COLUMN: You and I can be adopted into the family of God

Published 7:30 am Sunday, October 22, 2023

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What do Alexander the Great, George Washington Carver, Art Linkletter, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Lennon and Steve Jobs have in common? All of them were adopted.

Authors Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, James Michener, and Mark Twain were adoptees. You’ll find their names on a list of famous adoptees posted on

Aristotle tops the list, as well as John J. Audubon. Actresses include Halle Berry, Melissa Gilbert, and Marilyn Monroe. Politicians like President Gerald Ford, President Bill Clinton, and Nelson Mandela were adoptees.

Singers Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Faith Hill, and Sarah McLachlan are listed. Football player/commentator Tim Green and former #2 rusher in the NFL Eric Dickerson, along with baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer and Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton were all raised by someone other than their birth parents.

One of the best-known adoptees in recent years founded a fast-food restaurant chain called Wendy’s. Dave Thomas was adopted by a couple in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the age of six months. In 1992, he created a foundation with the vision that “every child will have a permanent home and a loving family.” His organization focuses on increasing adoption awareness.

I once heard Lee Ezell share her personal experience. After suffering a sexual assault, Lee discovered she was pregnant. A young, single person, she bravely chose to place her child for adoption. Twenty years later, Lee was shocked to hear a voice on the other end of the telephone say, “Hi, I’m Julie and you’re my mother.” Julie has said, “I am so thankful to have been loved and adopted by a special family, but to also have the opportunity to know and grow to love my birth mother.”

Adoption is defined as a legal process by which people take as their own a child who was not born to them. I’ve read that adopted children are entitled to the same privileges as children born to parents, including the right to inherit property.

Ever since the earliest days of mankind, families have been formed through adoption. In fact, we read about adoption in the Bible. We read in Exodus chapter two about an Egyptian princess adopting a Hebrew baby and hiring his mother to take care of him. Moses (that was his Egyptian name) was raised in Pharaoh’s household.

A young girl named Esther who had no parents was adopted by her cousin Mordecai. You can read her story in the book of Esther. She later became Queen of Persia.

According to Unger’s Bible dictionary, adoption is also a theological term for an act of God whereby a repentant sinner is made a member of the family of God, as if he had been born in the family with all the rights and privileges of a child.

The Apostle Paul writes that Jesus was born and died “to redeem us that we might receive the adoption” as his sons and daughters (Galatians 4:4-6). We can be born again into the family of God through Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”