Ever since shortly after my husband and I were married, the subject of adoption has been close to my heart…an ember I believe God will stoke into flame at the right time. There’s no doubt that adoption is a long and intricate journey for any family here in the USA, with a spate of background checks, fees, and rules involved. And that’s all besides the emotional rollercoaster that comes with bringing someone else’s child into permanently into your family. Unlike fostering, which is often a temporary situation, adoption means that child becomes your own, for better or for worse, forever.
The biggest thing I’ve learned about adoption is that it’s not for the faint of heart!
The more I’ve studied and read personal accounts and immersed myself in the intricacies of adoption, the more the passages in Ephesians and Romans that use this process as an allegory have stood out to me. In Roman culture, adopted children were considered chosen. Because the adopting family knew what they were getting into—knew the adoptee’s traits, blemishes, and often their strengths and weaknesses—lawfully, there was no going back when the adoption was fulfilled. The adopted child was a part of the family and that was that, no takebacks (this differs greatly from Jewish culture where adoption was basically unheard of as blood children were the only ones carrying on the family name. This is why the New Testament books written to Jewish converts use sonship phraseology while the books to Gentile converts focus on the adoption aspect of our belonging to God).
Think about that: in our culture, adoption takes a child with an uncertain future, without a name, without a family, and places them permanently in the arms of those who will care for them. They become grafted on to that family as if it was their own. And that’s the exact image God wanted to evoke when he called us adopted in Ephesians 1:5 and Romans 8:15. Because of this adoption into sonship, we now call God “Father” and we share in the inheritance of His family.
What an awe-inspiring privilege! This is why understanding the concept of adoption as it was in the Gentile days of old truly matters. It infers that God knew exactly what He was getting into with each of us—He knew our traits, our blemishes, our strengths and weaknesses—and still He gladly adopted us into His family. He welcomed us with open arms even knowing the unique adjustments that would take place as we struggled (and still do!) with taking our place in His family and all the personal change and growth that entails.
This notion moves me to tears: that God would give us such love, such status, such a family that we are no longer aimless and homeless but carry His name. We are adopted, chosen children of the Most High! AMEN!