There’s a strong desire to live a better life

Bishop Christopher Foster believes more people should consider adoption
Bishop Christopher Foster believes more people should consider adoption

Benefit fraud pensioner is spared prison by judge

Have your say

WHAT do Harry Potter, The Jungle Book and Oliver Twist all have in common?

WHAT do Harry Potter, The Jungle Book and Oliver Twist all have in common?

They are all stories where one or more characters is either an orphan or separated from their parents.

It’s been a recurring theme in literature, particularly in the past 200 years. Which might seem odd, given that many people nowadays don’t personally know any orphans who are children.

Perhaps that’s why more recent films have been less about orphanhood and more about adoption: including Lego Batman, Manchester by the Sea, Finding Dory and Lion.

So why do authors like to use this theme? Well, having an orphan as your central character means that they’re free from the control of their parents, and can get up to bigger, better and scarier adventures, which makes for a better story.

Also, an orphan finding their way in the world with success may speak to a desire within us to live differently, to live better lives. That’s a desire reflected in the ever increasing number of self-help articles in newspapers, magazines and books or on TV, or the popularity of reality TV like Strictly where people learn how to master an entirely new skill.

But perhaps there even deeper themes at work. The adoption theme that remains so popular may be less about ourselves as individuals. It might be more to do with the idea that all of us are actually striving to belong to a family or a society, whatever our background.

At the beginning of the Bible we hear about a man and a woman who chose to go the wrong way and ended up leaving the home and family that had been specially made for them. The rest of the Christian story is simply about the way back for them and the rest of the family.

The idea is that the ultimate destination for us all is adoption. Not adoption by someone else’s parents, but by our ultimate heavenly parent – God. We belong to God from birth to death – and to be with God is to be home.

The Lord’s Prayer responds to that longing in its opening words: ‘Our Father’ When we pray ‘Your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven’ we are praying that God will help us to live lives which better reflect the home from which we’ve come and to which we are going.

Anyone who fosters or adopts children is living out of this prayer: because it’s God’s will that all his children should have a loving home. And so my prayer today is not just that more people will consider adopting and fostering, but that we’d all know more of the perfect love of God as our heavenly parent.