The topic assigned to us for last weekend’s Tapestry conference was “Why does my child’s birth family really matter?” It seemed like an easy topic at first, after all we have been at this for a long time, we even have a very open adoption with our oldest daughter. We know about birth families. We should, we’ve dealt with so many of them.
But living your life and organizing your thoughts are two different things. We finally decided to answer the question from two different perspectives, because they are the two perspectives we have after all of these years. So why does my child’s birth family really matter? They matter for two really good reasons.
- They matter to our kids.
- They matter to God.
Our kid’s birth families should matter to us because they matter to God. Why? Because Jesus said you couldn’t separate loving God from loving your neighbor.
One of my favorite interchanges between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day is found in Matthew 22. Jesus is essentially having a Q&A with them and is establishing Himself as an authority with each answer. He has just dealt with death, taxes and marriage at the resurrection. Pretty simple stuff really. So they got together to test Jesus (bad idea) and this interaction takes place.
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV)
I have always wrestled with that scripture because it is so simple on the face of it but so difficult to live. Because Jesus said that you can’t separate loving God and loving your neighbor. So who is my neighbor? We learn in the story of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) that our neighbor is anyone who needs our help.
Does your child’s birth family meet the threshold of needing your help? The fact that your child has a birth family that is not you is a resounding yes. They are your neighbor that Jesus is telling you to love. They are in need of your mercy and forgiveness. If you are a foster parent or adoptive parent (open, closed, international, domestic) you must love your child’s birth family because you’re obeying the Lord and helping your child heal and grow.
Maybe you could start by praying for your child’s birth family right now and decide to forgive them if they need forgiveness.
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