Have you adopted a child or were you adopted? I have many friends who adopted children because they couldn’t biologically have their own children. It’s one of the most powerful expressions of human love.
A mother and father accept a child who feels rejected by his birth parents and give him all the love and rights of natural children. It’s a profound decision that is costly (usually 10s of thousands of dollars), sacrificial, and life-changing.
And it doesn’t always go well. Adopted children sometimes grow to resent their adopted parents. Some come with trauma and illness requiring extensive treatment and extra measures of love.
The Christian parents I know who adopted children say it’s one of the single greatest things they ever did. They live with a constant reminder of God’s redeeming love.
You see, God adopted us. He now calls us sons and daughters. We can now call him Daddy.
Our adoption shows us many reasons to be thankful. Let’s explore a few:
#1: Adopted children are chosen
Legal adoptions require extensive background checks and a careful process to make sure it’s a good match for the child and the family. Ultimately, the adoptive parents choose the child. It’s part of the adoption story they tell their child.
God chose us. But it wasn’t because we were cute, perfect, sinless, or had something to offer that he lacked. As Paul told Titus, “When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4-5).
When we realize God selected us before we could ever earn his favor or attention it frees us to receive his love gratefully.
#2: Our adoption is permanent
Earthly adoptions sometimes end up in courtrooms. Parents don’t always fulfill their end of the bargain. Adopted children might eventually reject their parents.
God’s adoption cannot be revoked. It’s eternal. While that might sound negative, it’s a sign of God’s deepest love. He accepted us and called us sons and daughters based entirely on his love and not our responses.
Have you ever watched a teenager run from his parents or shrink away when his parents try to hug him? One of my friends has an adopted son with an attachment disorder. He verbally attacks his mother and physically hits his father. My friend loves his son, but it hurts. He would never take away his love and he assures his son of this daily.
As John shows us, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him” (1 John 4:9 NLT).
#3: Adopted children become part of the family
Several families I know adopted children of different ethnicities while also having naturally born children. They raised all their children the same way and have given the adopted children the same opportunities and rights. The adopted children didn’t have to change their skin. The natural children didn’t lose anything.
When God adopts us we become his children and thereby we become brothers and sisters of Jesus (see Hebrews 2). He is still the only begotten son of God and he is the firstborn, so we don’t have equal status. But we share in all the blessings and gifts God gives his children. We call God “our father” and “Abba” (which means Daddy). He calls us son or daughter. We have constant access to his throne room, his study, and his man cave. He never tells us he’s too busy.
#4: Adopted children receive inheritance rights
In most cases, adoptive parents include their adopted children in their wills with the same rights as natural children. While earthly parents can be whimsical about these decisions, God never is.
Paul told the Ephesians “Because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan” (Eph. 1:11 NLT). We inherit eternal life and all the spiritual blessings God promised. If we doubt this, God gave us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee (Eph. 1:14).
Teachers like Jack Miller, who coined Sonship Theology, have helped countless believers discover the freedom and gratitude that flow from accepting our adoption. It’s marvelous indeed.
Take your journal and spend some thinking about what it means to you that God chose and adopted you. How has that changed your life? How does this perspective lead to gratefulness for you?
Father, I thank you for choosing me, loving me, adopting me, and disciplining me as a good father. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. I’m especially grateful that I can come to you when I’ve fallen down, sinned, or become lost. Fill my heart with thankfulness for all the gifts you’ve given me, starting with eternal life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.