“Adopted for Life” – Book Review

Adopted for Life was released last year and made its way onto a lot of bloggers’ “Best of 09” lists.  Dr. Russell Moore is dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in “LOU-eh-vool”, Kentucky.  He also is on pastoral staff at a local church.

Adopted for Life is a blend of Biblical theology, the personal narrative of Moore’s own experience adopting two little boys from Russia, and practical advice for those considering or interested in adoption.  More than that, it aims at not just informing individuals and families but also churches and pastors to find their place as well.  It is a compelling blend of orthodoxy (right beliefs) and orthopraxy (right actions) rooted in the Gospel.

The first chapters are Moore’s tracing of the theme of adoption in the Bible.  For almost 40 pages, Moore brings out the Biblical teaching on adoption from Israel’s story to the new family made up of Jew and Gentile sharing one Father.  He excels at reminding us of the tension in the first century between Jew and Gentile and how the “adoption” language used by Paul relates.  He also spends some time in the third chapter looking at the most overlooked of the Christmas story characters-Joseph, and relates that both to the Old Testament deliverance of God’s people but also to the modern “anti-children” sentiment so many (even Christians) hold onto.  He roots the importance of adoption in the “fatherhood” of God (much likes James 1:27).

The rest of the book is a continued telling of his own story–from his own struggles with having children, bitterness towards those who did not struggle with fertility at all, and God’s work and provision in moving the Moores to adoption.   It is filled with practical, concise advice regarding things like domestic vs. international adoption, whether to use agencies, cultivating a culture of life in one’s church, foster care, the issue of race in adoption, even things like selecting a gender and dealing with disabilities.  Yet in this practical section, Moore manages often to remind us of the Biblical theology of adoption that should shape our thinking about as simple things as whether to adopt a boy or a girl.  The strength of the book is that is not simply a good summary of the theology of adoption followed by a good practical section, but rather the way the two are interweaved.

Whether you are young without children (that’d be me), or are contemplating adoption, or have your “quiver full” and simply want to know how you might still be involved, or are older and wondering how this topic relates to you at all, I heartily recommend this book to you.  It is emotionally moving, theologically compelling, and practically informing about a subject that is very near to the heart of God, the Father “in whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”

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