Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Theology of Adoption

November is National Adoption Awareness month so I thought I'd post on adoption off and on this month. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as we adopted our 4th child. I wanted to start with the theology of adoption, because I don't know if there is a more precious teaching in all the Bible.

The English word adopt comes from the Latin root optare which means “to choose”. Our word option also comes from the same root. When we adopt a habit, such as washing our hands before supper, we have chosen to make this our custom. In the same way when my husband and I adopted our son, we chose him. We were literally given a picture and description of him, called a referral, and given a choice. We could have passed on him and waited for another child, but we chose him. We wanted him and chose him to be our son and a part of our family forever. We had very limited information about our son at the time of his referral. We did not choose him because we knew he would be gifted, handsome, brilliant, compassionate, funny, or anything that he is. Our choosing him was not in any way based on his qualifications. We chose our son because we decided that we wanted to be his parents. If we had received a different picture of a different baby boy, we probably would have chosen him. You see, our son’s adoption had very little to do with him and a great deal to do with our desire to have a son. We wanted another baby boy to love in our family. I wanted a son to name after my dad. We wanted our oldest son to have a brother. We wanted to make room in our home and our hearts for this baby boy. We knew it would require sacrifice on our part- lots of money and travel to another country far from home without our other children for starters, but we chose him anyway. The bottom line is we wanted him and were willing to go to great lengths to get him and make him ours.

Do you see where I’m going with this? It never ceases to amaze me that I have been adopted by God. What an exciting spiritual truth that I love to think about!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as 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 His glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6

I'd like to make a couple of observations about our adoption from this text.

1. God’s choosing me had nothing to do with me and everything to do with His choice.

Since He chose me “before the foundation of the world” I certainly couldn’t have deserved it in any way. I had no opportunity to distinguish myself from anyone else before I was born. I was not good or enlightened or seeking Him. I didn’t choose Christ, I couldn’t have. I wasn’t even a twinkle in my father’s eye. I wasn’t even a far-off distant twinkle in Adam’s eye, because even he had not yet been created.

Notice the language- “He chose us” v.4, “having predestined us to adoption” v.5, and “according to the good pleasure of His will” v.5

2. God chose me for His purposes.

Many people would have you think being a Christian is about God making you happy. I don’t see that purpose here. God chose me, not so I would be happy, but so I could be holy. He decided before He even created the world that He would redeem for Himself a people and that He would make them holy. This pleased Him, that’s why He did it. What a blessing to be a part of that chosen people!

We use a catechism to help teach our children deep spiritual truths. Question #3 is “Why did God make you and all things?” The answer, as affirmed by this passage in Ephesians, is: “for His own glory.”

3. God's choosing me required great sacrifice on His part.

This comes from the following verse (7) "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace..."

I love that we're able to learn about God's love for us through an understanding of adoption. I think when we begin to grasp this truth, our response will be one of humility and gratitude.


  1. What a beautiful post! How blessed you are:)

  2. Great post.
    I wasn't aware that this was Adoption Awareness month. We have friends that adopted two brothers. The adoption was final Thanksgiving two years ago. How fun is that!? They are older boys, now 13 and 14 (almost 15). They had pretty much resigned themselves to living in foster care their whole life. Another friend knew that the first couple wanted to adopt and had finished their home study. She told me about the boys because their foster mother had taken them to her church a few times for special meetings. She wondered if they would be interested. I told them about the boys and they took it from there. It was so sweet, even before the adoption was final, the boys were calling them "mom" and "dad". It was their dream come true, for someone to want them for their sons. They are the most well-mannered boys; happy and growing so much. We just spent time with them yesterday and I was again impressed by how happy they are now. They are now wanting to adopt more (they can't have any biologically) and the boys are just as excited as the parents.
    My brother in law and sister in law are also wanting to adopt. They have one boy (7) and have tried to have more, but can't. They have finished their home study also and are waiting.
    Sorry for the long comment, but I love the subject of adoption. :)

  3. Hi, I tried to thank you for your kind comments today at Internet Cafe, but I don't think it worked, so I'll try again: Thank you for leaving a comment. I know the race metaphor is not a very original one, but it fits the life comparison so well. I appreciated your comment. Have a blessed week.

  4. I found your blog from Gap Girl's blog :)

    I had to read the adoption posts first as I have 3 adopted children and so, it's a topic near and dear to me as well! Lovely post!



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.