3 Temptations Not to Consider Adoption


Because the devil is an invisible spirit; because we cannot see him opposing us, it’s easy to live our lives without ever really considering just how much daily opposition we are facing from the evil one. As a result, many of us don’t rightly recognize that that errant thought we just had, or that inner recoiling at an uncomfortable command of Christ, is actually a real-time Satanic attack upon us. While nowhere near as powerful as our Almighty God, Satan nevertheless is actively opposing us and targeting us for his attacks–to keep us from obeying and honoring Christ. The Apostle Peter was keenly aware of this very present danger for us: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Peter’s command? “Resist him.” How? “...firm in your faith” (1 Pet. 5:9).

Therefore, as we consider adoption, we must not forget that the evil one is, in this very moment, opposing us, and attacking our thinking. Below are three common excuses that, most decidedly, do not come from the Holy Spirit, but the un-holy one, as well as some “sober-minded” (1 Pet 5:8), biblical responses that reflect a “firmness of faith” (v. 9). Lastly, a fresh serving of gospel grace–rest for our weary souls.

1. “We Have Our Own Kids.”
This temptation is so powerful, because, well, it’s true! If you’re thinking this thought when considering adoption, that means you already have biological children. So, the reasoning is tempting: We already have our own children, so there is no need for us to consider adopting someone else’s children.

First, we recognize that there is a lot of room for misunderstanding about what we’re saying in this point, so let us clarify what we mean here. We are not saying that every family must adopt children. There simply is no biblical warrant for such a blanket statement, and Jesus does not command it. As we stated in a previous article “Should We Have (More) Kids?", the decision to have more children is an involved one, and is dependent upon the careful, prayerful application of biblical principles, as well as biblical wisdom. Therefore, we are not claiming that every single family should adopt. What we are saying, rather, is that we would caution against using this as the excuse not to consider adoption. For, if every family opposed adoption for this reason, no one would adopt!

A powerful response against this particular temptation launched by the evil one is rooted in the biblical truth that large families are the biblical norm (see “Should We Have (More) Kids?"). This conviction begins with God’s instruction to married couples, which is revealed both as a blessing and a command: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth...” (Gen. 1:28). In concert, the Psalmist declared, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD...blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Ps. 127:3-5). In the earliest days of their existence as a new, chosen nation of God, Moses writes that Israel was faithful to this command: “But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them” (Ex. 1:7). By the end of the story of redemption, we are told that the family of God itself–each and every one an adopted member–was comprised of “a great multitude” (Rev. 19:6).

While not every couple will be able to steward a large number of children, generally speaking, large households are the biblical norm. So, when the devil comes and tempts you with, “But we already have our own kids,” consider a more firm-faithed (1 Pet. 5:9) response: “But what about all the orphans who cannot say, ‘I have my own parents?’”

2. “I Can’t Add That to My Already Busy Life.”
When we sense ourselves formulating this statement as an excuse not to consider adoption, we need to honestly, “sober-mindedly,” ask ourselves, “What is it that we most want? A comfortable life? To achieve our own personal goals? Or, to serve and to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter the cost to ourselves?

“...we make it our aim to please Him’’ (2 Cor. 5:9).

Are our lives defined by this commitment–to make it our aim to please Him? None of us would ever sit down and purposely devise a plan to selfishly live our lives for ourselves–forsaking the fatherless for the pursuit of worldly comforts and ambitions. But this can happen to any of us–slowly, gradually, over time–if we are not “watchful” (1 Pet. 5:9) for the subtle temptations of our adversary, the devil. This is doubtless why Paul commanded the Corinthians–and us–to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13:5). Perhaps examining ourselves might include asking ourselves, “sober-mindedly”: “If caring for the fatherless is an imposition upon our personal goals and plans for our lives, what does that say about our priorities/what matters most to us?” Remember, in His unmeasurable love for us, God is always working in our lives to sanctify us, and He is the only one who knows exactly what it is going to take to make us more into the image of His Son. Remember, too, that “Less me + more others = Christlikeness.” Is it possible, then, that in calling you to consider adoption, God may be trying to realign your busy, worldly ambitious life, to be more conformed to His purposes and godly ambitions for your life?

Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve. And He has saved us to do the very same thing. No one ever said on their deathbed, “I’m glad I worked more and spent less time with my family.” You may rightly conclude that adoption is not for your family, but don’t let it be because you’re too busy to serve the fatherless.

3. "The Whole Idea Makes Me Anxious."
How much time do we all spend toiling over the question, “What is God’s will for my life?” Do I take this job, or that one? Should I relocate to this city, or stay where I am? Is he/she the one I’m supposed to marry? It’s a glorious task to want to make God-honoring decisions in our life. It is evidence that we love Him, and want to serve and please Him! And in His covenant love for us, God doesn’t leave us helplessly tossing in the wind. In His word, He helps us to know the fundamental answer to the question, “What is God’s will for my life?”

“This is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3).

The details shake out differently for every person, but the will of God for each of His chosen ones is our sanctification–that we be made more and more like Christ. As part of our self-examination, then, perhaps we should honestly ask ourselves: Since God’s will for our lives is our sanctification, how often do I make decisions based on the consideration of how that decision might contribute to my sanctification? As any parent can affirm, the Lord uses our children as a means to sanctify us! Is it possible the Lord is prodding you to consider adoption, for the express purpose of helping you learn not to be anxious; to depend upon Him/trust Him more? After all, remember that Jesus considers anxiety to be a sinful lack of faith, and He regularly commands us not to be anxious.

“...do not be anxious about anything...” (Phil. 4:6).

“‘...O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious...’” (Mt. 6:30, 31).

If the whole idea of adoption makes you anxious, that is a grace to you! Because it is exposing a very dangerous sin in your heart that needs to be addressed.

Remember the Gospel
Jesus knows our frames are dust (Ps. 103:14). He knows how weak we are (Ps. 78:39). He knows how challenging the task of parenting is (Mt. 23:37). And He loves us (Rom. 5:6)! We are the sheep of His pasture (Ps. 23). And as our Good Shepherd, He faithfully leads us into the life-giving green pastures of obedience to the Father, into selfless, others-focused living, and giving that always reaps a reward of infinitely greater value than receiving (Acts 20:35).

The good news of the gospel is that God the Father, sent his Son, who took on flesh, to become fully human, so that He could live a perfect life for us, as our substitute; He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins as our substitute, then rose bodily from the grave on the third day. And among other things, this means that, as chosen and dearly beloved sons and daughters of this same Father, we can pursue our glorious privilege as parents with the full confidence that, even though we fail regularly, our heavenly Father counts us as perfectly righteous, as we are hidden in the perfect righteousness of Jesus (Col 3:3)! Our standing before the Father is not dependent upon the success of our parenting, or the measure of our sacrifice in doing so. He loves and accepts us, because when He looks upon us, He sees His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is well-pleased (Mt 3:17)!

Can you think of a greater way to spend your life, than exposing marginalized, unwanted orphans to this glorious gospel?

Consider adoption.