One of the big adoption questions I get asked is, “Can you love a kid that you adopt as much as you love your biological children?”
When someone raises a concern about adoption, I like to show how those questions or fears are not specific to adoption. Whether or not we can love a child unconditionally is a question that could be asked about biological children, marriages, and friendships. When love is reduced to a feeling then it becomes a works-based love. Instead of loving our children because God has placed us over them as their parent, we love them because they have earned favor in our eyes and we love them less because they have done something upsetting to us.
I have seen parents of only biological children favor one child over the other (especially if one child has similar interests, hobbies, and skills and the other does not). This also shows that a parent is lacking in understanding of what it means to love unconditionally. It makes their love contingent upon what they get from that child. It is selfish.
Works-based love is prevalent in our culture. We marry because someone makes us feel a certain way, meets our needs, and fulfills our desires for love. We grow discontent in our marriages because our spouse stops doing those things. We chose our friends because they make us laugh, share our interests and hobbies, and are easy to talk to. We distance ourselves from them when they become too annoying, needy, or self-focused. We pick churches because they have programs we want, have people with common life-stages, and have messages that encourage and uplift us. We leave our churches because they no longer have the programs we want, because the music doesn’t fit our taste, or the sermons aren’t as great as John Piper’s. We share the gospel with people who are like us and avoid those we have nothing in common with.
This is the way the world loves, but not the way Christ has called us to love. We are shown a different kind of love in Jesus and it is to transform how we think and speak of love.
So, what is this great love that Christ has called us to? How does that impact the way we think, feel, and act toward our children? I’ll explore that in my post next week…
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