Is Adoption a Covenant Relationship?

The term “covenant” is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together. It presupposes two or more parties who come together to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities.

I think of marriage as a covenant. Sure marriage is a partnership or agreement that is legally binding. One important fact is that this kind of covenant is between two equal parties capable of making a mutual decision.

I also believe that my relationship with God is a covenant. Throughout the Old and New Testament, God refers to His relationship with His people as a covenant relationship. However, different from a marriage covenant, this relationship is not between two equal parties. God bases our relationship with Him on His promises and His ability to uphold them.

Is adoption of a child a covenant relationship?

So what about when we adopt a child? Is that a covenant relationship?

It is a legally binding relationship. When we adopted our son, we stood before a judge and witnesses stating that we accepted the privilege and responsibility of becoming his parents.

And if we decided to disrupt (terminate) the adoption, we would again have to go before a judge to nullify the adoption. Just like a marriage.

I know that in our culture, marriage is often looked upon as simply a legal agreement. If it doesn’t work out, then whatever, just get a divorce.

But, again, how does God view the marriage relationship?

I believe He sees marriage as a covenant relationship. A relationship bound until death. It’s an amalgamation. Once married, my life blended with my wife’s life. Like two different metal melted together or amalgamated. How do you separate that without causing irreparable damage?

I see adoption the same way. When I said “I will” when before the judge and witnesses, I accepted the responsibility to be my son’s father, our lives began to melt together. In our case, they already had because he was our foster son for 15 months.

However, many who adopt, regardless if the adoption is from a private domestic organization, foster care, or international, if things don’t go well, they simply (it’s not really simple at all) decide to end the relationship. In the adoption world, that’s called a “disruption”.

So, just like marriage, if the going gets too tough, they bail. I have heard it said that if a family disrupts an adoption, then it was so that the child could find the right family for them.

That makes me want to say a bad word!

We have lost the meaning of commitment. We follow the mantra, “Don’t I deserve to be happy!” above all else.

What if God approached His relationship with us that way?

I know that I cause Him grief. I am the problem child. The unfaithful spouse. The rebellious one.

That describes us all.

Yet, God upholds His covenant with us. He doesn’t reject us. Once we are His, we are His!

I think you got the idea where I stand on this. But please understand something. Through the 27 plus years of marriage, we have had very difficult challenges. In the almost five years of our son being in our family, we honestly have times when we wonder what we got ourselves into.

None of that changes that both my marriage and the adoption of my son are covenant relationships. Therefore, instead of moving on, I choose to find ways to make it work. No matter how difficult. (And often it is my fault it’s difficult!)

If we commit to adopt a child, we covenant. His life becomes melded with our lives. So the question in my mind isn’t whether we can or should disrupt an adoption, but rather how do we navigate the waters when they become tumultuous? How can we learn to parent children from a hard place better?

What are your thoughts about adoption disruption?

I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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