Should Christians Adopt?
Her question was “Should Christians Adopt?”
My friend and I were enjoying coffee in the fragrant coffee shop while the wind whined past our window. The window was occasionally steamed up by the espresso machine we tend to sit by. I’d much rather watch the Michigan winter than be out in it.
My friend and I like to debate different issues, especially pertaining to religion. As an evangelical, I hold pro-life beliefs. My friend, sure only that she is spiritual, described herself as still exploring her true beliefs.
We became friends long ago, and we hold mutual respect for that friendship. I truly enjoy her company. I cannot imagine a life being lived for Christ in which I didn’t know or fellowship with non-believers. How could that be Christ-honoring?
I had just finished answering her “Would Jesus adopt” question, when she quickly moved to her next question, “Should Christians adopt?” After a brief pause to refill cups and plates, we moved back into our conversational question and answer debate.
“I don’t have a straight-forward answer for you on this one, friend,” I admitted. “This is more of a yes-no-sort of answer.”
When Christians Should Adopt
Caring for the fatherless is a ministry. It is a calling (a strong urge to minister to others’ needs). It’s a desire to fill the gap left by an absent parent(s). It is also an imitation (in a very small, human way) of what God has done for us; adopted us into His family.
Caring for the fatherless means foster care or adoption of those who have been abandoned/removed by authorities. It is accepting of all that comes with their backgrounds – trauma, problems with attachment, medical issues, etc. It is the pursuit of finding families for those waiting children (vs. finding the perfect child for your family).
For me, this is exactly what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
For another take on what Christian adoption is (should be), read more HERE.
When Christians Should Not Adopt
Caring for the fatherless is not to be entered into without a great deal of self-reflection, a strong support system, and prayer.
Questions for self-reflection may be: Why am I drawn to the ministry of orphan care? Do I feel called to this ministry, or am I self-motivated in some way? Does God want me to minister in this area? How has God made this clear to me?
Questions regarding your support system may be: Who in my immediate family has prayed about caring for the fatherless with me? Have they felt moved in the same direction? Who in my family supports my calling to minister to the fatherless? In my circle of friends? Who have I consulted in our church regarding my calling? How have they advised me?
When I consider the personal calling to ministry that foster care and adoption is, it brings to my mind Ephesians 4:1-3, “As a prisoner for the LORD, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Although the ministry of orphan care will not be a smooth or easy one, it is highly rewarding and fulfilling. Never have I seen the face of Jesus as I have in the faces of vulnerable children. The Church is the answer to care for these children. However, I would want God squarely beside me for the journey, and know without doubt I had been called to this challenging ministry.
You can read more HERE.
All Christians Can Do Something Regarding Orphan Care
After reading the “yes” and “no” answers above, now here’s the “sort of” answer – Christians will not all be called to adopt. There are many parts to the body of Christ. We all have a part to play in His ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
That doesn’t mean as Christians, as His Church, we are not all called to minister to the fatherless, however. Quite the contrary. I firmly believe His Church, is the only answer to the orphan crisis. As my friend, Jason Johnson, has so wonderfully stated, “No one is called to do everything, but everyone is called to do something.” Read more from Jason HERE.
I believe all Christians are to care for the orphaned and vulnerable in some way. Every church should have an orphan care ministry, each slightly unique to their congregation. God’s mandate is clear in both Old (Psalm 82:3) and New (James 1:27) Testaments.
While my scripture references may have caused my friend’s eyes to glaze over slightly, the message they carried left her silent for a little while. God’s word has a way of causing contemplation. I could tell yet another question was brewing.
“While I kinda get all that,” she said with a wave of her hand, “I don’t understand how in the world you can honestly believe the Church is the answer to the orphan crisis. How can that possibly be?”
More to come soon…