Reconciliation is at the center of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
Jesus Christ was sent to this world to reconcile our sinful selves to God and call us to the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation means “to restore to friendship or harmony.” Christ first restored our relationship and harmony with God and now offers this same act as a ministry for us to participate in with others. Reconciliation is the very act of adoption – we were brought into God’s family after our brokenness was restored through Christ.
We see much division across our nation due to differences in perspectives and experiences. This spans across values, politics, faith, and racial issues, just to name a few. God calls us to walk in harmony with others and seek reconciliation. He calls us to see value in those that may look, act, or believe differently than us and not to separate ourselves. One of those areas is racial reconciliation, which has come to the forefront of our nation’s attention. For transracial adoptive families, you have been confronted with many feelings, fears, and concerns as racial tensions now confront us. As a world, we are challenged to consider what it means to seek harmony when any of our community is hurting and in need. What should reconciliation look like?
The process of reconciliation should first look like opening and evaluating your heart, mind, emotions, and actions, through guidance by the Holy Spirit. Laying yourself before God and praying along with David in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” As God reveals sin in our thoughts, words, and deeds, we can ask Him first for forgiveness and then turn to seek forgiveness and harmony from any that we have hurt. How might this look in a racial reconciliation context? We can allow God to examine our hearts for any judgments, prejudices, or racist thoughts, words, or deeds.
Being surrounded by our culture that has been permeated with racism, these thoughts can creep inside us, often without our realization. God can reveal these to us through prayer, reading books that address racism, listening to the voices of people of color around us, and examining our hearts. When we as individuals can do this, it plays into the greater movement of our society seeking harmony and restoration with others that have been wronged. We can seek harmony with our brothers and sisters of color around us and speak to others through our ministry of reconciliation.
Where does adoption fit into the narrative of racial reconciliation? Adoption can move us in the right direction, but this is done through changes in our hearts: not simply through the act of adoption. Transracial adoption does not fix underlying problems. A family adopting a child of a different race or ethnicity into their family will not automatically rid them or others of prejudice. When the adoptive parents open their hearts to reconciliation as they consider adopting a child of another race, He can show you any places of racial prejudice inside you to rid from your heart and mind, as discussed above. Adopting a child from another race or culture will naturally bring up conversations and comments from friends and family that will allow you an opportunity to speak the truth and confront any of their prejudicial beliefs, whether conscious or subconscious. These conversations allow others to learn about someone else’s experience that differs from their own and challenges them to understand. These are changes that can come from our experiences in adoption and can impact the greater sins of racism around us if you are mindful to do so.
Recognizing the joys and true challenges of bringing a child from another race into your home is imperative. Our desire at Nightlight is to help guide our adoptive families in this journey through education and support. We are growing the resources we have available to transracial adoptive families and hope you keep checking back on the blog for more information in parenting your adopted child.
–Heather McAnear Sloan, Director of Post Adoption Connection Center
Success. Some facilitators of infant adoption will continue working with a birth mother, even if they think she will ultimately change her mind about placing her child for adoption. They operate on wishful thinking and want to collect fees throughout the process. Non-profit adoption agencies are more interested in the well-being of the child than in collecting fees. For that reason, we will only match a birth mother with adoptive parents if we believe the birth mother will not change her mind. In fact, Nightlight is careful enough to prevent shattering the dreams of adoptive parents, that our domestic matches result in adoption 96% of the time.
Wise contracts. Some websites offer couples a place to connect and carry out their own embryo adoptions. But they often do this without a contract, or with an insufficient contract. Since Nightlight has helped with embryo adoptions for over a decade, we have crafted contracts that avoid pitfalls, disappointments, and future conflict.
Realistic promises. Some facilitators make unrealistic promises about the costs, time involved in adoption, and likelihood of placement. Obviously, they do this in order to win your business. But non-profit adoption agencies like Nightlight know that this is a bait-and-switch approach. False promises ultimately hurt the client and the reputation of the agency. We would rather risk losing a few potential clients than make unrealistic promises.
Thriving families. Adoption agencies are committed to life-long support and education for families. They do not simply complete an adoption but give resources to adoptive families and birth mothers, who keep coming back for advice and help in years to come. In addition, adoption agencies use decades of experience to assist in matching, as well in helping adoptive families make decisions about adoption that will help them thrive.
Convenience. Adoption agencies are a “one stop” place to complete an adoption. If you work without an agency, you will still need an agency to complete a home study, and to act as the “adoption service provider” to complete some necessary steps. But with an adoption agency, you do not need to work with any other party to complete the adoption.
Protect children. Adoption agencies incur stiff penalties if they do not comply with laws, such as the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). These laws protect children from trafficking, and also prevent families from fraud. Since in most states facilitators are unregulated, they do not have the same level of regulation.
Experience. Many agencies have been working with adoptive parents for decades, and it is a rather recent utilization of a “loophole” that has allowed other parties to offer adoptive services. With an agency, you benefit from years of expertise.
Daniel Nehrbass, Ph.D. | President
Mike and Ramona, who already raised 5 kids, adopted 15-year-old from foster care. See their inspiring story here: