Parents Say Adoption Is a Picture of Salvation

Nathan and Jennifer Washburn rank parenting among their greatest joys, but a desire to have children was not their main motivation in adopting.

Instead, the couple who married in 2004 point to spiritual value as their main motivation for their 2010 adoption from Kazakhstan of Kara Victoria Washburn, now 5, and, in 2014 from China, Owen RenLi Washburn, 3.

“It was primarily a theological motivation to adopt,” Nathan Washburn, pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenbrier, Tenn., told Baptist Press. “It’s such a great picture of our spiritual adoption in Christ.”

As Southern Baptists mark Jan. 17 as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, which was placed on the SBC calendar in 1988, Washburn describes adoption as a practical application of honoring the value God has ordained in all of human life.

“Although there are different circumstance in life and different stages of life, there’s not a spectrum to God’s image in people,” Washburn said. “Every person bears His image and bears it in its fullness. There’s really no difference.”

Christians are called to protect the unborn, the orphan, the physically and mentally challenged, the widow and others equally, he said.

“If you’re looking at people the way that God values people, the way that He’s placed His image in people, His image is there,” Washburn said. “And no matter what circumstances are on the surface, no matter what differences there are in life stage, or geography or nationality, or religion or race or anything, there’s only one image of God. And it’s full in every human being. You see all over Scripture the image of God in people, regardless of anything really.”

First Baptist Church in Greenbrier will mark Sanctity of Human Life Sunday with a special offering and sermon, and will continue its work to protect life through the Open Door pregnancy center in Springfield, Tenn., and educational and motivational programs throughout the year.

The Washburns encourage couples undertaking adoption to rely on God to smooth the transition.

“It’s one thing to listen to a sermon or a story about the sanctity of human life, and it’s quite another to open up your home and step up and be willing to apply that,” Washburn said, “and step out in faith and adopt or any other number of ways that you can apply what you believe about the sanctity of human life and God’s image in people.”

Southern Baptist Convention free resources to help churches celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday are available at

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Diana Chandler