Book Review: Reclaiming Adoption
Dan Cruver (Editor), John Piper, Scotty Smith, Richard D. Phillips, Jason Kovacs
I found a Facebook page for Reclaiming Adoption while doing updates for Key Ministry. Reclaiming Adoption is a product of an organization, Together for Adoption, established to mobilize the church to care for orphans by providing gospel-centered resources that explore our adoption in Christ and its profound implications for the global orphan crisis.
The authors of the book explore the topic of adoption from a Biblical perspective and offer a theological underpinning to the burgeoning adoption movement in the American church. They explore Paul’s teaching on vertical adoption, God’s adoption of sinners, as a foundational component of missional involvement with the world and juxtapose his teaching with our cultural understanding of horizontal adoption (human adoption), which was rooted in Greco-Roman legal practice.
I found the book to be a relatively easy read on a topic in theology I’d never heard discussed in a sermon at church. Paul was the only writer in Scripture to use the term adoption. The principal author explores the four passages in which Paul refers to adoption to explore crucial events in God’s story of redemption.
Dan Cruver states “The ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians, therefore, is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel, so that within that family, the world might witness a representation of God taking in and genuinely loving the helpless, the hopeless, and the despised.”
In a later chapter, Jason Kovacs discusses adoption as a visible demonstration of the Gospel and challenges churches to consider encouraging adoption as a witness to their surrounding communities. He briefly discusses the importance of equipping children’s ministry, small group ministries and financial ministries for the task of supporting the needs of families within the church who adopt, but my clinical experience suggests that most families who adopt children with significant emotional, behavioral or developmental disorders don’t have churches with the resolve and resources to offer the ongoing supports necessary to maintain the family’s participation at church and equip the parents for their role as their child’s primary faith trainers.
John Piper discussed the costs associated with adoption and touched on the suffering experienced by many parents who adopt…something I’ve witnessed firsthand. In an earlier post, this blog addressed the importance for churches to adequately consider the potential impacts of adoption and foster care for families called to such ministry. There are enough good organizations and trainers to help churches prepare for the challenges posed by adopted and foster children that any church willing to take on such a ministry should be able to access appropriate resources and support.
At Key Ministry, we look forward to the opportunity to serve churches called to establish adoption and foster care ministries, as well as the opportunity to introduce churches to other like-minded organizations with experience in ministry to families of kids with special needs. We believe that adoption ministries are likely to to have greater Kingdom impact if Christians involved with such ministries form relationships with their brothers and sisters in the church with expertise in children’s ministry, youth ministry, family ministry and disability ministry.
To purchase or download Reclaiming Adoption or to read an excerpt of the book, click here. The book is an excellent resource for staff, volunteers or parents in churches contemplating adoption ministry or other missional initiatives.