(This is an article from a Christian’s perspective about how fellow Christians should support one another through the journey of adoption rather than condemning it as ‘not of God’. I’m neither a Pastor nor a church worker but I don’t believe my Christian walk is any less than theirs. In fact, where God has chosen for me and Angie to tread with Him, very few would boldly follow.)
Recently, a fellow adoptive parent, recounted to us how she felt when her Christian Cell Group Leader (yes, leader) glowingly shared the good news that she had finally conceived after “waiting upon God” with“faith”. The leader went on to infer about how adoption was not in God’s scheme of plan (After all, Sarah and Hannah both prayed and conceived supernaturally!). This disturbed our adoptive parent friend. Clearly saddened, she had asked us for our views. It was then we revisited these important questions which we had to resolve as a Christian couple when we walked this path of adoption. “ Is it God’s plan for us to adopt?”, “What does the Bible say about adoption?”, “Where are examples of adoption in the Bible?”.
Admittedly, while the Bible is filled with a spectrum of miracles and events from plunders and wars to the healing of the sick and raising of the dead, it seemed relatively silent on the topic of adoption. The common ‘no-brainer’ quote most would give a childless couple would be those of Sarah (Abram’s wife) and Hannah, who both prayed earnestly and were eventually blessed with children from their wombs. Therefore, on the surface, it would seem that self-righteous cell leader is correct. But study closer and you would realize that adoption had all along held a very special place in God’s plan.
“ It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” 1. Prov. 25:2 (NIV)
During the olden times of our Grandparents and Great Grandparents, severely impoverished families would give their younger and sometimes unplanned children to another household to be brought up. These were seldom legalized as they were poor and often uneducated. Moreover, these children would typically spend their entire lives living with their adopted families only to reunite with their biological families after a good number of years. Whatever the case may be, these children were accepted, loved and cared by those who were not their biological parents. I wouldn’t be surprised if the arrangements were similar, if not far more informal in the biblical days.
Adoptions in the Bible
1. Queen Esther
Esther, having lost her parents, was adopted by Mordecai, her cousin who also served in the court of King Xerxes I. Through a series of circumstances and having her ethnicity hidden, Esther eventually married Xerxes I and used her influence to save her people, the Jews from being annihilated by her husband the King.
2. Samuel, The Prophet
Samuel, the son of Hannah, the lady who prayed earnestly and faithfully for a child and eventually conceived, gave her young son to be adopted by the priest Eli as her promise to God. Under Eli’s care, Samuel was anointed a Prophet and became one of the greatest judges of Israel who eventually anointed the young shepherd David to be King.
To save the life of her baby, Jochebad, a Hebrew slave, hid her baby in a basket and float it down the Nile, hoping an Egyptian would pick him up and adopt him. A young lady did just that and she was the Pharoah’s daughter. The adoption by the Princess saved Moses’s life and kept his ethnicity hidden for many years. Moses, of course, went on to lead his people out of slavery and became a major icon of faith whom God had the pleasure of revealing Himself to.
Jesus was conceived supernaturally in the virgin Mary through divine intervention. Joseph obviously, had no biological part in this. It is a known fact that Jesus grew up as a well-statured young man and earn his kept as a skilled carpenter. This also implied that Joseph adopted Jesus as his son, loved him as his own, guided him and taught him his trade like how any loving adoptive father would.
There are more examples of adoption in the bible (e.g. Jacobs’ adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48); Abram and Eliazar (Genesis 15); but if any of these above which I mentioned are to go by, it goes to show that people who were adopted had a distinctly special destiny in God’s grand plan. It would seem like they were an elite chosen by God, to lead and deliver God’s people.
This leads me to the greatest story of adoption found in the bible and that is our very own salvation through Christ. Ephesians 1, verse 5 (NIV) writes: “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— (v.6) to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
Don’t Constraint God
In our Christian journey as a married couple yearning to start a family, we have had the privilege of meeting other committed and Christ-centred couples whom we deeply respect. Some are childless, others with disabled and special needs children, some have gone through child losses (like we did), all of whom we hold dear to our hearts for their unwavering faith in the Lord. In fact, we have the privilege of knowing 2 different senior pastors of two prominent Protestant / Methodist churches in Singapore who had each adopted two children of their own too. Are these Pastors who adopted earthly kids of lesser faith then?
One of the challenges of worshiping in an urban church in an affluent country like Singapore is that we may unconsciously breed the belief that we should strive to earn favour with God though acts of faith and holy giving etc…so that He can bless us in the ways we asked to be blessed. I’m sorry, but that to me leaves out the entire concept of Grace which is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Also, to say that certain things were not of God because it was not explicitly stated in the bible is myopic, shallow and would be akin to limiting God in our finite wisdom.
While the Bible is a record of God’s plan for salvation of His people, I would like to think that God’s ways of doing things and His Grace are certainly not limited by history or record. In fact, I believe, we are the ones who will continue to write God’s modern day salvation stories in our lives as His adopted children, as He reveals His Grace, Mercies and Goodness to us each and everyday.
Jews or Gentiles, biological or adopted, God loves us all the same.