What Does the Bible Say About Adopting a Child?
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What Does the Bible Say About Adopting a Child?

Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family and provide a loving home for a child in need. As Christians, we’re called to care for orphans and the less fortunate. If you’re considering adoption, you likely have many questions about what the Bible says on this important decision. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the biblical basis for adoption, key Scriptures on caring for orphans, practical considerations, and how to rely on God throughout the adoption process.


Adoption is deeply personal and requires much prayer and reflection. There are many factors to weigh as you determine if adoption is right for your family. As you explore adoption, remember that you are not alone. God cares deeply for each child in need of a home and promises to equip families who step forward in faith.

The Bible speaks often about caring for widows, orphans, and the vulnerable in society. As Christians, we are called to provide and protect. Adoption offers life-changing impact for a child, as well as profound blessings for your family. While the decision to adopt is significant, you can trust God to lead you each step of the way.

Key Takeaways:

  • Adoption reflects God’s heart for orphans and fulfills James 1:27.
  • Key verses emphasize God’s care for the fatherless (Psalm 10:14, Psalm 82:3, Deuteronomy 10:18).
  • The Bible gives practical wisdom for adoptive families (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4).
  • God promises to provide for adoptive parents (2 Corinthians 9:8).
  • Adoption demonstrates Christ’s love (John 14:18, Romans 8:15).

The remainder of this guide explores the biblical foundation for adoption in greater detail. May God give you wisdom and clarity as you consider growing your family through adoption.

The Bible Encourages Adoption

The Bible speaks positively about adoption and caring for orphans throughout the Old and New Testaments. Scripture provides many examples of God’s heart for the vulnerable and how He calls His followers to reflect that compassion.

Adoption Aligns with God’s Character

From the very beginning, we see God’s care and concern for children without parents. After Cain murders his brother Abel, he worries about being killed himself as a consequence. The Lord reassures and protects him, saying “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold” (Genesis 4:15). Without parents to provide and defend him, Cain was vulnerable. God stepped in to fill that gap and be his protector.

This reflects the very nature of God. Throughout the Old Testament, God refers to himself as the father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). He promises to defend and provide for orphans, speaking strongly against those who might take advantage of them (Exodus 22:22-24, Deuteronomy 10:18, Proverbs 23:10).

When the people of Israel turned away from God, He accuses them saying, “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.” (Ezekiel 34:4). Israel had ignored the most vulnerable among them, going against God’s very character.

As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate God’s compassion for the defenseless. The pure religion that God desires includes caring for widows and orphans (James 1:27). Adoption is a tangible way we can meet this biblical call. It reflects God’s own father-heart for the vulnerable and his concern for children in need of a family.

Key Scriptures on Adoption

Several verses provide a direct basis for adoption or speak powerfully about God’s care for the fatherless. Some key Scriptures include:

Deuteronomy 10:18 – “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”

Psalm 10:14 – “But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

Psalm 68:5 – “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

Psalm 82:3 – “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”

James 1:27 – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Romans 8:15 – “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”

These verses reveal God’s clear compassion for the fatherless. Adoption is a concrete way we can share in this divine concern. Scripture emphatically calls us to care for orphans and defend the vulnerable. Adoption provides a powerful opportunity to answer this biblical mandate.

Adoption Reflects Christ’s Love

Beyond specific verses, the gospel itself shapes our view of adoption. Through Christ, we have been adopted into God’s family though we were once lost, abandoned, and destitute without hope.

Ephesians 1:5 says, “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” We were not God’s children, but He chose us, adopted us, redeemed us, and welcomed us home. This mimics a physical adoption in many ways. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. Likewise, we did not earn nor deserve God’s adoption. It is purely by His grace and love.

As adoptive parents, you have the privilege to reflect the adoptive heart of God. Provide a loving home as God did for us. Welcome a child fully as God welcomes us. Model patience and mercy as you work through challenges. Share the true identity children have as beloved sons and daughters of God.

The Bible reminds us that all Christians have been adopted by God: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26, 28).

Adoption unites families across racial, socioeconomic, and cultural barriers just as God adopted us freely with no prerequisites. This unity mirrors the kingdom of God.

Through your adoption story, you can powerfully demonstrate God’s heart for orphaned and abandoned children. You can give a child the same inheritance we received through God – the blessing of being wanted, having a home, and gaining a forever family.

Key Considerations for Christian Adoptive Families

As you prayerfully consider adoption, you likely have many practical questions and concerns. You want to have realistic expectations while also trusting God fully in this process. Here are a few key considerations for Christian families exploring adoption.

Reflect on Your Motivations

Take time to reflect honestly about what draws you towards adoption. Pray for God to align your heart with His. Adoption should not be driven by guilt, expectation, or saving face. The desire should flow from compassion for children in need.

Consider your expectations. Are you willing to embrace the messiness adoption can bring? No child or situation will be perfect. Seek God’s wisdom about what types of special needs or scenarios you feel equipped to take on.

Adoption and foster care also require sacrifice. Count the cost but trust God to meet your needs. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). God promises to provide, but adoptive parenting will require time, emotional energy, patience and flexibility.

Rely on the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

Every adoption journey is unique, with its own challenges and joys. As you take steps forward, rely fully on the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and discernment.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). Seek God at each stage of the journey – selecting an agency, being matched with a birth mother or child, preparing your home, welcoming a child, and navigating the many decisions that follow.

Parenting an adopted child comes with unique aspects. You may face questions about birth parents, abandonment, grief, and identity. Lean on scriptures about adoption and pray for sensitivity to your child’s needs. Let the Holy Spirit guide your words and actions.

Build a Community of Support

No parent can do this alone. Reach out to other adoptive families for insight and encouragement. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Join support groups and glean wisdom from those who have been where you are.

Rely on your church community as well. Share about your adoption journey so people can cover you in prayer and meet tangible needs. The body of Christ is designed to uplift and provide practical help, especially in times of transition. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or take a break when needed.

Remember God’s Sovereignty and Faithfulness

As exciting as adoption is, the process can be emotionally exhausting with high highs and low lows. When challenges arise, remember God’s promise, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He is with you through every step of this journey.

Trust in God’s bigger purpose and sovereignty over the details. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). God knows your path to adoption and the child who will join your family. Rest in His faithful, sovereign care.

Though the road may be difficult at times, remember God’s clear call to care for orphans. You are answering a kingdom purpose greater than yourself. Let your confidence remain in God who predestined this adoption from the very beginning. He will carry your family every step of the way.

Applying Biblical Principles in Adoptive Parenting

Once a child or sibling group joins your family, the real work begins. While adoption is incredibly rewarding, it does not come without challenges. You will likely need to work harder to attach and bond given your child’s history of abandonment and loss. Take time to build trust and help your child feel fully part of your family.

Along the way, rely on biblical principles to guide your adoptive parenting. God’s wisdom applies beautifully to parenting children who joined your family through adoption.

Attachment and Unconditional Love

Children from hard places especially need to feel secure and attached. Demonstrate unconditional love through your words, actions, and affection. “Love is patient, love is kind…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 7).

Attachment happens through consistent nurturing. Set aside dedicated time to connect one-on-one with each child. Play together, talk about their interests, celebrate their uniqueness. Show them they are cherished for exactly who God created them to be.

Structure and Consistency

Children thrive in a structured environment with consistent expectations. “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Set clear household guidelines and model consistency in your responses. This provides comfort and predictability.

Don’t demand perfection but have a plan to gently reinforce rules. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). When consequences are needed, discipline in love.

Identity in Christ

Adopted children may struggle with self-worth or identity. Reassure them of their permanent place in your family. Remind them regularly that they are loved just as God loves His adopted sons and daughters.

Teach them that their worth comes from being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). In Christ, we are “adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5). Share Scriptures about adoption so they find identity as beloved children of God.

Grace and Patience

Children who have endured trauma need extra grace and patience as they heal. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). When acting out occurs, respond gently while still reinforcing boundaries.

Progress will come slowly at times. Give children space to process new information and environment. “Love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Shower them with compassion, providing a safe space to heal. “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming” (James 5:7).

Community and Support

Finally, remind your child they are loved beyond your immediate family. Introduce them to caring friends, neighbors, teachers, and church community. “There is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Surround them with believers who will champion their growth.

God designed children to be nurtured within committed community. Seek out mentors and role models to invest in their lives. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). It takes a village to raise adopted children with wisdom and faith. Rely on your spiritual community for support and encouragement.

Trusting God Through Your Adoption Journey

Adoption is a beautiful yet complex calling. As you process all the factors involved, reflect on these key truths:

  • God cares deeply for the fatherless and commands His people to do the same. Adoption aligns with His redemption story.
  • Adoptive parenting requires sacrifice but God promises to equip and provide for families who step out in faith.
  • Every adoption journey will have joyful moments and painful ones. Walk in wisdom, relying fully on God’s strength and discernment.
  • Surround yourself with community. Seek support and mentoring from other adoptive families and your church.
  • Parent your child with grace, patience and unconditional love. Help them understand their identity in Christ as chosen and adopted sons and daughters.
  • Most of all, remember God’s faithfulness through each season. He will never leave you as you give a child their forever home.

As you follow God’s leading to adoption, you can experience the profound blessing of caring for a child as your own. Continue seeking God in prayer while trusting Him to guide your steps. He called you specifically to this journey and will help your family grow together in His love. May your adoption story forever testify to God’s redeeming grace and father-heart for the vulnerable. You are answering a kingdom call that eternity will reveal. Our prayers are with you, friend!

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.