God’s opening line during His first conversation with Moses on top of Mount Sinai was, “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and BROUGHT YOU TO MYSELF…” (Exodus 19:4, emphasis mine).
Barely out of Egypt, the supernatural drama of the Exodus, the miraculous escape and the epic destruction of Pharaoh’s army are still fresh in the minds and conversations of the sons of Israel. Instead of being driven by oppression and terrorized by the taskmasters’ whips, a pillar of fire and of cloud, God’s presence, now leads them forward.
It is time to start shedding the slave mentality and picking up the concept of sonship. Israel is about to become God’s nation, a brand new prophetic community that never before existed on earth, and it all started with firming up their legal status when God’s voice thundered from heaven, saying, “I brought you to myself.” The Lord was building on His already established provision of “redeeming” Israel from Egypt when He “bought” them with a price and gained lawful ownership of them from their Egyptian masters.
The four cups we drink during the Passover meal recall the four great provisions God supplied when it was time to bring His people out of bondage and into their divine purpose. As God commanded Moses, “… say to the children of Israel: I am the LORD; I will BRING you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will RESCUE you from their bondage, and I will REDEEM you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as MY PEOPLE, and I will be your God.” (Exodus 6:6-7, emphasis mine)
Physical rescue, changed location and circumstances and a brand new legal status (being redeemed for a price) were necessary before God could declare, “You are mine!” From that time forward, Israel shares in the obligations and privileges of belonging to our great new parent, God our Heavenly Father, and it all started with adoption. Adoption is foundational for humanity’s relationship with the Almighty, whether Israel or the elect from the nations who are brought in through the spiritual new birth and are grafted (adopted) into a brand new family.
Adoption was Israel’s first experience as a new nation. The people now belonged to someone: a great and awesome someone – the creator Himself. The Apostle Paul recognized this foundational position when he wept for the people of Israel thousands of years later crying out, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Messiah for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the ADOPTION, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises…” (Romans 9:3-4, emphasis mine).
This principle of adoption is not only foundational in Israel’s relationship with God, but is applicable for all His children from all nations. Writing to the disciples in Ephesus, Paul declared, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to ADOPTION as sons by Jesus the Messiah to Himself…” (Ephesians 1:4-5, emphasis mine). All God’s children are adopted by Him, and the spiritual new birth is the doorway into this new and privileged status.
Divine adoption, therefore, is basic to our standing with God. However, human adoptions – the way we treat orphans and at-risk children who need care – are an expression of this amazing miracle and a witness to the community around us.
ADOPTION IN ISRAEL
Adoption in the State of Israel today can be complex. Jewish laws, religious principles, heavy bureaucracy and moral and cultural differences add to the expected emotional and relational challenges. Most families who are interested in adoption prefer to take in a baby from birth, but because of the high abortion rate (nearly 40,000 babies are aborted each year) not many infants are available. Consequently, only about 120 successful adoptions are made in Israel each year.
To make matters even more complicated, Jewish law requires that the child and the adopting family must be matched according to religion, meaning that Israeli Jewish families can only adopt Jewish children resulting in a “short supply” and a waiting list of about five years. Thousands of children cannot be adopted at all due to the “no religious match” clause and are raised in government-run boarding schools waiting for the perfect family to show up. No doubt, the need for adoptive and foster families willing to embrace older children and children with special needs is great.
IS THERE A SOLUTION?
A bright point of hope in this troubled arena is the vision and work of HaTikva Project, a Messianic ministry based in Jerusalem that is dedicated to helping the needy and strengthening Messianic believers in Israel. Statistically, with one out of six Israeli children considered at-risk in some way, HaTikva Families was launched in early 2018 as a family division of the HaTikva Project in order to focus specifically on providing solutions for those thousands of children waiting to find a safe and loving home.
HaTikva Families operates a new program equipping couples and families (in and out of the community of faith), preparing them to host, foster or adopt orphans and at-risk children. The ministry’s new initiative will also lead national media campaigns in order to raise awareness of the vast needs of disadvantaged children in Israel.
This new program not only prepares the participants to become host, foster, or adoptive families, but also provides professional, financial and community support throughout the process. Their six-week training course covers trauma-informed care; understanding children from complex backgrounds; tools to “rewire” the child’s brain through compassion and connection, and much more.
Messianic couples and families are presently not allowed to adopt Jewish babies in Israel because these couples and families are considered non-Jewish by the rabbinic authorities who govern the Ministry of Interior. Consequently, only Christian babies or “no-known-religion” babies are available for adoption by Messianic families, and the only known adoption by a believing family in Israel was that of a Christian baby.
For as long as the true of identity of Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth, remains hidden from mainstream Jewish hearts and minds, His Jewish followers will also continue to find themselves outside the camp in this “rabbinical limbo,” and Messianic adoptions will remain a gray area in Israel. Nevertheless, HaTikva Families intends to change all that with God’s help, working with various state and private agencies to expand adoption by Messianic Jewish families.
HaTikva Families partners with other Israeli nonprofits with similar goals, supports their shared interests through media initiatives and together fights for the rights of children.
HaTikva’s big vision is to spark and facilitate a national movement that will see the Israeli Body of Messiah take a leading role in seeking true justice for the orphaned, unwanted and unborn children of Israel.
Anybody can do something: adopt, foster, host a boarding school child for the holidays or support a foster or adoptive family. Details on how you can share in this great vision can be found at http://hatikvaproject.org/families/.
“Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.” Psalm 82:3.