Adoption is NOT redemption…

15 Jan
I find it particularly insulting to even read the words that “adoption is redemption“…
Adoption is an act where a child is removed (surrendered) from their family of birth and placed with (adopted into) and raised by another family.
That child did nothing wrong.  There is no need for the child to be redeemed.  The child was innocent and lost their family, that is a tragedy – not a redemption.  It is offensive and I pity any child growing up in a home the believes adoption is redemption.
Oh and by the way – it is not “meant to be” either…pretty much for the same reasons.

Posted by on January 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


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24 responses to “Adoption is NOT redemption…

  1. Susie

    January 15, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Couldn’t agree more!


  2. Von

    January 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Couldn’t agree more!


  3. sundayk

    January 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm


    Maybe they mean it in the context that adopting a child is a way for the adopter to redeem themselves for some past transgression or “original sin” but I do not ever read it that way. I always read people who say stuff like that as if they are rounding up more hostage converts for their particular brand of religion.


  4. The adopted ones

    January 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    It just really struck a nerve with me today reading it on a blog…I cannot imagine being brought up believing that or being told that…


  5. Campbell

    January 16, 2011 at 12:30 am

    It doesn’t even make sense to me. Who is redeeming what? Coupons are redeemed, not children.


  6. Kim

    January 16, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I know I may be asking for all wrath to come down on my head, and maybe this post is a venting post. And maybe it’s a totally justified venting post. Can’t speak for all AP’s. But at least for the ones that I know, the term “redemption” does NOT mean “of the child” – of COURSE the child doesn’t need “redeeming” from anything. Nor does it mean “of the parents” – ANY of them, first or adoptive. It just refers to the fact that the separation of a child from his or her first family – whether by death or relinquishment – is a tragedy. The fact that some (and I know, not all) adoptive families can experience love and closeness stands in contrast to that tragedy. They mean that the story itself has redemption in it. Good that happens despite sorrow.

    It’s not to say there isn’t loss and grief, or that the good is able to erase the wrong or the sadness or the missing parts. Just that there can be good and bad in the same situation. (I think the term “redemption” actually came back into the vernacular from the “Shawshank” movie…)

    At any rate, I know there’s tension between “us and you” – AP’s and adoptees and first parents (really all the way around)… I HOPE no one means that a child has ever done something wrong that needs righting by adoption. Maybe someone did. In which case, I apologize on their ignorant behalf. But I do know the term gets thrown around, and maybe who you read meant something different than you heard?

    (ducks back into “lurker” bunker)


  7. The adopted ones

    January 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm


    No need to duck – I promise. If you actually read other posts you will see a mix of reflections and of course vents like this one as well as my other blogging partner’s posts. My personal views are for family preservation first but if that is not possible then a completely transparent, ethical, moral process that takes all three parties into equal consideration and they stick to their agreements. I also advocate for the adoption industry to finally 50 years too late to come up with a valid process to ensure family health history that a person raised in that family would know – be provided to the one not kept – it can/could save lives. Family health history provided at the time is most likely lacking in completeness and does not take into account any diagnosis after the fact – history evolves and does not end at surrender.

    Now back to your question…yes this was a vent…

    There are specific religious individuals that appear to hold to the notion that the single mother must place her child to be redeemed and that said child needs to be redeemed of being born in sin (i.e. illegitimate), by being adopted into a two parent married religious family.

    Redeemed is also a trigger word for me simply because I am from the Baby Scoop Era where illegitimacy branded you in many ways today’s society would shudder over, and being a “fallen” women (i.e. unmarried mother) made you “less than” and therefore not worthy of society. But those same women who became pregnant and then got married were those who society honored…



  8. Kim

    January 18, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Still catching up on your other posts – just found you recently! And I am completely agree on family preservation assuming there’s not an abusive situation there. And while I no doubt fall under many people’s definition of “religious,” I also totally relate with being suspicious of others who might even share my faith. In a very practical way: one of my close friends is going through an unplanned pregnancy, here in the U.S. “without papers” and works part time at whatever rate the fast-food restaurants pay people they know can’t take them to court. “Disadvantaged” in many respects. But a sweet soul and she’s going to be a great mom, even as she struggles with the logistics. And I was too scared to take her to the local crisis pregnancy centers -even though I know some great people who work at some of them. Because I was afraid that the day I took her, there would be someone there who would strong-arm her into placing her baby for adoption. And it wouldn’t take a lot of strong-arming. She’s scared. But what she needs is support. And so we’re going to the public clinic (where instead I’m supporting her with her decision to parent rather than abort – she’s devoutly Catholic and abortion would tear her conscience apart).

    It’s a crazy world we live in where everyone thinks they should be the ones to decide on vulnerable people’s behalf what is best for them!

    Thanks for commenting back. I shall now proceed to comment in the future, thoughtfully and without my pith helmet. 🙂


  9. Raven

    January 23, 2011 at 8:31 am

    The first time I heard the word “redemption” used in terms of adoption was shortly after I surrendered my newborn son in early 1972. A Methodist minister told me that I paid the price for my sin of having premarital sex when I gave my baby up for adoption, i.e., I had accepted my punishment, the price that society demanded I pay for being an unwed mother. The pastor also said something to the effect of my son not having to be branded as illegitimate now that he had a new birth certificate…and, oh, wasn’t that wonderful? I told him the same thing I had told my mother early in my pregnancy, the day she first called my unborn child a bastard—my son was never illegitimate in God’s eyes, and he certainly wasn’t a bastard. My baby was a gift from God, and if small-minded people want to place ugly labels on him (or on me, for that matter), then that says tons about their own character and morality.

    I left the Methodist church and that pastor behind as a young adult…


  10. Realdad1

    January 25, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Adoption IS redemption….as an adoptee AND an adoptive father, I can tell you that this quote is representative of what God did for us when He adopted us into His family. That’s what this quote is all about. It’s not about taking away from the tragedy an orphan feels when he/she is given up, but rather the joy they feel when they realize what it took for them to be adopted. When we consider that Christ died for our sins and now we are rescued from eternal suffering, the act of adoption here on Earth is small representation of what God did for us. As an orphan, I was helpless and hopeless and my family came through so much to adopt me. Before I accepted Christ as my Savior, I was like an orphan – in the sense that I was helpless when it came to my sin. Jesus gave himself for me on a cross so that I could be called His child.

    That’s what the quote is referring to…I pray someday you get to experience your eternal adoption. Galatians 4:5-7


    • TAO

      January 25, 2015 at 4:01 am

      You have a nice day now.


      • Lisa

        April 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm

        TAO, I like your style 🙂


  11. SarahIsAMomToo

    April 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Interesting! I found this while trying to go back to find another blog that talked about how adoption IS redemption. I’m glad I read the comments for further clarification, because you see, in my vocabulary, “redemption” is a positive, not a negative. And it does not automatically have spiritual connotations. It means hope for the hopeless, and that bad things happening, whether due to mistakes you’ve made or situations totally out of your control, are not the end of the story. I’m perfectly willing to accept that the adoption industry is far from perfect. For that matter, no parents, adoptive or otherwise, are perfect (the best ones recognize this fact). In the situation described in the comments above, it could have been just as “redemptive” for the single mom to get the help she needed to raise the child herself. It’s great to know there are organizations out there (government entities included) trying to do just that, especially where the only motivation for giving up a child is lack of finances to take care of them, and/or lack of support from family. But think about a hundred years ago… or in other parts of the world… orphans fending for themselves on the streets, or in mass orphanages. Babies left in dumpsters. Or “unwanted” kids never being given a chance at life at all. Adoption is a positive, not compared to kids being raised by their own parents, but compared to other options available for kids who are not being raised by their own parents. And yes, that is redemption.


    • TAO

      April 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Adoption is a solution when a child needs a home. Redemption means something needs redeeming from a sin, evil, a pawn shop, payment of debt, a recovery. That isn’t what I define adoption as and certainly the child does not need redeeming – the deserve protection and nurturing – like all children deserve.

      Have a nice day…


  12. mary ann hyman

    January 13, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    What does that even really mean?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. beth62

    January 15, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Caveat Emptor!!
    Some of us are simply beyond redemption 🙂

    Couldn’t help myself 🙂 will try harder, but come on!!!!!
    Hand me a gem like that one… I could go on and on for a while… people have twisted the Word on this topic so much they have obviously confused themselves entirely in vain.


  14. patrick biglane

    April 21, 2016 at 2:31 am

    The Greek word Huiothesia (translated “adoption” in Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4, & Galatians 4:5) means “to place as a son”. Hebrew culture did not have “adoption agencies”, nor was adoption an institutional practice as it is today with foster care, open/closed adoption arrangements, etc., whereby, a child or baby is given to complete strangers, or someone not ethnically related (non-Israelites). Interestingly, the word “adoption” appears nowhere in the Old Testament; however, adoptions did happen (examples: Mordecai adopted his orphaned niece, Esther. Moses was adopted by Pharoah’s daughter;

    Jacob’s motivation in adopting his grandsons, Ephriam and Manasseh is beautifully illustrtated in Genesis chapter 48. In reading this section of scripture, it’s important to back peddle in Genesis to Joseph’s life (chapters 37 & ff), and to consider the events that would have led Jacob to make the following declaration in his son’s presence: Genesis 48:5: “Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon are.” Verse 6: “But your offspring that have been born after them shall be yours; they shall be called by the names of their brothers in their inheritance.”

    In reading the rest of the chapter, it is plain to see that Jacob was concerned about these boys’ future inheritance. He wanted them to identify with their spiritual, Hebrew royal heritage found in the Abrahamic Covenant (chapters 12 – 19); rather than to an Egyptian royal heritage that offered no promise of everlasting life in the (Promised) Land (see 48:4, as well as Genesis 13:15).

    Through the invocation of blessing, Jacob did the following very “adoption like” things (Genesis 48)

    Verse 16: invoked angelic blessing upon the lads, stated as: “redeemed….from all evil”

    Verse 16: invoked new names upon the lads: “Israel” [by inference from the context of verses 11 – 14]. “Abraham”, and “Isaac”. NOTE: all three of these names were given by angels.

    Verse 16: invoked blessing of multitude of future progeny.

    Verse 19: invoked “greatness” upon both of them.

    Verse 19: invoked the “firstborn” blessing upon Ephraim’s head.

    Verse 20: invoked (future) blessing of becoming a “multitude of nations” upon Ephraim’s descendants.

    In the New Testament, The Apostle Paul links Adoption and Redemption together in a manner that makes Adoption the fulfillment of the process of Redemption. In this regard, consider Romans 8:19 – 25; and Galatians 4:5 NASB or KJV.

    I think Adoption and Redemption are intricately related. I also believe adoptions only work (that is, with godly results) with Christian adoptive parents. That being said, there’s no guarantees in life as to how a child will turn out….parents do not always define their children, or vice versa.


  15. cb

    April 26, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Vertical adoption and redemption may well be linked but horizontal (earthly) adoption and redemption not so much. Vertical adoption is God adopting us. That is God playing God which is fine. However, horizontal adoption is humans adopting humans. Making horizontal adoption out to be anything but earthly is rather foolish I think because humans playing God is usually disastrous. Humans who think they can redeem others often end up patronising them.

    I have Christian adoptive parents and I consider myself a Christian. At no time though would they have ever felt that they redeemed me by adopting me. They understood that the times were as they were. Also if any looks at the post war version of Western adoption, everything about it seems to be against what is the bible. Other more traditional forms of adoption (eg some of the Polynesian types) seem closer to the biblical form of adoption that our Western form.


    • Patrick

      May 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Good point CB. I was commenting on this issue from the “vertical” standpoint; hope I didn’t mislead anyone into thinking otherwise.


  16. Kathy H

    June 22, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    We are all beautiful, we are all different. We all have our place in the world….our purpose, regardless of our circumstances. As a mother of two adopted children, I am well aware of the circumstances that brought my sons to me. My greatest blessing was another mother’s deepest pain. I did my best to give her the only comfort I could by raising our boys in a loving home. I could not erase the pain of their beginning….still can’t… is part of their story. I only hoped to give them a good future. She tried to keep them, but the harsh reality was that she could not and my husband and I have endured the brunt of that…. It is what it is and we know it is painful for them and we love them. Does their birth mother love them? Yes yes yes.They know her and she knows them. They are 21 now. Did we redeem them …no. They redeemed us. I thank God for it all…. the hard times, the exhaustion, the cost, but most of all for the love…for the love. How empty our lives would have been without our sons.

    I have only heard “adoption is redemption” in the context of this quote by Derek Loux….used to show how much Christ loves us

    “My friend, adoption is redemption. It is exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed Him.”


    • TAO

      June 22, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      Kathy – that quote is used frequently in child adoption.


      • beth62

        June 29, 2016 at 11:23 am

        That broad redemption quote… I think most of us know how well broad brush painting works… not so well.
        It first comes off as offensive to me, because in my day the only thing that needed to be redeemed was my bastard-ness. Which was erased on my new birth certificate, the truth sealed away, along with my mother who they called a sinner in need of repentance. Poof, they said I was redeemed in the eyes of the God, and my mother as well. It’s a very Old Regular concept.

        All that supposedly redeemed me in the eyes of society, the church – God knows when, how, where and to whom I was born, that was never changed and never will change. Never, no matter how many lies are told to other humans to gain repentance or redemption in the eyes, and name, of God in vain. I would not have died without adoption. I believe my mother could have redeemed me, and herself, in the eyes of the Church people by secret adoption or abortion.

        It makes me angry to hear it used in that way, adoption=redemption. I agree TAO, it is as vain as “meant to be by God”.
        To me, as one with great love of Jesus and his teachings, it’s very offensive. We’ve talked about using “adopted” people for Adoption promotion, or for ‘feel goods’, like Steve Jobs, Moses, Superman, Gotcha stories, etc. …. and I think that is just what this kind of talk and quote is doing – Using Jesus. Ticks me off.


    • beth62

      June 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

      I think that is beautiful what you said about your sons. 🙂
      My kids, adult daughter and son, certainly redeemed me in the eyes of my parents. They are loving and giving adult people on this planet, and most often it’s plain and easy to see. I couldn’t be more proud of them, exhausted and proud. They’ve added so much to my life and other’s. They have given me much more than I ever expected. And I them! LOL
      They argued over who would pay for their Mom’s all-you-can-eat-seafood-dinner while on vacation last week. I lost, my new son- in-law won!
      Life just keeps getting better when you give, when you share, when you love.

      Redeemed me, my life? Adoption? My Adopted parents? I do wonder if that is really the word, the concept, everyone is looking for to express these kind of deep and strong feelings??
      Maybe it would help if the sayer said what was redeemed? Redeemed from a life of poverty, no education, no home, a life without children, a life without parents, a life with/without…… whatever. But Adoption = Redemption? Nahhh, And in the same quote… Redemption of others is so hard it can kill you? 🙂 Yikes, what a strange quote. It hasn’t killed me yet, but I guess many can’t say that.
      Adoption has taken much and given much to me.
      It’s what I carry in my own heart and mind that will Redeem me. Same for my children.

      I hear this redeem thing all too often in regards to the other children I have raised, or helped to raise, with no Adoption involved.
      Burns my britches!! Heard it a few weeks ago from a woman from church who had many horrible judgemental damning things to say about me and mine just a few years ago. Told her she’d best worry about her own redemption now 😉

      I shared with them all (girls, boys, and old men!) love, trust, respect, shelter, food, freedom and work, and hard work at that. They made their own lives. I just gave them, shared with them what I had to share, the tools to do it. And every one of them did, through their own doings. I’ve gotten back far, far more than I have given. I didn’t redeem anyone, I gave unconditionally, they gave the same back.
      I now, literally, have an tribe that “will have my back forever” “will carry me thru fire” “will never let me miss a meal” “never allow me to have a cold night” “will protect me” “never leave me behind” “will be there with bail and lawyer money LOL” “fight a bear for me””give me the shirt off their back, shoes from their feet, their last dollar, their last bite” and much, much more… including my new favorite- “no penny needed from you ever again, just ask and I will tell all”

      I confess, I don’t act like it so much when it’s said, but I absolutely love hearing that chit LOL
      All of these things I said to them, and now they say even more to me.
      Don’t know how life could get much better. 🙂


  17. beth62

    June 26, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Buying back lives? whew
    Today’s average price for me to buy a slave is $15.
    The good Christians are currently redeeming slaves from the same traders for $50 a head.
    Not so much money or effort is always needed to redeem a life.
    But it certainly is driving the supply up and up, and becoming a big problem. Sound familiar?

    With the adoption=redemption idea, I imagine it could be said that my buddy was redeemed by the orphanage where he was raised until adult hood? He’s still living, has life.

    It all doesn’t mean much does it? Just a bunch of blah blah vanity 🙂



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