Today, the folks of Mere Fidelity tackle adoption. We’re drawing on the following text from Oliver O’Donovan’s Begotten or Made:

Adoption is not procreation, and does not fulfil the procreative good of marriage. It is a charitable vocation indicated to childless copules by the personal tragedy of their deprivation in this area. And although it may richly compensate for the sorrow and satisfy the desire to nurture and educate children, it is still a substitute for procreation rather than a form of procreation. This is not to belittle or demean the adoptive relationship. Indeed, it might be said to praise it on altogether a higher level, inasmuch as it points beyond the natural goods of marriage to the supernatural good of charity. But adoption cannot be taken as a precedent for interpreting procreation as a simple enterprise of the will. (page 40)

The iTunes feed is here, if you’d like to subscribe (thanks to everyone who has reviewed us so kindly) and an RSS feed for the show lives here.

Special thanks to MK Creative Arts for the audio editing.

Finally, as always, follow Derek and Alastair for more tweet-sized thoughts.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. […] a week off, the latest Mere Fidelity podcast has just gone online. This week we are discussing what adoption is and isn’t, both within […]


  2. Joseph Scheumann August 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Would O’Donovan, or you all–Matt, Alastair, or Derek–consider embryo adoption as adoption? It seems to me that because these embryos already exist that they are in a different category that the kind of IVF where only the egg or the sperm is donated.


  3. Excellent discussion. Thanks for tackling this issue.

    Below are two interviews that we’ve done to help explicate the meaning and use of adoption in Scripture and its relationship to the current practice of adoption horizontally.


  4. I just saw this On Twitter:
    Win an IVF baby as a prize?
    Heaven forbid!


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