Friday, June 21, 2013

The difference of a year...

  • On June 18, 2012 , we saw "Rissa's" picture on  We sent an inquiry to Lifeline to ask about this child.  At that time, we only asked for her date of birth because as a family we had "decided" we did not want to adopt a child with a May birthday.  (ha ha!)
  • On June 22, 2012, we realized that we could not get this child out of our heads, so we asked for more information.
  • On June 28, 2012, Rissa was featured on the "waiting children" e-mail from Lifeline.  Through prayer, we decided 
    • not to put a hold on her--trusting that God would hold her for us if she were our daughter, and
    • that we would prayerfully consider her for a week.
  • On July 2, 2012 we asked a couple of more questions about Rissa.  For us, the most important question was "Does she want to be adopted and move to the United States?"
  • On July 4, 2012, before we received a response to our questions, we couldn't stand waiting any longer and initiated the process to adopt our daughter.  We knew she was ours and we trusted God for the responses to our questions.
  • On July 16, 2012 we received the answer...she was open to adoption from the US and she "wants to be adopted so badly."
And now, one year later...

  • She has parents and four sisters.
  • She continues to blossom and grow.  
  • She is very silly--which fits our family perfectly.
  • She is thoughtful.  Here is just one glimpse:  Davina really likes pork.  I really do not.  In fact, because I am the cook of our family, I would estimate that I have cooked pork a total of 10 times in our 24 year marriage...until the last month in which my numbers have drastically increased.  Last night Davina wanted pork, and I told her I would fix pork for her and would thaw out chicken for me.  She told me that she had found a recipe for Coca-cola chicken (she also knows I love Coca-cola) and she said she would fix chicken for me and I could fix the pork for her.  We worked in the kitchen side by side making dinner for the family.  It was so wonderful.  And the chicken was delicious!!  I think the pork was o.k., too.
  • She is open to spiritual things.  She is reading her Bible with Todd and independently.
  • She tells us she loves us...usually in response to one of us (even her sisters) saying it to her, but increasingly, she says it spontaneously.  It sounds beautiful.  :)
Ahhh...the difference of a year.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Monthly Lifesong Blog Update: The joys of adoption

13-6 MM Email

"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

Adoption. One of the most beautiful pieces of the Gospel. An all-powerful and loving Father God chose us, in our sinfulness, to be His sons and daughters. Does it get any better than that? The fact that we, as Christians, can replicate this relationship in our own families to tell the Gospel through our lives is an complete honor and joy.

"WE SAID YES TO ADOPTION" // Andy & Laura's Story

Andy and Laura, adoptive parents of Eli from Ethiopia shared how God provided every step of the way, crushing fears and showing that HE is faithful to finish what He starts.

Part of God's provision came from Lifesong and its partner, Legacy 685 Adoption Fund, helping this family financially with a matching grant and funding support.


Meet Volodya and Lyliya, one of the many Ukrainian families blessed by Adoption without Borders, an initiative that intentionally links like-minded families and churches in the USA with Christian families in Ukraine who are seeking to adopt.  

awob pictures MM

"(Adoption is) the deepest evangelism we can provide, to dedicate our lives to bringing children to the Lord. Our biggest dream is that all of our children would commit their lives to God." --Volodya & Lyliya, adoptive parents of five Ukrainian children 


Because of your support, the families above have been able to give a forever family to a child in need. Are you looking for ways to join the cause? What you could do:


How Could We Not? -  Erik & Erin's adoption story is unique, but beautiful as they stepped in to help a family member in need by providing Austin with a stable and secure family. Read Full Story

Worth the Wait - Guest blog post from Jeff & Rachel,  adoptive parents of Kate from Ethiopia. Read Full Story

God Creates Family from Strangers - Sharon, adoptive mom, shares her heart of on an ordinary day four months after bringing Asrate into their forever family.  Read Full Story

US Churches impacting Ukrainian families! - Three US churches wrap around a Ukrainian family to ensure home repairs where finished soadoption could be complete. Read Full Story

"I know you guys!" - Read as Robert & Alexis share about meeting their son Jacob for the very first time. Read Full Story

Monday, June 17, 2013

Johnson: Party of Seven!

Davina and I have been home from China just over three weeks.  She has been a Johnson for a month. It truly has been a wonderful month.  Here are a few highlights:
  • Davina is learning English at autobahn speed.  I'm amazed at her intelligence, resiliency, and effort.  She did this on the fridge (Do you see that she used our initials to form the "f" in family?)

  • We are learning more and more about her.  Some about her past and some about her preferences.  She loves Sprite and pork.  She does not like anything pickled.  We haven't found a food yet that she thinks is "spicy" despite what the label says or if everyone's mouth is on fire.
  • Davina loves teasing her sisters and sneaking up on them in a fun (not mean) way.  She has a great sense of humor that is already apparent even with the language barrier, and I look forward to continuing to see this very silly side of her.
  • We are meeting lots of new people as we try to meet Davina's unique needs.  New doctors, new tutors and new friends.  One friend that we have met is a Chinese Christian lady who has lived in Tallahassee for 16 years.  We are enjoying getting to know her and are so grateful for her friendship.
  • Cocooning is different with a teenager.  Really different.  Davina really likes going places although meeting people (because of the language) is clearly uncomfortable for her.  We try to get out of the house daily to places like the grocery store or on a walk on a trail.  She even got in a swimming pool for the first time ever :)
  • She really wants friends, so we are slowly introducing her to church friends.  She has even had an outing to the yogurt shop with her older sister and her sister's friend.  Just teens.  
  • Davina has attended three dance recitals:  two ballet and one Irish.

  • You may remember the frog episode in China...since we have been home, Todd has teased Davina about that.  We have learned that Davina had never tried frog before but she had always been curious about tasting it.  She has confessed that she didn't really like it.  She has tried to convince Todd that it was not frog, but actually "small chicken."  Of course, that makes for more teasing.  The is a yogurt shop that we all like called "Sweet Frog."  Todd calls it "Sweet Small Chicken."
  • We came home on a Thursday.  Todd and I debated on how to handle it.  We wanted to give Davina the option to stay home for that first Sunday without giving her the idea that church attendance was optional.  We asked if her if she wanted to go to church that Sunday or wait a week.  She chose to go her first week here!  We had a parallel Bible ready for her and we headed off.  We went only for worship and on one song with simple chorus, Davina even sang along!  She has now attended church on four Sundays and a few days ago she brought her Bible to Todd and asked him to read to her each day!  So grateful for her open heart.
  • I am also so grateful for how sweet all of my girls have been to Davina, each other, and Davina.  There have been the usual family squabbles (not involving Davina yet), but generally there has been a genuine effort to help Davina transition into the family.
  • We celebrated the three May birthdays with Todd's parents.

This is not to say that there haven't been challenges, too.  Despite our ability to communicate via typing, communication is still difficult and cumbersome especially when trying to help with emotions.  Functional communication (e.g., "are you hungry?") is fine.  And there are times when she is quiet and we don't know if she is sad, tired, overwhelmed, moody...(and probably, we have seen all of these and various combinations of these).  During this time I am keenly aware of my shortcomings as a parent in both my ability to discern the problem and my inadequacies in helping the problem.

But I am learning to take comfort in my insufficiency and trusting in God who is All Sufficient.  My heart often breaks for my girls.  For the pain that they are experiencing.  For the hurts they have that I cannot heal.  For my limitations as their mom.  And I remember this verse:
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, You, O God, will not despise."
Psalm 51:17

My broken heart is a sacrifice to God and He will accept that.  My brokenness is a way to worship God and He will accept my sacrifice.  He continually refreshes and renews me.  As I pray and trust Him, He works in my girls' lives in ways that I cannot.  And through the brokenness, I learn to trust Him more. I see that He is Sovereign.

So grateful to be the mom to these amazing girls.