I decided to write this book because there are not a lot of Catholic books on the topic of adoption—at least not from a personal experience. And so, being an adoptive father with an educational background in theology and Sacred Scripture, the Lord has called me to write this book. During the process of choosing an adoptive agency for our first child, I remember both my wife and the agencies suggesting to me a list of books to read. I didn’t read any of them. I wasn’t interested in what they had to tell me until my sister gave my wife and me a book about adoption for Christmas titled Not by Nature but by Grace by Gilbert C. Meilaender. The book interested me because Meilaender explored the topic of adoption through the lens of Catholic theology and ethics, focusing on some of the practical experiences of adoption in which as he describes some difficulties in Catholic theology “Within theological ethics the last several centuries have seen an increasing turn to history; indeed, that be said to be a characteristic emphasis of the modern period.”
Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, noticed the same movement of Catholic theologians when he commented in Erasmus Lectures in 1988, “The debate about modern exegesis is not at its core a debate among historians, but among philosophers.” Meilaender’s book focuses on morals, ethics, and the day-to-day experience for potential Christian adoptive parents under the handmaiden of theology—philosophy. I’m not a moral theologian, so if you’re looking to explore the topic of the Catholic ethics of adoption, I’d recommend you read Meilaender’s book. The science of theology though, in general touches on all facets of specialties as they exist within theology, whereas Meilaender’s book orbits the topic of Christian ethics. I was trained in philosophy, with my primary theological training being in biblical exegesis, or biblical interpretation. My focus will be on exploring the revelation of Sacred Scripture and what the living Word of God reveals, by the Holy Spirit, to everyday Christians about adoption.