The Sacrament of Belonging: New Book Dives Deeply – and Differently – into Adoption

In today’s robust crowd of books about adoption, a new volume offers a truly unique exploration of the ancient theme.

Adopted: The sacrament of belonging in a fractured world paints with lush language, as much poetry as it is prose. It invites us to plumb deep places of both human adoption and biblical adoption in ways simultaneously familiar and fresh.  Best of all, Adopted then helps us see all of life – including the most brutal fractures of human relationships and society – with the supernatural hope that every adoption reveals.

A book that helps us see all of life with the supernatural hope that every adoption reveals.

The voice of author Kelley Nikondeha has few parallels. She writes first as an adoptee, yet also as an adoptive parent. Raised in America, she and her African husband now live in Burundi. While well-versed in more typical evangelical faith, many of Nikondeha’s perspectives rise from sources outside this stream – including theologians from the global south, counter-cultural activists, and the Catholic church to which she has (re)converted.

It is worth noting that not all who will relish the book’s freshness and insight will necessarily nod at every political or theological reflection it shares. For example, some may feel that its handling of some especially complex issues – from the rise of militant Islam in Africa to Arab-Israeli tensions – implies that those of differing opinions are blinded by fear or xenophobia. In such moments, those of the “tribe” that agrees with the author will cheer; those holding different perspectives may feel too easily dismissed.

Yet even for those not in sync with Nikondeha on all points, Adopted offers a treasure chest. Its lyrical prose overflows with rich images, transparent reflections and uncommon insights. Among these gifts will come challenges to our thinking – some we may accept, others we may reject, wishing either way for an earnest conversation with the author to explore the matter further.

Ultimately, I believe Adopted can expand our hearts, helping us most of all to marvel at the beauty that is the very heartbeat of adoption: God’s welcoming hospitality and loving embrace. And, as we wake to that wonder, Adopted invites us to join this adopting God in His work to see the healing of adoption permeate every facet of our daily lives.

Hear a recent interview with Kelly Nikondeha HERE.

*Table image from