Home Study Meetings Finished

>> Saturday, October 17, 2009

Last night we completed the third and final meeting in our home study. This represents the end of a long road at the beginning of a long road. This is our third home study. It’s a grueling process in which a family spends weeks gathering documents and jumping through hoops. The state of Georgia demands access to our financial records, our medical records, and our family history. They wanted to know the nature of any 911 calls made from our house. We submitted to hours of questions about everything from how I was disciplined as a child to how we have dealt with our infertility issues. Friends and family members have had to submit letters testifying about our family life. In one week every member of the Cleland household went to the doctor including Maude the cat.

There are various ways one can think of this process. The positive view is that this extensive process weeds out many who shouldn’t be adopting in the first place. If you’re not willing to go to all this effort then maybe you’re not cut out to raise children. When I’m not filling out a 20 page questionnaire or standing in line to be finger-printed for the second time that’s how I think of it. At other times, while going through a check list that feels like it was made up by an undergrad in an entry level sociology course, I’ve begun to wonder if anyone who has ever given birth to a child has ever met every one of these qualifications. Forget sex education in the schools. Just send out a facebook message to every teenage girl telling her that since her cat hasn’t been vaccinated since last July she should avoid any kind of physical contact with her boyfriend.

Thankfully, for the third time, it’s over. And I should say that our case workers in all three cases have been fantastic. For the most part they seem to know that the process is invasive. But it’s the law of the land and so we submit believing that God has called us to adopt a baby.

If you’re considering adoption for the first time don’t be turned off by the home study. It’s a small price to pay. Jesus paid an infinitely higher price so that we could be adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High God.


Transracial Adoption

>> Friday, October 16, 2009

If you pay attention to these kinds of things you probably have noticed the news that a Justice of the Peace in Louisiana refused to marry an interracial couple. In his statement he says that his real concern is for the children. You can read a better commentary than I can provide here.

Obviously this incident is related to our adoption because of the country from which we believe that God has led us to adopt. It would be nice to think that we have come far enough on issues related to the color of one’s skin that this kind of thinking would be behind us. But even in the church there are still those who don’t understand.

I think Justin Taylor has posted a good response on his blog. I especially like his last paragraph:

As long as sin remains—this side of the return of Christ and the ushering in of the news heavens and the new earth—racism will remain. There is virtue neither in overstating or unstating this reality. But the idea of having qualms about transracial adoption (or interracial marriage) because it will create opportunities for more racial prejudice doesn’t ultimately make a lot of sense. As John Piper has commented, “It’s like the army being defeated because there aren’t enough troops, and the troops won’t sign up because the army’s being defeated.”


Psalm 68:6

Erika and I discovered adoption by the great providence of God in September 2005. Since then God has blessed us with two beautiful children through adoption. Now, by God’s grace, we hope to adopt again. One reason Erika and I adopt is that we are infertile. There’s no medical reason that has been found for our infertility. The God we serve has seen fit thus far to close Erika’s womb. Therefore, we believe that He has called us to build our family through adoption. We're not at all sad about this, though. We've grown to love adoption so much that we know that even if Erika became pregnant we would continue to adopt.

If the Lord wills it, there is a little boy in Ethiopia whose life will also be touched by adoption. For reasons that God has chosen not to reveal to us in this life there are children who have been left without a family. Sin in the form of famine, disease and war has left thousands without a mother and a dad to care for them.

The name of this blog is taken from Psalm 68:6, “God sets the lonely in families.” We are beginning this journey believing that God has prepared a child for us to adopt just as He has prepared us to adopt him. None of this will be a coincidence. God knows the family and He knows the child. And He is the One who will place this child in our family.

We would appreciate your prayers as we go through this process. Adoption can be a long road and we are well aware that there can be many road blocks as we go along the way. But we also know that our Father in heaven is a mighty Father who has created all things and to whom all things belong. He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we are able to ask or think.


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