All in The Family – Adopted

Are institutions really the ideal place for children to grow up in?

Family_400 As one who heads one such organization, I have to say No! Children should not grow up in institutions. It is not the ideal! Many people went to boarding schools – and we do have some fond memories of the boarding school experience but I don’t remember anyone crying when we had to close school and go back home!

We were protected, we were nurtured while in school but it was just not home. One of the main differences was we all had that personal attention and love when we were home – we were not just a group of children. When we were home we knew we belonged (whether you were from a rich or poor family).

God’s ideal intention was for children to grow up in loving families not institutions – have you seen any reference to a children’s home in the Bible? No! Psalm 68:5-6 God…A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely/orphan in families, not in children’s homes – in FAMILIES! James 1: 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress… During the recent launch of the Guidelines for the Alternative Family Care of Children and the National Standards for the Best Practices in Charitable Children’s Institutions in Kenya held on March 16th 2015 at KICC Nairobi, the following statistics were tabled:

Slightly over 52% of the Kenyan population are children

Of these 4.2 million are orphaned

We currently have 754 registered Charitable Children’s Institutions (CCIs) in Kenya – am sure there are many others outside this number that are unregistered and uncompliant.

About 43,000 children are in these registered CCIs.

The majority of these children are abandoned.

Most of these institutions are managed by private individuals, faith-based and non-governmental organizations. These institutions play a very critical role in protecting and nurturing these children from risks like violence, child trafficking, sexual exploitation, hazardous labour, harmful traditional practices and substance abuse.

Many of the vulnerable children who need to be fostered or adopted fall in the category of the fatherless, the orphan, the poor, and the needy. Caring for these little ones in distress is not an option for the followers of Jesus Christ. Pastor Oscar Muriu says: ‘If there is anyone who should adopt children, it is Christians because we were once spiritual orphans but we now are sons and daughters of the most high’ Yet even with this understanding many of us shy away from partnering with God because of some of the myths and fears that exist with regards to adoption.

Let’s begin by briefly identifying some of the fears: Many people have the notion that, “Adopted children will one day turn against you and they can even kill you so that they can inherit your property; Some prospective adoptive parents may be afraid how their child will be treated by others; Others fear the reaction that family and friends may have towards their decision to adopt. We are afraid that they may react negatively and even be hostile towards the child….they may be concerned about the child’s tribe…whether the child will fit in; Will I be able to love this child as my own? This is another of the fears that many have. But you need to live the truth that this adopted child is your own child. There’s someone that wrote that an adopted child grows in your heart; Many women fear that they may not bond with the adopted child because of the missed 9 months of pre-natal bonding; Still other people are afraid that there may be unknown health Issues or behavioral issues that may come with the adopted child….or that they may have a low IQ level; Am too old to adopt…. (In Kenya, the legal age for anyone to adopt is 24-65 – and you must be at least 21 years older than the child (who is between 6 weeks to 18 years).

Couples need to have been married for about 3 years before they can adopt. Single women and men can also adopt; There are many more fears and myths out there about adoption. BUT you know what fear is; False Evidence Appearing Real We must face these fears; educate ourselves on adoption, talk to others who have adopted, bring your fears and concerns to God. Adoption is a universal /global concept as it happens in every country. Adoption and fostering are also very African concepts; many people grew up in homes where there was an adopted/fostered relative. They may not have been legally adopted through a court process but they were family members in every respect…very rarely did people grow up as a tight closed nuclear family.

Although adoption is not a subject often addressed in church, it is a very biblical concept; Adopted! That is a name that represents everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as savior and come into the family of God… John 1: 12 – 13, Galatians 4: 4 -5 The real heart of adoption is not really about a human being adopting another human, it is about God adopting humans. This spiritual adoption has been referred to as a vertical adoption while the human to human adoption has been referred to as the horizontal adoption. The more we understand and appreciate our vertical spiritual adoption, the more we will appreciate the blessing and joys in the horizontal human adoptions. There are many parallels or similarities between our Spiritual adoption (that vertical adoption) and a horizontal human adoptions.

In this sermon blog, the focus is on 3 major parallels: Adoption is not shameful, it is a privilege! Many of us are adopted into God’s family; we enjoy the rights and privileges that appertain to that position. It is a position and a name we are proud of because we are part of God’s family – not because of our biological or physical birth, not because we were so beautiful or cute when we were born. Nope! God in his love brought us into this amazing family – it was He who initiated this process, not us. Ephesians 1: 3 -6 He chose us! “In accordance with God’s pleasure and will”. He not only provided what we desperately needed as a response to love. He wanted to do it! It was his desire! Adoption is the result of a Father’s choice. The amazing thing about adoption is that even before we knew God, he knew us and he chose that we would be adopted into His family! Our adoption into God’s family was well planned – way before we were even born. It was his Plan A. Adopting a child may seem like a Plan B but it may very well be God’s Plan A for your life. Adopting a child does not make you less spiritual – I say this especially to Christian couples who do not have biological children.

Adopting a child does not mean you lack faith. Adoption is not shameful. It does not need to have a negative stigma! You may be a parent reading this who have adopted but you have never disclosed to your child/children that they are adopted. This reluctance to disclosure perpetuates negativity and stigma towards adoption. Imagine finding out when you are 18 or older. Or a medical emergency that necessitate a blood match or DNA testing. That is not only very irresponsible for the parents but it can destroy the child. If that is you, please contact one of the adoption agencies and they will assist you do the right thing. None of us is ever ashamed of the fact that we are adopted into God’s family! God himself is never ashamed when a sinner repents and becomes adopted into his family. Never! If we then are not ashamed of our vertical adoption, why should we be ashamed of horizontal adoptions?

Adoption is not inferior, it is God’s ultimate plan! Romans 8:14 – 17 “Abba” is Hebrew slang word that was only used by a little Jewish boy as he talked fondly with his Father. A slave was never allowed to refer to His master as “Abba”. Only a son had that right. When we surrender to Christ, we are given the right to call God– “Abba, Father– Daddy!” We have the right to approach our heavenly Father at any time! The rights and privileges we receive are not inferior. We get God’s ultimate real deal.

We are rightful heirs in God’s Kingdom! We have an inheritance

We have a new identity! We are no longer the outcast… the abandoned… We belong!

We have a new legal status! We belong…no one can question it!!

We have a new family! We belong!

We have gained a new position – we are sons and daughters. No longer slaves

We are heirs!

The law in Kenya makes very clear provision and stipulates that an adopted child is legally entitled to all rights and privileges of a natural-born child. This means that an adopted child has full rights to inherit from their adoptive parents as any other biological children do. They do not and should not receive inferior treatment! Once you adopt a child…

They gain a new legal status…they belong to you, they bear your name…even as you now bear God’s name

They gain a new identity… they are no longer abandoned or unclaimed…they belong to you… They become bonfide members of your family – they belong – no longer strangers but sons and daughters even as you are to God!

They are rightful heirs of your estate even as you are an heir in God’s Kingdom!

If God would include you in his inheritance and give it to you in its fullest measure, why would you be hesitant to do the same for an adopted child?

Adoption is not cheap, It is costly! Adopting a child is costly – not simply referring to money. It costs in terms of time, stress (as with any parent); stress could be a result of a couple not being at the same place in the decision to adopt, or if you are single, it could be that your family are not fully behind you, you may experience a hiccup or two in the process and this can be quite draining emotionally, there is paper work, some people find the home visit from the social worker intrusive, then there is the court process…

Adoption is not an easy or quick option. It calls for sacrifice even as our vertical adoption is a result of our heavenly Father’s sacrifice John 3: 16, Philippians 2: 7- 8 Adopting a child has a cost implication but it cost God so much more to adopt us into His family. It cost him his son! Nothing we endure in the process of adopting a human child could ever measure what it cost God to adopt us. And it continues to cost God because we are not perfect children. We still do things that let him down, that bring shame to his name but He is fully committed to us. He is paid the full price for us and he does not have a return policy and neither asks for a refund back! Nothing we endure in the process of adopting and caring for a human child could ever measure what it cost God to adopt us. You may probably be wondering if the child you adopt will turn out right or if the child will be a failure because you think they may lack your genes of greatness. Here is a short list of a few famous people, some world leaders who were either adopted or fostered:

Alexander the Great – a king of one of the first great empires

Aristotle – one of the greatest philosophers of all time

Nelson Mandela “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela

Steve Jobs

Mother Teresa

Charles Dickens and Mark Twain…. from your high school literature class….

Malcom X

Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton (Presidents of USA)

Nancy Reagan and Eleanor Roosevelt – some of the influential first ladies in the USA

And in the Bible; Moses

Esther 2: 7 – Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

And you may not have thought about this one, but Jesus was also an adopted child. Although he was the son of God, he had an adopted earthly father. Talk about a successful adoption story!

Who knows, the child you choose may end up being the next global leader!!! Therefore, remember that there are 4.2 million orphaned children in Kenya; there are about 43,000 children in Children’s institutions who long for the love of a Father and everyday there are more abandoned children coming into these institutions. May you be opened to these children through adoption.

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2 Responses to “All in The Family – Adopted”

  1. hi is it a standard requirement that for adoption all our family members have to agree. this is what is holding me back and as much as the sermon at mavuno church yesterday was like God speaking audibly even on national television. now am married with one child and as much as its hard but the sermon melted his heart now imagine according to him his family would not take it kindly. i feel this condition should be removed such that as long as husband and wife have agreed the rest are not given the mandate to refuse or agree, they should just accept according to the law.

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  2. Hey Shey,
    When I began the journey of adoption I had immense support from my African family. It was really challenging as I never wanted to be a single parent yet felt I truly wanted to adopt.It was one of the most painful things I recall enduring in recent times. A bit of my experience,I had to get to 3 people to sign my form.I chose them quick.The first one of my closest friends took my form,read through it and immediately signed it with her recommendation.She then told me to find a job.The second who had taken me to the adoption agency sent me a text saying,she doesn’t know me that well and I should find someone else to sign.The 3rd was my cousin who happily signed this.The 4th was my schoolmate and good pal who was too caught up to find all of 10 minutes and got suddenly busy when I followed up and called me after a couple of months cheerily ”Hey,I know have gotten to your form”.I asked her to trash it as I wouldn’t be needing it.I didn’t tell her but I had already found friend no.5 who warned me he would ask me hard questions before signing my form.He did both.His interrogation which I appreciate came from a good place, he asked where I would get the money to support this child etc etc.Please note the guy that was grilling me was out of work and even borrowed money from me.I always paid the bills whenever we met socially and after releasing my personal financial details to answer his questions,he texted a couple months later ”you have X million in fixed deposit?” It is not just family that can be a problem.One of my married male friends who greatly encouraged me,narrated how he and his wife had their first baby when they had no regular income and they never lacked. He told me this was a wonderful thing I was pursuing.God opens doors and we should go through them because these doors don’t always remain open.Friends,society,self even family many of us don’t know how to deal with adoption.

    Just so you know all the above interactions were with born again believers.I came to Mavuno for a reference letter as requested by the agency and was given the run around until one very compassionate pastor found me and asked how they could help.This Pastor wrote me a letter within a 2 days, I’d been chasing the other pastor for 3 weeks.My super supportive parent decided I needed a newborn baby and all along I knew my preference was a 2 year old.My lawyer told me I would need to show regular income.I was self employed at the time.A friend introduced me to another home different from the established one I wanted to use.The owner was welcoming until I declined to take some 2 older kids she wanted me to host over Christmas.Eventually,when I declared my interest in one of the infants,she said of the child I had began to eye, they should also be allowed to raise her. All along I thought the kids were up for adoption.I was very shocked,deeply traumatized and quit the process.By this time,I had already gathered a small baby cot,been offered a larger bed by one of the above friends, began to train my pets to expect an infant(read online that preparing them would help),began building a support group of other adoptive parents.If I ever went it again,I would do New Life Home.They have an understanding I did not find in the other 2 homes. What you,your husband and child would be doing is phenomenal though it should be considered ordinary if we were all truly Christlike,He adopted us first! I hope you do not give up.

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