The word adoption is thrown about a lot within Christianity. It’s easy to find a saying describing how God chose someone and saved them, adopting them into his family. There is the implication that lives were lost and full of depravity before adoption, and one must walk forward leaving everything behind.
The old life is gone, the new has come.
It describes a viewpoint that a life was destined for disaster and unworthy before adoption. It instructs to leave all behind, a life of promise is ahead and looking back at the brokenness is pointless. It portrays wholeness and joy, an easy sacrifice to choose in exchange for a saved life.
Adopted by Christ.
This mentality is deeply woven into the Christian narrative and as a result is used as a justification to adopt. Countless hopeful couples will use the saying “because he adopted us first,” as the opening statement in their adoption story, explaining how they were called by God to save an otherwise doomed child.
But, like much of the talk within the adoption world, this teaching favors the adoptive parents and fails to recognize the adoptee.
There is such a contrast between the Christian mindset and actual adoption. For adoptees, whether we were with our birth families for a few hours or a few years, we experienced a life before being adopted. And, although, woven into our genetic makeup is a bond with our biological relatives, this teaching tells us to leave that all behind. It gives the impression that we chose to be adopted, that we were in charge of making a decision that would determine the direction of our lives. It ignores the profound loss and trauma adoptees experience, instead painting adoption as an easy and painless process.
Christians, your “adoption” fails in comparison to the reality of what it really is. Stop using your faith as a reason to grow your family. Instead, educate yourself on the complexities of adoption. Be informed, be open and be ready to learn. Adoption isn’t easy. It isn’t an adoptees choice, nor is it always joyous. But above all, it can’t be forgotten.