Every semester I assign persuasive speeches that give students an opportunity to practice the public speaking skills needed to address a hostile audience. Each student is required to deliver a persuasive speech about a minority view — one the student holds but believes most other people do not. Afterward, each student fields questions for 3-5 minutes. I enjoy the assignment for many reasons: I like providing a safe environment for people to exercise our precious right to freedom of speech; I enjoy teaching principles of arguing effectively because most people I observe do not; I enjoy the lively Q & A’s so much that in the middle of one this week I thought, “I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now!” One of my favorite reasons, however, is the opportunity to check the pulse of what is going on in young peoples’ minds. I have watched some topics come and go, like pro gay marriage. It was still controversial in 2009 but is no longer. This year new topics included views about transgender issues and Islam. I cherish the opportunity to stay current and know my students well.
One topic that still remains controversial is pro-life. This semester included one such speech in each class. I have become accustomed to the typical arguments and ensuing questions in the Q & A but one speech resonated with me this week more than usual. First, within the speech the person talked about the option of putting a baby up for adoption. Such logic appears in all pro-life speeches, but something about the way the words were delivered struck a chord within me. The sentence, “Just put the baby up for adoption” sounded a tad flippant to me. Perhaps I am reacting to the word “just” that commonly begins that sentence. The word implies that putting a baby up for adoption is easy, that somehow a woman can brush off the experience and move on if she can just bear with the situation for nine more months. I have had the honor of standing bedside as a mother gave birth and allowed the baby to go straight into adoptive parent’s arms. To date, I have not witnessed a more courageous act. IT IS NOT EASY. Though putting a baby up for adoption is indeed a viable alternative, I am not certain every woman is up to the task. Thus, preventing pregnancy in the first place becomes even more important if a woman cannot or will not keep her baby.
Adoption is an option, though a courageous one.
During the Q & A of the speech I am writing about, questions evolved into a class discussion about such societal issues as birth mothers having more babies than they can care for and mothers having children while struggling with addiction. What then? The logic was voiced, if a baby is going to have a bad life, then why not spare him or her a lifetime of struggle?
I know of children born to mothers who have had children in the double digits. The children did end up in foster care but I know of many that have been adopted. I also know children born to mothers who were unable to care for their children because of drug addiction or mental health issues but those babies are now safely placed in loving families through adoption. There is an extremely wide set of circumstances that can lead to a mother putting her baby up for adoption. The reasons are innumerable.
I am so thankful for the life of every child I know who has been adopted and thankful for each one still waiting.
And then there’s me.
What? I am adopted?
I am adopted into the family of God just like every other Christian.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves (Ephesians 1:5, 6).
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1: 13, 14).
God did all the work to rescue me because He declared me worthy.
I did not declare myself worthy. He did; The one who adopted me.
And that is what God–and people who adopt children–decide. They decide someone is worthy…even if in the eyes of society that person’s life is disabled, broken, damaged, imperfect, incapacitated, learning impaired, needy, expensive, poor, fostered, unplanned or considered a mistake.
The list is all inclusive.
For God so loved the world….and everyone in it (John 3:16).
For God knit us together in our mother’s womb….no matter who the mother (Psalm 139:13).
For God knit us together in our mother’s womb…no matter who the child (Psalm 139:14-16).
Christians, have you thanked God you are adopted? Please do so today.
For those that joined me last week in practicing purposeful giving of thanks during this past week, here is one final thankfulness challenge.
Thank God today that you are adopted.
We can tend to forget that we were spiritually dead, as helpless to change our destiny as any baby who is born to parents they did not choose, on a part of the globe they did not select and raised in a fashion in which they had no say.
God never stopped searching for us, finding us and declaring us worthy for adoption.
Today-on this exact day nine years ago-our son became our son through adoption. I thank God for that fact every day.
November 29, 2006 — First adoption day celebration!
November 29, 2015 — 9 years our son, 10th adoption day celebration!
(photo taken 11/26/2015, Thanksgiving day)
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