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God, the Loving and Adoptive Father

Updated: Apr 22

By PPL Board Member Patricia Lee June, MD

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of son-ship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Romans 8:15-17

God’s adoption of us as His children is a lasting covenant, not a contract. God adopted us while we were still sinners, just as all birth parents and adoptive parents certainly are. While no human example can fully meet the adoptive ways of God, we have biblical role models to consider.


The first adoption recorded in Scripture was that of Moses (Exodus 1:22-2:10). When she could no longer hide him from certain death, his mother Jochebed put him in a waterproof basket among the reeds of the Nile and sent his 7-year-old sister to watch over him. Pharaoh’s daughter saved and adopted Moses but agreed for his sister to find a Hebrew wet nurse (who happened to be his birth mother). It is speculation, but it is likely that Pharaoh’s daughter knew this.


Today, most adoptions are “open adoptions” where birth and adoptive parents communicate to varying degrees and birth parents can know how their child is doing. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, had an open adoption. Annually, she took priestly garments to the temple that she had made for him (1 Samuel 1-2:21).


Unfortunately, there is an urban myth that making an adoption plan for a newborn is “giving him away” because the mother does not care. Some proclaim that it is kinder to kill a child early than to “give him away.” Another myth is that adoption is the end of it, and it is as if the birth mother had never been pregnant.


"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion
on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you."
Isaiah 49:15


That child is nearly always in her heart, whether lost to miscarriage, intentionally killed through abortion, placed in the loving home of other parents, or raised for a short or long time. The placing of a child for adoption, understandably, may include a season of mourning.


Similarly, there is a cost for the adoptive parents, both financial and often emotional. Adopted children, even newborns and infants, may come with challenges, as genetic and prenatal influences may have led to less-than-ideal circumstances at conception and through gestation. The baby may have been exposed to illicit drugs including alcohol and marijuana prenatally. Although children may still thrive in a single parent home, it may take more maturity to make an adoption plan at birth, and many birth mothers are careful to give the baby the best environment possible.


Despite the potential difficulties involved, whether placing a child for adoption or adopting a child from parents whose circumstances are not compatible with the best for their child is truly an act of unselfish love.


God also experienced loss like that of a birth parent when He sent His Son for a time to dwell among us, as an embryo, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, and adult man. God chose a woman who was engaged to a righteous man who would provide, protect, and guide Jesus through His formative years. Like many adoptions today, Joseph adopted Jesus, his stepson. Together as stepfather and Son, Joseph and Jesus could cry by the Spirit, ‘Abba, Father,’ to a most Holy God who redeems and restores relationship with His own.


Much of the information in this writing is from PPL’s paper “Partakers of the Grace – Biblical Foundations of Adoption” which discusses the subject in more detail.

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