Recently, Brenda Fischer, our coordinator for the disability ministry at Bethlehem, sent me statistics on the numbers of children with disabilities God has brought to Bethlehem. She ended with this statement:
At Bethlehem we have a disproportionately high number of the last three mostly because of so many adopted children in our church body.
The ‘last three’ she is referencing are fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and reactive attachment disorder.
Each of those disabilities carries heavy, lifelong burdens on the children and families.
And they are coming to our church because families are pursuing the good of others in obedience to Christ. Families are intentionally taking the risk that their adopted child will have a significant disability which could change the entire family.
So I particularly appreciated Dr. Russell Moore’s blog post from yesterday, Don’t Adopt!
Anyone even remotely familier with him or his book, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches, would immediately recognize that he’s trying to say something important through that provocative title. And he delivered:
Love of any kind brings risk, and, in a fallen world, brings hurt. Simeon tells our Lord’s mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, that a sword would pierce her heart. That’s true, in some sense, for every mother, every father. Even beyond that, every adoption, every orphan, represents a tragedy. Someone was killed, someone left, someone was impoverished, or someone was diseased. Wrapped up in each situation is some kind of hurt, and all that accompanies that. That’s the reason there really is no adoption that is not a “special needs” adoption; you just might not know on the front end what those special needs are. . .
We need a battalion of Christians ready to adopt, foster, and minister to orphans. But that means we need Christians ready to care for real orphans, with all the brokenness and risk that comes with it. We need Christians who can reflect the adopting power of the gospel, which didn’t seek out a boutique nursery but a household of ex-orphans who were found wallowing in our own blood, with Satan’s genes in our bloodstreams.
Yes and amen!
So, if a church is serious about adoption, it will either already be serious about disability in the lives of its members or it will soon need to become serious about it. And every church should be serious about adoption, because we know that God is:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV).