What is adoption? This is a compilation put together from two definitions; adoption is a legal action that voluntarily brings a child into one’s family. (1) Adoption as we know it is a legal arrangement. It is usually administered by the courts usually with direction from various government bureaucrats. When looked at like this adoption is a rather sterile subject.
Unfortunately, too many people treat adoption as nothing more than a legal action. Some people when the going gets tough, they just go. In one notorious case an adoptive mother in Tennessee placed her son, Artyom, on a plane to Moscow and abandoned him to the Russian government. (2) Many other adoptive children have been abused, abandoned, and even murdered by the hands of their new adoptive parents. (3)
One of the deeper issues that adopted children struggle with is permanence. "Will I be sent back?" Vitali, our youngest son, early on would often ask when we were going to the “Detsky Dom,” the Russian word for orphanage. I finally got the Russian translation of "You are never, never, never going back to the orphanage. Mama and Papa are your parents and they love you and you are going to live with them forever." Vitali just smiled the biggest ear to ear grin when he heard this.
I can't help but think of the passage from Psalm 103:12 "As far as the east is from the west He has removed our transgressions from us." For the Christian it is only through the death of Christ that we never, never, never have to face the consequences of our sin.
In Jeremiah 31:31-34 we are given the New Covenant:
"The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.(NIV)
The good news of this New Covenant is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God of very God, became flesh, lived a perfect life, died on a cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father so that we may have eternal life by placing our faith in the Messiah. The Christian was totally lost in his sin prior to reconciliation with the Father. In Romans 8 we read that is only through spiritual adoption that we are joint heirs with the Christ.
So what is the New Covenant? For starters it is an agreement; a non-revocable agreement between God and man. What makes this covenant better than prior covenants God gave man is that it changes our nature. God actually writes His law on the believer’s heart. The New Covenant provides for forgiveness of sin and eternal life with God the Father. The New Covenant is eternal adoption.
There are approximately 150,000,000 orphaned children worldwide. (4) There is a growing adoption movement in the Christian church to minister to these children by following the biblical mandate to care for the orphan. Recently the Wall Street Journal (5) and CBS News (6) have even taken note of this phenomenon. The world is watching us. As we bring these children into our families I would like to see the church take a new view of adoption based on a covenant.
When we bring these children into our homes at this point it is by a legal arrangement. In light of this understanding of the New Covenant I would like to propose Christians approach the earthly adoption of children in a new manner. Let us as we bring these children into our homes offer them a covenant of adoption. I would like to see the creation of a ceremony based on a binding pledge before God to the adopted child. I imagine most families already have acknowledged this in their hearts but I would like to see it formalized. We need to show our children and the world that this is REAL and we are serious and fully committed to caring for the orphan.
I would love your feedback. Here is a verbal pledge I have put together:
I __________, an adoptive son/ daughter of God the Father through the New Covenant, love you ___________ and in obedience to the command of God to care for the orphans through the power of the Holy Spirit, I adopt you as my son/ daughter. I pledge to raise you in a home based on Christian values and train you in the ways of God. I will provide for your material needs. When you cry I will be there to hold you. When you fall I will pick you up. I am your father/mother and there is nothing you must offer me. I love you unconditionally and nothing you say or do will stop that love. I understand that you will struggle with issues from your past and I will help you overcome these through the grace of God. I promise to listen and answer your questions with honesty and integrity. Your name is_____________ you are my son/daughter. I pray that you will accept my love and become a man/ woman of God. I covenant today to do all this before God and men in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
An additional benefit is there are times when legal adoption is not possible but covenant adoption is always possible. Any input?
(2) Tennessee Adoption Angers Russia After Woman Sends Boy 7, Home, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Nataliya Vasilyeva and Kristin M. Hall, http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/apr/10/tenn-adoption-angers-russia
(3) Adoption Season For Evangelicals, Wall Street Journal, Naomi S. Riley, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703743504575494263102089970.html
(4) 150,000,000 estimated orphans based on 143,000,000 orphans in the developing world according to UNICEF’s 20004 report Children on the Brink plus estimates of children in North America and Europe. http://www.unicef.org/publications/cob_layout6-013.pdf
(5) Forever Family Forever Dead http://bastardette.blogspot.com/2005/08/forever-family-forever-dead-memoriam.htmlEvangelicals Start Adoption Push, CBS News, Joel Roberts, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/03/national/main2757240.shtml?source=RSSattr=U.S._2757240