Christian Adoption vs. Child Adoption

Poor mothers love their children too.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35 NIV

Christian adoption is a true come to Jesus meeting with the creator. It is when an individual of Jewish and non-Jewish descent makes the decision that Jesus Christ will be Lord and Savior of their life. The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of adoption.

When studying and quoting the Bible, it’s important to understand the history of the time period. Paul more than likely was speaking of adoption that occurred during the first century when Christ walked the Earth; he was not speaking of what is happening in the adoption industry today. During the life of Christ and the apostles, the Roman leaders adopted sons to maintain political power within the Roman Empire; they seldom if ever adopted daughters. The Jews were extremely aware of the process because it was legal, followed by huge celebrations, and it resulted in new government leaders. The most famous adoptees mentioned in the Bible at the time of Jesus are Augusta and Tiberius, both inducted into the Caesar dictatorship as grown men.

Augustus, born Gaius Octavius, was adopted at the approximate age of nineteen by Julius Caesar. Tiberius, born Tiberius Claudius Nero, was adopted by Augustus at the approximate age of forty-six. These men were intentionally chosen based upon how they had proved themselves in a variety of areas including political, military, and personal. Actually, adoption was extremely typical in the Caesar family before Augustus and after Tiberius because it kept the family in power. This was very common in elite political families; that is why Paul refers to adoption as sonship. Males were adopted, not females. Men brought assets to a family, females reduced a families assets. Daughters were expected to have a healthy dowry when married. The dowry stayed with the daughter, and if the marriage didn’t work, she retained the dowry and it took care of her and her children until her death. Adoption was the method for a governing group to maintain power, today politicians resign early allowing the leadership to appoint a hopeful front-runner prior to the election making it easier to win.

Jews did not practice the type of adoption discussed by Paul. Paul’s adoption metaphor explains Gentile conversion to Jews.   The whole idea of Gentile conversion was so spectacular that Peter and James the Just held the Council of Jerusalem around 50 AD to discuss issues relating to conversion and how it should work for Gentiles.

Adoption is not mentioned without the use of the word sonship which adds to the implication that Paul’s reference is of the Roman adoption practice like the Caesars. The Caesars were not the only political family that practiced this type of adoption, it was common place among the Roman elite without sons to carry on the family business. The Romans only adopted older sons who had proved themselves intellectually and in business matters. Adopting an infant would have been too expensive and too risky; they wanted to know what kind of a man they were adding to the family. Paul uses the word adoption (Greek huiothesias), only five times: Romans 8:15, Romans 8:23, Romans 9:4, Galatians 4:5, and Ephesians 1:5.

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.” Romans 8:15 NIV

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23 NIV

the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Romans 9:4 NIV

to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:5 NIV

he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— Ephesians 1:5 NIV

Present day adoption justification often uses the previous five verses and the stories of Moses and Esther. Moses was not an orphan and only placed in the Nile, by his mother, in the fear he would be murdered. He was weaned in the palace by his God given mother, and he returned to his family of birth around the age of forty. Esther was a true orphan, both parents had died. She was taken in by Mordechai; Bible scholars disagree on his actual relationship to her parents, and various Bible translations differ. There are other references more loosely applied to adoption including Jesus, Ishmael, and the Old Testament children of concubines or servant girls.

The Bible does not encourage what is happening today in adoption – the sale of children, especially the children of the poor. The majority of children, especially infants, are not orphans. They have both mother and father. Laws are being written to make it almost impossible for young poor women to keep their babies, and even tougher laws are written to steal children from their fathers before they are born. Close relatives are not even given a chance to raise the child. They are sold for tens of thousands of dollars prior to birth by organizations calling themselves Christian. Often, prolife groups are the ones behind these laws and practices, because they are backed by adoption agencies in the business of making incredible incomes from this practice.  The Bible does not support this behavior. If anything it discourages it.

This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. Amos 2:6 NIV

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV

The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. Job 24:9 NIV

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:31 NIV

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7 NIV

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:49 NIV

What needs to be done? Christians need to study their Bible daily and then follow what it says. Churches and religious organizations pop up every day, and tell you what you want to hear rather than the truth. God gave us Ten Commandments, not one. The order of importance is the order in which he gave them. Number One: You shall have no other gods before Me. Do you trust that God got it right: He knew the womb and the woman where he placed the child, and he even knew the father? God had a plan; He even chose the genetics and DNA. Is it man’s job to improve on God? Or, have you just broken the first and most important commandment of all? Man does not have to fix it for God. Man needs to do what God tells him to do, support the poor.


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