A few weeks ago, we had a friend attend an adoption conference. They have been planning on adopting internationally for awhile, so we expected her to come back excited. We were surprised and challenged when she came back convicted and fired up that the church change their approach to international adoptions. As she shared how the prevailing thought for the church is to rescue these children from their countries, but that it doesn’t address the systemic issues that continue to cause these countries to need so much orphan care, I was struck by what God may be doing in the restricting of international adoptions recently. Russia is no longer allowing international adoptions from America. Ethiopia, Haiti, and a number of other countries have changed their procedures and processes to combat corruption and slow down the adoption process. This has been understandably frustrating for many Americans currently in the process of adopting or wanting to adopt internationally.
What if God is trying to wake up the American church to the needs of these countries? What if God is trying to invite us to address orphan care in a different way? What if the solution to orphan care went beyond adoption to addressing systemic change in the culture?
Rescuing by Entering the Mess
Adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ, demonstrating that God the Father desired to bring us into His family to experience His blessings. This caused Him to bring us out of our current situation, alienated from Him, and save us through faith in Christ. This is why adoption is such a beautiful picture and I am so thankful for those adopting and in the process of adopting.
In thinking about the restricted adoption processes, the gospel also reminds us that Jesus took on flesh to enter into humanity’s situation, address systemic issues, and guide us towards restoration of brokenness. As countries restrict adoptions, God seems to be calling us to pay greater attention to the state of life in these other countries, to be concerned that the nations be restored, and not just have their children rescued.
Obviously it is a “both/and” approach and I’m not advocating that we should stop adopting internationally, but my hope is that the church doesn’t merely seek help in changing legislation.
Can you imagine if those in our churches passionate about international adoption moved into these countries with the greatest needs?
Fulfilling the Great Commission through Orphan Care – Over There
Jesus tells His disciples to go and make disciples, starting where they are and then extending it to the nations. God has awakened the church to His heart for the orphan and He may be using this awakening to create a wave of new missions to the nations.
Russia, Ethiopia, Haiti, and many other countries have great and profound needs; adoption is a piece of the solution, but God uses missionaries to change the world. He just may be using our inability to bring orphans out of their situation to invite us to enter into their situation.