Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Gift of Adoption

About a month ago I read an article on by Steven Curtis Chapman about adoption (Hyperlink to Commentary: Our tragedy and God's love for orphans). It's an excellent article which I highly recommend reading. I believe I am truly blessed to have several members of my family who are adopted, in addition to having family friends with adopted children. I think life provides few better pictures for us of how God receives us into His family. The Apostle Paul understood this significance and referred to our adoption by God on several occasions (Rom 8:15, 23, 9:4, Gal 4:5, Eph 1:5). We have three wonderful children for whom I thank God everyday, but we want to open our hearts and home to a couple more someday (hopefully in the not so distant future) through adoption. Some days I'm so eager to see that dream realized it brings tears to my eyes (like today).

God's heart is full of compassion for orphans. The Bible of is full of references asserting this fact. It is not the job of governments or social service organizations to meet the needs of the millions of orphans in the world. God has ordained us as the answer to the worlds needs. And while not everyone is able to adopt a child, everyone can do something to help even just one orphan. Unfortunately, not every orphan is adoptable, but all orphans must still be cared for. According to Chapman, "If only 7 percent of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans." I encourage you to ask God what He would have you do and make yourself available to His plan for the world's orphans.

Here are some more highlights from the article:
According to UNICEF, there are 143 million children in the world who have lost one or both parents.

In America alone, there are half a million children in foster care, and approximately 120,000 of these children are waiting to be adopted. In many countries, children are too often orphaned or abandoned because of poverty, disabilities and disease; every 15 seconds, a child loses a parent because of AIDS. These are staggering facts that can seem overwhelming and discouraging, but I believe that God has a loving plan for each child, and that plan is you and me.

Caring for these children is not the job of governments or institutions; instead, it is the job of families, people and communities. As Christians, our compassion is simply a response to the love that God has already shown us. Mother Teresa would constantly remind those who worked with her that the Bible clearly teaches that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus. So in a very real sense, caring for orphans is a chance to meet the person of Jesus in "the guise of human suffering." This is an invitation from the heart of God to know him and to experience his love....

[In reference to his own adoption story:] My wife and I had always supported the idea of adoption, and as Christians, we understood the importance of loving and caring for others. But what I had not yet grasped was that adoption is a physical picture of what Jesus has done for me. I did nothing to deserve God's love; in fact, I was living as an orphan, without hope. Yet God chose to pursue a relationship with me, and through the death of his son Jesus, I was adopted into God's family....

In our travels to Latin America, Africa and Asia, we have visited many different orphanages. If you look past the surroundings and into the eyes of the children, they all have the same look. They seem to convey, "I don't think this is what I was made for. Where do I belong?" These children are crying out for the hope of a family, for the hope of community, for the hope of a permanent love....

We started Shaohannah's Hope in order to connect willing families with waiting children, but the reality is that there are many orphans who cannot be adopted. Even though we may not be able to bring them into our homes, we still have the opportunity to show them the hope we have.

If only 7 percent of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. If everybody would be willing to simply do something to care for one of these precious treasures, I think we would be amazed by just how much we could change the world.

We can each do something, whether it is donating, adopting, fostering, mentoring, visiting orphans or supporting families that have taken in orphans. You can change the world for an orphan.

No comments: