Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russell Moore

“You can’t talk about the doctrine of adoption without talking about real adoption.”

Dr. Russell Moore begins his opening chapter with a flashback to the day when he and his wife first met their two adopted children in Russia. He describes the raw emotions he and Maria experienced when they met their sons in a dank orphanage, clearly neglected and in poor health. Moore writes, “The thought that there are thousands more like them in orphanages in Russia, in government facilities in China, and foster care systems in the United States haunts me enough to sit down at this computer and write.”

Adopted for Life is a marriage of doctrine, exhortation and practical ‘how-to’ guide. Moore fleshes out common misconceptions surrounding adoption while also sharing about his personal story as an adoptive father. Sprinkled throughout his book are valuable nuggets of practical advice, especially surrounding the subject of how to deflect awkward questions “with a smile or humor.”

While reading this book, I felt moved by Moore’s exploration of the Biblical doctrine of our adoption by God the Father. I was exhorted by his call for a church-wide missional approach to adoption (based on James 1:27) and the great need for adoptive families. I also found myself laughing out loud in response to the interactions he faced with well-meaning but intrusive individuals who questioned his decision to adopt.

While Moore does not assert that all Christian families are called or equipped to adopt, he does argue that all Christians have a responsibility to be involved in adoption in some manner. For example, believers could work to create or support an adoption ministry in the local church.

If there is one complaint readers have about this book, it is with Moore’s decision not to educate his sons about their Russian heritage. As the daughter of an American father and a Turkish mother, I am very thankful for how my parents taught me about my own background. Some might feel that Moore was dismissive of the importance of cultural heritage, particularly for internationally/transracially adopted children.

While I believe that any adopted child of God will glean wisdom from Adopted for Life, I would highly recommend this book for prospective/adoptive parents, adopted children and anyone involved with adoption ministry.

Published by Crossway, 2015.

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