Last week, we looked at some of the principles a husband and wife should consider when they are contemplating having children (to read part 1, click here)…
What about adopting children?
The Lord has been pleased to give us counsel on this, too. In the book Welfare Ministry, you’ll find an entire chapter on the question of adopting children. Did you notice in this Adventist Home, when you read that first chapter entitled, “Children a Blessing,” you’d almost think everybody ought to have children, wouldn’t you? Yes. But then when you read the next chapter and begin to notice some of the things, you recognize that God hasn’t called everybody to the same responsibility.
Well, it’s the same thing in adopting children. When you start reading this chapter in Welfare Ministry, page 132, on adopting children, you’d almost think that every family, whether they had children of their own or whether they didn’t, ought to get out and adopt some children. You just read it, and you’ll see. If your mind is susceptible at all, you’ll begin to stir and you’ll begin to think, “Well, my, certainly we ought to think about adopting some child – poor, homeless little folks.”
It is God’s will for some people. That’s why He’s put this strong counsel in here. But if you’ll read through the chapter, you’ll see God hasn’t called everybody to this any more than He’s called everybody to have children born to them.
The question for each to settle is, In doing this shall I be merely gratifying my own wishes, or is it a duty the Lord has appointed for me? Is this His way, or a way of my own choosing? …
We need carefully to search our hearts and study our motives. Selfishness may prompt the desire to do what appears to be an unselfish and praiseworthy act. The reason that many urge for desiring to adopt a child, the longing for something on which to center their affection, reveals the fact that their heart is not centered upon Christ; it is not absorbed in His work. – Welfare Ministry, pgs. 233-234
That’s quite a searching paragraph, friends. You know, most of us, if we weren’t acquainted with this paragraph, if we heard about some couple that are just so desiring to love something they want to adopt a child, we would say, “Isn’t that heavenly!” It may be just human selfishness. That’s what this says. Somebody might say “Well, these are the words of a hard-hearted woman.” But Sis. Ellen White, the prophet who wrote these words, was not only inspired, she was one of the most generous, warm-hearted, large-hearted mothers in Israel that this world ever saw. And she took children into her home, besides having several born to her. But here she plainly states that everybody is not to do that.
She asks the question, or rather quotes the questions that others have asked her, whether a minister’s wife should adopt children. But she indicates that there are some who should and some who should not. She indicates there are some women to whom God has given large talents of soul winning who ought to be helping their husbands in evangelism:
“Such should not devote their time and strength to one helpless little mortal that requires constant care and attention. They should not thus voluntarily tie their hands.
…If the Lord bids you take an infant to bring up, then the duty is too plain to be misunderstood. But as a rule it would not be wise for a minister’s wife to encumber herself with such a responsibility…” – Welfare Ministry, pgs. 234-235
Well, the whole paragraph is wonderful. I can only refer to these different chapters and leave it with you as you come to questions on these different matters in your own lives or in trying to help others who need counsel. Come to the books, dear friends.
Now, let me review: What about the Sabbath? Should everybody get the blessing of the Sabbath? What about the tithe? Should everybody get the blessing of the tithe? Should everybody be married? No. Should everybody have children? And is this age of the world a time when especially that should be considered? And yet is God still calling some people to have children? And are there blessings, not only to the children but to the parents? Yes. We need not go to extremes on any of these things and be fanatical, but we ought to be broad enough to take into consideration the different statements that God has given on this matter.
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.