In line with our focus on adoption and fostering this month, we are reposting a piece written by John McGrath. We want to give voice to those who have been adopted or fostered right at the centre of this discussion. John shares his personal experience of being adopted below:
My own story of adoption has shown me how the tragedy of my birth mother’s death could be redeemed into a powerful story of God’s grace and mercy.
I was born 23 years ago in Nairobi, Kenya. My mother died soon after giving birth to me. Subsequently, I was received by a children’s home in Nairobi, founded by an English missionary couple. It was here that I was adopted by a young married couple from Belfast.
Reflecting upon my story, I’ve seen how the Bible reveals God’s heart of inclusion and adoption throughout its unfolding redemptive narrative.
Time and time again, the scriptures point to how God has woven the lives of outsiders throughout Israel’s long journey towards Christ; from Ruth the Moabite to Rahab the Canaanite, God challenges Israel to remember the stranger and the outsider because they were once strangers in Egypt.
In light of this, it became apparent to me that the Church has been given a unique responsibility to be a shelter from the storm for those who have encountered all kinds of disaster. One of the most transformative ways the Church can do this is through adoption and fostering.
Adoption and fostering presents the Church with an opportunity to be part of the on-going redemption of the world. Children within the care system are much more vulnerable to problems of anti-social behaviour, homelessness and suicide than those children who grow up in a stable family environment. I say this not to discourage, but to help us reimagine how we can live out God’s redemptive plan through fostering or adoption. Caring for a child who is not blood related can be an exercise of faith; but it presents a opportunity for us to be part of real transformation in the life of another human-being. Christian homes can provide a healthy and safe space for vulnerable children to grow, develop and excel in their lives. Paul in his discourse to the Galatians outlines how Christ’s redemptive work on the cross has afforded all of us adoption into the family of God. Our posture of gratitude in response to his love should compel us to extend open arms of love and embrace the most vulnerable in our society.
“..But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”