Book Review: Adopted for Life

There seems to have been a lot of excitement surrounding this book which is, frankly, surprising for a book on adoption. I expected this to be a niche book, consumed by those contemplating adopting a child or by skeptical family members trying to understand the motivation for choosing to adopt. Moore’s book spans the gap between personal vignette and theological treatise. Any book on adoption is going to be intensely personal, and Moore doesn’t spare any tears in describing the process he and his wife went through before the Lord impressed international adoption on their hearts. And yet, I didn’t turn the close the back cover of the book thinking about what a wonderful story it was about the Moore family. Rather I closed the book thinking of how great a God we serve to have adopted us into His family.

And that’s why this book is truly something special. Rather than argue from a “this is what my family did and you should too” perspective, Moore spends the first three chapters of Adopted for Life passionately explaining our adoption as sons of God. God could have planned to justify us, sanctify us, and glorify us without making us members of His own household, Moore argues. But that isn’t what He has done. He has made us his legal and relational family, meaning that we are co-heirs with our Brother, Christ Jesus. As such, the gospel is all about adoption. The good news is about God adopting wretched sinners into His own family. The church is not like a family. The church is our family.

I’m not typically an “everybody needs to read this book” kind of person. I think it’s the height of arrogance to assume that everyone is going to be transformed by what God has recently revealed to me. There are many others who are already much further along the path. But I’ve never read a book that has so clearly and so freshly explained the relationships within the family of God before. The first three chapters of this book are relevant to absolutely every churchgoer. We don’t talk about adoption much within the church. But it’s one of the cornerstones of our hope in and love for our Father.

Moore refers to the idea that adoption is plan-B, only for those who cannot have children on their own. Wrapped around his own testimony of committing “genetic idolatry,” he states, “The protection of children isn’t charity. It isn’t part of a political program fitting somewhere between tax cuts and gun rights or between carbon emission caps and a national service corps. It’s spiritual warfare.” And again, “Not every believer is called to adopt children. But every believer is called to recognize Jesus in the face of his little brothers and sisters when he decides to show up in their lives, even if it interrupts everything else.”

The remainder of the book discusses different challenges in adoption, from interracial differences to the legal ramifications of domestic adoptions. Throughout the whole the process, each issue is continually examined from through the light of what Christ has done for us and the eternal realities that surround adoption. It certainly is a messy process, but then again so was our adoption into the family of God.

One great blessing God brought into my own life was being able to watch as a young student my college discipler and his wife adopt a baby boy from Uganda. Pictures of unwanted babies in flea-ridden Russian orphanages and undernourished orphans in Ghana easily become guilt-laced white noise under the sheer feeling of helplessness to make any kind of difference. But putting a face and a personality behind the concept of an orphan child rescued and adopted into a fiercely Christ-centered home strips away that feeling of helplessness. Meet Moore’s children in this book, and the self-deceiving lie of helplessness to make a difference will dissolve very quickly.

My appreciation for this book is probably evident from what I’ve already written. As a church, we’re called to be at the forefront of adoption. This book would be a good place to start for anyone who wants to know how he or she can respond being an adopted child of God. Not everyone is called to adopt. But we’re all called to participate. As Moore writes, “The Father adopts children, and we’re called to be like Him. Jesus cares for orphans, and we’re being conformed into His image. If you’re in Christ, you’re called to be involved in this project somehow.”

The Bottom Line: 5/5

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