Friday, November 10, 2017

An Open Letter to Pastors regarding Adoption Rhetoric,

The topic of adoption is a beautiful illustration of our position in Christ. We have been chosen, brought into His family, and given all the rights and privileges of an heir. So what better place to  illustrate this connection than before a congregation? There are even some churches who actively strive to create a culture that normalizes Orphan Care and follows the mandate in James 1:27. 
But could I offer a word of caution for the sake of those who may be listening?

During sermons/lessons, could you perhaps soften the use of words like "unwanted" and "abandoned" when referring to a child who needs a family? While in some instances those descriptive words are true, in many they aren't. Often children are relinquished due to poverty or prohibitive government policies. For the sake of their very lives, some are left behind where they will receive medical care that would be unavailable if they were to stay with their biological families. So many children enter the U.S. foster care system, not because they are unwanted, but because the pull of whatever vice is plaguing their parents is too strong for them to overcome. 
These children have much to work through as they adjust to their new reality.  

Imagine if you will that a foster or adopted child is sitting in a church and hears themselves described as unwanted or abandoned (even in a great illustration). It would do so much harm to his or her heart!
The point of this is not to criticize, but to educate. Until you've looked into the tear-filled eyes of a child who feels the sting of rejection and the bewilderment of so many unanswered questions, you might just see an innocent Scriptural parallel. But once you've held that child, you realize how certain words resound in their hearts. 

If the Church is going to make a push for families to foster and adopt, the likelihood of these children sitting in the services or participating in the children's ministry is great. Sensitivity is so important!

Finally, for the sake of potential birth mothers who might be contemplating the choice between abortion and adoption, words like abandoned, unwanted, and "gave up" all sound so harsh. Could this type of rhetoric sway the birth mother's decision to steer clear of an adoption plan for fear that her child would be labeled unwanted?

In an effort to be the voice for the children from hard places who might unintentionally be hurt by a handful of words, I would be so thankful if you would consider these thoughts when preparing a Scriptural correlation that includes adoption.