How We Talk About Adoption


Growing up in South America, I was accustomed to seeing children roaming the streets alone. Some had single parents who were too busy to keep track of them, others were literally fatherless and just staying with whatever relative or friend would house them temporarily, and so spent their time away from “home” to keep from aggravating their current host. At times I was immune to their presence, since children on the streets are so commonplace in that part of the world, but they still managed to work their way into my heart. Seeing them flock to our town’s visitors and tourists as they arrived, begging to carry their bags for them or asking for a handout always stung a little.

One moment will always stand out to me. I was 14 or 15 years old, and a friend mentioned in passing that someone had just given birth to a baby, but didn’t want it. They had no one to give the baby to (i.e. leave the baby with until it gets passed on to the next host, a foster care of sorts only without government monitoring). The baby was left at the hospital, and the mother went home alone. I can’t even explain the emotions I went through at that time, fear, anger, desire, frustration. The hospital in town was not like any American hospital. If someone were a patient there, they had to have family and friends come and care for them after whatever procedure they had done. If the family didn’t bring food, the patient didn’t eat. They would have to fend for themselves if family didn’t come to help them change, help them go to the bathroom, help with washing up, etc. And if someone leaves their baby there, it will sit there until someone has enough compassion to do something about it. And there I was, just a kid, a foreigner at that, unable to do a thing! Oh, I tried to convince my parents to let me adopt the baby, but I don’t blame them for not agreeing to my pleas. I never heard what happened to that baby, but I will never forget it.

My husband and I discussed adoption early on, although I was more eager to pursue it. I’ve researched the possibility for years, and he was the lucky receiver of my surplus of information. I’d google specific countries and their programs, different agencies and all they had to say, individuals and their blogs. All this time just praying for patience for God’s timing in when our family would finally get to add to our family via adoption.

Along this long-distance journey to adoption, I also began to see another side of adoption. As christians , Mike and I also see adoption as an earthly picture of what God has done for us. Because of our sin and choices to serve our own selfish desires, we were separated from God. But God provided a way, at the greatest of costs, to bring us into his family. We are now His children, a part of his family. In Romans 8:15-17a, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ..” Instead of fear, we can rest in the finality of His adoption of us as His children. Our adoption isn’t hinging on our actions, He has fully accepted us into His family. We will be heirs alongside His Son, Jesus!

This passage also refers to our being given that “Spirit of adoption”; what adoring child doesn’t want to be like their daddy? I’ve heard people talk about wanting to adopt because they watched someone close to them do so: how much more so should this apply to a follower of Jesus who realizes the perfection of their own adoption by their Abba Father?

Mike and I are looking forward to meeting our newest family member; it has taken many years to get to this point, but we’ve learned a great deal.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.