… all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…    Romans 8:14-16.

November is officially recognized as national adoption month in the United States. It is a time of building awareness for the needs of the many orphans and children in foster care in our nation. Adoption agencies and advocates, both Christian and secular, benefit from various activities and promotions during this month as people are made aware of the plight of the fatherless. There are numerous online resources (short videos, statistical reports, articles, etc.) to help increase adoption awareness and to inspire folks to become adoptive parents. 

As Christians, we should certainly give consideration to these public service announcements and other resources, but they should not be the only, or even the main, motivation for us to consider orphan care and adoption. No, the greatest motivation for us to take an interest in orphans (not everyone is called to be an adoptive parent but we are all called to care for orphans) is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the gospel that proclaims not only that we are forgiven of the guilt of our sins in Christ but also that we have been adopted into the family of God through our union with Him. We are no longer children of wrath, but have been made God’s very own sons (and daughters) so that we can cry out to Him, “Abba! Father!”  

Adoption is about beholding the love that God has shown to us, whereby we are now called the children of God (1 John 3:1). Knowing that we are His children, that we have been loved that much, we can then grasp the full ramifications of adoption here on earth. Russell Moore points out the gospel within adoption in his book Adopted for Life when he writes:

 Adoption is not just about couples who want children – or more children. Adoption is about an entire church culture… a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.

The concept of taking a child who is not of my flesh into my home and loving her, nurturing her, and shepherding her as my very own used to seem strange to me. After all, Laney and I have two healthy, awesome boys “of our own.” Eventually it hit me that the gospel is not about God loving His “natural children” for God does not have any “natural children” since the Fall. The Garden rendered Adam and all of his seed as corrupt in nature. That is you, me, and all who have ever walked in flesh save one – Jesus Christ. We are not by natural birth God’s children and we have no right to call Him Father, save the fact that He loves us and has given us this right by His own free will. He adopted us, out of sin and death and wrath and darkness, and brought us into His family where there is grace and life and glory and light.

During the month of November, I encourage you to be in prayer about adoption. Ask God to reveal to you in a new and powerful way His incredible love for you in making you one of His very own sons and daughters. Pray that He would give you a heart for orphans, like His own (Psalm 68:5). Such prayer may be answered with the Lord leading you to a special relationship with a family that has previously adopted (or is in the process of adopting).  He may lead you to give financially to a ministry that serves orphans and/or adoptive families. He might ask you to give of your time and talents in serving alongside of active ministries to the fatherless. He could call you to become a foster parent or even to be an adoptive parent. Wherever the Lord leads you, may your understanding of the gospel grow all the more as you love those whom your Father in heaven loves from the love that He has lavished on you.