Adoption: Movement or Trend?

This post is pulled from Megan Hyatt Miller’s blog. You can see it in it’s original state here. I particularly like her 4th and 5th points.

While talking with a friend about our adoption recently, she made a comment that adoption just seemed so trendy—all these upper-middle class families running around with their brown babies talking about hundreds of millions of orphans, minus one.

From the outside looking in, it appeared to be the “new thing.” She wasn’t being critical of my family, just making an observation of something she saw happening in the community where we live.

I started to wonder, is adoption just another trendy way to brand yourself as a cool Christian, or is God moving within his church, calling people to respond to the Gospel in large numbers?

Here are a few reason why I believe adoption isn’t just the latest fad, but points to larger movement:

1. There is a difference between a trend and something that is “trendy.”

To be sure, there is an adoption trend within the Christian community in the sense that a trend is anything that a large number of people do at the same time. But, a “trend” is not the same as “trendy.” Trendy implies something that is the fashion of the moment. Here today, gone tomorrow.

2. Adoption is not a new idea, but Christians are finally starting to take the biblical mandate to care for orphans seriously.

The idea of adopting orphaned children comes directly from our example of our adoption in Christ. It is not a new idea. When we adopt orphans, we are simply imitating Christ, giving a family and a birthright to a child who previously had none, just as Christ did with us.

Thanks to people like Jason Kovacs and Dan Cruver, co-authors of Reclaiming Adoption, the connection between horizontal and vertical adoption is being brought to the forefront in a new way.

Moreover, Christians are taking the biblical mandate to care for orphans to heart.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.—James 1:27

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come for you.—John 14:18

3. Now, more than ever, Christians place a premium on alleviating the suffering of others.

Christians, conservative and liberal alike, are now more aware of global suffering than ever before, and they are doing something about it. Books like, The Hole in Our Gospel and Radical, have inspired us to enter in to the sufferings of others and give our lives away for the sake of the Kingdom. Whether that means opening our homes or our wallets, we are doing it in large numbers.

4. Transracial adoption reminds us of what the Kingdom of God looks like.

As I wrote here, racial diversity, whether in a family or in a church community, speaks of the way we were meant to live—as one. As my friend, Pastor Chris Williamson says, we are one, but not the same. In other words, diversity is beautiful, diversity points to the restoration of all things. Division, hatred and segregation are plagues of a fallen world.

Reconciliation among nations, tribes, and skin colors is God’s kingdom come (again, Pastor Chris). As recently as 30 or 40 years ago, transracial adoption would have been scandalous. Now, it is one way God is breaking down historic walls of separation.

5. Those interested in being “cool” are quickly weeded out by the process.

Finally, if you want to adopt because it’s the trendy thing to do, you won’t last long. Speaking personally, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. The waiting and uncertainty are excruciating, but our boys are worth it all.

I have yet to meet anyone who completed an adoption for the wrong reasons. I’m sure they are out there, but everyone I have met has been profoundly moved by the Gospel mandate to love in a way that costs them everything.

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