A well-meaning friend who really didn’t know better, talked about going to try to “adopt” a cat from the pet store. The hiways still have signs that say, “adopt-a-highway”…and we sometimes say we are “adopting” a slogan or a philosophy. We just are not. We are not adopting any of these things. If we want a cat, or a turtle, or a dog, we go to a location, pick out the one we want, fill out some paperwork and write a check and take the animal home. If things don’t work out, we have the option to get rid of the animal. Nothing…..NOTHING about acquiring a pet is similar to adoption! When we decide to take responsibility for a chunk of tar that people drive on, and clean up the ditches…..we are not adopting! When we like a phrase or an idea, we may steal it, or use it, or borrow it…..but we are not adopting! We are not praying, thinking, dreaming, tossing and turning all night. We are not meeting for hours with a social worker who covers every minute of your life with questions. We are not proving with finger prints and background checks and personal references, that we are capable. Lets please stop using this phrase so lightly!
Adoption. Adoption is weighty. It is the pause. The sigh. The “woah”. I have friends that did alot of preparation to adopt….and are now in an agonizingly pregnant pause as they weight for confirmation from the Lord that they should actually move forward. No one puts that much self-discipline or thought or effort into making sure of a pet, or a hiway, or a philosophy. We are talking about human lives. We are talking about children who have alot of extra stuff involved. We are talking about an action that sometimes results in a lifetime of sacrifice, tears, hardship. Adoption is serious. It is not a flippant word. It has huge implications and they are really, truly good, and powerful, and righteous….but only if we are using them appropriately!
Lets reserve the term for what it is. Let’s find other words to describe the acquisition of a pet, or the assignment to care for a chunk of the road, or an inspired way of thinking. Lets, shall we? Lets also keep the term adoption set apart for those who are willing to take it seriously, and then use it often. Those of us who understand what adoption means…..lets say the word alot…..in context.