption comes through faith in Jesus Christ. When it comes to a family considering adoption, faith is a huge part of it. It is a step of faith to enter the unknown. It is a step of faith to say yes when you are not quite sure what you are even saying yes to. When my wife and I said yes to the Lord and began the journey of foster care and adoption it was completely by faith.

Hope applies to the orphan that waits and hopes for a family. I hope and dream for a day when we have adoptive families waiting for children instead of children waiting for families, but we are not there yet. There are untold numbers of children clinging to, and sometimes losing, hope that a family will choose to adopt them.

Love in that verse describes what happens when faith and hope collide. When a family takes that step of faith to adopt and a child’s hope to be adopted is realized, the result is a child loving and being loved. That love draws us back to the love of the Father and reminds us that, “We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

Recently my 5-year-old son, who we adopted along with his sister, Kaytlin, was speaking to my wife about foster care and adoption. She asked him if he knew what adoption meant and he said, "Yes, it means Jesus brought you and Daddy to me and Kaytlin." My prayer is that every believer would reflect the heart of God for orphans and that every orphan would be able to say that Jesus brought them a family.

Micah Meurer and his wife Kerra have 7 children and three grandchildren. Their two youngest children are adopted. They continue to serve as foster parents through Buckner in Amarillo. Micah is on staff at Paramount Baptist Church in Amarillo, Texas and is the director of Gospel Outreach US.

To learn more about ways you can Be A Family to a child through Buckner, visit www.beafamily.org.

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