Have You Been Called to Adoption? Understanding Adoption in the Bible

If you have been called to adoption, Bible verses that tell us to teach children God’s Word and ways (Deuteronomy 6:9, Joel 1:3) stir something deep in your heart. You see God’s love and instruction displayed in a unique and beautiful way through adoption. When you are “chosen” in Christ, adoption ignites a flame in your soul because you understand it is a magnificent manifestation of this election. In fact, the Greek word for chosen is eklektos. It means “picked out, elected, or chosen.” God has a heart for the adopted child, and you were one He adopted through Christ. If God’s heart is for the adopted, ours should be too. 

Adopted into God’s Family

Just as we might adopt a child to become part of our family, the way to get into God’s family is also through adoption. We are not born into God’s family. The Bible says we are born sinners into death, condemned, and deserving of wrath (see Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, Ephesians 2:3). But His adoption gives us a new family and life. 

Adoption in the Bible is a picture of God’s mercy and love. As His children, we are invited to have a seat next to Him at His table. This is the type of love God wants us to share with others. And if you are called to adoption, He wants you to share this love with a child. 

The Word Adoption in the Bible

A grandfather reading the Bible to his adopted baby grandson.

The Greek word for adoption in the Bible is huiothesia, which means “brought in and legally given the position of a son or daughter by grace.” Adoption is not earned; it is granted by the goodness of God. Jesus earned it for you. 

As adopted children of God, we can know God in a personal way and cry out to Him as Abba Father. 

God has woven the theme of adoption throughout His Word for a purpose. It expresses His redemptive power and our relationship with Him through Jesus. It also reveals His will for us to have compassion and care for a child that might otherwise be forgotten.

Jesus’ Heart for Children

In Matthew 18, the disciples wanted to know who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus called a little child to Himself and told them that those who humble themselves and have child-like faith would be the greatest. He said, “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:5). 

Jesus’ heart is to save and rescue us from our sins, adopting us so that we are not abandoned or orphaned. He promises us the Holy Spirit, the spirit of adoption, and never leaves us (John 14:18). 

God Rescued the Lost Sheep and Calls Us to Live Out This Truth Too  

Jesus left the 99 sheep to rescue the one lost (Matthew 18:12). We each have been given different callings to live out this picture. But for those who have been called to adoption, your mission is to understand God’s relentless pursuit revealed in adoption, answer the call, and become living proof of His irresistible love for the “lost one” today. 

What Does the Bible Say About Adoption?

Adopted by God

The Bible says that we’ve been adopted by God. 

Jesus’ sacrifice makes each of us a legal son or daughter in God’s family. We aren’t born into God’s family, but rather “born-again” by the Spirit into God’s family. 

Ephesians 1 is a beautiful chapter that expresses the blessings we have as adopted sons and daughters by God. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, through our adoption, we are chosen, holy, predestined, accepted, forgiven, redeemed, and so much more! 

Bible Verses About Adoption

  • Ephesians 1:4-6

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”

  • John 1:12-13

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Grafted into a New Family

The Bible says that we’ve been grafted into a new family through adoption. 

In adoption, it is a parent who chooses the child. God initiated the adoption process, not us, to make us His. Adoption in the Bible indicates we’ve been grafted into a new family and given a new inheritance, allowing us to partake of the life-giving source of the Holy Spirit. Our adoption into this new family magnifies His love for us and comes with a promise that He will never leave us.

Bible Verses About Adoption

  • Roman 11:17

“And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree…”

  • John 14:18

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

Made Co-heirs with Christ

The Bible says that we are co-heirs with Christ through adoption. 

As adopted children of God, we are heirs to an imperishable inheritance. We are co-heirs with Christ. Christ’s inheritance is the universe in its entirety. He has been appointed heir of all things. Being adopted children and co-heirs with Christ means we share in this “heir of all things.”

Bible Verses About Adoption

  • Romans 8:14-17

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

  • Hebrews 1:2

“…has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…”

Given Legal Status That Is Irreversible

The Bible says adoption is a legal status that is irreversible and unbreakable.  

In Hebraic culture, the act of adoption could never be reversed. Jesus paid the price for you in full, and you belong to the Father through adoption. You are no longer born into death but are born again by the Spirit. God cannot lie, change His mind, or break His Word. 

Bible Verses About Adoption

  • Romans 11:29

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

  • Hebrews 6:17-18

“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”

Given Access to Christ’s Authority 

The Bible says adoption gives us new life in the Kingdom of God and authority. 

Being adopted gives us access to whatever belongs to the family. Our adoption into God’s family gives us new life and access to the Kingdom of God. It also gives us access to the authority of Jesus to resist the enemy. 

Bible Verses About Adoption

  • John 3:3-6

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’

“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

  • 1 John 3:7-9

“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”


Are You Called to Adoption? 

Perhaps you are prayerfully considering how you can care for children in need. Maybe you’ve considered foster care or felt called to adoption. Hear the Embrey family’s adoption story here and be encouraged by what God is doing. 

When you receive Christ and become part of His family, you enter a great adoption story. Through this understanding, has God fanned the flame of your heart, causing you to feel called to adoption? At Abundant Life, we want to walk alongside you on this journey. You are not alone. The difference you make when you answer the call of adoption is immeasurable. 

Connect with us and celebrate the high calling of adoption