When I was a child, adoption was frowned upon or kept secret. Scripture, however, offers us the powerful image of God adopting us as His own children through the work of the cross. Rather than something shameful, adoption is a beautiful picture of grace and love rooted squarely in the heart of God.
The biblical understanding of the sanctity of life calls us to care for and provide families for children in need of a home. Adoption is not for every family, but if God calls you to this, your life will never be the same.
When my wife, Cathy, told me she had a heart to adopt a child, I had no interest. We already had two healthy and busy young sons, and I thought our family was complete. Cathy prayed daily with our preschool sons for them to have a sister and for me to get on board. The Lord answered her prayers, and in 1993 we became the parents of a beautiful little girl in Peru. I cannot imagine our lives without this precious child. She is grown and married now, following Christ together with her husband, but there is so much more to the story.
I cannot say how much we as parents love our daughter, or how much her brothers love and care for her. She is a joy for all of us. I could never imagine life without her as a part of our family, and there is nothing that would ever change my mind. I wish I could tell you that everything about adoption is easy, but to say that would be disingenuous. Parents need to know the unique challenges adopted children face.
Every adopted child has all the normal growth issues of adolescence, but adopted children face other issues specifically related to adoption. Each of these children has been abandoned or rejected in some way, or they would not need to have been adopted. Abandonment and attachment issues are often masked until adolescence for a variety of reasons. Adoption requires parents to grow in courage, strength, wisdom and understanding. Adopted children are often unaware of how or why they feel the way they do, even when the adoptive families are wonderful and supportive. Unconditional love is a requirement, but wisdom and insight along with the help of others are indispensable for adoptive families. We had so much to learn, and our family is a testimony of grace.
When God adopts us as His children, He knows we are deeply flawed and in need of the life-changing grace of Christ. The beautiful part of the Christian life is that God’s grace reshapes our whole lives. Adoption is a work of grace, made beautiful by God’s rich mercy for the parents and the children.
If you are praying about adopting a child, listen carefully for the call of God. If you get that call, then take courage that God will lead the process, even if it takes longer than you envisioned. Once your child comes home, you are on the adventure of your life. Persevere in grace and witness the faithfulness of the good and wise Father who adopted you.
— Marshall Blalock is pastor of Charleston First Baptist Church and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.