Take comfort, “Beloved, now we are children of God.” —1 John 3:2
On a human level, adoption is one of the most beautiful institutions in society—it becomes even more so in light of the gospel. The journey of earthly adoption can be fraught with challenges and uncertainties, but the process concludes with full assurance of relationship in a way similar to the assurance found in being a child of God.
The official language used by the state Superior Court during adoption finalization hearings parallels Paul’s teaching about heavenly adoption in Romans 8:15–17.
Accordance of Union
The judge first asks the adoptive parents, “Do you understand that by signing the Adoption Agreement you are agreeing to treat (your adopted child) as your own, lawful child with all the rights and duties of natural parents?” The Apostle Paul states, “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15b). Through adoption, total strangers are instantly united into one family, one accord, where the child refers intimately to their father as “Abba” or “Papa.”
Affirmation of Security
The adoptive parents sign the Adoption Agreement in the presence of the judge to officialize the adoption. “The court has read the adoption agreement form which is signed by petitioners in which they agree with the State…and the child that the child shall be treated in all respects as their own, lawful child.” Similarly, our heavenly adoptions are officialized by the Holy Spirit when “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). The affirming power of a legally-binding document and testimony of the Spirit both provide evidence of adoption security.
Allocation of Rights
The Finalization Hearing concludes with the judge stating, “I am presenting to you a Certificate of Family Membership which states pursuant to the authority vested in me by the State of California, it is hereby declared and adjudged and ordered that (the child) is a member of (your) family.” Paul offers us proof of our heavenly adoptions as children of God when he says, “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17a). As adopted children, we are set apart from the world and enjoy exclusive rights as heirs within our new family.
As Christians, the permanent finality of earthly adoption serves as an encouraging reminder of the assurance in heavenly adoption we have through Christ. To embrace adoption is to embrace what God has done for us; loving adoption is to love what matters to the Lord. As we consider the beautiful picture adoption presents, may we never miss an opportunity to pray for and actively support the work God is doing through adoption.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).
For more information about adoption and foster care, visit gracechurch.org/handsforhope.