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


Full disclosure: the title of this post is a trick question.

One of the comments I received from our October 2-3 conference was that our ministry’s name, Together for Adoption, is too narrow in its focus. The concern is that the word “adoption” doesn’t speak directly to the issue of foster care, nor does it adequately address the global orphan crisis.

If when we hear the word “adoption” our thoughts move horizontally, that is, we think of families adopting children, then I am in total agreement with this concern. Horizontal adoption isn’t the answer to the foster care situation or to the global orphan crisis.

Ultimately, we want children to be raised, loved, cared for, and nurtured by their biological parents. Horizontal adoption doesn’t prevent the disruption of families. It’s not the solution to the sin that leads to the breakdown of the family.

We also do not want children to lose their parents to HIV/AIDS or to the horrors of genocide. Horizontal adoption doesn’t solve these massive and systemic problems. It certainly serves children who have lost both their parents to HIV/AIDS or genocide, but it doesn’t begin to provide a solution to the reason these problems exist in the first place.

God’s solution to our world’s problems is his work of adoption. In other words, the answer to these problems is vertical adoption.

According to Paul, God “predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5) and gave us the Holy Spirit as “the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Ephesians 1:14). Central to our adoption as sons is the possession of our inheritance, a renewed heavens and a renewed earth in which righteousness dwells. This is exactly what Romans 8:23 is talking about: the full realization of our inheritance as sons on the new earth.

Don’t miss this: God’s work of adoption through Jesus Christ is how he is putting the world to rights. Vertical adoption is the way God is fixing everything that is wrong with this world, including the problems that result in foster care and the presence of orphans (read chapter 4 in our new e-book for a fuller discussion of this important subject).

Yes, horizontal adoption doesn’t even begin to provide an answer to the problems surrounding the existence of foster care nor does it provide the solution to the global orphan care crisis. Vertical adoption, though, does provide the comprehensive answer to all our world’s problems and crises.

My prayer is that when Christian’s read or hear the word “adoption,” they will think first of vertical adoption rather than of horizontal adoption. Horizontal adoption does not even begin to adequately address the global orphan crisis. Vertical adoption, though, addresses it comprehensively.

When you read the word “adoption” in our ministry’s name, think vertical adoption. We come Together each year for Adoption because we believe God’s work of adoption through Jesus Christ is the comprehensive answer to the global orphan crisis.

Part two of this series will look at the role of the church in God’s work to put the world to rights by adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.

Read parts two and three in this series.

« « Together for Adoption Slideshow | Does Adoption Adequately Address the Global Orphan Crisis? Part Two » »

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