Book Review | Adopted for Life

August 25, 2009 — 1 Comment

The third book I had the opportunity to read through was Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell Moore.

As a short synopsis, Moore paints the theological foundations of adoption in the first portion of the book, asking the church and Christians to consider our calling to serve and minister to orphans.  The latter half of the book focuses on specifics of adoption, including the challenges of the adoption process and engaging the church after you have adopted.  He uses his personal testimony of adopting two boys from Russia as the narrative thread of the book, providing personal insight into a variety of topics.

In his own words, Moore aims to:

In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption–whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt–can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.

Below is the table of contents:

  1. Adoption, Jesus, and You: Why You Should Read This Book, Especially If You Don’t Want to
  2. Are They Brothers? What Some Rude Questions about Adoption Taught Me about the Gospel of Christ
  3. Joseph of Nazareth vs. Planned Parenthood: What’s at Stake When We Talk about Adoption
  4. Don’t You Want Your Own Kids? How to Know If You—or Someone You Love—Should Consider Adoption
  5. Paperwork, Finances, and Other Threats to Personal Sanctification: How to Navigate the Practical Aspects of the Adoption Process
  6. Jim Crow in the Church Nursery: How to Think about Racial Identity, Health Concerns, and Other Uncomfortable Adoption Questions
  7. It Takes a Village to Adopt a Child: How Churches Can Encourage Adoption
  8. Adopted Is a Past-Tense Verb: How Parents, Children, and Friends Can Think about Growing up Adopted
  9. Concluding Thoughts

This book is a worthwhile read for anyone, regardless of your interest in adoption.  It contains a great deal of material associated with the adoption process, and certainly some practical insight into the realities of adoption, but the book goes so much beyond the mechanics of adoption.  Through his excellent presentation of the nature of the family of God, to examining particular individuals in Scripture, Moore did an excellent job of articulating the character of God and the heart of the Gospel through the lens of adoption.  You will be blessed theologically, should you pick up this book, as well as pastorally and practically blessed with respect to adoption.

One of the particularly poignant portions of the book for me was chapter 2: Are They Brothers?.  Moore does an excellent job of working through the issue of our identity as children of God, and the practical outflow for us as a body of Christ.  I loved his articulation that we as believers ought to view the Old Testament as OUR family history, not just a family history, as we are indeed the spiritual children of Abraham.  He also has an excellent section about our relationship to Christ as our brother, which began a series of excellent thoughts for me.  You can read the chapter here.

I thoroughly enjoyed Chapter 3, which is a biblical and historical understanding of how adoption is actually spiritual warfare and battling against the very heart of evil.  He does an excellent job of highlighting the major attacks on defenseless babies throughout the Bible (using the genocide of Pharoah in the time of Moses and the genocide of Herod in the time Jesus as primary examples) and history.  This chapter did more to elevate my view of the spiritual reality of adoption than the rest of the book combined.

The practical sections of the book are useful in that they are a good first-hand account of Moore’s adoption, but they deliberately do not provide much in the order of details for adoption.  If you are looking for a pragmatic book, I’d suggest going elsewhere.

I urge you to pick up this book and read, even if you have no interest in adoption, because you will absolutely be blessed by its depth, and convicted by the call of God to care for the orphan.

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

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