Thoughts on Together for Adoption
Special thanks to Dan Cruver and Jason Kovacs of Together for Adoption for inviting Abort73 to be part of the tremendous T4A conference this last weekend in Austin, TX. Though people who begin with a heart for abortion-vulnerable children naturally gravitate towards adoption, I've noticed that the flow is less consistent in the other direction. Those who begin with a heart for adoption aren't so naturally moved towards the care of abortion-vulnerable children. As such, I'm extremely grateful for another chance to help connect the biblical mandate to care for orphans in the womb (as Russell Moore says) to the biblical mandate to care for orphans outside the womb. Though abortion and adoption are inextricably linked, it's not a connection that everyone in the orphan care movement sees yet. By God's grace, that is changing.
My wife Carrie and I took in five out of the six general sessions and I sat in on a number of the breakout sessions as well (Carlos Whitaker's "Social Media & the Orphan", Dan Cruver's "Adopting Outside Your Skin Color", Aaron Ivey and Steven Bush's "Using Music as a Voice for the Orphan" and Todd Nighswonger's "Your Church & the Foster Child"). Each one was great, but the highlight for me was Todd Nighswonger's session on foster care. I wasn't even intending to go to it, nor did I know who Todd was at the time, but the session I'd initially pegged was already full while Todd's still had space right next door. God knew where I needed to be.
A few things that stood out from his session:
He noted that while foster care is "less sexy" than international adoption, the church's first responsibility is to the orphan's in our own community. The immediate context of James 1:27 is local. There are roughly 500,000 children in the U.S. foster care system right now, roughly 120,000 of which are available for adoption. Though that's no where near the estimated 163 million orphans worldwide, it doesn't make their needs any less real, or the church's obligation to them any less binding.
He spoke of meeting a pastor in Uganda who wondered why American Christians are so eager to take away their children instead of helping to train and provide for more local churches to be able to adopt them themselves. Visiting widows and orphans does not always mean taking them away.
He argued that it is a mistake for Christians to enter foster care with an exclusive focus on adoption. The primary function of foster care is restoration and reunification. Those who focus only on adoption find themselves rooting against the mother, instead of praying for her recovery and redemption.
Single moms, though not widows in the technical sense, should be viewed as widows in the biblical sense.
When you embrace the sovereignty of God in your life, you trust him to bring the right children into your home and to leave them or remove them according to his perfect plan.
One of the fallback arguments people make in support of abortion goes like this: Who's going to care for all the unwanted kids if abortion isn't legal? We're just going to end up with more kids in foster care with no one to adopt them. In at least one sense, this is a bogus argument. The children in the foster care system waiting for adoption are not newborns. If they had been available for adoption at birth, they would have already been adopted. It is non sequitur to argue that abortion must remain legal because there are older, unadopted children in the foster care system.
At the same time, the fact that there are unadopted children in the foster care system is an indictment against the church – an indication that the church isn't doing its job. Yes, I can point out to people why there is a significant difference between unadopted newborns and unadopted 11-year-olds, but wouldn't it be so much better to be able to simply respond, "There are no unadopted children in this country because God's people care about widows and orphans?" That's not to say we should abandon our concern for abortion-vulnerable children until every child has been adopted, but when every child has been adopted, it will become qualitatively more difficult for the world to criticize the church's opposition to abortion, and that will be a great day for orphans in the womb and orphans outside the womb!
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.