If your children grew up in the church, there is a good chance they knew the youth choir song “I’m Adopted.” The lyrics echo a promise found in Ephesians 1:5 and repeated throughout the Scriptures: “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.”
For my family, however, the title of that song rings doubly true.
I am one of many Christian women who have experienced the pain of divorce. My first husband grappled with alcoholism and left me when I was pregnant with our youngest daughter. The result was a season of life spent as a single parent, working the morning shift as a nurse at our local hospital and the night shift as a mother of three.
In the time that followed, I met the man who would become my husband: Dave Black. What began as a friendship (and a recurring babysitting role) grew into a romance. When he asked me to marry him, I knew that I had found the godly partner and role-model for my children that was missing from my first relationship.
Every blended family must decide how to navigate the challenges of their new life together in a way that works for them, but Dave and I felt strongly that we needed to draw a circle around our family by having him legally adopt my children as his own.
My three kids took his last name and, to this day, there has never been any doubt that he is their dad. What Dave and my children lack in shared genes, they more than make up for in shared love—the kind that can only exist between a parent and their child.
Many adoptive parents’ journeys culminate in a courtroom moment, but Dave’s came in the form of a notice in the mail from the Department of Children’s Services. When we got the letter officially declaring us a family, I was reminded of Scripture’s teaching that we are adopted into the family of God. I was also reminded of the children who are still waiting on an earthly adoption of their own.
My kids faced some challenging years before Dave entered our lives, but their experience cannot truly compare to that of the more than 415,000 children in the foster care system today.
May is National Foster Care Month; a time that I hope will encourage the church to engage afresh and anew with the cause of adoption, remembering our gospel calling to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
Of course, not every family is called to adopt, but we can all intercede on behalf of these children.
For some, that may mean offering a gift of time or resources to a faith-based adoption organization. My family’s journey, for example, drew our hearts to the work of Decisions, Choices & Options, a nonprofit organization in the Nashville area that visits local schools to promote adoption for students who may be facing an unplanned pregnancy and might otherwise consider life-ending choices for their unborn baby.
In my current role as a member of Congress, I believe this calling to look after widows and orphans means using the platform that I have been given to ensure that adoption is attainable for every family who has room in their hearts—regardless of the room in their budget.
I am convinced that nothing could have stopped Dave from adopting my children. But the truth is, we were also fortunate that the costs our young family incurred were minimal. I wonder how long we would have been waiting for that letter in the mail had we needed to raise thousands of dollars just to call ourselves a family?