Adoption Is A Commitment To Never Leave and Always Love

On October 20th, we brought a three and a half year-old girl into our family to be our daughter. The adoption of this sweet little one is more than the fulfillment of a dream.

It’s a calling.

To be more precise, it’s our calling.

It’s something birthed out of conviction and love.

God has placed this in our hearts. God’s word made the Father’s heart for adoption clear to us. And as we prayed, He confirmed that it was the path that our family should take.

Psalm 68:5: “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows?is God in his holy habitation.”

James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

Adoption is More Than A Good Dream

Such a decision has to be based on concrete things, otherwise, when it doesn’t feel much like a dream, when our children defy the good desires we have for them, when the trauma involved with adoption rears its head and attempts to claim her again, we would give up.

Unlike a good dream where one hopes it never ends, the truth is that it may not always feel that way. There may be days when tiredness gets the best of me, and physical and spiritual fatigue leaves my wife and I sitting on the couch at the end of the day feeling stuck.

But God will meet us in that place. We will look each other in the eyes and remind each other that this is God’s work. It’s His calling on our lives and His heart for adoption. We cannot do this in our own strength.

I’m here to say that we didn’t pursue adoption because it sounded fun, or to be heroic, or to make a statement. We went down this long road because at the core of the Gospel is a Father’s heart for orphaned souls.

Motivated By The Gospel

God sought me before I ever knew He was coming for me. He knew my name, my birth, my whole life, my sin and the sin of my ancestors, and yet, He still ran to me in His perfect timing.

He showered His grace upon me and said, “You’re mine. I died for you. I purchased you. I’ve adopted you as my own and no matter what you do I’m never going to leave you…ever.”

The Father endured more for me than I can possibly imagine. He witnessed the death of His only Son; a death He decreed out of necessity to pay for sin. Through faith in Him – His death, His resurrection, this sacrifice for the good of others – I am adopted as a son. I am sealed with the promise of the indwelling Spirit.

In light of this, I can come to the end of a difficult day having fought hard for the good of these little ones. But it’s not about me. It’s about Him. It’s about them. I want my children to come to the end of each day and know that I will be there again tomorrow, and every day I’m alive, to greet them with love and new mercy.

What they need most from me is nothing less than the enduring love that God has for his own. It’s my God-given job, along with my wife, to show this to them; to teach them God’s enduring love. I yearn for that love and pray, even beg, that the Spirit would give it to me daily. I want the Father’s adopting-love ingrained into the very fabric of my thinking; so that I return again and again to the very place where God found me and saved me.

I was dead in my sins. I was poor, blind and destitute. I was spiritually orphaned. I had no way to rescue myself, but He reached down with loving arms and rescued me when I needed Him.

So, why did we sign up for this? Why should anyone sign up for this battle of parenting, adopting, teaching, training and leading children?

Because it’s what God does every day.

Jesus loves the little children, but not every child in this world feels loved right now. Some may never know. The Enemy would like to keep it that way. But I want to show that they belong to Him and not to this world.

And let me tell you, you don’t have to adopt in order to do that. You just have to be changed by and committed to the grace of God, and then let it permeate your heart and your home.

In It For The Long Haul

Our adoption story is not the same as everyone’s. And it may not be a dream come true all the time, as some constitute a dream, but it is a miracle. Every one of my kids is a miracle. Every one of them is another way God is filling us with His joy. They are gifts from above.

Raising them is a gospel work. It’s a long road of redemption, discipleship and sanctification. The fruit of this labor will likely not be seen until much later, but it’s worth the wait. God is willing to give the patience that I, and every one of us, desperately need.

All four of my children belong to the Lord. As long as their lives are under our care, I want them to feel safe, secure and loved. I pray that they would know with deep assurance that neither we, nor their Father in Heaven, will ever leave them or forsake them no matter what.

Joel is 33 years old and married to his wife, Callie, of thirteen years. They have 4 children. He is a church-planter with the North American Mission Board and the pastor of New City Church in Bath, Maine. He's written two books, Grace in Crossville and Beeline to the Cross and blogs regularly at and