How the Church Views of Adoption and the Bible are all Wrong

The Bible Has Adoption all wrong

A New Bible Study of Adoption

Bare with me, I have not stepped foot in a bible Study anything my whole life and I only enter churches for weddings and funerals.  I might not get all the quotes and scriptures correct, but I do understand the concepts.

How the Christian Community and Churches See Adoption as In the Bible

So let’s start by examining what is believed:

…Adoption an Orphan talk.. guided by several main convictions: that adoption mirrors Christian Salvation; that it is an essential part of the antiabortion politics ad that it constitutes a means of fulfilling the Great Commission- the biblical mandate, found mostly notably in Matthew 28:16-20, that Christians spread the gospel…

Ok.. so working backwards here:

Adoption gives an opportunity for God loving folks to not only save children, but to save their souls, but lifting them up out of their heathen countries and raising them with good Christian values.  Ok. I don’t get the concept of saving people with the Church, but OK.

The Bible Does Not say Save the Child, Ignore the Mother

The thing is.. I have just read so many Bible verses about Orphans that my head is ready to spin. And almost ALL of them are not just about the CHILDREN, but include the lines “the Widows and Orphans” or instead speak of “the fatherless” meaning , I would assume, single mothers.

  • 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.
  • Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
  • Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
  • Deuteronomy 10:18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.
  • Deuteronomy 24:19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
  • Exodus 22:22-24 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.
  • Psalm 82:3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
  • Psalm 146:9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
  • Jeremiah 22:3 Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

In fact, even this  Bible verse tells the single mother/widow to stay single!

  • Corinthians 7:8  To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.

So how come devote Bible quoting folks can so easily IGNORE the word of God that clearly says CARE FOR THE WIDOW? How come only the CHILD’s soul is worth saving? How come we can’t save the mother’s soul too?

I tend to think that taking a child away from their mother is considered “a wrong” or an injustice.  In a big way actually.  The Tenth Commandment reads: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Exodus 20:17)

I would think that “Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Child” falls in there.  Right? So if the Bible says to not desire to TAKE the widows child, and to help her, perhaps save her soul too?  Especially, one would think, when the mother/widow has “chosen life” and should be rewarded somehow for not having the evil abortion? Like isn’t she half way there already?

Jesus Was Not Adopted by Joseph, Mary Was an Unwed Mother

I’m going to ignore the typical “Moses was adopted” storyline because Moses was really the very first “Angry Adoptee” who found his birth family, reunited,  and destroyed his adoptive home. Goes a bit beyond “angry”, doesn’t it?

Now Joseph acted as the father to Jesus, but there was no formal adoption. Everyone knew that God / Holy Spirit was Jesus father and there was no attempted to hid that fact. Mary didn’t  try to really pass off Jesus as Joseph’s biological child. She did not lie. She didn’t deny God as the father and she didn’t have to. She was supported and no one tried to take her child away to be raise by someone more worthy than she.

  • Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

God is the Original Father; Accepting God is an Adoption Reunion

Now the other thing is that there is a whole lot of discussion/ twisting the word adoption to be a version of “We are adopted by God“. This does not make sense to me logically and here is why;

According to the bible God is our father and made us in his image. So that makes God the original father of sorts to begin with.. not that there is DNA involved, but. So when we go “home” to God, are we than not really experiencing an reunion with our original father? Maybe the adoption is not the “good ” part. Maybe when we go into the flesh, we are adopted away from God, the original father, and in actuality, saving souls by accepting God is accepting our original identity? We accept that God loves us even if he sent us away to be tempted by sin and make our own decisions. What does God do, but act like the patiently waiting birth parent, leaving bread crumbs, and messages, hoping that his children find their way home to him. Where he loves them and embraces them and loves them unconditionally.  God is more like a birth father than an adoptive father.

Now even if that is not the case, even if we have to accept God before we are adopted to him, making him the adoptive father, God does not demand that the saved relinquish their own fathers! Does God ask that we then deny our biological fathers the term “father”? No, he says to honor thy mother and father. So even if we are adopted by God, as his children, he still accepts that we have another set of parents. In fact, he only demands that we don’t worship another GOD, not call another man father or mother. So according to God, two daddies is OK! In fact, we ALL have TWO father’s already according to the Bible.

The Bible Says Save them Both; Adopt a Child AND The Mother

Now this goes back to why, in adoption land, we need the church. The Churches are using or editing Bible scripture to promote adoption, but that is because they think God would like that. Now I know a loving God would NOT want to see any women suffer a lifetime of being separated from their children, but it goes back to honing the messages. The Question is: Can we help the church see that the Widows also deserve the assistance of the church? Can we convince folks that perhaps instead of just saving the children, they focus on saving the mother and child? Can we use the church to provide support for the mother facing a unplanned pregnancy, willing to bear the child and NOT relinquish? Can the church goers be convinced to take in BOTH the mother and child rather than abort the mother?

This is a four part series of blog posts inspired by reading Kathryn Joyce’s adoption book “The  Child Catchers- Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption”.

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

15 Comments on "How the Church Views of Adoption and the Bible are all Wrong"

  1. Great post, girl! I totally agree and you are right…it is like aborting the mother. I’m a Christian and am sickened by many of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ buying into the unethical practices in the adoption industry. I wish they would dig a little deeper, get their heads out of the fog, and see it for what it really is. It’s unjust, ungodly, manipulative, denial, dysfunctional and so much more. Keep on keeping on!

    • im adopted myself and i would like you to think about what it would be like for my to be living with my single birthmother with four kids, she put me up for adoption so that i could have a better life, something you will never understand as you are not adopted, so i pray that you think about the children and what their life would be like if they werent put up for adoption.

  2. Spot on, Claudia! Speaking from a position inside a church (the Episcopal Church) catching the ears of those in the bully pulpit is hard. Is it the years of presumption that adoption is a good thing, that those mom’s wanted to be saved from their shame (unwed pregnancy), that adoption is as good as having a family by birth and just the same, really? Things change, times moves on. Adoption has been changing for decades but with little notice.

    The Episcopal Church recently offered an online forum on child trafficking. I tried to expand the discussion to include “child laundering” (David Smolin’s term). There were no takers. The forum touched adoption and veered away; but with some mention of the Haiti kidnappings for adoption. Adoption is dressed in such pretty clothes that no one wants to notice that the clothes don’t fit.

    This January a group called Institute for American Values produced a report “Does the Shape of Families Shape Faith”. I was a featured reviewer. (You can find it and my review online.) The report addressed in passing Donor Conception practices. I responded to that and asked about adoption practices in my review. Again, adoption practices are commonly seen as a social good. Very few want to touch adoption in anything but a wholly positive way.

    There is an element in Christian theology that can be seen to support the notion of alienating people from their physical roots. Christian theology posits that the essential thing about human beings is not where they come from, their family, tribe, etc; but their nature as children of God. Every individual is a child of God first and last. The biological connection (like the social connection) is transient. It is interesting that this is not the theology that I see in Curver or Russell Moore.

  3. Claudia,
    I’d love to dialogue with you about this, but I fear your interpretation of the Bible is a off. I want to be part of the solution, but I also must be faithful to the Word of God.

  4. I am a Christian. We almost adopted a baby boy through Bethany Christian Services. We were very naïve. There was so much wrong that we saw and experienced that we decided that we would not continue in the domestic infant adoption program. We strongly believe in family preservation. We believe that adoption should be the very last resort. After going through what we went through, I started reading and studying adoption extensively. I agree with you that the verses about adoption in the Bible do speak to helping those in need; not taking babies from their parents. We are adopted by God. We are grafted into His family. He chooses us, we do not choose him. Once we are adopted, we become a new creation. There really is no looking back. But as Christians, I believe we should be helping families stay together if at all possible.

    • Jamie,

      Thank you so much for commenting and especially for understanding. I am so curious as to what were the red flags that tipped you off at Bethany? If you wouldn’t mind sharing? Its not often that I get to understand the perspective an the potential adoptive parents who can see though the lies. I am always wanting to tel others what to look for! Thank you!

  5. Claudia,

    Unfortunately I also have to say that I think that your interpretation of the Bible is a bit off. I wanted to touch on one thing in particular, and that is that not everyone is a child of God. I know that in the first couple of chapters of Genesis it says that God created Adam in his image, but when you get to chapter 3, we see the fall of man. At this point, man has sinned, and through his disobedience, sin has entered in to the entire human race. Romans 6:23 states that “the wages of sin is death,” and this death is both a spiritual and a physical death. Adam was created to be an eternal being, and when he sinned, that brought death into the human race. Much worse than this though, is that at that time he died spiritually, and from that point on everyone born into the human race is born into spiritual death, separated from God. If you read on in Genesis 5 where it gives the genealogy from Adam to Noah, you see that it says that Adam’s some was born in his image, in his likeliness. Because of this, we need someone to redeem us, to buy us back to God. We need to be adopted into God’s family. This is where Christ steps in. The great part of Romans 6:23 is the second half, which states “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John 1:12-13 says “But to all who did receive him(Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” It is only when we see that we are a sinner, that we have no hope, and that we need a savior, and we cry out to Jesus to save us and give are lives to follow him, then we become children of God.

    • Ok. I don’t have an issue with that.We don’t even have to be using the word ADOPTED really. Once can accept God and Jesus and be saved as needed, right?

      But then we’re in agreement about God wanting mothers and children to be protected, right? Did I get the “widow” references OK?

  6. Angela Sachs | February 11, 2014 at 8:57 am |

    I fear you do not understand scripture. Of course God doesn’t want forced adoptions. This would be a crime against God and the family. However, not all widows in the Bible had children. And Marry was never an unwed mother. Under Jewish Law and she and Joseph were under Jewish Law, they were married the second they became “Betrothed”. This was a contract and set in stone. Not like what we have today. Marry became the property of Joseph. This is why he was going to divorce her quietly when he found out she was with child and he knew it wasn’t his(Matthew 1:19 “Because Joseph her HUSBAND…”). She would have been stone to death if he had made that knowledge public. Also under Jewish law, there was no such thing as formal adoption. If a man said this is my child, then in the eyes of God and mankind that child was his, the same as his own flesh. Luke 2:41-45 “Now his parents went to Jerusalem…” this is the time Jesus as a child stayed behind at the Temple and was lost to Marry and Joseph for 2 days. The Bible clearly refers to both Marry and Joseph as his parents. And Jesus always Honored Joseph as his father.
    As for adopting children and the Great Commission one has nothing to do with the other. The Great Commission is about sharing the Word of God. It is about saving souls. It is about teaching the truth of Jesus to all nations.
    Antiabortion is not politics. It is a commandment of God not to shed innocent blood. Jeremiah 22:3. Also God’s word teaches us that he knew us in the womb even as embryos. Psalm 127:3 and Psalm 139:13-14.
    There is no blood more innocent than that of an unborn child. So telling women who do not want to have kids that there is an alternative through adoption is not a sin and it is not political. It is about loving that child and not wanting it to be murdered.
    As for staying single this depends on the situation. And it was Paul who said stay single not God. If a woman is widowed she would not be sinning to remarry with or without kids. If a woman is married to a man who is not with God and tries to stop her from being with God, she is free to divorce and remarry. God doesn’t expect her to spend the rest of her life alone.
    God never tells us to deny our bio-parents, unless they try to stop us from following God. Matthew 10:35.
    God adopting us: not all humans were born Jewish or Hebrew. Some are still in fact pagan or gentile or do not even believe in God at all. Those of us who were lost not just through original sin, but also through non Jewish birth have been adopted or grafted on to the tree of life. Into the family of God. Isaiah 65:15 teaches us that God’s true followers would be called by another name- Christians.
    And on that note not all Christians follow the true teachings of Jesus, which is sad.
    The point is that God isn’t against adoption where it is needed. There is no sin in adopting children that have no home or parents that want them. Would you deny a child that is alone in this world a home with loving parents? Would you abort a bio-mother/father who wants to give her/his child up for adoption? Or a widowed mother or father that wants to give up their kids? Would you turn your back on them? I believe that everyone should try to keep their family together, but sometimes there are reasons why people want to give their kids up for adoption. And there are people who can’t have children, but want them with all their hearts. I know, for years my husband and I tried to have kids, but couldn’t. Then a family member found herself with child. She decided that she didn’t want to keep the baby because she had been raised by a single mother who was a teen. She had been exposed to so many different would be fathers, she didn’t want her child to suffer as she did. So when she said she was putting the child up for adoption we adopted him. He is almost 11 years old and we love him as our own flesh. We did agree to tell him the truth and allow him to decide if he wants to know who his bio-parents are. We agreed that this would be done when he is old enough for sex education class. This way he will understand the difference between an adoptive parent and bio-parents.
    I do agree with you on the point that every adoptee should have the right to know who their bio-parents are if they want to know.
    I would also like to say that before you blog on scripture you should study it and have a true understanding.
    How foolish would I look if I blogged on how to fly an airplane when I have no knowledge on the subject?

    • I don’t pretend to now “the scripture.” I really do not care to to be honest. To me, the bible gets people really confused from what I see. They use it to rationalize and quote all sorts of nasty stuff. I’m cool with God and I believe he is equally cool with me. It’s more like a right and wrong thing in my view, but I can still choose to interpret the words written as I like. As my husband’s very religious aunt says, God is happy that I am thinking abut them.. no matter how I choose to do so. And really.. how do YOU know that YOUR way of reading the Bible is “right”? I mean, did God tell you directly? Or are you going by what other people taught you? How did THEY know? How come Their interpretation is “right” and I am wrong?

      And I am pretty sure I certainly don’t need anyone telling me what I can and cannot blog about!

      And since we are telling each other about what we find right and wrong? I think the mother of your child made a pretty sad decision to relinquish based on being a single mother. Its a lousy excuse. That has nothing to do with YOU or how much you love him or anything, but just that SHE had worth as his mother. SHE had value and not having a husband does not take away form the fact that she could have been capable. A child doesn’t have to suffer if a mother is unmarried. A daughter does not have to follow the mistakes of their mother. Not to mention.. sadly, many adoptees DO suffer feelings that cannot be imagined by those not adopted. And again, nothing at all against you.. that’s just the nature of adoption. Granted, at least if she was a family member, there is still a blood connection I hope.. so
      perhaps all identity and genetic familiarity is not lost. Though I would not be surprised if she says that he doesn’t want to know because he feels it will hurt you. (Its called adoptee loyalty. Knowing where one comes form shouldn’t BE a decision, but just a fact of life. Its the truth. He was born to another. You don;t have to be a brain surgeon to understand adoption. I do hope you are not waiting to tell him when he gets to sex education class age! Like he doesn’t know the difference? Like he doesn’t remember somewhere inside? Kids are not stupid. ALL adoption experts say to tell children the truth from before they can even understand the words.

      No matter how i read the Bible, I am pretty sure lying through omission is a sin of sorts. At least it is wrong in my book. Jesus agrees.

  7. Regardless of the fall of man, humanity as a whole is from God. If you believe in God and the fact he created all mankind then you cannot escape the fact that mankind comes from God. Yes, mankind is separated from God by sin (kinda like a child is separated from his/her mother and family through adoption) and it is through choosing to become a Christian that one receives that son/daughter ship status again… As it was always supposed to be. It is really so simple and yet churches and mankind have been polluting this message for years. Toxic religion has gotten in the mix and muddied the waters and so now the whole message is upside down – which goes hand in hand with adoption in general. And I know my bible just fine thanks before anyone pipes up and accuses me of not knowing what I am talking about. Have to laugh at the comments who feel they have the right to judge because they “know the bible better” or have the right “interpretation”. Thing is, if that “interpretation” is anything like that of most churches then I would say your interpretation is way off. Churches and mankind have been twisting scriptures for a long time to make them suit themselves and nothing shows that more than adoption itself. Nobody puts the use of the word adoption in context – which was probably not even the right translation… In some versions, adoption isn’t even used because adoption in our western society isn’t even near the adoption of those days which actually referenced an adult relationship that was agreed between the parties. It was often used to further strengthen family ties and create heirs. It had nothing to do with infants being severed from their families in a guillotine manner.
    There is so much wrong with the way church abuses adoption and ties it to the bible. Talk about taking liberties!
    God isn’t supportive of the adoption in today’s world. One who truly knows the father heart of God would know that. Children can be loved and cared for without severing them from their families. And if people really did care about the children, at all, and wanted to do the “Christian” thing, them why are so many infants being presumed when so many kids languish in the foster care system? Why is adoption followed at such a high cost? Sorry, none of this washes for me. Great post Claud.

  8. Barbara Calchera | February 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm |

    Claud and Myst I couldn’t say it better. I study the scriptures and interpret it the way you both have. Although, I believe we are literally ALL spirit children of GOD and that doesn’t ever change regardless of who we follow.

    I just have to say in response to one of the comments, that it sickens me that people often refer to adoption and abortion as being in the same category.

    I had to correct my mother who thought that in order to combat abortion, and give girls another option, adoption was critical and necessary.

    I told her that the mindsets are different. My friends that chose abortion never thought about adoption. And I, a mother who relinquished, NEVER thought about abortion (I wanted what was “best” for my baby).

    So please stop comparing the two and rationalizing adoption as a better option than abortion.

  9. I get so angry about loosing my daughter to adoption. The excuses people make, to separate babies, savior attitudes, of infant babies, while older children languish with out families. Age appropriateness, disavowing their identity at any age, ignoring a child’s heritage, family of origin or their love. Secrets, and skewing what an open adoption is, like an open adoption equals telling an 18 year old their adopted, or they have to wait to know who their families are until their 18. Or any such nonsense a child is subjected to by adoption that denies them to be held and celebrated by their biological family members, to go unknown, to allow dis-membership through time, death, and not allow bonding with their people of blood ties, not searching and connecting until its (age appropriate?), speaks of cowardice, manipulation, dissonance, fear, lack of caring for a child, or the adult to come. To make a child suffer the loss of their family so that another may stand as if sufficient or superior replacement. Mindsets, evil they do though they know it not or care the pain their joy serves.

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