New Book Shows How Adoption Repairs a Broken World

Belonging mends the world, and adoption is a way of life that makes belonging visible, says Kelley Nikondeha in her new book, Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co).

"What growing up adopted taught me is that I could find belonging in unexpected places," she says. "Belonging is a choice, a series of habits, and a way of life that cultivates healing."

Adoption is sacramental in nature-a visible sign of an inner grace. "We are relatives not by blood, but by mystery," Nikondeha writes. "In theological terms, blood is not thicker than water. The experience of living as an adopted person within a family makes this utterly clear. We are connected by more than genes, we are relatives by daily fidelity and even deeper mysteries."

Nikondeha uses stories from her own life and the work that she and her husband Claude are doing in Africa to illustrate her personal and theological perspective on family, connection, and belonging.

"Adoption is a sacrament of resistance, pushing back against xenophobia, estrangement, and the invisibility of the vulnerable," Nikondeha writes. "Every time we adopt, in the largest sense of the word, we resist exclusion and engage in the repair work that restores neighborhoods and rebuilds cities. Adoption and belonging mend the world."

Kelley Nikondeha is codirector and chief storyteller for Communities of Hope, a community development enterprise in Burundi, and cofounder of Amahoro Africa, a conversation between theologians and practitioners. She, and her husband, Claude, along with their children Justin and Emma, split their time between Burundi and the U.S.

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