Theology of Adoption

I reads this week in the newspaper that a woman has been fined $150,000 and ordered to pay $1000 per month to a child she adopted from Russia and then returned.

Apparently, she put the boy on a flight back home to russia with a note claiming that the boy had become disturbed and violent.

I am glad she has been told to provide for the child until he is 18 years old. She argued that the adoption had been nullified by a Russian court – but of course adoption cannot be nullified. If you adopt a child they become yours – as if they are your blood child – and you have to deal with what a child becomes just as every parent has to. Just because you ‘adopted’ a child, you cannot return them if they are not the perfect person you wanted.

The theology of adoption is probably one of the most under-utilized theologies of the christian faith. Many, many years ago i read Rev. Dr Mark Stibbe’s book, From Orphans to Heirs and it opened by mind (and heart) to the reality of the fact that God has adopted us as sons and daughters.

Just as when a Roman adopted a child, and that child took on the name and authority of the father and could then transact business in the name of the father, so we have become children of God through his adoption of us. Imagine God deciding to send us back because we have bad days, or are often unreasonable, or even disobedient. No, god doe snot do that. Adoption is a a powerful, powerful message for us. He will not discard us because of our failures and faults. Indeed he will be patient with us, love us, mold us and draw us closer to himself – because when he adopted us we became his children.

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