Last year. I started this podcast really at the urging of two friends, Ocean and Aaron, who were, separate from each other, both encouraging me to start a podcast. I decided to give it a shot, and I’ve been amazed at the response to the podcast, as I’ve watched the analytics and how many people have been listening.
For Season 2, I’ve made some improvements, including new intro music by Dávid Payne. I plan on releasing episodes weekly, so please subscribe if you haven’t already.
In this first episode of the season, I speak with Nate Medlong about our personal experiences with adoption, how adoption is a picture of the gospel, and how practical theology actually is: the reason Christians practice adoption is because of our theology, but as we live out our theology in this or any other way, it causes us to grow in understanding and appreciation for the theological truths we believe.
This episode also includes a lot of jokes about Cleveland, and a hot take on Utah’s license plates. I hope you enjoy it!
Nate Medlong is a pastor and missionary in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He and his wife Diana have fostered and adopted several children, and in this episode Nate and I discuss how adoption is a picture of the gospel.
Not only is adoption a picture of the gospel, and the practice of adopting children is an outworking of the gospel, but we discuss how parenting adopted children helps a person to grow in their understanding of and appreciation for what God has done for us in Christ, by making us his children and adopting us into his family.
Make sure to check out the Theology for the People website as well for more content.
Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theologyforthepeople/support
Something you may not know about me and my family is that we foster parented, and ultimately adopted the child we had in foster care. He came to us at age 14 and is now grown, living on his own, and pursuing a career. We’re very proud of him.
A Picture of the Gospel
Foster parenting is something very near to my heart, and I believe it is one of the most profound ways in which we can live out the gospel: choosing to make someone family, placing your love on them and caring for them, not because you have to, but because you choose to. That is what God has done for us in Christ! He took us who were strangers, and in Christ he makes us full-fledged sons and daughters. He adopted us into his family! (Romans 8:15).
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
Did you know that Jesus was adopted? Joseph, knowing that Jesus was not his biological son, chose to raise him as his son – to provide for him, teach him, and love him, and be a father to him.
A Profound Need
Foster parenting and adoption are some of the greatest ways in which you can make a real, substantial difference in the life of another person. Does it come with risk? Absolutely! But is it worth it? Most definitely.
Take a look at this infographic from Together We Rise, a non-profit which helps families get into foster care, and foster-to-adopt. It shows the number of children in foster care waiting to be adopted in the United States.
I challenge you to pray about if God might have a role for you to play in this important and life-changing endeavor, of living out the gospel by welcoming a child-in-need into your home.
A Counter-Cultural Approach
Many people think of parenting in terms of what a child will do for them, such as give them a sense of fulfillment, companionship or the promise of posterity and an heir. The gospel causes us to think differently about parenting, however, in light of how God has parented us. Rather than thinking about what parenting can do for me, my focus in parenting becomes what I can do for the child, to give them the love, provision and instruction that they need; pouring out myself for their sake.
Our church is involved in two annual initiatives, one at Christmastime and the other in the summer, when kids are preparing to go back to school. You can read more here about Project Greatest Gift and Project Back to School.
As we’ve been studying through the book of Romans at White Fields, one of the topics we recently looked at was how the Bible says that adoption is a one of the most profound Earthly pictures that we have of what God has done for us in the gospel.
Adoption is a picture of the gospel
We who were not children of God – destitute, orphans – God reached out to us, and not only did he pardon us and forgive us, not only does he give us his Spirit to help us in our weakness, but he has reached out to us and adopted us. At great cost to himself, doing something for us that we could never have done for ourselves, he has given us a new identity, paid our debts, given us a new belonging, a new future, a new family and a great inheritance.
For more on this topic, check out the sermon: Adopted by God from Romans 8:12-17.
Adoption is close to my heart for personal reasons
Adoption is something close to my heart. In 2008 we began foster parenting an 8th grader from the church I pastored at the time, and in 2011 we adopted him.
When you adopt a child, you are making the decision to love someone and care for someone, not because you have to, but because you choose to. While all adoption is beautiful, I am particularly moved by people who adopt not because they cannot have biological children, but because they understand adoption as a ministry and a way that they can live out the gospel – a way that they can live out what God has done for them in Christ, and bless someone else in a way which will absolutely change their life.
Michael and Ivey Ketterer
It’s been a while since I’ve watched America’s Got Talent, but I recently heard about Michael Ketterer, who appeared on the show and performed so well that he was fast-tracked from the audition process straight to the live show round of the competition.
Michael Ketterer is a musician who is part of United Pursuit, a Los Angeles based collective of Christian artists and musicians. He describes himself as a part-time worship leader, part-time nurse, and full-time dad.
Michael and his wife Ivey have 6 children, 5 of whom were adopted through foster care, and one of whom suffers from cerebral palsy – the neurological disorder which we were initially told that our daughter would have (Read: I Believe in Miracles; Here’s Why).
Michael and Ivey share their story of foster parenting and adoption in this video. With the exception of the part where he talks about demons (3:20), (we aren’t to resist evil on the basis of who we are, our own name and authority, but only in the name of Jesus and on the basis of his authority – see Jude 1:9) this is a great and moving testimony of love and being moved by the love of God to love others. I encourage you to watch the whole clip:
Here is the video of Michael’s first appearance on AGT:
Also check out Michael’s album, The Wild Inside, which he recorded with United Pursuit here:
You can help White Fields in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of children and care-takers in the foster system here in Colorado. Click on these links to learn more about our two annual outreaches to foster families on the Front Range:
Finally, maybe there are some of you whom God would lead to get involved with foster parenting or adoption through the foster system. Here is a link with information about foster parenting and adoption in Colorado: Co4Kids.org For those of you outside of Colorado, information can be easily found for every local area with a quick internet search.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For…. you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15)