James, the brother of Jesus, tells us that true religion is, among other things, to care for the widows and orphans. But how often do we take that statement seriously? Too often, adoption is something we don't want to do because it makes us uncomfortable, or we adopt for selfish reasons, or we simply don't give adoption a second thought. Russell Moore's Adopted for Life isn't a plea for everyone to adopt children, but it is a powerful argument for those considering it or resisting a pro-adoption spouse.
Moore is especially qualified to write a defense of Christian adoption because he and his wife have adopted children of their own, but he doesn't come off as haughty or as trying to convince others to adopt based on his experiences. In fact, the stories he shares about adopting his two sons from a Russian orphanage aren't meditated to make the process or experience seem easy, or glamorous, or even altogether desirable: many of the stories are gut-wrenching and sad.
One of the chapters of Adopted for Life is designed to help you determine whether or not you should consider or pursue adoption, so this also isn't an argument that every family in the Church should adopt. It is, however, a call to the Church united to be an adoption-supporting and adoption-oriented community. It's for those who have adopted, those who want to adopt, those who don't want to adopt but think they should, and the pastors who shepherd all these people.
This isn't a how-to manual, walking you through the various steps and psychologically coaching you for the various difficulties you'll encounter. Instead, Moore begins with a theological examination of adoption in terms of our admittance to God's covenant people through faith. There are practical concerns, but of a different nature than how to complete paperwork: Moore tackles difficult topics like how to deal with racial and health concerns, how to deal with the fact of your kids' adoption, and what churches can do to encourage adoption.
Throughout the book, Moore refers to adoption as war. When covenant Christian families adopt children, they're doing the work of the Kingdom, and swelling the ranks of Christ's body. This is a work we cannot afford to ignore, and Russell Moore gives us reasons for pursuing it that are biblical and practical. Adopted for Life is often convicting and even difficult, but it is a book every Christian should read, whether they plan to adopt or not.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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