Adoption: A Dad’s Perspective
Post created by guest contributor, Peter Ashmore.
Looking at the title of “A Dad’s Perspective”…
I want to address some issues that I believe are at the core of the orphan crisis. These are issues I struggled with—lies I at one time believed and sometimes still battle. So, men, this is not a “bash on dudes” post but a testimony of God’s goodness to change the thinking of men regarding adoption and orphan care.
1. I didn’t understand the fatherhood of God.
Ephesians 1 provides God’s “game plan” for redeeming his children.
Verse 5 says, “He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
God’s plan has always been to adopt—to make us part of his family. He has planned from eternity past to take, as Hosea said, a people called “not my people” and make them “my people” (Hos 1:9–10; Rom 9:25–26).
Fatherhood is that terrifying space between living courageously and feeling like you have no idea what you are doing.
When you step out in adoption and say, “Hey, that child right there, he is not mine, but I am going to make him mine. I’m going to put my name on him and give him all the rights and privileges that come with being my child,” that’s modeling what God does to His children in the gospel.
He doesn’t owe you anything but wrath. Judgment. Condemnation. Instead, He has taken you into his family and made you a “co-heir with Christ” (Rom 8:17).
Men, when you engage in adoption, you are modeling for the world what God the Father has done through our elder brother, Jesus Christ.
2. I didn’t believe this was a manhood issue.
Manhood, especially fatherhood, has always been under attack, and our generation is no exception. It is estimated that more than 1 in 4 children in the U.S. lives without their father.
I’m thankful for Russell Moore and his book Adopted for Life. In his book, he outlines something I had never considered before—Joseph’s role in the birth and life of Jesus.
See, Joseph shows us what manhood looks like. He could have divorced Mary, shamed her, and left the newborn and mother to be publically ostracized for the rest of their lives. And he would have been fully within his rights to do so.
Instead, he raised a child that “wasn’t his own.” This is so crucial to the history of redemption because if Joseph would not have stepped up to legitimize Jesus’ birth, the story of a rescuer would have ended right there!
Jesus is prophesied to be “the son of David” and because He is the legal son of Joseph, He now has the legal, kingly rights to fulfill prophecy. Men, that is because of Joseph!
Adoption is about manhood. Taking responsibility for a child that you could easily justify as “someone else’s problem.” That’s what Jesus did on the cross—He took responsibility for us.
Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many. And that was all made possible because a carpenter named Joseph took on “someone else’s problem.” So as you pray about how God would have you grow your family, lead your wives into the conversation and action of orphan care. Shepherd her through the process. Be a leader!
3. I didn’t believe this was about spiritual warfare.
Revelation 12:4 states that a “… dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.”
Satan rages against life. From the garden, to Pharaoh, to Herod, to Roe vs. Wade, to Planned Parenthood… Who will stand against him?
Standing against the tide of abortion and fatherlessness are matters of spiritual warfare. In Revelation 12:4, who stood between the dragon and the woman? It was a man by the name of Joseph, perhaps unknowingly battling the serpent himself.
4. I didn’t believe in taking risks for the sake of the gospel.
I wasn’t inspired, I didn’t believe God could use me, and I wasn’t believing the gospel.
“It’s rich people who adopt—not me.” Men, are we so uninspired today that this is the excuse that we bring to the table? Do we really believe that God only uses a special 1% of Christians to accomplish His mission?
About once a month, I’ll flip back through pictures of my family. In Ethiopia, where my son was born, there are roughly 4.5 million orphans. That is a very daunting number, and the question of “Can I even make a difference?” would fester in my mind.
Let me tell you this. I look in the face of my son, Deacon, and my daughter, Copeland, and I’m left with this answer: It made a difference to them!
Of all the orphans in Ethiopia and Southeast Michigan, God gave me you, and I will make a difference to you!
The gospel makes a difference to all Christians, but it especially made a difference to me!
Peter serves on the administrative staff at Restore Church on Detroit’s west side. He and his wife Elisabeth have been married for 11 years and have the privilege of raising Deacon, Hensley, Copeland, and Kingston for the sake of the Kingdom.
DAD, WE’RE HERE TO HELP.
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