May 26, 2010

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Adoption is not always seen in a good light. Pregnant teens who are nervously but seriously considering abortion become very adamant when adoption is mentioned. “Oh, I could never give my baby up for adoption!” Even well meaning Christians may contribute to the problem. “What mother would give away her baby?” The perception is that adoption is abandonment, a bad choice that is not very loving.

There is a need to shed some good light on adoption. One way to do that is to look at adoption in the light of Biblical servanthood.

The Sacrifice of Servanthood
His disciples offered Jesus opportunities to teach about servanthood. They often argued about who was the greatest! On one such occasion, Jesus said,

“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

To illustrate, “He took a little child and had him stand among them.” Then Jesus took that child in His arms and said,

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.” (Mark 9:35-37)

“This is a picture of greatness,” Jesus is saying. “Welcome a little child.” Think about that scene. Jesus would have to stoop over to embrace this child. Of course, Jesus was used to stooping over for the sake of children.

“Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14)

How far did Jesus “stoop”? He “made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”

Then “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-7)

Servanthood involves sacrifice. Jesus became the ultimate servant and offered the ultimate sacrifice so that He could take us in His arms and welcome us as His forgiven children. In Christ, God adopts us and welcomes us into His family.

The pregnant teenager provides an opportunity to share this powerful Gospel message. She is filled with fear and guilt and just wants it all to go away. The Gospel can help her see herself as a child in Jesus’ arms, forgiven and not forsaken. The Gospel can help her see through the very real pain of her situation so she can begin to become a servant and welcome the child within her. The Gospel can help her lay aside for a time her goals and plans and sacrificially start making goals and plans for her child.

One of the ways to serve this new life is by making an adoption plan for him or her. This is not the only option available. Ideally, we would like to see the father and mother raise this child as husband and wife. Sometimes single parenting is possible. However, for a variety of reasons—age, maturity, finances, etc.—these last two options may not be what is best for both mother and child.

A primary purpose for which God ordained marriage between a man and a woman is to parent children. God’s wisdom in doing so should not be ignored. Because it is God’s design, children do best in a stable, two-parent family. Adoption allows the pregnant teen to choose such an established, loving Christian home for her child. This is not easy. It is a more difficult choice than abortion or single parenting. It requires painful sacrifice. However, it is far from abandonment. It is the ultimate form of servanthood. It is an act of love that puts a child’s needs first.

The Greatness of Servanthood
In such servanthood is true greatness. Most of us associate greatness with doing great things. But the greatness of welcoming a little child is much more than feeling good because we did a great thing. Welcoming a child is a divine thing, for in so doing you welcome the very presence of God.

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.”

Many in our society today believe in the greatness of the “right to choose” abortion. It is upheld as a sacred choice that must be defended at all costs. That is why for every 1,000 abortions there are only 19 infant adoptions each year. Those aborted babies were not unwanted babies. They were wanted babies who were never able to be held in the arms of any of the hundreds of thousands of couples who wanted them and were waiting to adopt them. There is nothing sacred about the “choice” of abortion.

Adoption, however, is a sacred choice. When a young woman welcomes a child, she welcomes God. When she loves and serves that child enough to make an adoption plan for him or her, she is loving and serving God. Adoption gives a woman the right to choose some other things as well.

Adoption gives a woman the right to choose baptism for her baby. (This choice is never available in abortion.) Adoption gives a woman the right to choose Christian parents for her baby. Adoption gives a woman the right to choose to receive updates on her child’s development. Adoption gives a woman the right to choose to express her love in a letter to her child to be read when he or she is older.

When looked at in terms of Biblical servanthood, adoption takes on a whole new light. There is no question that adoption requires sacrifice. In light of Christ’s great love and sacrifice, however, and the hope and strength it offers, adoption is a loving sacrifice that can be made. In light of the choice of welcoming a little child, adoption is a sacred choice. When you welcome a little child, when you serve that child, you are welcoming and serving God.