In the spring of 2002, popular talk show host Rosie O’Donnell revealed her lesbian relationship live on her show. In what would become the final season of the program, O’Donnell pushed for multiple political shifts that would grant further rights for homosexuals. In seeking to demonstrate the normalcy of her life and relationships, O’Donnell talked about her adopted children and her fight with Florida’s then-governor, Jeb Bush, over the rights of homosexual couples to adopt. That same spring, Angelina Jolie, noted actress, director, and humanitarian, adopted her first child from Cambodia. After shooting several films in the economically-depressed country, she thought it a fitting complement to her humanitarian aid to change at least one life directly. Jolie, as a high profile star, went on to adopt two other children.
In many respects, adoption went mainstream in the first few years of the twenty-first century as Hollywood brought attention to the growing need for action on the behalf of children worldwide. High-profile adoptions created new interest in the plight of children worldwide and led to further adoptions by other stars as well as raising awareness for the need of families to become involved in adoption.
Where was the church in all of this? This complex question begs for an answer, but in the West, conservative Christians often fall strangely silent, frequently hiding behind a barrage of evangelical aid institutions that assure us that our money is well spent.
While many Christians have already stepped into the challenging arena of orphan care, there is too much at stake for us to allow the status quo to continue. In the space of the next few pages, I hope to present to you a clear summation of the biblical commands for orphan care. From that general heading, we will then turn to look at the practical, biblical foundation for adoption as one aspect of the scriptural mandate to care for orphans. Throughout the paper, we will reference moments in the history of adoption as well as illustrate ways in which evangelicals in general and Baptists in particular have sought to become involved. I also will draw attention to some of the ethical issues and concerns that must remain at the forefront of those involved in ministry.
While we will be discussing the practical and biblical nature of adoption, we need to begin by stating our case in relationship to orphan care. In Scripture, Paul restricts the usage of adoption to refer to our spiritual state, so we will return to this a bit later. James tells the believers to “care for the widow and orphan” (1:27). Expressing this command in terms of true religion and Christian practice, James is echoing more than thirty references in the Old Testament dealing with the concept of orphan care.
In the social context of the early church, as well as in the Old Testament, orphans were part of the fabric of society. Wars, disease, or other life events isolated orphans and widows from the system of care traditionally found within a patriarchal society. Despite the isolation and probable death of orphans had these orphans been part of a neighboring nation, the authors of the biblical text give specific commands regarding orphan care. These commands fell under the general provisions of hospitality and social justice.
From the outset of the book of Genesis, we are given explanation regarding the role of the family. Married couples are to be fruitful and multiply, following the same pattern given to all of creation. When sin and death mar the beauty of creation, a new class of people that fall outside normal societal and familial bounds become the victims in a broken world—namely widows, orphans and foreigners. In the text of the Hebrew Scriptures, almost every instance of the term “orphan” (yatom) or “fatherless” is paired with that of the widow (almonah). Usually their care and provision is provided under the same regulations and restrictions of the foreigner or sojourner among the children of Israel.
A key example is found in Exodus 22. Beginning in verse 21 and continuing through verse 22, the text reads as follows:
Do not oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Do not exploit widows or orphans (1).
Based on the recognition that the Israelites once suffered as the lowest members of Egyptian society, they
were never to forget that God had spared them from their circumstances and redeemed them to himself. Beyond the command to avoid exploitation of the widows and orphans comes an understanding that these individuals are so precious to God that he will personally judge those who fail to account for their needs. The discourse continues in Exodus 22:23-24:
If you do exploit them and they cry out to me I will surely help them. My anger will blaze forth against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Your wives will become widows and your children will become fatherless.
This harsh pronouncement demonstrates a couple of key items that need to be considered. First, based on verse 23, we may discern that the widows and orphans have direct access to God. He hears their cries and appeals for help and promises swift action. Second, avoiding upholding justice for the widow and orphan secures judgment—even death—upon those who look the other way. In the prophets, this becomes one of the burning indictments against the rulers of the house of Israel as they avoided caring for the needs of the widow and orphan.
In the Old Testament, the entire community is commanded to care for the needs of the least of these in their midst. In this respect, orphan care becomes the responsibility of the entire community. There are no instruc- tions for orphanages, not to mention homes for the aged, leading to the claim that adoption is a foreign concept within the Old Testament worldview (2). Presumably, given the injunctions found in the text, children found homeless were taken in by extended family in order to maintain the hereditary rights of the child as stipulated in the law. Extending protection to these most vulnerable of people, Proverbs 23:10 cautioned, “Do not remove the ancient boundary stones nor encroach on the fields of the fatherless” (3).
Furthermore, the law stipulated that when harvesting in the field, the people of Israel were not to return for sheaves of grain left behind. At the annual grape harvest, the vines were to be picked once and not gone over twice, nor were the olive trees to be beaten twice. That leftover produce served as the portion of the widow, the orphan, and the alien, those who did not have formal care in the community. (Deut 24:17, 19-21). Even during the feasts of Shavuot and Succot, widows, orphans and aliens were to be taken in by individual families to celebrate the holiday. The implication was that this was to be standard practice for all holidays (Deut 16:11; 14).
Not only was it commanded that the community should protect the rights of the orphans, but the populace was taxed to support the needs of those who fell under this category. In Deuteronomy 26:12-13, the nation of Israel was commanded to take up a tithe of their income specifically for the needs of the widows, orphans, Levites, and aliens in the nation. The givers of the tithe were required to make a declaration before God that they not only had brought the tithe to support those God commanded, but that they had kept all of God’s commands. They then requested his blessing on the entire household of faith (26:14-15).
The rationale for these, and similar, commandments derives from a theological understanding of the divine attributes of holiness and justice. According to the Hebrew Scriptures, God becomes the surrogate Father (or surrogate husband in the case of widows) to protect their rights. When the cause of the wicked oppresses the orphan or widow, God promises swift judgment against those he identifies as his children (Ps 10:14;18; 146:9; Jer 49:11; Hos 14:3). In the burning indictments the prophets brought against the chosen people, consistently God points out their absolute failure to care for the needs of widows and orphans. The curse outlined in Deuteronomy 27:19 on Mount Ebal is prominent: “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless, or the widow.” Books like Job and Psalms outline a lack of care for the fatherless as a sign of absolute wickedness and upcoming judgment.
Again, as we consider the biblical model for adoption, we are not presented a picture of the modern Western view of adoption in the Hebrew Scriptures. The closest thing we may connect with any modern form of adoption might be God’s selection of his people, Israel: “Israel I have chosen.” Another example would be Hosea taking Gomer’s children as his own. When we consider adoption in the Old Testament, we are not referring to adoption in the sense that we typically understand the term today. Rather, adoption is understood within the broader concept of orphan care. To summarize, orphan care in the Hebrew Scriptures is as follows:
1. Orphan care is commanded by God for the entire community of faith.
2. Orphan care is designed to protect the rights of orphans in the hereditary transfer of land.
3. A curse followed those who did not take up the cause of the orphan and oppressed.
4. In the definition of evil found in the condemnations of the prophets that were recited against Israel and the surrounding nations, lack of care for orphans almost always appears.
5. God hears the prayers of orphans. 6. God promises to be the defender and father of orphans.
Moving to the New Testament, Paul gives us the most vivid language concerning adoption as a theological concept. As we have seen in the prior section, the idea of adoption as one set of parents taking on the child of another, not closely related to the orphan, is not clearly found. Instead, the concept of orphan care in the context of working towards divinely orchestrated social justice is the main theme. Interestingly, Jesus picked up on this ancient concept when he proclaimed to his disciples that he would not leave them as orphans ( John 14:18). James also carried the Deuteronomic commands into the New Testament era as he boldly proclaimed that caring for widows and orphans signifies true religion ( James 1:27).
Knowing his Gentile audience, however, Paul shifts the image away from social justice or hospitality in a biblical framework to a word picture of redemption drawn from the Roman legal system. The Romans understood the nature of the need for orphan care as much as any other society, and many orphans became servants of the Empire through forced service in the military (if of age) or temple prostitution (if younger). Legally, Roman law allowed individuals who were citizens of Rome to adopt the children of slaves as their own. This legal adoption translated the adoptee from poverty and obscurity to full rights and status as heir to the adopting parents (4).
For Paul, there was no more powerful picture of what God had done through Christ for the Gentiles in particular and all believers in general. To the church in Ephesus, Paul writes that God elected us to be the children of God before the foundation of the world. How was that to happen for the Gentiles? According to Ephesians 1:4-5, he loved us and predestined us to be adopted as his heirs through the work of Jesus Christ, who paid the price and freed us from slavery.
Consider the letter to Galatians where Paul writes that before Christ, we were helpless slaves to the law of sin and death. But that changed because of Christ. In powerful language, Paul paints the picture of our translation from slave to rightful heir.
So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (Gal 4:3-5).
Again, this is forensic language, indicating a price has been paid to change the identity of the believer from slave to heir. The text continues:
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father!” so you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir (Gal 4:5-7).
How can the courtroom imagery be stated any more clearly? God has worked a legal transaction through the substitutionary death of his own son, Jesus Christ, to enable our adoption as his very own children.
Next, there is a key passage, where Paul extensively utilizes and underscores this concept in Romans 8:12- 9:5. Here, Paul begins talking about the Christian’s identity in Christ, and again testifies that we are no longer slaves, but are now children of God. Again, how does this happen? Just as Paul outlines in Galatians 4, it is through the Spirit that we receive the “Spirit of adoption” that allows us to cry out, “Abba, Father!” In fact, it is the Spirit himself that testifies that we are God’s children.
In this context, I have recognized that the Pauline imagery parallels the adoption of one of my own children. At the birth of my son, his body craved cocaine. Throughout the pregnancy, his birth mother took drugs, including cocaine, to feed her addiction. This addiction passed through the uterus to my son so that, at birth, his body was filled with the poisons his birth mother introduced to her body. For three months, as his body proceeded through detoxification, he experienced tremors and other withdrawal symptoms. He had no choice about his condition or the poisons his birth mother pumped into his little body in utero.
Similarly, Paul paints the picture of us as depraved humans. There is nothing in us and of us that is good, holy, or deserving. In fact, much like my son, we are like “crack babies” born with cravings for evil and the depraved things of this world because it is what our bodies tell us to crave (5). Without intervention, we will suffer and die. Without someone to break the bonds of what we crave, our desire will continue to grow and consume us. The shed blood of Christ breaks the power of original sin and frees us from the curse of sin and death. Even more amazing, however, is that as we stand before the judge of the universe, he sees the work of Christ and makes a legal proclamation that we are his own.
I never understood this image until I stood before a judge in the Cook County family courthouse in Chicago. There, standing with our attorney—our advocate—we waited as the judge looked over the paperwork to determine our suitability as parents. Satisfied that we had met the requirements, he made a proclamation that “Baby Girl Winters” would from this point forward be known as Briley Starr Yeats, daughter of John Mark and Angela Yeats. Following his judgment, we applied for a new birth certificate for our daughter. No longer were her natural birthparents indicated as the parents; instead, her mother was now legally listed as Angela Yeats and her father as John Mark Yeats, just as the judge had ordered. Even though our daughter may not reflect me physiologically, she is by all accounts my child, and she receives all of the rights and responsibilities that her adoption entails.
In the same manner, the Holy Spirit gives testimony that the requirements for adoption have been met through Jesus Christ (Rom 8:14-18). Thereby, we become the children of our heavenly Father, who in fact is also the judge. His proclamation settles the issue once and for all and legally changes our spiritual identity so we can call out, “Abba, Father!” If this grace were not already beyond comprehension, we also become coheirs with Christ of the inheritance that our Father has laid up for us for all eternity. Paul carries this image forward in Romans 8, discussing the fullness of our adoption being revealed in heaven (8:23). He thereby sets the tone for the full outworking of this concept in Romans 9-11, particularly in Romans 9:4, where he identifies the Jews as those God adopted first (cf. Exod 4:22).
On this New Testament basis, especially as given by Paul, we may identify our heritage and adoption as God’s own children. How humbling is this concept and how blessed are we that God through his Son would testify through his Spirit that we are the children of God. As J.I. Packer eloquently defined the New Testament concept, salvation is “adoption through propitiation” (6).
In 1852, Charles Loring Brace, a Yale-trained Presbyterian pastor, began working with the poor on what became known as Roosevelt Island. Seeing the needs of countless children—the survivors of which were repeating their parent’s patterns of heavy drinking, crime, and so on—he decided to do something about it. He created the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) and began working with evangelical churches throughout New York State to relocate children with Christian families willing to take in a child. For many of these children, this was the first glimmer of hope that had yet appeared in their life. In fact, this early foster care system became a boon to farmers and aided many children in becoming integrated members of society in their adult years.
Brace created a movement that lasted for almost 75 years. Called “Orphan Trains,” Brace and his organi- zation would purchase tickets for children to ride the rails from New York City to far off locations in places like Kansas and Michigan to gain a new home. These trains became the means for children to escape horrible circumstances and childless families or families needing extra hands to work the farm to bring more children into their life. For children without parents, Brace and the CAS would send information about the children weeks in advance to local churches, who screened the candidates for suitability. As the train would pull into the station, the parents that were deemed fit would go and look at the adoptable children who were placed on boxes so the crowd could see them, thus, the etymol- ogy of the phrase, “up for adoption.” There were some serious shortcomings and flaws in Brace’s ministry. Yet his goal was commendable: to place children without hope into evangelical families, in the hope that the new context would alter the life of the child and eventually transform society (7).
Similarly, in the earliest expressions of evangelicalism found in the Pietistic and Moravian movements, a concern for children along with their discipleship and growth, especially for children without a home, marked the movement. As historian W.R. Ward once quipped, early evangelicals could be spotted simply wherever there was an orphanage (8). Taking the claims of Scripture seriously, the evangelical movement simply obeyed the commands of the text and took care of the widow and the orphan.
This, of course, provides a source of confusion for Christians today. Many evangelical churches seem to avoid social ministries outside of what they can give through the isolationist collection plate, and they avoid the simple task of caring for orphans. (Dare we even mention widows here, another glaring problem!) The Old Testament mandates orphan care, and the New Testament modeled that care and bequeathed us a theologi- cal model of redemption developed from that mandate.
In 2006, Democrat Representative Julie Bartling remarked that most people in South Dakota are in favor of a ban on abortions. Stunning some of her constituents, she stated, “I think South Dakota has always been what I call a pro-life state….I think it’s ready to step up and be in the forefront and make some of these first moves” (9). While South Dakota does not carry out that many abortions, statistically speaking, imagine if this law actually passed. First, the church would rejoice, and rightly so. Any battle won defending the lives of innocent babies deserves celebration! But, in effect, would we lose?
Let us assume that the abortion rate remained constant since the last data was taken on abortions in this one state. When these data were last released, South Dakota had 1,070 lives ended through abortion for the year (10). Let us assume that just over half of the birth mothers decided to parent their children, since abortion was no longer an option. What happens to the remaining children? Hopefully, the birthparents made an adoption plan. If they did, an agency would help them in placing the child for adoption. If they did not, chances are the child would wind up a ward of the state, joining thousands of children already awaiting permanent homes in their state-run system.
Where are the churches in all of this? Many of us assume that we are contributing to ongoing work at chil- dren’s homes. It is true that, if you are a Southern Baptist, your Cooperative Program dollars support the ministries of several children’s homes in several states. Frequently, our children’s homes work closely with their respective state governments to take children who are not adoptable due to severe emotional trauma or other issues.
But do not breathe easy yet. In 2007, the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes assisted with eighty-five foster homes, thirty-eight adoptions and the placement of 182 children in residential care. As a result of these ministries, Florida Baptists saw 50 people accept Christ as their Lord (11). In Oklahoma Baptist Children’s Homes 2006 annual report, they served 309 children, placing approximately 150 of them in residential care (12). This is great and sacrificial work on the part of both of these states, but the cost to run these programs entered into the tens of millions of dollars in order to aid a relatively small number of children, compared to the vast need.
To demonstrate the desperate need of a new approach, consider the following facts (13):
1. There are 3.4 million “double orphans”—children lacking both parents—in Asia.
2. Over 400,000 orphans in Latin America over- whelm their social services.
3. 10.3 million orphans fend for themselves in sub-Saharan Africa; 15.7 million African children have lost at least one parent to AIDS.
4. More than 400,000 children are in the United States foster care system; approximately 107,000 children of these children are available for adoption.
5. In the state where I live, a social worker stated that there are more than five thousand children whose parents’ rights have been terminated by the courts and are awaiting adoption.
The statistics seem overwhelming-but there is more. Since the 1980s, U.S. Americans have consistently adopted between 118,000 and 125,000 children per year. Yet these numbers are a bit deceiving. Until the mid-1990s, over more than seventy percent of adoptions were kinship adoptions. This means that out of these adoptions, the vast majority were step-parents adopting step-children or uncles and aunts adopting their nieces and nephews. At best, only 40,000 or so children were being brought home in traditional adop- tions each year! Thankfully, some of the percentages have changed, but the number of actual adoptions remains relatively stable (15).
To further complicate the problem, infertility is on the rise across the United States. Physicians do not know why, but the numbers of those actually able to carry a child to term is falling (16). Infertility hurts. It hurts in an indescribable way. It creates an ever-present ache of longing combined with the blackness of despair for many barren parents. Few rays of hope seem to penetrate this maze of confusion. One in five couples know this hurt. My wife and I know this hurt. People in your church are currently feeling this hurt.
Yet seeking the counsel of Scripture in this maze of confusion and doubt is often the last task that hurting couples undertake. Trusting in science and technology, they seek medical remedies. These remedies are not only costly, but physically dangerous and ethically questionable, if one believes that life begins at conception. The processes of super-ovulation and in vitro fertilizations can result in ten or more embryos being formed outside of the womb. Frequently, physicians decide which babies appear most viable and inject those, arbitrarily discarding the rest. For some people, the thought of tossing the fertilized eggs away is immoral, so they cryogenically freeze the eggs. This has led to a new dilemma since the freezers of fertility clinics are filled with conceived children, sustained in a frozen purgatory of our own making (17).
For those who are injected with the fertilized eggs, doctors may inject six or more embryos to ensure success of at least one attaching to the uterine wall. Most of the embryos do not attach. In fact, there is only a 33% chance that the embryos will attach, leading many couples to repeat this process multiple times at a cost ranging from $10,000 to $12,000 per cycle, in a non-insurance covered process (18).
Occasionally, more than one of the embryos will attach to the uterine wall and most fertility doctors will evaluate the progress of the children until the eighth or ninth week, at which time most will counsel their patients to abort all but one or two of the embryos. This is done in the hope of ensuring a successful completion of the pregnancy. Christians should be appalled and question where we are within the providence of God when believers pursue such remedies.
With the Scriptural mandates in mind, what is the church to do? Please allow me to offer eight suggestions for how we might bring about a revival in the biblical practice of adoption:
1. Recognize that adoption is a calling. Not every Christian will adopt nor should every Christian adopt. That being said, every Christian can and should help in some way. Doctors may help families with the burdensome medical and physical examinations that must be completed before bringing a child home. Churches may create adoption-friendly atmospheres where adopted children are welcomed and celebrated. Sunday School classes and friends, through adoption showers, may help to meet the sudden needs of families bringing a child home. Unlike a typical birth, there is not always a nine-month gestation period in which to prepare for a new family mem- ber. For those families adopting older children, they often do not know the children’s precise needs until the children enter the home. Even then, it may be a financial strain to meet those needs immediately.
2. Get involved in the world of orphan care. Take mission trips to other countries and work with their orphanages. See what you and your church can do with your regional Baptist Homes for Children.
3. If you are a pastor, become an advocate for adoption from your pulpit and from your study. Take this brief study on adoption and examine it from a scriptural standpoint. Teach your people about the scriptural images of adoption and orphan care. Know where to refer couples considering adoption. Of the five pastors from whom my wife and I sought counsel, after discovering we were unable to conceive, not one was able to provide counsel about adoption, the biblical framework for adoption, or even where to obtain such information. Pastors and church leaders must learn about the infertility issues that affect thousands of young adults across this country. Incorporate infertility and adoption issues into at least one session of your pre-marital counseling. Be certain that your preaching reflects the realities, hopes, and fears of infertility and adoption as you exegete the text of Scripture.
4. Get involved financially. The cost to adopt a child domestically through an agency frequently exceeds ten thousand dollars; when expenses for multiple flights across the ocean are included, international adoptions can range from seven thousand dollars to well over twenty thousand (19).
5. Know that Christian churches are now in competition with the world for the hearts and souls of the orphans. Homosexual groups are working hard to legalize adoption for same-sex couples; they are more than happy to take in children while the church sleeps. Rosie O’Donnell boldly stated on her show in 2002 that if the nation would allow gays and lesbians to adopt, they would alleviate the strain on the system (20). Could this be yet another role of the church we are allowing others to fill?
6. Teach your people about the sacredness of human life and the potential destructive power of our expectations in relation to procreation. God is the God of life.
7. Listen for God to call you to do more.
Adoption is frequently romanticized and idealized with little consideration of the real cost. The challenges and concerns are real, but the purpose of this article is simply to aid church leaders in beginning the consider- ation of the scriptural role and mandate for God’s people in orphan care. What if the churches in America saw that our walk does not correlate with our talk in relation to pro-life issues? What if five thousand Christian couples in the metro area where I live would say that they believe God is calling them to adopt and the adopt children throughout the state? What if those same Christian couples raised those five thousand children and they in turn raised their children to trust Christ?
Christopher Padbury caught the vision. He and his wife began the adoption process in their church years ago. They saw how central their community of faith was throughout the process. As the pastor, he began to call on his church to consider adoption as a calling from God and a mandate from Scripture. Eventually, he and his church family founded Project 127 to help members of their church to adopt children. Despite a snowstorm the night of their first formal meeting with the state’s welfare workers, 250 people came to hear what God was doing through this unique ministry. At that point, God turned the heart of the church around and they began to adopt children from the county where they are located. By 2007, they had 206 families involved in the process of adopting with sixty-eight having actually adopted. What is their goal? It is quite simply the eradication of the fact that 875 children remain in Colorado’s social system (21).
As the number of homeless children grows in Africa, China, and around the world, what would God have you do? Scripturally, we already have a mandate and an example. The problem of orphan care is global. Christians are called to stand against the rising tide of com- mercialism and individualism, placing our focus where God has had his focus all along: the eyes of God are upon the children.
(1) All Scripture references are taken from The Holy Bible, New Living Translation (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1997).
(2) Michael J. Broyde, “Adoption, Personal Status, and Jewish Law,” in The Morality of Adotpion: Social- Psychological, Theological and Legal Perspectives, ed. Timothy P. Jackson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 128-29.
(3) See also Job 24:2-4.
(4) Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 167. See also John Francis Brosnan, “The Law of Adoption,” Columbia Law Review 22 (1922): 332-42.
(5) For a further development of this idea, see Robert A. Peterson, Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publish- ing, 2001), 37-38.
(6) “[W]ere I asked to focus the New Testament mes- sage in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.” J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 20th anniversary ed. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1993), 214.
(7) For more on Brace, the CAS and the social conditions that promoted the Orphan Trains, see Stephen O’Connor, Orphan Trains: the Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004) and Marylyn Holt, The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America (Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 2004).
(8) As cited in Brian Stanley, ed. Christian Missions and the Enlightenment (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 3.
(9) Michael Foust, “South Dakota House passes ban on abortion, challenging court’s Roe v. Wade decision.” Baptist Press, http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=22627 (accessed 10 March 2006).
(10) http://www.abortionfacts.com/statistics/age.asp (accessed 13 September 2007).
(11)”2007 Report to the Associations” by the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, http://fbchomes.org/html1/ download.html#reptassn (accessed 7 September 2007).
(12) “2006 Annual Report” by the Oklahoma Baptist Children’s Homes, http://www.obhc.org/NetCom- munity/Page.aspx?pid=727&srcid=508 (accessed 7 September 2007).
(13) “UNICEF Data on Orphans by Region to 2010,” http://chnm.gmu.edu (accessed 30 September 2011); “AFCARS Report: Preliminary Fiscal Year Estimates as of June 2011,” http://acf.HHS.gov (accessed 30 September 2011).’
(14) For more data, see the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services statistics from 2001, http://naic.acf. hhs.gov/pubs/s_adoptedhighlights.cfm (accessed 24 February 2006).
(15) Ibid. In 2000, just over 54% of all adoptions in the states shifted to traditional adoptions.
(16) George Creatsas, George Mastorakos and George P Chrousos, “Setting Reproductive Health Priorities to Meet the Needs of the New Millennium,” in The Young Woman at the Rise of the 21st Century: Gynecological and reproductive issues in health and disease, eds. George Creatsas, et al. (New York: New York Acad- emy of Sciences, 2000), xiii.
(17) John C. Mayoue, “Legal and Ethical Challenges of Embryonic Adoption,” in The Morality of Adoption: Social-Psychological, Theological and Legal Perspectives, ed. Timothy P. Jackson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005): 262-82. For more on adopting these cryogenically preserved embryos, see www.snowflakes.org (accessed 24 July 2007).
(18) Gilbert Meilaender, “A Child of One’s Own: At What Price?” in The Reproductive Revolution: A Christian Appraisal of Sexuality, Reproductive Technologies and the Family, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000): 36-45. For the financial and rate of success, see www.socialfertility.com/ivf-cost-information.html (accessed 15 January 2008). According to Dr. R.E. Anderson of the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine, the younger the patient undergoing the IVF pro- cess, the greater the opportunity for success. In the under 35 bracket, Anderson’s group saw 62% carry an infant to term or longer than 12 weeks. But the number drops from there with only 43.2% in the 35-37 age bracket, 30% in the 38-40 age bracket and 11.8% in the 40 and older age bracket, www.socialfertility.com/ivf-success-rate.html (accessed 15 January 2008).
(19) Groups like Stephen Curtis Chapman’s Shaohanna’s Hope help fund adoptions for those who want to adopt but have little means but there are many more requests than available finances. For information on wide range of adoption costs, see the information provided by the Evan B. Donald Adoption Institute, “Costs of Adoption,” www.adoptioninstitute.org/factoverview/costs.html, (accessed 26 August 2007).
(20) Dan Allen, “The adoption option: Rosie O’Donnell and tens of thousands of other gay people have chosen to adopt children—but how many roadblocks stand in the way of others who want to follow their lead?” The Advocate (May 28, 2002), http://findarticles.com/p/ articles/mi_m1589/is_2002_May_28/ai_86128324, (accessed 28 July 2007). 21Interview with Christopher Padbury, June 21, 2006. See also http://www.project127.com/about/all- about1.htm (accessed 24 July 2007).
[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in The Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry 2.1.]