Quoting Quiverful: Christian Adoption Unapologetics?

Quoting Quiverful: Christian Adoption Unapologetics? June 1, 2013

by John Piper of Desiring God – Christian Adoption: Disavowals and Affirmations

Here is my effort to express the kind of commitments that would, I think, guard us from the kinds of abuses that have marred this otherwise beautiful movement of compassion and conviction in our day. I believe that the vast majority of Christian adoption advocates would agree with these disavowals and affirmations. These should be understood within the biblical and theological framework for adoption I have developed elsewhere on this site.

Christian Adoption: Disavowals and Affirmations

1. Christian adoption disavows that any state or agency or family is ever entitled to other people’s children.

Rather, we affirm that nurturing, teaching, disciplining, protecting, and providing for our children are God-given rights of parents, whether by birth or adoption (Ephesians 6:1–4).

2. Christian adoption disavows that putting a child in a Christian home justifies taking a child away from his or her non-Christian home.

Rather, we affirm that trying to exert Christian influence by contravening the God-given right of parents to bring up their children is tantamount to “doing evil that good may come,” which God forbids (Romans 3:8; 6:1).

3. Christian adoption disavows that any coercion or deception or monetary enticement should ever be used to remove children from their birth family.

Rather, we affirm that coercive removal of children from their birth family is forbidden by the prohibition of kidnapping (Exodus 21:16; 1 Corinthians 6:8, 10). Deceptive removal is forbidden by the prohibition of lying (Exodus 20:16; Ephesians 4:25). And removal by monetary enticement is forbidden by the prohibition of bribery (Proverbs 17:23).

4. Christian adoption disavows that growing up Western and middle class is necessarily better than growing up non-western and poor.

Rather, we affirm that there is no sure corollary between prosperity and character, “high” culture and human happiness, Western values and wise living; God can and does make poverty a garden of love (2 Corinthians 8:1–2).

5. Christian adoption disavows that living with two adoptive parents is necessarily better than living with one biological parent.

Rather, we affirm that there are too many variables to be able to say ahead of time that two parents will always lead to the greater good for children; God’s sovereignty can redeem any difficult situation for good (Genesis 50:20).

6. Christian adoption disavows that children should ever be viewed as commodities to be bought or sold.

Rather, we affirm that the value of a human soul is of incalculable worth (Matthew 16:26) and carrying on trade in humans is expressly forbidden (Exodus 21:16).

7. Christian adoption disavows that adoption is always better than assisting a birth family to raise its children.

Rather, we affirm that the birth family has priority of claim to raise their child, and that Christian love would, therefore, seek to help them do that rather than taking the child away (Romans 12:13).

8. Christian adoption disavows that biological connectedness is insignificant or negligible in the life of the adoptive child or in the birth family.

Rather, we affirm that there is a God-given bond by blood, which, though not ultimate, is significant in the way we live our lives (Romans 9:3).

9. Christian adoption disavows the romantic notion that the challenges of adoptive parenting are small or painless, and the naïve notion that the human flourishing of an adoptive child is guaranteed by sufficient parental love.

Rather, we affirm that all parenting is painful and most adoptions are preceded by some measure of trauma that affects a child’s maturing later on, and makes the challenges of parenting all the greater (Proverbs 10:1; 17:25).

10. Christian adoption disavows the inference that the failure of some agencies and persons to act with integrity and wisdom incriminates the vast majority of Christian adoption agencies.

Rather, we affirm that where there is much good, there will almost always be an intermixture of evil; and we must be vigilant not to implicate the good while purging out the evil (1 Corinthians 6:7).

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.


NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Lucreza Borgia

    Blind squirrel finds a nut?

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s a step, I guess, but they need to trash the idea that there’s some inherent “right” to your own offspring.

    There’s not.

    Children are people as well, and their rights to a safe, happy life should *always,* no matter what, supersede the parents’ desire to raise them a certain way. No individual should have inarguable rights over another; especially over another person who couldn’t give that power and can’t revoke it.

  • NeaDods

    There’s so much to unpack, but it’s #4 that really gets me. It smacks so much of the belief that love — which for all we know includes lethal “loving correction” — is more important than basic necessities. The stories of the people like the Pearls and the Above Rubies women giving the kids animal feed and making them live in smoky unseated houses don’t sound like paradises, much less anywhere fit to have a child.

  • Lucreza Borgia

    Here’s the deal on #4: Many of these children who he is probably referring to are not eating animal feed or unheated houses. They might be living extremely simple lives in comparison to ours, but they are not being neglected. Kathryn Joyce’s latest book gives the low-down on it all.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Nobody ever claimed that every single adopted child everywhere is living in neglectful conditions. But some are. Possibly even many.

    And the fact that even some are means that more oversight is needed. Something needs to be done to ensure that either the people prone to treating kids like that don’t get any children or that there’s some sort of detection in place to remove the kids as quickly as possible once the neglect starts.

  • MaryJOGrady

    What this man says is absolute hypocrisy. Adoption is a way for prosperous people to take the children of women who are less prosperous. The fine words are all window-dressing.