July 24, 2014
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WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) -- Every adoption story is unique, but the tale of how pastor and author Tony Merida came to see he should adopt -- essentially, through his own sermon -- likely is quite rare.

When Merida was asked to preach at a youth camp on the subject of poverty, he began studying the subject in-depth, looking at the issue from a worldwide perspective.

He started to see, he said later, that "the poorest of the poor are the fatherless." He then examined what the Bible had to say about adoption.

"Basically, I got convicted by my own preaching," Merida told Baptist Press.

Merida and his wife adopted four Ukrainian children -- all siblings -- in 2009 and then a year later adopted a fifth child from Ethiopia. Within a span of two years, their house went from having no children to five children. And he says he wouldn't change anything.

Merida is part of a growing movement within the evangelical community that is giving a new look at adoption from a theological perspective, comparing earthly adoption to spiritual adoption. In his book "Orphanology" (New Hope) coauthored with Rick Morton, Merida makes the case for a Gospel-centered approach to adoption and orphan care.

"I'm hopeful for the future," said Merida, lead pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., and associate professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. "There seems to be a great interest in caring for orphans among evangelicals. I'm no expert in this field. I'm just a pastor and trying to help people connect the dots biblically, and I hope the next generation will take it further, practicing true religion."

Baptist Press asked Merida several questions about his book and adoption in general. Following is a partial transcript: Read More
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