The Public Witness Of Adoption

Anthony Bradley

One the best arguments against the growing tentacles of the social assistance welfare state into the lives of people who are suffering is the practice of the Christian practice of adoption and orphan care.

Progressives often charge classical liberals and conservatives as being heartless toward the poor because only progressives are willing to make sacrifices for the poor. Of course, the progressive method is usually to use force to solicit the help. Nevertheless, one of the ways in which Christians have stood out in their respective societies in various countries throughout the world for nearly 2,000 years is by practicing the public virtue of adopting the children that others cannot raise or do not want to raise, and caring for orphans. It is derived from a clear teaching in the book of James: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (1:27, ESV). Adoption is simply an extension of what it means to love God and love neighbor (Matt 22:36-40).

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A few days ago, a couple I know told an amazing story of adopting a newborn:

For those of you who don’t know, this was not the way we thought things would go for this adoption. We were accepted by an agency and had started the home study process. Out of the blue, we get a phone call through a random connection that there was a girl who needed a family for her baby. We met her 2 days later . . . which was 3 weeks ago yesterday. God’s way is obviously better than our own. We’ve had confirmation after confirmation that this was supposed to be our baby. Seth has already been such a blessing and his story is such a testimony to God’s goodness. We had a very emotional goodbye with his birth mom this morning. She left the hospital today and left behind her baby for us to love and call our own. No words could express the feelings we have for her. So thankful she chose life for this precious baby.

The beauty in this story is expressed in the mutuality of love and respect shown by both the birth mom and the couple toward the child. All of the adults involved have the child’s best interest in mind. The mother was not able to care for the child and a family was willing and ready to receive him. America and the rest of world needs more stories like this. According to recent data, there are currently only 130,000 true orphans in this country waiting to be adopted. The fact that number is this high is staggering given that 77% of Americans identity themselves as Christians who have the practice of James 1:27 in their respective traditions for hundreds of years in the United States.

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If those who complain the most about the encroachment of progressivism are consistently pro-life and promote human flourishing it seems that a culture of adoption would be something that secularists could point to in the American practice of Christian values that out paces everyone else in the country. With as many families in America who take the book of James seriously there the number of available children for adoption should be negligible. For more resources on the Christian witness of adoption and more orphan care more broadly check out Johnny Carr’s book Orphan Justice as well as the service provided by organizations like Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Charities.

Editor’s Note: This article was first seen on the Acton Blog.

1 Comment

  1. Valerie (Kyriosity)

    Just a little semantic quibble: in Scripture, orphan = fatherless, not necessarily parentless. That doesn’t detract from your argument at all; just wanted to note that God sees kids who only have moms as “true orphans,” too.

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