7 ways to support adoption

November 21, 2018

While God may not be calling all of us to adopt a child, he has called us to care for the orphans and widows (James 1:27). Furthermore, he has given us 59 “one another’s” in Scripture. Whatever we do, it’s clear we are called to find the ways that God has uniquely positioned and equipped us to help the body of Christ.

We have experienced how the church can play huge and important roles in caring for all members of the adoption triad (birth moms, adoptive parents, and adopted child). Here are some specific ways people have helped us and continue to come alongside us in our journey:

1. Adoption counsel: We first sought out a group of people that would help us process the adoption from a biblical perspective. This group met with us a couple of times to help process our motives, our timing, and ask us all of the hard questions. They continued processing with us through emails each step of the way.

This group included our small group members, friends that had been walking with us and knew the deepest pieces of our struggles, as well as a friend who has adopted multiple children. Before we said yes to the birth mother, we leaned heavily on these trusted friends and continued to loop them into each step of the way to make sure we stayed on a good path.

2. Financial support: While we chose to apply for a grant through the Abba fund, our agency came back and asked for more money that we weren’t expecting. It was stressful, but in one week, three checks came in from friends (one anonymous) that totaled within $20 of what we needed. We couldn’t believe it!

If people you know are fundraising, give what you can. If they aren’t fundraising, and you have resources, you can still give. You could write a check like one friend did, just wanting support us and this child; you could give like my parents have toward something specific like a crib or diapers; or, you can give gift cards. There are so many options. We also had someone pay for us to have our house cleaned once a month for the first six months! Every financial gift given was a huge blessing for us as we worked to stewarded our finances well.

3. Family: One of my favorite moments was when our family dropped everything to come see us in the hospital. We originally weren’t going to have anyone come until all of the papers were signed, but decided later to invite our families. They were so flexible and patient with us. Our family purchased different items we would need, including a car seat. They brought us meals while we were there and even did some of our laundry. They also threw us a “family party” when we left the hospital. We were exhausted, but it was so perfect to have a meal and celebrate our son—their nephew, cousin, and grandson!

4. Nursery/Registry crew: We had several people wanting to throw us a shower and do things for us before our son was born. As we processed with our “adoption counsel,” we landed that it was best for us to stay present and focus on the people over the things. Two weeks before our son was born, a few friends came to me with a plan. They asked if they could “own” the nursery and committed to having it all removed if the birth mom ended up choosing to parent. I shared with them the basics of what we would want/need: a place for our son to sleep, a rocking chair, and a rug. I also gave them a simple color scheme I liked. They created a registry where more family and friends could help.

They went above and beyond anything we could have imagined. When we arrived home from the hospital with our son, the nursery had a crib, a dresser, a closet full of clothes, diapers, wipes, pacifiers—everything we could possibly need. There was a beautiful rug and chair just like I had hoped. Drapes were hung, and pictures from the hospital were already framed. They thought of every detail. It was incredible, and humbling.

5. Home and food crew: While we were in the hospital meeting our son, our friends also stocked us up on groceries, had our house cleaned, set up a meal calendar for people to bring us meals for several months, donated frozen breast milk for our son, and even had flowers in every room. We still cannot believe all they did for us.

6. Babysitting: My mom came and stayed with us for a few days to allow us to get a few hours of sleep. She not only helped feed and care for our new son, but also did things around the house. We also had an overwhelming number of friends offer to babysit for us. Some friends came for a few hours during the day so that I could take a nap (or a shower) once my husband was back at work, while other friends and family came so that we could take an hour to go grab a meal together.

For over a year now, we have had a few friends consistently come and spend time with our son. It doesn’t feel like babysitting; they have become family. We can’t put into words what it means to us to have family and friends care for and love our son.

7. Community/mentors: I don’t know where we would be without these friends. Some of our friends were the ones that our birth mother originally met. They helped her choose life for our now son. Coming along birth mothers is one of the greatest things that you can do to support an adoption, both before they have the child and afterward when they sign the papers and leave without a child. The next season after giving birth will be really difficult, and the birth mom will need support.

There have been two women specifically who have walked with our son’s birth mother through her entire pregnancy and then for months afterward. They have prayed with her, discipled her, and been a friend to her.

You don’t have to be an expert in adoption to help a birth mom. Just be a friend. Be available, allow her to share openly with you, and then remind her of truth and to trust in the Lord. Speak words to her that encourage unity in the adoption, not division. Encourage her to believe the best about the adoptive parents and to be honest with them.

Our community and mentors have also played a crucial role for us post-birth. They have helped us process each step we have taken in opening up our adoption. They pray for all of us involved. Lastly, they provide a space for us to speak vulnerably and then remind us to trust in the Lord and believe the best in the birth mom as well.

We can’t thank our family and friends enough for all of their love and support. It truly took a whole community to welcome our son and put this gospel on display throughout our story. We hope these examples encourage you to be a source of help and support for those around you who are welcoming children through adoption.

From the tiniest unborn life to the elderly at the end of life, from immigrants and refugees to those trafficked against their will, all life matters to God. Join the ERLC in Washington, D.C. on January 17-18, 2019, for Evangelicals for Life, one of the largest gatherings of pro-life Christians in the country. Speakers include Russell Moore, J.D. Greear, Steven Curtis Chapman, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and more. Register now to join us!

Ally Wall

Ally Wall writes for Stand for Life.  Read More by this Author

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24