Providing gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care.


Note: In this blog series, all lowercase occurrences of the word “adoption” refer to the practice of families adopting children. All uppercase occurrences (“Adoption”) refer to God’s work of Adoption within redemptive-history. Series synopsis: While lowercase “adoption” presents a cosmetic solution to the global orphan crisis, uppercase “Adoption” presents a cosmic solution. Read Part 1. Also, I appreciate Jen Hatmaker’s willingness to address this controversial issue on her blog (here and here).

My intention in part two of this series is to focus on God’s mission to put the world to rights by Adoption through Jesus Christ.

There certainly are points of correspondence between adoption and Adoption. But I’m convinced that there are many more differences than there are similarities. Adoption is unique in that its scope is cosmic, that is, it affects all of creation—every last atom and molecule of it! Paul focuses on the cosmic scope of adoption in Romans 8:18-23 (see verse 23 in particular). As amazing and wonderful as adoption is—changing the world for a child, it can’t change the world. Only Adoption can and will transform the cosmos (i.e., our little planet and the countless galaxies of the vast universe).

God’s cosmic scope of Adoption, though, will ultimately solve the global orphan crisis because it’s how our Triune God is putting the world and universe to rights (enjoying my use of this British idiom, “putting to rights”? I sure enjoy using it!). When that Day finally breaks into our broken world—when God’s work of Adoption is consummated—everything will be unimaginably better than we can even begin to imagine now. In the Day when we actually find ourselves living in the New Earth and the New Heavens, we will think of our present time on earth now (in comparison to the life we’ll be living in the renewed creation then) as the days when we went about “making mud pies in a slum because [we could not] imagine what [was] meant by the offer of a holiday [on the New Earth in a renewed Heavens]!”

I seriously doubt I am exaggerating in the slightest!

Adoption is so much better than adoption. And just think about it: one massive improvement to our world when all things are made new through God’s work of Adoption is that there will no longer be any orphans. Not one. Anywhere in the universe. The word “orphan” will be a thing of the eternal past. If you’re like me, you can’t wait for that Day to arrive.

Unlike Adoption, adoption can’t (and won’t!) solve the global orphan crisis. Never. Solving the global orphan crisis before Jesus returns is not even possible in large part because of the presence of original (“What is original sin?”) and actual sin in our world (“What is actual sin?”). This is the cosmic difference between Adoption and adoption. Humanity’s adoption of children is reactive. It brings a solution to a child who is legally adoptable for whatever valid reasons. Adoption, on the other hand, is profoundly proactive. It’s God’s mission to renew the earth and banish the curse forever—as far as the curse is found!

Adoption is cosmic in that it will one day completely solve and eliminate the global orphan crisis and all the sin in, behind, and around it.

Humanity’s adoption of children is cosmetic in that, although it often brings beautiful redemption to particular children, it cannot solve the global orphan crisis. What it does do, though, in addition to bringing an orphan into a family, is point to the great Day when God will make all things new and the word “orphan” will belong exclusively to the history of the old creation.

But…in the meantime…as we continue to champion and practice ethical adoptionAdoption should galvanize and mobilize us to seek to put unethical adoption and child trafficking to rights for the glory of our Triune God and the good of vulnerable and orphan children everywhere.

I am in complete agreement with Jen Hatmaker: I am decidedly pro-adoption. Period. But I’m also decidedly anti-unethical adoption. And as far as I’m concerned, a robust understanding of Adoption and its implications for the global orphan crisis is the answer to strengthening ethical adoption and fighting unethical adoption.

Stay tuned for part 3 in this series.

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