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Adoption is Close to God's Heart

I am adopted.

It’s not something that comes up in conversation too often, but it’s a critical part of my story. While I was raised by a Christian family in the Pacific Northwest, I was born to a young Mexican woman in Lubbock, TX. My adoptive parents had informed me early on about my adoption, but it was not until my college years that I did a bit more research and found some paperwork that revealed some information about my birth parents. There isn’t much to tell about my birth father; he was just the guy that got my mom pregnant. But my birth mother had a bit more to her. Her name is Linda. She was 21 years old when she gave birth to me. She’s from a large Mexican family, and apparently was a migrant worker, which makes me wonder about her immigration status.

These facts have all sorts of implications for my story.

Suppose that Linda–a single 21-year-old Mexican migrant worker living in West Texas–had decided to not put me up for adoption. Suppose she had decided to raise me herself. What kind of person would I have become? What values would I hold? What opportunities would have been presented to me? Where would I be today?

Suppose that Linda had decided to go another route: abortion. Suppose that my story had been tragically cut short by a choice that may have appeared like a wise decision at the time, but clearly has all sorts of ripple effects for the future. What would have been the implications?

Suppose I had never been raised in a Christian home, had never been given opportunities for further education, had never been mentored by Godly adults, had never been called into pastoral ministry, had never gone to Bible college, had never preached or discipled or counseled or listened or mentored or done anything that had to do with church, youth ministry, or the kingdom of God. The world would be a very different place.

I’m not saying that I’m some sort of critical piece in God’s grand scheme of the kingdom, that He could not have accomplished a great deal of good without me. Yet I also believe that He does have a plan and purpose, that He is working in and through my life to draw others closer to Himself. Maybe this is a It’s a Wonderful Life moment, a time to ponder the enormous impact that a decision made by a young woman in Texas did for my story, and for the stories of countless others.

Perhaps some day I’ll be able to meet Linda. I’d want to thank her, to show her a picture of my wife and children, to tell her about the young people that I get to disciple, to let her see the fruit of that decision she made 27 years ago. I’d have plenty of stories to tell, stories that would not have happened apart from her.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:14-16)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

In a spiritual sense, every person who has put their faith in Jesus is adopted too. God also seems to place special emphasis on the care of orphans, to give a home to the homeless and a family to the fatherless.

Adoption is close to God’s heart. It’s a vital reality of the gospel of the kingdom.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so I’m making you aware of how important adoption is, both personally for me and as a part of the kingdom of God. Support the adoptive families in your church and community, and consider how God might be calling you to further His kingdom work through adoption.

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Joel Mayward is a pastor, writer, youth worker, and film critic. The author of three books, he has written for numerous ministry publications, including Christianity Today, Christ and Pop Culture, Leadership Journal, YouthWorker Journal, Immerse Journal, The Youth Cartel, and LeaderTreks. You can read his musings on film, theology, and culture at his personal blog, www.joelmayward.com. For his film reviews and essays, check out www.cinemayward.com. Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelmayward.