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Adoption Doesn’t Mean Adoption

by Dan Cruver Published Jul 6, 2010

The title of this post probably should have read, “Adoption Doesn’t Just Mean Adoption.” But I thought I’d be more provocative. So why use a provocative title?

Biblically speaking, adoption is about more than just child-placement. As I recently wrote, the Greek word for adoption is a compound of the word “son” and the word “to place.” Taken together they mean placement as a son. So, biblically speaking, adoption does speak of child-placement. But we when we look at Scripture’s overall usage of the word adoption contextually, we find that it actually flows out of God’s work of reconciliation (see Ephesians 1:3-5, 10; 2:1-7, 11-19) and stresses the renewal of creation (see particularly Romans 8:19-23).

People are usually surprised—some more, some less—when they learn that our primary stress at Together for Adoption is not so much upon child-placement as it is upon the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children. I think people are often surprised to learn this because when they see the word adoption in our name they automatically think “child-placement.” That’s understandable, though, given the way we use the word adoption within our society.

But adoption doesn’t just mean “adoption,” at least as we typically understand the word. It also concerns reconciliation between God and man, man and man (see Ephesians 2:11-19), as well as the renewal of all creation. God’s work of adoption will one day result in the comprehensive restoration of all creation so that it becomes the happy home of all of His children. One awe-inspiring day creation will be restored to a home of unceasing communion and fellowship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In that day we will enter into the overflowing and never ending peace and joy and gladness of our Father.

As I touched on yesterday, this understanding of adoption has massive implications for how Christians think about and address the global orphan crisis. Because of God’s creation-renewing focus of adoption, everything we do for the sake of orphans becomes a foretaste of the day when there will no longer be any vulnerable or orphaned children, when there will no longer be people who are oppressed or marginalized by society. That day is coming, and it will be an awesome day. This emphasis on reconciliation and renewal is why we should be passionate about family preservation and reunification now. So never forget: what we do for orphans now provides a foretaste of what will be then.

So, when you read “Together for Adoption,” don’t just think child-placement. Don’t even mainly think child-placement. Think reconciliation and creation-renewal and keep in mind that our upcoming national conference will address the current global orphan crisis from that critically important perspective.


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