April 26, 2024

by Rev. Dr. Scott Sailer, President, South Dakota District LCMS

On April 10-11, 2024, I attended the Lutheran Adoption Conference, in Houston, sponsored by Lutherans For Life (LFL), Lutheran Family Service, and Christian Life Resources. Jill Johnsen, President of LFL of South Dakota, was there too, along with about 40 others.

There’s always been a need for the adoption of children, but that need has grown in the years since abortion was legalized by the Roe v. Wade decision 50 years ago. Now that Roe has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision about what to do about abortion has been returned to the states. South Dakota is staunchly against abortion, but many states still allow it with few or no exceptions. Plus, there is the sad reality of the prevalence of medical abortions.

The killing of unborn boys and girls is still easily done, tragically so. Only 1% of surprise pregnancies result in adoptions. There are about 100,000 adoptions a year, a number far lower than the number of abortions.

And so we met at the conference to discuss ensuring the future of Christian adoption. It is hoped that a national strategy for adoption will be developed.

For this we know:

Adoption fits beautifully with our theology. Adopting is grace. It is a metaphor for salvation. Listen! “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4,5). Adoption is Christian witness. Orphans are our neighbors. Listen again: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).

The motivation for adoption, said Rev. Michael Salemink, executive director of Lutherans For Life, is:

  • For those who do the adopting, there is delight (delight in growing families).
  • More important—to relieve and provide for vulnerable neighbors.
  • To confess, reflect, embody, and enact the Gospel (or, as the title of this article says, adoption proclaims and performs the Gospel).

Adoption needs to be a bigger deal among us. What can we do to make it a bigger deal?

  1. Speak well of the adoption option, even for those who are not infertile couples.
  2. Stand alongside those seeking to adopt. Assure them of your prayers. Create a fund at your church to assist with the cost of adoptions (which is in the realm of $40,000-50,000).
  3. Create a sense of community in your congregation. Be concerned about one another in all ways. Ask how your fellow members are doing. Greet all people warmly, not just your friends. Young church members with a surprise pregnancy are more likely to seek counsel and help from such congregations.
  4. Lean into the resources available from Lutherans For Life, LCMS Life Ministry, and Lutheran Family Service.

There’s much more to say. Let the conversation continue—and the number of adoptions grow among us!

“Adoption is so much about love … You’re adding in more people to your family of love. It’s such a gift of love …”

Katie and Travis Hansen share their Christian adoption story, which includes the journey of adopting two children, Ruthie and Kelvin.

This video was first shown at the Lutheran Adoption Conference, April 10-11, 2024, in Houston, Texas.

“We believe that every child is meant to be—and loved by God.”

Adam and Kait Shell share their Christian adoption story. Adam was placed for adoption as a baby and is forever grateful to his birth mother for the gift of life. Because of this, Adam and Kait, were overjoyed to open their loving home to a child in need.

This video was first shown at the Lutheran Adoption Conference, April 10-11, 2024, in Houston, Texas.

“God chose to reach out to us, when we had no merit of our own and say, ‘I want to adopt you and bring you into my family and be your father.’”

Michael and Bridget Gore share their Christian adoption story that takes them on a journey of domestic infant adoption, embryo rescue adoption, and foster care adoption.

This video was first shown at the Lutheran Adoption Conference, April 10-11, 2024, in Houston, Texas.