For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to be reared by a man not his biological father, but who loved Him, taught the Creator of the Universe how to be a carpenter, and loved His mother. Joseph was Jesus' adopted father, even allowing Joseph the distinct honor of giving the Babe the long-awaited name of "Jesus."
Matthew 1:24-25 states, "When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus." Joseph was a righteous man who did not spoil Mary's virginity, allowing the prophecy to be true that a virgin would birth a Child. If Joseph had had intercourse with his wife, it would have raised doubts about Jesus' conception and birth.
Joseph had faith in God that what the angel had told him was true -- and adopted a miracle into his heart and house. How does God feel about adoption? If He did not love adoption -- why Joseph? Why make adoption part of the salvation story?
As sinners, we are far from God. But because of Jesus, Who took our sins upon Himself, adoption is made part of the salvation story. Galatians 4:4-5 states, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship."
We are no longer sinners, doomed to hell, but adopted into sonship and heirs with Christ under grace. Often, a child languishes in an orphanage or a terrible situation, without hope -- much like a sinner before knowing Christ. But when a child is adopted into a loving family, that child becomes a son or daughter of the adopting family. God provides adoption for children and sinners alike through His Son, Jesus Christ, to save them from certain death.
"The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father," wrote Paul in Romans 8:15. There is no need of fear for the child of adoption -- whether of flesh or of spirit. As adopted children, we are redeemed and given a new Father, a new Name, under the Son.
Jesus even tells us, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you," [John 14:18]. When I went on a mission trip to Africa in 2013, I was met with hugs by two little girls, Judith and Micca. I fell in love with these two girls and felt like I had found a part of my heart that I didn't know I was missing. I couldn't adopt them (one must live in Zambia for 18 months prior to adopting, and the two weeks I was there just didn't count), but I think of them often, and consider them to be my African daughters. I went to them, flying over the Atlantic, to minister to them and to lead them to Christ.
That is what Jesus did: He did not leave us as orphans, to die and go to hell, but He came to us, as it states in Matthew 1:23, "'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' (which means 'God with us')." Because of Jesus' great love for us, He did not want us to be orphans, without Him as our Father.
That is why Jesus' own brother writes that we as Christ-followers need to take care of orphans. In James 1:27, James wrote, "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." Our faith resembles Christ the most when we take care of orphans, widows, and prevent ourselves from the sinful nature of the world.
So how do we do this, in practical terms? We can adopt a child. The world keeps saying that abortion is necessary because "who will take care of all the babies if they're born?" My question is this: Where is the Church? In the United States, with as many churches that exist, there should not be abortion, or children waiting to be in a foster home, or kids in orphanages. The fact is, just because a church exists, doesn't mean that congregation is part of the Church.
There are children waiting to be adopted all over the world. There are waiting children in every county in the United States. There is no better illustration of the Great Commission, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age," [Matthew 28:19-20], than adoption.
If not adoption, consider being a foster parent. Matthew 19:14 states, "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Fostering allows you to take children who have been abused or neglected and introduce them to the love of Christ -- for a time, a season, or through adoption. How can the Church turn its back on the most precious of God's heart?
But some people are not called to physically foster or adopt. However, we are still called to look after orphans -- and we can do that by supporting foster and adopting families, financially and materially donating to organizations that help foster and adoptable children, and sponsor kids through various nonprofits.
How do we support families who foster and/or adopt?
-- Pray for them
-- Provide meals
-- Provide gift cards to stores
-- Donate money to them (often/usually, foster/adopting children have special needs that require expensive therapies, surgeries, eyeglasses, etc). Consider helping out with those costs.
-- Do yard work
-- Help them clean their kitchen
-- Do their laundry
-- Listen to them
-- Share their story
What are some organizations that help children in foster care? One that I have personally worked with is Least of These Carolinas. While they are located and serve the foster community in the Carolinas, I encourage you to prayerfully consider a donation to them here. If you know of any other organizations that support adoption/foster care, feel free to put them in the comments below.
Jesus came to save us; as a response, in faith to salvation in Christ, we as the Church are commanded to take care of orphans. Everyone can do something -- either adoption, foster, or supporting those who do.
(c) 2017 Terrie McKee
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