Following a firestorm of response, the 700 Club has removed Pat Robertson’s commentary on adoption from the clip they’d initially posted. (For those who feel the need to review his remarks, both the news report on Summit VI and the commentary by Robertson that follows is still accessible—embedded video below—beginning at minute 14:00).
We appreciate the 700 Club’s decision to take this modest step to remove the commentary from news clip. However, we would encourage further steps to more directly correct the troubling comments and convey the deeper truth that Mr. Robertson missed as he mused on the “risks” of adoption. Five core truths need to come through loud and clear:
1) Many orphans do indeed carry deep wounds and real needs—emotional, physical, relational and spiritual. Any Christian contemplating adoption, foster care or other ministry to children from hard places should do so with a full sense of both the joys and the challenges that may lie ahead. We must “count the cost”—not just theoretically, but via serious reading, study and discussion.
2) The potential difficulty of caring for orphans, does not diminish God’s heart for the child that has no family, nor His call to His people to join Him in the sacrifice-requiring work of “defending the cause of the fatherless.”
3) What every child most needs is a loving, permanent family. Certainly, Christians should be at the forefront of every form of caring for orphans, and sometimes the vast expanse of need may call for larger-scale, institutional response, even orphanages. But to the fullest extent possible, the priority should always be to move toward the most family-like setting that can be achieved—the permanence of loving adoption whenever possible.
4) If God’s best for children is a loving family, then Christians must be willing to be that family. We must be challenged to confront the fears and take the “risks” associated with adoption. Certainly, not everyone is called to adopt, but we all have a role to play in supporting, encouraging and enabling it.
5) Finally, after we have weighed the costs, we can also know that God offers unparalleled blessings along the road of adoption. This is a discipleship journey; it will not leave us the same, thank God. Each adoption experience is different, of course, but, speaking for myself and countless others I know, this is what I’ve seen: alongside real difficulties, adoption brings some of the deepest joys life has to offer.