Recently I attended a Bioethics conference with a Professor named David VanDrunen. One of the things he brought up had been on my mind before, which was in regard to adoption. He said that many of the people he talked to really didn't consider adoption until all else had failed. He concluded this was tragic, and that we ought to be considering adoption well before the end of the line. He also said we ought to consider adopting children who are less desirable, such as special needs children. The reason being that we may be their only chance at a good home. No one wants them, and that's precisely why WE should want them. I think he's right.
I have been honored to see two couple I am friends with go through the process of adopting foster children. This is something that makes my heart leap for joy. Foster care is such a bad system. One of my closest friends in this world is a product of the foster system. She found a family who adopted her, but it was not always so good for her. She is one of the lucky ones. There are roughly 420,000 children in the foster care system according to the most recent statistics. Out of the 25% of those children who needed to be adopted, about half of them were actually adopted. So roughly 55,000 children needed to be adopted. This is not good. These children need homes.
As I was thinking about this tonight, I realized that there are 2 reasons that adoption is so important for people, especially professing Christians, to consider. For the pragmatic evangelicals bent on making society a moral safe haven, there are a few good reasons as well and then there are purely theological reasons for adoption as well. First things first.
I recently had a passionate discussion with a fellow Christian brother about abortion. I saw that he was a supporter of planned parenthood, and while the Christian norm is pro-life, we got into a discussion. I will not get into how we hashed out that discussion, but I want to bring up a relevant point from our discussion. While both of us were not pleased with the nature of abortion, we both saw a very humbling problem. If you banned abortion tomorrow, there would be an influx of unwanted babies over night. Abortions are somewhere around 1.3 million a year as of 2005 (a record low). That means that we would, in one year of having no abortions, potentially quadruple the amount of unwanted children in foster care. That is of course assuming that all potential abortions get put into the foster system which wouldn't happen, but the point being that in 1 year 420,000 foster kids could probably realistically double, or more. Christians are right to be concerned about the sanctity of human life, but what kind of hypocrisy wants to protect the unborn and forsakes the children who are in dire need of rescue. Why are there Christians who will hound abortion clinics and picket planned parenthood, but these same Christians aren't at the social services building trying to rescue these children? Then there's the issue of so many of the Evangelicals out there screaming for limited and smaller government. All of this comes around to the point my friend and I agreed on. The best way to end abortions is to make them unnecessary. And likewise, the best way to get rid of some of the "handouts" from the socialist machine is to make them unnecessary. Start adopting kids, and when there are more adoptive families than children to be adopted, the foster care system can be downsized and we can actually start to have practical solutions for what to do with the unwanted children killed in abortions. That is why adoption can help the evangelical pragmatist.
The theological reasons I was thinking about are these. Adoption can be a means to pure undefiled religion. Jesus Christ, our savior and our example, cared greatly for the children. We, as Christians, have been adopted. Adoption is one of the most precious pictures of the gospel that we have the possibility to live out. When we take a child that is not our own and we love them and care for them as though they were our own, we are in fact very literally demonstrating the great love of God that he would take children of the devil and adopt them to be his own children. This is the gospel. We are adopted and given the rights and privileges of a natural born child in our Father's kingdom.
I understand that not everyone is able to adopt, and it might not be something that you are really called to do. That is not the point. The point is that we should pray about and seriously consider adoption regardless of how many natural children we have. There is a need. Yesterday was the day that my friends met their future adoptive foster children. That is a day that the gospel was lived out in a very realistic way. That is pure religion.