By Kendal Conner
A young married couple arrives after traveling more than 8,000 miles by plane, and another 200 by bus. He grabs her hand as they walk into the orphanage. The cost was high. The journey was hard. Then, from across the room, they meet eyes with a 2-year-old girl. As they nervously approach her for the first time, the little girl runs into the arms of her new mother and gives her a hug. She is theirs — the price was worth it.
Although this story was invented, I have heard more and more stories like it recently. I used to listen as families and friends recounted details of their adoptions. I was amazed by the struggles they faced to bring their children home. I would think about how radical and faithful these couples were.
It was not until this past summer that I realized what I was missing in these stories. I have spent three summers working at a youth camp. This past summer our Bible study theme was adoption. The camp staff is missions-minded, so I thought we would be teaching about the importance and value of adoption. I was wrong.
Instead, I spent the summer teaching students the reality that we are all born as orphans. Yet, when we choose to follow Christ, God adopts us into His heavenly family — an entry paid by the price of Christ’s blood. Since summer, God has surrounded me with families living out the Gospel through their obedience to adopt.
I have most recently been privileged to walk alongside a few families in the process. Through my time with these families, what I have learned is how they are living out a powerful picture of the Gospel. The price of adoption is high. But not only do families sacrifice money, they sacrifice all the time and emotion as well. I have learned that adoption is not just something for the radical. In fact, these families are not being radical at all. When placed in light of the Gospel, they are being obedient. Christ paid the ultimate cost, and he sacrificed more than we can ever understand.
In the Bible, John tells us that pure and genuine religion is to care for orphans and widows. I now understand what John meant. By taking care of orphans and widows — those who are alone — we are reflecting our deeper understanding of the Gospel. Since there are 143,000,000 orphans in the world today, is there not more that we as Christians should be doing?
I want to make clear that I am not judging anyone for not adopting; it is definitely an area of life which requires active seeking of the Lord. However, I have witnessed a multitude of families willing and ready to adopt, but unable to pay the cost. This is where I think we, as the church, should all step in. Maybe you have not felt called to adopt, but that does not mean you cannot help. I know several churches in Jackson have begun adoption ministries, and I am encouraged to see the number of families in my own church have adopted because of the assistance they received from such a ministry.
The fact is that as we rejoice in the Lord and in our spiritual adoption, we should delight in reflecting the good new of the Gospel through our willingness to “take care of orphans.”