Wednesday, November 10, 2010

James 1:27-2:1 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

A few weeks ago, I (Dustin) was reading this passage in my quiet time because it was next. It was the first time I had ever put James 1:27 with James 2:1, and I think they are meant to tie together. My first response was to apply it to race, and the people who have issues with interracial adoption, and I still think it applies and speaks to that.
The other day though, we were finishing up the adoption paperwork, and to do that, we had to decide which diseases and past histories we would accept in our future child. It was one of the hardest things Beth and I had ever done. Looking at the list, most of the diseases or pasts existed in me or someone very close to me.
I have been wrestling with this over the past couple of days, and it has been some very humbling wrestling. None of us can measure up to the standard that God has set for His family. But God, being so compassionate, sends Jesus to heal our diseases and cover our pasts. Not at a small cost, but by way of sacrifice and death of the only One who ever deserved to be in the family of the Most High God.
This has caused me to bless God for accepting us when we have all kinds of physical, spiritual, and emotional baggage. He tells us to show no partiality, not because it's a good idea, but because that it is HIS character. It is also teaching me that I have a long way to go in embracing, knowing and living out His character.
Thank you God, our loving ABBA Father, for knowing our gross, warped, violent, unhealthy, lonely, desperate, diseased, compulsive history and pouring the blood of Your Son Jesus on our paperwork.
Maybe we should think about or list some things that God has redeemed or rescued us from, and love someone the way we have been loved.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hey Guys,

Sorry its been a while since we've posted anything. Not a whole lot has changed since we wrote last. We have one set of paperwork filled out and are waiting on a doctor's release of info before we can send it in.

It has been troubling to hear some of the reactions to our adoption lately. So we would like to take this post and address them, as well as, show you one of the scripture passages that has been a rock for us. We have had people refer to Christian adoption as a "new fad", and have heard people say it is an act of rebellion toward our families. Totally False!!!! Let's look at Isaiah 1. You may not have your Bible close by so we will type it out for you...
"When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations-I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."
Notice verses 12-15 are all acts of "religious worship". God says that He is sick of those things and actually hates them. Then, inverses 16 and 17, He gives His people a few ways to show Him REAL worship. Since we are adopting we're going to look at "bringing justice to the fatherless" part. Here is the most important Being in all the universe declaring that for us to worship Him we must go to the aide of and love on the least important beings in all the universe. How compassionate, how loving, how merciful is our awesome God to make adoption an act of worship of Him!!!

You may be thinking, "It doesn't say adopt, it says bring justice to the fatherless." True. But, we would have to argue that the only injustice of the fatherless is the fact that they don't have a family. We would never say all should adopt, but we would say all should be proactive in bringing justice to the fatherless in the name of Jesus.
We think it's time for us to repent from seeing adoption as a "fad", or something the weird radicals do, or even an act of rebellion. Join us in seeing it as something adopted children of God do out of obedience to and worship of their heavenly Father. May all glory, honor, and praise be to the Ultimate Orphan-Redeemer, Jesus Christ! (John 14:18)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hey Guys,

We feel like we need to better explain this calling to adopt. We don't want you to think that we read Matt. 25 and decided we would just go adopt a child from Ethiopia. Since we have been married we have discussed the idea of adopting a child one day. It remained just an idea until a couple of years ago. Over the past couple of years God has really opened our eyes through His word about the Christian responsibility to care for orphans. So we continued to seek the will of God in this through much prayer, Bible study, and Godly counsel. God has shown us through his word and has spoken to the core of our hearts. Please don't get the idea that we are doing this to earn God's favor. We are doing this because we HAVE God's favor thru the blood of His Son Jesus.
Finally we started looking for an agency. We went to a conference with Bro. Matt and Katie, however after looking through the information, the only country that matched up with us was Ethiopia. So we went to Gladney and chose to pursue Bulgaria. The week we sent our money and the first part of the paperwork in, we got an email from them and they told us that Bulgaria was no longer accepting applications for international adoptions for children under 4. Our other option with Gladney was Ethiopia. At first, we were concerned with some things. We were concerned about how our community and family would handle the adoption of a dark skinned race. We want our kids to be accepted in the community and family, everyone does, and not knowing was hard. At first.... It is tough to have someone "different" as a part of your family and it had to soak in a little bit. However God gave us both absolute peace. If we were to let race or ethnicity be the deciding factor of us not adopting a child we would look nothing like the Gospel of Jesus. Praise the Lord He does not look at the color of our skin. We feel arrogant knowing that we struggled with these things. We tell you this because we know some of you reading this may have had these thoughts. Or some of you thinking of adoption, but don't really know how you feel about international adoption, need to know that we struggled with it too. God will take care of you no matter what he calls you to do. Amen???
The more we hear statistics of Ethiopia, the more we understand the need of adopting from there. 24% of the country has clean water to drink. Over 75% of the country has to drink from murky ponds or creeks. 1 out of every 10 children die before they are a year old. They really are hungry and thirsty. That's where Matt 25 comes in. We are positive this is what God has for us. We hope everyone gets on board! Thanks for letting us share our hearts!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Welcome to our blog! As most of you already know, we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia. On this blog, we plan to keep everyone updated on our process and what all is going on in the growing Clegg family's life. The title of the blog (The Least of These) comes from the passage that confirmed our calling to adopt, Matthew 25:31-46. Especially verse 40 "And the King will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me' " We hope this is an encouragement to you guys and hope you will pray for us on the way.

God is good my friends!
-Dustin, Beth, and Laynie