Obama and Embryo Adoption

I am a snowflake father. Those terms may be unfamiliar to many, if not most, people reading this. A "snowflake baby" is a child that was born because of embryo adoption. My wife and I completed our adoption through Snowflakes (www.snowflakes.org) in December of 2009 when our frozen adopted embryos were shipped to South Carolina. Our second little girl - our Snowflake - was born December 2, 2010. 

She has none of my genes in her makeup. She has none of my wife's either. But she is one hundred percent ours. She has been adopted into our family and is entitled to everything our first daughter, who is biologically ours, possesses. Our "snowflake baby" is just as much our child as our "natural" baby.

As an adoptive parent, and particularly as a Snowflake parent, I was grieved to read of the proposal by our sitting president to cutting funding to embryo adoption awareness. One may debate this president's dedication or lack thereof to pro-life causes. As I understand him, he is firmly in the pro-choice camp. For the Christian, there is no dilemma: we are called to be those who protect life from conception, as is taught in multitudes of places in the Bible.

Embryo adoption focuses the question of when life begins in a very pointed way. If, as I believe the Bible clearly teaches, life begins at conception, then these frozen embryos are not research fodder. They are human beings. John Frame puts the matter simply and decisively: "There is no principle of Scripture, science or philosophy that allows us to pinpoint a time between conception and birth at which a human being emerges from something less." (1)

Thus, if the Washington Post's article is accurate, the president's decision to cut funding from embryo adoption awareness, if it goes through, can only be seen as harmful for the weakest among us. As the piece indicates, and as I confess to being before becoming a snowflake parent, most people are unaware of this option. And if the government dedicates funds to awareness for many lesser things than the preservation of human life via embryo adoption, something is wrong. Terribly wrong. Or, to quote a Casting Crowns song, "We're sung to sleep by philosophies that save the trees and kill the children." As with many other things in our country, as this quote indicates, our priorities are usually the exact opposite of the Lord's. 

But the fault is not entirely or even mostly with the government. Even with supreme funding, I'm sure the lack of awareness about Snowflakes and the pressing needs of adoption would still be great. The fault is with us, the church - and the evangelical church in particular. I will never forget what it felt like when ostensibly Christian adoption funding organizations turned down our requests for financial assistance when they learned we were participating in the Snowflakes program.  "It's not real adoption," I've heard Christians (!) say. But surely this sentiment is mistaken. Embryos are humans and there are hundreds of thousands of them that will be discarded or donated for research. Since the Mosaic economy (really before, if we want to be technical) of the covenant of grace, believers have been those who are called to adopt. The earliest Christians were distinguished by their care for those society discarded. Embryo adoption seems to me a seminal way to do such a thing here in the third millennium.

By the grace and providence of God, adoption awareness is growing in the church. Organizations like Together for Adoption (www.togetherforadoption.com) are valiantly and winsomely leading the way. But we are pitifully short of where we need to be. As Christians who love the gospel, which proclaims the greatest adoption of all - ours in Christ - we of all people should be those who are known as those who adopt. It is far easier to post a pro-life picture on Facebook, march down the street in support of the cause, and then go back to our comfortable lives that are so often non-adoptive both in theory and in practice. The average young evangelical couple is likely to talk to you about "enjoying their marriage first" by waiting to have children, let alone consider adoption.  It is our own selfishness, then, that is the real problem and not a lack of government funds.

So let us not look to the government ultimately to raise awareness. Let us hope that people will look around our dinner tables, at our refrigerator pictures, and our trips to the grocery store to see the tangible proof that we Christians are those who are not only aware of the needs of all kinds of orphans, from the unborn to the currently neglected, but that we are actively meeting these needs by adopting them into our own families.  If the government cuts this funding, let our own lives be the living testimony that raises awareness in ways that can never be stopped by a lack of money.

1. John Frame, "Abortion and the Christian," available online at www.frame-poythress.org