Last weekend I watched Slumdog Millionaire on Saturday, learned about my church’s new ministry to orphans on Sunday, and began reading Russell Moore’s new book, Adopted for Life, on Monday. So I’ve been thinking a lot about adoption this week. Should Christian families seek to adopt a child? Are we being selfish if we don’t?
First, let me tell you about Moore’s book, which is the only book I know of which gives both a superb theological motive for adoption (Moore teaches at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and answers its practical questions, all told through his family’s journey of adopting two boys from Russia. Anyone who has been adopted, has adopted, or is considering adoption should read this book. Even those who have no plans for adoption should read it, as it will show them what they are missing and motivate them to get involved.
I was delighted to receive this book from Moore. I had sent him a copy of DSB, along with a note explaining how much I enjoyed his chapter in Zondervan’s Understanding Four Views on Baptism and that I thought I was developing a man crush. I usually only feel that way around anyone with the last name of Plantinga, and I feared that my confession might produce another restraining order. Apparently Moore feels that Louisville is a sufficiently safe distance from Grand Rapids, and he sent me Adopted for Life as a gesture of goodwill (and a sign that he is confident in his manhood).
Enough back story. Moore explains the theological rationale for adoption with the usual comments that we sinners have been adopted by God, but he adds an interesting twist that our spiritual adoption was also ethnic. We Gentiles are united with Christ, who is Jewish. This was more obvious in the first century, as Gentiles in fits and starts learned what it meant to join a predominantly Jewish church, but it continues even today in seminary students who study Hebrew. As Moore succinctly states: “I’m in Christ, and he’s Jewish, and therefore, so am I” (p. 157).
Moore persuasively joins adoption to the Great Commission (p. 19). He invites us to wonder what it would mean if our churches were known as lovers of orphans; if our church directories were as diverse as the kingdom of heaven; if we made disciples of all nations in part by adopting their most at risk members; and if mothers considering abortion decided to give birth because they knew they could give their baby to any number of Christian homes.
Reading a book like this makes me think that all Christians should either adopt or support those who are (through prayer, finances, and/or providing an extended family environment). Moore concedes that “Not everyone is called to adopt” (p. 20), but he also argues that adoption is like the Great Commission. We shouldn’t ask whether we are called to make disciples or adopt but how (p. 111).
From Project 1.27 to www.hopefororphans.com, evangelical Christians are taking a renewed interest in adoption. I’m usually reluctant to join any movement that is popular (I’m one of the few guys who didn’t attend Promise Keepers, mostly because everyone else did), but this one seems right. What do you think? Should every middle class Christian family support, either directly or indirectly, the adoption of a child or teenager?