Jessica Bates lost her husband a few years ago in a car wreck. This would be devastating for anyone, but through her grief over her loss, she’s decided to open her heart and home to others. As she lacks a husband, she’s now reaching out to those who have no parents, trying to adopt children in her home state of Oregon. Mind you, this is in addition to the five children left fatherless by her husband’s death. It takes a special love to take in those who need a home. It takes a strong love and a strong heart to do so while raising little ones alone.
You can imagine Jessica’s surprise when the state turned her down on ideological grounds. To warrant the state’s approval to care for parentless children, she had to sign off on “affirming” any potential adopted child’s desire for transgender pronouns, chemical sterilization, and other practices that would have been rightly seen as child abuse just a few years ago.
As the Alliance Defending Freedom said of her case,
Oregon officials are preventing Jessica from adopting a child because of her Christian beliefs — despite the fact that they otherwise accommodate people of different religious and cultural backgrounds and try to pair children with families who are well suited to each other. It’s a blatant act of religious discrimination, and it must end.
This ideological enforcement is not an isolated thing. Last year, the governor of Michigan used her veto power to cut from the state budget millions of dollars allocated to help pro-life groups and Christian adoption agencies. It’s not enough, apparently, that these groups work to help “the least of these.” To get state funds, they also must toe the party line when it comes to supporting abortion.
In America today, there are nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system and over 100,000 waiting to be adopted. Adoption is a beautiful gift that’s close to the heart of Christianity, a legacy of the Church’s earliest days when unwanted kids, mostly girls, were left on the trash heap by Roman parents. Christians responded by taking these little ones into their homes.
There’s hardly a better picture of who we are in Christ than adoption. As sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, lost through their Fall, we have been brought into the household of God. The Apostle Paul notes in Galatians,
… born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Drawing on this same beautiful theme, few acts live out this love that God has shown for us than this unique way of loving our neighbor. What better way to reflect the love poured out on us and to realize the restoring work to which our adoptive heavenly Father has called us than to fix what’s broken in these little lives?
This is an opportunity to move from outrage to a constructive strategy. If you are in a state that is holding back this Christian love from showing forth in children’s hearts, call on your representatives to tell them that this is not the way. Or, wherever you live, think of supporting adoption agencies and awaiting parents with funds and goods to help them bring the homeless into their families. Or, if God calls you in this way, prayerfully consider opening your home and heart to those either in temporary foster care or permanently orphaned.
As Chuck Colson said almost 30 years ago now,
More than ever, we need to work to promote alternatives to abortion, especially adoption. Couples who take in needy infants and selflessly care for them should not be penalized by policies motivated by political correctness.
Working to free potential parents from unwarranted state restrictions and to support them in these adoptions is a clear case where Christian love meets civic duty.
This Breakpoint was co-authored by Dr. Timothy Padgett. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org.
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