The Gracious Gift of Adoption

I had the opportunity this past week to attend the Lutheran Adoption Conference in Houston, Texas, and I am so very grateful that I was able to be there and participate. It was organized and hosted by Lutherans For Life and Lutheran Family Service of Iowa, and co-sponsored by LCMS Life Ministry and the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. The presentations and discussions were robust and invigorating, and I am hopeful that our Synod – as a fellowship of the Church – can be proactive in supporting the adoption of children into pious and faithful Lutheran families.

From my earliest childhood, as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been aware that my mom was adopted. She never knew her biological mother, nor even much about her, except that she was young and unmarried, and that she did not abort her daughter but gave birth to her and then gave her up for adoption. Not only did that allow my mom the chance to live and grow and eventually have a family of her own, but, being adopted into a Christian home and family, she was baptized and catechized and brought up in the faith and confession of Christ Jesus. And because of that, my mom has always been one of the most staunchly pro-life people I know.

It has not been lost on me that I would simply not exist – my siblings and nieces and nephews would not exist, and my children and grandchildren would not exist – had my mom’s biological mother chosen abortion instead of adoption for her daughter. And had she not been adopted into a Lutheran family, her life and all of ours would be profoundly different in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. So, when I became aware of the Lutheran Adoption Conference, I knew it was something I needed to prioritize; and in retrospect, I was not at all disappointed.

There were too many highlights and far too much information for me to summarize adequately here, but I do want to mention just a few things from the Lutheran Adoption Conference, along with my hope that we in the Indiana District can somehow do our part to encourage the adoption of children by Lutheran couples and families. The challenges are numerous, as we discussed at the conference. The cost of adoption is one of the biggest hurdles, with no easy answers, but I was pleased to learn of various resources available to assist in that regard. In particular, I was impressed by the assistance offered by the “Both Hands Foundation.” The social, political, and legal challenges are somewhat more daunting and, in some ways even more difficult to address.

The high point of the conference was the presentation by Rev. Michael Salemink, Executive Director of Lutherans For Life, on the theology of adoption. He did a beautiful job of showing from the Holy Scriptures that adoption is the way that God Himself brings us into His Family and makes us His own beloved sons and daughters in Christ Jesus. I found it especially helpful that Rev. Salemink articulated that, while adoption is certainly a blessing to parents and families, its primary goal and purpose is to provide for the needs of children who would otherwise be left without parents and families. Along those lines, we should understand that adoption is not simply a solution for infertile couples but is also very much a salutary option worthy of consideration on the part of couples with biological children, as well.

The need for Christian parents and families to adopt children is great; and, by God’s grace, it is expected and hoped that it will be even greater in the wake of the overturning of “Roe v. Wade.” We have an opportunity to provide life in both body and soul to children from a vast variety of circumstances, in the confidence that the Lord will bring about a legacy of faith and love from one generation to the next. For God sent forth His Son to redeem us for Himself, that we might receive His gracious adoption as sons, and cry out by the Spirit of His Son, “Abba! Father!”