Jason Kovacs is an adoptive father of a multi-ethnic family. He’s also one of the bloggers at AdoptiveDads.org. We met in the blogosphere a few years ago. His love for the gospel and passion for adoption has been a great encouragement to me. I’m looking forward to actually meeting him this next week.
I’m also very pleased to announce that Jason was recently hired as the Director of Ministry Development for the ABBA Fund, a ministry that provides no-interest loans to Christian couples who are pursuing adoption. It also helps churches start adoption assistance funds.
If any of you know of any couples who need financial assistance to adopt, donors who want to give to a great ministry, or a church that would be interested in starting an adoption fund, please contact them.
1. Jason, tell us a little about your family.
My wife and I have been married just over 4 years now. We have three children: Samuel is 4 and the most energetic, tenderhearted kid I know; Keziah is almost 3 and is one of the most spirited little girls I’ve ever met; and Karis just turned 1 and is a little sweetheart. We adopted Samuel and Keziah just over two years ago. Samuel was 23mos old and Keziah was 8 months old. We heard story after story about couples who previously had a hard time getting pregnant after they adopted and we joined the club!
2. What initially motivated you to adopt?
My wife had desired to adopt since she was young. I’m not sure I ever thought seriously about adoption until my time at Bethlehem Baptist Church where John Piper serves as Pastor. It was there that I met family after family that had adopted. Two things especially struck me. One was that many of these couples chose to adopt trans-racially, and second, many adopted not because they couldn’t get pregnant but because they saw it as a way to live out the gospel in a practical way. That had a profound impact on me.
3. What kind of responses have you received from extended family and friends about your decision to adopt?
Both our families responded well to our decision. Shawnda’s family is from a small ranch town in Texas and we weren’t sure what her dad in particular would think. He did wonder why we’d choose to adopt black children, but once he met them he melted. Our friends have been equally as supportive and excited.
4. How do you think the gospel should influence the decision to pursue adoption?
I have become increasingly convinced that there is no greater influence on the decision to adopt than the Gospel. The book of James speaks much about the practical implications of the Gospel on the believer’s life. We cannot have faith that does not result in works. One of the most powerful verses is 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, and the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” I believe that “visiting orphans” includes adoption and may even refer mainly to adoption. The thing that amazes me is that here James defines the Gospel-transformed life by three specific fruits – one of which is adoption!
This fits when I remember that adoption was God’s means of growing His family. John Murray wrote that adoption was the “apex of God’s grace.” It is an incredible thing that God would justify and sanctify sinners such as I, but it is beyond incredible that he would adopt sinners as his very children. When a couple adopts a child, it is a powerful picture of the Gospel, reflecting and displaying the electing love of God.
5. How is the gospel shaping your relationship with your adopted children?
This hit home recently when my son said to my wife, “Remember when I was in your tummy?” My wife responded that she didn’t remember and they had a conversation that led again to the fact that he was adopted. It was one of the first times that he understood what adoption meant and he thought that was pretty cool and wanted to do it again! But it left my wife and me feeling that we wish we hadn’t missed those first two years of his life. Then we were blessed with some Gospel-perspective from a good friend who reminded us that the two years that he was living with his birth-mom were ordained by God and shaped who he is. Further, if he was placed for adoption at birth we would not have him today. God is sovereign over all the details of our adoption and the Gospel teaches us that our joy and our hope is to be found in Him and this frees us up to be truly thankful for our son and rejoice in the ways that God ordained his adoption! This enables us to celebrate with him and our adopted daughter the joy of sharing in God’s sovereign work.
6. How have you sought to help your adopted children understand the gospel better through their adoption?
We have tried to convey to our children an understanding of the amazing grace of God through their adoption. At their age they are just starting to understand that it is a good thing that we adopted and chose them to be our children. We want them to be amazed that God would do that spiritually for sinners; that we were born as enemies, separated from the Father, and he chose us and adopted us as His very own sons and daughters to live with Him forever. I am thankful for the ways we can help them now and look forward to the ways they will be able to understand the Gospel more fully as they get older.
7. Did you or do you have any fears related to your adopted children’s future as a member of your family? If so, what were/are they and how have you sought to apply the gospel to those fears?
The only fears we have that are unique to adoption have to do with how we will deal with race and racism in our culture. I have been reminded of this over the past months with the news of the Jena Six case. It amazes me (and I know it shouldn’t) that racism still exists, but it does and I have to be aware of it. I want to raise our children so that they will be prepared for racism and prepared to know how to deal with the fact that they are black and their parents are white. It is here that I desperately need the Gospel to help me remember that our identity is in Christ. He is the one who shapes who we are. I rest in the Gospel that when/if they go through a crisis of identity that they will fall back on the foundation that my wife and I have laid through the Gospel. Also, because of the Gospel I look forward with faith to all the opportunities that we will have as a family in our culture to address issues of race, racism, and reconciliation. My prayer is that through it all our family will magnify the beauty and glory of Christ and be drawn all the more closer to Him.