“Quite by chance I saw an article explaining how Roman fathers would keep their hands folded when presented with their newborn children. They had the choice to except or reject paternity. To reject meant the child would be cast onto the street to be at the mercy of passers-by or carrion for hungry birds. Open arms meant life, love and a future as a child of the father. Within Roman society formal adoption was common amongst higher ranking citizens an example of this is Julius Caesar adopting Octavius, who became the Emperor Augustus. Most rejected children whether because of gender or defect just ended up placed outside the home to die. For the fortunate few who were adopted they became one with the family as if natural born. God has, through Christ done the same for us.
As we lay shivering, bloody, on the point of death Jesus made it possible for our adoption. Literally ‘saved’ from death.”
via: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/emergentvillage/2013/02/orphans/ (yes, I am quoting from an Emergent Christianity blogs – this is actually a good post)