12.26.2016

Excerpt from "The Cost of Adoption"

Since my blog is called "The Musings of an Urban Christian," there's no pretense that what I post here is fully baked.  Indeed, more often than not I am baking something by posting it. 

That said, some things need more baking before they are published, because they are delicate issues and I want to be careful saying something that I don't mean to say.  Such is something I am working on, which I'm tentatively calling "The Cost of Adoption."  Not sure whether and when it will be ready for prime time.  But here is an excerpt below.


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My understanding of New Testament times is that there were two kinds of adoptions of children that occurred.  One was strategic and political, a person in power adopting a child in order to control where his inheritance and influence flowed.  People of the day understood this kind of adoption as par for the course for a nakedly conniving political class.

The other kind of adoption was by newly named "Christians," followers of Jesus who took in abandoned or otherwise orphaned children.  People of the day did not understand this kind of adoption; while they respected the gesture of compassion, they could not fathom taking a literally thrown away human life and granting it legal rights into a family, with all of the attendant social, societal, financial, and protective benefits that came with that legal redesignation.

Is this how modern society views adoption as well?  Do we consider adoptive parents to be heroes for exercising such concern in taking in a child and surrounding it with such affection and comfort?  As an adoptive parent, it is nice to be considered a hero and complimented for such an act of sacrificial love.  But I wonder if it misses another characterization of adoption, which is hard for many to understand, which is as an act of social justice, of breaking through our regimented notions of class to bring into one's own family someone who didn't come from you and in fact is quite different from you but is now part of you (and you are part of them). 

The Bible has a lot to say about a lot of things.  "Orphans and widows" is one of them.  Read carefully enough, and process within the contemporary context, and you will understand calls to care for orphans and widows as far more than compassionate acts from the heart, although they are still that.  But, the cost of adoption is far steeper than that.  And, the gain is far more than you can imagine.  Such is true about just about everything the God of the Bible calls us to.  Would that we who say we are believers hear and heed.
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