I Love to Tell the Story: Reshaping the Narrative of Adoption


  • Kristin Johnston Largen

    1. Kristin Johnston Largen is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. She is the author of What Christians Can Learn from Buddhism: Rethinking Salvation (Fortress Press, 2009) and Baby Krishna, Infant Christ: A Comparative Theology of Salvation (Orbis Books, 2011). Her forthcoming book is titled Finding God Among Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Systematic Theology (Fortress Press, 2013). She is the current editor of Dialog.
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Abstract:  This article argues that a Christian theological understanding of adoption can be a helpful corrective to some of the negative interpretations and assumptions around adoption that continue to circulate in secular culture. The article proceeds as follows: First, I argue that the way in which Christians understand and describe the experience of being adopted into God's family counters the idea that one's birth family is one's “real” family. Second, I argue that a Christian understanding of adoption mitigates the tendency to view adoption as a sort of “Plan B.” Finally, I argue that because of the value Christians place on caring for those in need, and the replacement of kin relationships with relationships of love and faith, the metaphor of adoption can and should be used more widely, to create broader networks of family that encompass far more than mere blood ties.