As a Christian, you may be wondering about Christian adoption services and what that actually means. Many Christians, myself included, believe that adoption, taking a child who is not biologically connected to you into your forever family and loving them with a permanent love, is a perfect metaphor for Jesus’ relationship with us. Jesus was adopted by Joseph. One of my favorite Bible verses is James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the word” (James 1:27). As a religion major in undergrad, I learned that this was the only time the word religion is defined by God in Scripture. It is interesting that God would call adoption and orphan care “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God.” Adoption is God’s plan. Christian adoption services are a way believers can understand God’s love through the gift of adoption.
1. Christian Adoption Services: Adoption Agencies
This history of adoption has been recorded since the beginning of time, however the history of adoption in the United States is first recorded with the Massachusetts Adoption of Children Act in 1851. Child welfare organizations were started as early as the 1850s. The first Christian adoption services focused on placing children in permanent loving homes that began around this time. Gladney Center for Adoption was one of the earliest agencies focused on Christian adoption services at their founding. I.Z.T. Morris was a Methodist minister who was focused on Fort Worth, a destination for orphaned children through the Texas Children’s Home and Aid Society in 1887. This Christian minister had a dream to find homes for orphaned children. Eventually, in 1927 Edna Gladney was named superintendent of the Texas Children’s Home. It was eventually renamed the Gladney Center for Adoption in 1991.
There are so many other wonderful adoption agencies offering Christian Adoption Services. They may not have a faith-based affiliation today but may have deep roots, like Gladney, in providing Christian adoption services. Agencies like Gladney and others may offer various Christian adoption services even if they are not a Christian agency. At an agency like Gladney, even though they are technically not affiliated with any faith-based religion, they will help expectant mothers who are believers with other Christian families if that is something they wish to do.
Other Christian adoption agencies will offer Christian adoption services like praying for you and your family and child during this time. They will offer Christian counseling services. Many Christian agencies will work with Christian families who will need to show some type of church or faith-based affiliation with a recommendation from their pastor and a statement of faith.
Christian adoption agencies offering Christian adoption agencies are different from non-faith-based adoption agencies. It is why believers look to find agencies that offer Christian adoption services. Here are some of the other Christian adoption services which can be offered by agencies, both Christian adoption agencies and those with Christian roots or founders.
Christian statement of faith is an important part of using a Christian-based adoption agency. Most Christian adoption agencies require prospective adoptive parents to give Christian testimony when they adopt. Do not worry – this does not mean you need to stand up and profess your faith in public or out-loud to your agency social workers. It just means that the adoption agency may have a statement of faith you need to sign saying you believe the basic tenets of Christianity. You may also have to draft your own personal letter stating your walk of faith. For your home study, most Christian adoption agencies or faith-based agencies will ask you to talk about your faith and how you came to faith in your personal biography. You will also likely have to get a letter of recommendation from the pastor of your home church or show your membership in a Christian church. You may also have to describe in your home study biography how you plan to raise your adopted child in your Christian faith. Will you read the Bible to them? Worship on Sundays and go to Sunday school? Thinking about that now is important. As an expectant parent contemplating an adoption plan for your child, you may also want your child to be raised in the Christian faith and look for parents who share the same faith as you.
Christian social workers are another reason to use an agency that offers Christian adoption services. If you are an expectant parent or prospective adoptive parent and have a relationship with Christ, you will find that there will be benefits to using an agency with Christian adoptive services and Christian social workers. Christian social workers often work at their respective adoption agencies due to their mission to serve families, orphans, birth mothers, and God. They not only have the advanced education, licensure, and expertise in adoption, they also do the work because Jesus first loved them. They can pray over your paperwork, pray for you and your baby you are placing for adoption, and pray that the adoption continues to move smoothly according to God’s will. Having worked with a Christian adoption agency when I went through the process, it was a gift to work with Christian social workers. They prayed with me the entire journey and when sadly the journey did not end as expected, I was so grateful to be lifted in prayer during a very difficult time in my life. Understanding what important role faith played in my life and my decision to adopt, having Christian social workers were critical to me and I am glad I sought them out at the start of the process never knowing how it would end.
Marriage is another reason why people choose a Christian adoption agency for their Christian adoption services. Many Christian adoption agencies believe that a child living in a two-parent home should have those parents be married. However, I would say that great adoption agencies who offer Christian adoption services will also support single mothers in their desire to adopt. Good agencies also believe that God calls some individuals to singlehood and those people can also be incredible single parents. China and India are two countries who allow single women to adopt and many good agencies offering Christian adoption services support those godly women in their desire to build a family through adoption.
As someone who has survived an abusive marriage and got divorced, I am grateful to Christian agencies who recognize that some divorces are necessary for the health and well-being of the spouse and children. Most agencies also recognize this and welcome divorcees to adopt. They often, as all agencies do, limit the number of divorces a single or couple may have if they choose to adopt.
2. Christian Adoption Services in Orphan Care
Many Christians believe the verse above James 1:27 and recognize due to international adoption policies and domestic United States policies with foster care, not all children are able to be adopted. Christians will often hold James 1:27 as a statement of faith and commit their lives to helping children who may never realize their basic God-given right to a forever, permanent family. The individuals will work with various Christian adoption agencies and faith-based organizations to help those children living outside of permanent care. Individuals can work with organizations like the Christian Alliance for Orphans or CAFO. CAFO’s mission is to “inspire, equip and connect local pastors of Christian churches of every denomination and leaders to create local church and NGO networks that inspire adoption/fostering and effective orphan care for vulnerable children among local Christians.
Many Christian adoption agencies will also offer mission trips and use money from agency fees from the adoption process to serve orphans in-country. They may provide trips for families to care for orphans in orphanages abroad or provide much needed social assistance and resources for the children, orphanage workers and the facilities in which the children live. There are many ways as a Christian to get involved in orphan care work and volunteer opportunities.
You also can work with your adoption agency or an orphan care organization to help in other ways if you can not travel. You can donate funds to help orphans, raise awareness through posting about their work on your social media accounts, share information with friends or family who can help financially or do in-kind donations through donating materials and supplies desperately needed by children living in foster care in the United States and by orphans living abroad.
3. Scripture Verses for Adoption
The Bible is full of references to God’s heart for adoption in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. From Jesus to Moses, God shows that His plan was for children to live in families. It was also His plan for us, His children, to be adopted into his love and his family forever. Adoption is central specifically to Jesus’ heart and mission on earth and we as Christians should look at caring for those children living outside of the love and protection of a permanent, forever family a God-given mandate. Here are some other beautiful Biblical verses about adoption.
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. “ (Deuteronomy 10:18)
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship [adoption]. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)
“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5)
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:5)
“Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphans, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” (Matthew 18)
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the word.” (James 1:27)
We are all born separated from God due to sin in our world. God’s great, everlasting love which was shown by giving us his Son, Jesus, adopted us as His very own family through the gift of grace and forgiveness, we are a part of God’s forever, permanent family. He is a good father. A father to the fatherless. We are all adopted. The metaphor for His love for us through adoption into His family through our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior makes us sons and daughters of God, our heavenly Father. It is beautiful how God uses the examples of adoption in Scripture to show his permanent love for us as His children.
As a Christian, I am like many of my fellow believers who see and feel the call of God on our lives to be a voice for the voiceless; the most vulnerable children in the world – those without the love and protection of a permanent loving family. The Father places orphans in families. It is His will for us all to not only experience the forever love of being daughters and sons of God, but also that we may live life to the full here on earth and care for widows and orphans in their need. Many people view Christian adoption services as faith-filled individuals and families who believe they are doing God’s will by adopting or caring for orphans, and yes, this is true. It is also true that God loves families and we are the expectant parents creating an adoption plan for our babies or adoptive parents building their family through adoption also feel the love of the Father and are changed personally even more by the experience of adoption.