We’ve heard much in the news lately about how the Government wants to improve and speed-up the adoption process. Only last month the Prime Minister, ahead of the launch of the coalition’s ‘Adoption Action Plan’, once again vowed to tackle some of the barriers facing potential adoptees. Reassuringly, there seems to be renewed political and media interest in adoption and a realisation that adoptive relationships are hugely valuable in our society.

Adoption is a key theme in the Bible too, both theologically and in a practical sense as well. St. Paul uses the language of adoption to explain that when we choose to follow Christ, we become adopted children of God and joint heirs with Christ. This is significant in protestant theology as it represents the gracious activity of God who saves us and welcomes us into the life of the kingdom. It tells of a God who chooses to bestow the birth-right of his own Son onto those whom his Son now calls ‘friends’. (John 15.14f)

Practically speaking, we have one very well-known example of adoption in the Gospel. The Gospel narrative suggests that Joseph was not actually Jesus’ birth father, but that he chose to stand by Mary and raise Jesus as though he were his own flesh and blood. There is a certain poetic justice in this, Jesus alongside whom we are adopted by God into the kingdom, himself had to be adopted so that he could ‘dwell with us’ in the first place.

All of this points to how significant adoptive relationships are, alongside other forms of parental relationship, as a building block of a healthy and loving society. Indeed the Bible might challenge us to assess what is more ‘natural’: a blood-tie or a bond of love? I’ll leave you to ponder that one!

In Christ, Tim.