Having known little about the relationship, I questioned, “What do you mean?”
He said, “She’s sort of her step mom.” I must have had an odd look on my face as I was trying to recall facts about this girl. He went on to say “Well, she adopted her.”
I was, in that moment, offended. But I tried really hard to be, understanding. I’m not sure how successful I was. I replied, “Well doesn’t that make her a ‘real’ mom?’ Then, I went on to remind him that I had adopted my own son and that in fact I was his ‘real’ mom. I’m truly sure this gentleman was quite flabbergasted and I fully believe in his heart he meant no intentional harm to me or to the lady in question. But what became obvious to me is that there is still after all of this time a stigma related to adoptive families. The stigma of ‘real’ and ‘not real.’
Now as you’re reading this, perhaps you are thinking this story took place in a grocery store, school or even a family gathering. But, it did not. This happened after a worship assembly of the Lord’s saints. It was a dear brother speaking. In my mind I understand that many people don’t understand the reality of adoption. In fact, many believe there is a difference in an adopted child and a biological child. What saddens me is that this belief still exists in the Lord’s family.
The word adopt by it’s very definition, to bring (a person) into a specific relationship, esp to take (another’s child) as one’s own child,* is in essence the receiving of a child as one’s own. Let’s be sure to understand the definition says, “AS ONE’S OWN.” It does not say “AS IF the child were their own.” In other words, it is not a comparative statement, but rather a definitive relationship that is being established.
In fact, legally speaking, there is no distinction made whatsoever. Following an adoption hearing when a judge BY DECREE establishes an adoption to be legally binding, the county then issues a new birth certificate listing the new parents of the child. No where on that birth certificate is the biological family names to be found. No where on that birth certificate are the words “adoptive mother” or “adoptive father” found. In fact, if one were viewing the birth certificate of an adoptive child and comparing it to a child who by birth entered a family, there would be absolutely no discernible difference between the two. In the place of “mother” is listed the new mother of the child and in the place of “father” is listed the new father of the child. Legally, there is no distinction. In fact, they must swear an oath or make a legal affirmation in front of the judge that they as parents will make no distinction regarding the legal rights and inheritances of the child as well as the legal and moral responsibilities of the parent to the child.
Most of the time, adoptive Christian parents have waited for many years for the blessing of parenthood. They have spent long hours in prayer to the Father. They have labored in love not for months but for years for the longed for moment to arrive, the day that their ‘forever family’ will be established. They cherish their child with a love that is born, not in a delivery room, but on their knees in the throne room of the Father.
The Bible speaks of adoption, specifically:
Romans 8:14-17 NKJV**
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
You see, as Christians we each are also adopted. We have been adopted into the family of God through the blood of Christ. We have the honor of calling to Him, as “Abba.” He is our very own Father. Just, as my son, is my very own son. If we were not His own children, then we have no inheritance and we would not be a part of His ‘forever family.’
When speaking to one another, let us be cautious with our words. Consider the words of our own Brother Paul:
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
Hi, I’m Renee a team member with R16:16. I have been happily married for 20 years and we have a son. I chose to share this topic of adoption with you today because today is the 9th Anniversary of the day that my own son was given into my arms to be my son. I’ve shared my story “This Day In Our History” on my own blog: Great Peace Academy.
*Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
** All Scripture references taken from the New King James Edition