Q: What is adoption and what are God’s thoughts on it?
A: Legally, adoption is defined as the transfer of the parental rights of a child form one set of parents to another. Once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents are legally and otherwise the parents in every sense of the word. But leaving the definition at that misses the heart behind adoption, particularly for us as Christians.
Let’s step back and look at the big picture. Ephesians 1:4-5 says, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
As John Piper eloquently puts it, “adoption…is greater than the universe…Adoption was part of God’s plan. It was his idea, his purpose. It was not an afterthought. He didn’t discover one day that against his plan and foreknowledge humans had sinned and orphaned themselves in the world and then come up with the idea of adopting them into his family. No, Paul says, he predestined adoption. He planned it.”
Q: I want to adopt a child. Where should I start?
A: Adoption can be confusing and overwhelming. It’s so important to gain sound advice and guidance. There are ways to adopt in less than 6 months and save thousands of dollars.
Q: I was adopted and need help understanding why my birth parents gave me up.
A: Christian counselors are happy to work with you and your family when you go through a challenging time.
You have options to gain tools from counselors who are clinically certified with documented excellence in their area of expertise. A therapist can develop a treatment plan with you, ensuring that your spiritual, emotional, and mental health goals are addressed in a timely manner.
There are services out there to help children, adolescents, and adults and some may be able to coordinate payments for service with your insurance company, adoption subsidy, or Medicaid program. They may even make counseling affordable by offering a sliding fee scale to uninsured clients.
Experienced counselors can help you work toward healing, growth, and well-being.
Q: What should I expect with a domestic adoption?
A: In domestic programs, it’s important to work with agencies in states that are considered “safe states” for adoptive parents in which laws are in favor of adoption and clear on adoptive parents and birth father rights. The birth mother usually signs consent within 24-48 hours after birth and she cannot revoke her consent after she signs. This can be a wonderful comfort to adoptive families because of the limited waiting period the birth mother is given to change her mind.
Q: What should I expect with an international adoption?
A: In international programs, the “paper chase” can be overwhelming as you navigate locating an agency and country program that fits your family, completing a home study, applying to USCIS and completing a dossier. It’s important to get wise counsel that may best help you identify the potential risks and red flags in choosing an agency and country program and as you consider a referral.
Q: How do I find my birth parents?
A: It is estimated that 2% of the U.S. population, or about 6 million Americans, are adoptees. Including biological parents, adoptive parents, and siblings, this means that 1 in 8 Americans are directly touched by adoption. Surveys show that a large majority of these adoptees and birth parents have, at some point, actively searched for biological parents or children separated by adoption. They search for many different reasons, including medical knowledge, the desire to know more about the individual's life, or a major life event, such as the death of an adoptive parent or the birth of a child. The most common reason given, however, is genetic curiosity - a desire to find what a birth parent or child looks like, their talents, and their personality.
Whatever your reasons for deciding to start an adoption search, it is important to realize that it will most likely be a difficult, emotional adventure, full of amazing highs and frustrating lows. Once you're ready to undertake an adoption search, however, these steps will help you get started on the journey.
The first objective of an adoption search is to discover the names of the birth parents who gave you up for adoption, or the identity of the child you relinquished. Just like a genealogy search, an adoption search should always begin with yourself. Write down everything you know about your birth and adoption, from the name of the hospital in which you were born to the agency which handled your adoption.
The best place to turn next, is your adoptive parents. They are the ones most likely to hold possible clues. Write down every bit of information they can provide, no matter how insignificant it may seem. If you feel comfortable, then you can also approach relatives and family friends with your questions.
Gather together all available documents. Ask your adoptive parents or contact the appropriate government official for documents such as an amended birth certificate, petition for adoption, and the final decree of adoption.
Contact the Agency or the State that handled your adoption for your non-identifying information. This non-identifying information will be released to the adoptee, adoptive parents, or birthparents, and may include clues to help you in your adoption search. The amount of information varies depending upon the details that were recorded at the time of the birth and adoption. Each agency, governed by state law and agency policy, releases what is considered appropriate and non-identifying, and may include details on the adoptee, adoptive parents, and birth parents such as medical history, health status, cause of and age at death, height, weight, eye and hair color, ethnic origins, level of education, professional achievement and religion.
On some occasions, this non-identifying information may also include the parents ages at time of birth, the age and sex of other children, hobbies, general geographical location, and even the reasons for the adoption. Register in State and National Reunion Registries, also known as Mutual Consent Registries, which are maintained by government or private individuals. These registries work by allowing each member of the adoption triad to register, hoping to be matched with someone else who might be searching for them. One of the best is the International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR).
Join an adoption support group or mailing list. Beyond supplying much needed emotional support, adoption support groups can also provide you with information concerning current laws, new search techniques, and up-to-date information. Adoption search angels may also be available to assist with your adoption search.
If you're very serious about your adoption search and have the financial resources (there is usually a substantial fee involved), consider petitioning for the services of a Confidential Intermediary (CI). Many states and provinces have instituted intermediary or search and consent systems to allow adoptees and birth parents the ability to contact each other through mutual consent. The CI is given access to the complete court and/or agency file and, using the information contained in it, attempts to locate the individuals. If and when contact is made by the intermediary, the person found is given the option of allowing or refusing contact by the party searching. The CI then reports the results to the court; if the contact has been refused that ends the matter. If the person located agrees to contact, the court will authorize the CI to give the name and current address of the person sought to the adoptee or birthparent. Check with the state in which your adoption occurred as to the availability of an Confidential Intermediary System.
Once you've identified the name and other identifying information on your birth parent or adoptee, your adoption search can be conducted in much the same way as any other people search investigation.
 Kimberly Powell, “Adoption Search – How to find your Birth Family,” ABOUT PARENTING, abt.cm/1Cafc0c, 2015. (Accessed March 25, 2015)
Ephesians 1:4-5 …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, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will…
Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 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.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 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.
1 John 3:1-4 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Psalm 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me.