August 22, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) – My mouth dropped open, gaping in shock, as I sat in the prayer room readying myself to pray for the orphans and fatherless and then saw the story. Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson had criticized some types of adoption. In a viewer question from a woman who had adopted three children internationally, Robertson’s advice as to why men seemed to lose interest when they found out she adopted her children, said:
“A man doesn’t want to take on the United Nations, and a woman has all these various children, blended family, what is it – you don’t know what problems there are. I’m serious. I’ve got a dear friend, an adopted son, a little kid from an orphanage down in Columbia. Child had brain damage, grew up weird. And you just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child. What kind of sexual abuse has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation, etc. etc. “You don’t have to take on somebody else’s problems. You really don’t. You can help people – we minister to orphans all over the world, we love helping people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to take all the orphans around the world into my home.”
Robertson displays the ignorance that has fostered the grief of many adopted children over the years, a mentality the church is charged with tearing down, not building up.
He is correct that some adopted children might have problems or abuse, but he fails to add that natural born children may too. I can name numerous families with natural-born children whose children tragically suffered sexual abuse at the hand of someone, a babysitter or relative, or even stranger. I can also think of parents who have had brain-damaged children or children with other health issues that greatly impair them from having “normal” lives, but I wouldn’t say that made them grow up weird. Different isn’t weird. It’s different.
Adoption is not a dirty word. It’s not a second class word. It’s not a fringe word. It’s the heart of the Father.
Perhaps most troubling is the fact that Robertson seems to forget that none of the gentiles are God’s “own” either. The Father took us all, sexually abused, verbally abused, treated cruelly, deprived of things, in grief and pain and agony, He accepted us, He adopted us, and He chose to take on the United Nations. Further, He calls us to take the United Nations into our homes sometimes.
Obviously not everyone should adopt for various reasons, but prejudice isn’t one of the better reasons. To be a believer and to harbor an attitude that adoption is for some fringe group is unacceptable. This is an attitude which is all-too-prevalent anyway, but to hear it come from a Christian leader is heart wrenching to me.
See, I am the United Nations. Arab-born, American adopted, left-on-the-street baby who was adopted by a single mom, and it was (and is) a mystery to which nation I belong. In an orphanage for six months, every bias would have said I was not worth fighting for. Sending money to an orphanage is nice. Ministering to orphans in nice. But the heart attitude displayed here is not. Orphans are not some group you take a week’s vacation to go minister to so you can do your Christian duty. Orphans are the very heart of Jesus. That’s why the last verses of the old Testament tell us:
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” (NASB)
Literally the exemption from the curse is the restoration of the hearts of the fathers to the children. As I wrote last week, this is a time in history in which there are more orphans, spiritual and natural, than ever before — to not adopt orphans and/or be an active part of that is missing the mark of the Father.
Luke 1:17 echoes Malachi 4:
“It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (NASB)
We should take on the United Nations—or support those who do without exception and excuse. No, we may not know “what we’re getting.” But we may not when we birth children. The mentality in our land that adoption is a second choice and a by-product of real parenting is destructive to the church, the nation and the will of God for His people.
I have loved, honored and respected Mr. Robertson over the years, but his position cannot excuse his comments. In his response statement, he says he has helped many orphans over the years and we need to look at his record. It is absolutely true the work and charity of CBN and Robertson’s ministry have helped many in need. The body of Christ is better for his work, but we clearly must continue speaking out on adoption.
And to the lady who sent the question to Robertson originally: Nothing is wrong with you. Your selfless acts of the love of Jesus are beautiful. Meanwhile, let’s all continue to pray for a the spirit of adoption to be raised up in the church — and for Mr. Robertson. My intent isn’t to condemn him, but my heart ached so deeply at the comments that they needed to be addressed biblically and not just critically. Ultimately, this is a heart issue — not just for him but for all of us. We have to do more than think it’s nice someone adopts orphans; we have to examine our hearts as to the value we place on children — all children, even when we don’t know what we’re getting. That’s where faith comes in. That’s where Jesus comes in. That’s where the lives of the orphans change and our lives change with them. And together we become the true family of God which knows only one bloodline: the blood of Jesus.
Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life.com