As Christians, we want the Scriptures to affirm everything we do. You may find yourself asking, “What does the Bible have to say about adoption?” As we examine the Scriptures for specific facets of adoption, we can develop a Godly and Biblical approach.

Adoption and the Biblical theme of the Covenant:

Adoption in strict terms is a legal process. However, adoption is more meaningful and more significant than just the legal perspective. Adoption represents relationship. There is a substantial difference between legal and promise in practice and principle.  Where law focuses on legal facets, promise celebrates the unconditional gift of love.

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In the Bible, we see many references to God’s Covenant Family and how, as new believers, we are adopted into God’s family. We are more than chosen. We are adopted and seen as pure and holy. Looking back in history, we find unique Roman-Syrian legislation that allows a father to abandon his biological child but forbids disowning his adopted son.

It is clear biblically that adopted children and biological children have at least the same value, and some would argue that adopted children have an even higher standing.

Adoption Supports Marriage and Parenting:

The Genesis record of creation shows that God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. We know that God intervened in Adam’s isolation stating, it’s not good for man to be alone. God created and ordained marriage with a calling to create children.

The union between man and woman was biblically established as God’s design for creating and raising children. Infertility and other reasons might prevent a couple from creating children. Adoption allows that couple to fulfill their calling to parent and raise godly children.

The husband and wife relationship, centered in Christ, growing their family is part of the biblical covenant.  This family unit delivers physical, emotional, and spiritual security and shelter for their children. God’s design establishes the calling for children to experience the covenantal relationship between a mother and a father.

A marriage firmly rooted and grounded in Christ is the strongest possible foundation for family-building, whether through birth or adoption.  Many birth parents realize the stability of a Christian family and make that quality a priority when making their adoption plan.

Adoption Upholds the Scriptural Emphasis on the Role of the Father:

Separate and Distinct –

Although we have seen the importance of two parents, the father’s role as illustrated in the Scriptures is separate and distinct from the mother’s. The Bible speaks of fathers as men of compassion, teachers at home, and honored by their children. Proverbs significantly elaborates on the essential roles a father can and should play in the lives of his children.

God purposefully chose to relate to us as a Father. Our earthly fathers are important in modeling or being images of God as Father.

It is important to note that many women choose adoption because they see the father as vital for their child.

Joseph Adopted Jesus – Perhaps the most profound example of adoption in the Scriptures is Joseph’s adoption of Jesus.  Joseph assumed the role of Jesus’ father.  It should not surprise us that God desired for Jesus to have an earthly father, consistent with His plan for marriage and parenthood.

Biblical examples show how God has used adoption to provide for children and to further his purposes and Kingdom:

Pharaoh’s Daughter and Moses – We can summarize Moses’ adoption by seeing it in the context of two loving mothers whose first concern was a child. Jochebed, who parted with her child knowing that his life was at stake if he remained with her; and Pharaoh’s daughter, who felt compassion on a child she knew, by mandate, would be killed.  God used these two women to save Moses’ life and provide him with a safe and secure childhood.

Jochebed’s decision is an excellent example of a birth mother’s love for her child. Her godly example sets straight the misconception that birth parents don’t love their children. Her love for Moses prompted her to make the adoption plan.

Here are some other examples often mentioned as types of adoptions: Esther and Mordecai (Esther); Jacob’s adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48); Abram and Eliazar (Genesis 15); and Eli and Samuel (1 Samuel 1).

The overarching theme in the examples above, as it continues to be today, is that adoptions take place for the child’s well-being and with his best interest at heart.

Adoption is a scriptural metaphor that emphasizes the permanence of our relationship with God, the rights we have as His children, and His redemption of us:

Many Similarities –

The adoption metaphor is a compelling illustration of God’s covenant love for His people and His desire to see us as part of His family.  Adoptive families can experience a small piece of that in the permanence of the family God forms in their midst.

Birth parents can know they set an enduring plan into motion for their child, just as God, sacrificially through Christ, put our salvation in place. The miracle of that transfer and grafting of that transfer and the child into his new permanent family, so carefully planned and desired by both families, is a beautiful image of our permanent place in God’s family.

Together on the Child’s Behalf –

Birth parents plan for permanence, the full rights of an heir, and love lavished on the child in his new family, just as God lavishers the riches of His Grace on us.  An adopted child knows that love daily from his family, and as he grows, he gains an understanding of the love of his birth parents, who planned the permanence for him.

Understanding this simple truth can break down the myth that adopted children will always experience rejection. It can also break the myth of animosity between birth and adoptive families, knowing they have worked together in a child’s life in a way they could not have worked independently.

Adoption is an Outpouring of God’s Grace on All involved:

Grace in the Time of Need –

A crisis pregnancy can cause intense struggle for a young woman.  Whatever the situation, she is experiencing emotional pain and a feeling of helplessness, as she may have never felt before. She is in the midst of a great time of need-the need for a resolution, the need for compassion, and support.

In a different set of circumstances, but feeling similar emotions, is the couple facing infertility.  The inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term is one of the most difficult obstacles a family-oriented couple can face. Infertility can be debilitating and alienating for couples. For both the young woman and the couple, life seems to be “on hold” and hopeless.

Grace Breaks Through –

Amid these seemingly hopeless struggles, we have a loving God who gives us gracious answers.  Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses  .  .  .  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Adoption is for Children –

The child experiences God’s grace through an adoption plan.  Adopted children can feel comfort and love knowing that their birth parents and adoptive parents planned a future for them that was in their best interest.  As children grow older, this can be tangible evidence of God’s direction and sovereignty in their lives.  Adoption can also be a sign of God’s grace for children without parents or children whose parents cannot care for them, children in the foster care system, and children from other countries.

As it progresses and after it is in place, an adoption plan can be a powerful example of God’s working circumstances for good for all those involved.  God uses adoption, just as He can any human relationship, to further His purposes and bring about wholeness and healing.

Adapted from Ring, June “A Biblical Framework for Adoption,” Loving & Caring