I Bleed Adoption

I am sorry it has been so long since our last blog update. I am a wife, mom, teacher, amazing, beautiful, gifted, humble—oh sorry I got carried away there; I have been busy and have had nothing in particular to report on the adoption front. Now several people have asked me what our status is so I thought it was time I tell you all at the same time.

We have been in the adoption process (or paper pregnant as they say) for 2 years and 24 days. Our desire to adopt began long before that but the actual initial application was done Jan 1, 2010. Yes 2010. Our social worker told us we may have the record for longest adoption she has worked on. I was a little honored to get recognition for something.  My heart does bleed for orphans. My true gut desire is for children without moms and dads to come live with us, ahem I mean, to be adopted by someone and be adored. I can not look at pictures or hear stories of orphans without crying and trying to figure out how to arrange my life to invite them into it. I have an open, gushing, painful, bleeding wound. Two years and 24 days is a long time to be processing paper work, raising support, and all the other necessaries and still not have our children home. I have not enjoyed the process as much as some. I have read some beautiful testimonies of  families that who enjoyed the entire process. I am not there yet but I am learning.  It made me think about the nurse wo came in my room after I had just given birth to Zaria. I was totally perplexed. I told her “I don”t know why any woman would do that more than once”.  She looked at me and said “I loved my labors”. WOMAN IS YOU CRAZY!?! (OK I didn’t say that but that is what I was thinking.) Labor was more pain than I could have imagined. I know the Lord brought that woman into my life for that brief moment so that I could hear those words. I went on to go through labor 3 more times after that and while EVERY one of them were equally as painful as the first, I chose to love my labors. I can choose to love this process even though it hurts.

Remember the woman, whose life was written about in the Bible, she had a bleeding problem. She was bleeding non stop for 12 years. (If you are not familiar with her story than you can find it Matt 9:20, Mark 5:25, and Luke 8:43.) Her suffering was much worse than mine and obviously it was for much longer but do you remember what made her well? It was her faith in Jesus. She knew if she just got close enough to him to touch his garment than she would get well. Our wonderful Jesus saw her and said  “Your faith has made you well”.  I love Jesus. I know He sees my bleeding, He sees my faith in Him to make them well. He will stop the bleeding. The woman’s faith was in Him and I choose the same. His desire if for orphans to be cared for and I have faith that  He will use us as a vessel for His desire. I know I have to walk in the steps He ordained. I choose to enjoy it after all I get to see Him work.

About a month ago (maybe more) I was having a particularly painful day. I had received and email about a little boy who I really wanted to help but couldn’t. He was in an orphanage in eastern Europe, he was 15 and he was about to “age out”. Not many positive stories of children after they age out. If you have any questions about that send me an email and I will explain. I was carrying his picture around on my phone that day and praying and questioning God and wondering how God would want me to help in this situation. I was bleeding. And The Lord provided a miracle. A good friend, on that day, gave us a large financial gift for adoption. I just put my head down and cried and said “thank you, thank you thank you Lord. You are so amazing to encourage me today. You are here with me and you drive me. You know my needs and you provide. Thank you Lord.” I couldn’t even talk to the person giving the gift I just had to talk to God. That 15-year-old boy did end up getting adopted. Rescued.

That night Walt and I went out on our bi-weekly date and we prayed and discussed what direction to go. We decided that we were already prepared for Ethiopia. We still do and will care about the children aging out in Eastern Europe and all over the world but for now we will walk in the steps ordained for us and right now those are Africa bound. Who knows what He will be bringing for steps in the future.

With that financial gift we were able to go ahead and send our dossier to Ethiopia and that is where it is now. This morning I received an email from our agency.  This is part of it  “This update is to let you know that your dossier has been authenticated, translated, and registered with the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs (MOWYCA) in Addis Ababa. Congratulations!
The next stage of the process may be the most difficult one yet – which is the wait for your referral. It’s important for you to know that I and the entire Ethiopia team want to support and care for you as best we can during this time – which can feel like eternity!”

Praise the Lord our paper stuff is done and in Ethiopia, translated, authenticated and ready for waiting. hmmm I think we will be alright in the waiting. We are so excited to know that anytime in the next several months we could get a call saying our children are waiting to meet us.

So we will enjoy today, bleeding and all, knowing he allowed the bleeding (He ordained the bleeding), so we could see His faithfulness, exercise ours, and all could see His miracle when our children come home.

LOJO

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Depraved Indifference

Having a great relaxing morning of reflection. I didn’t read any emails this week or look at FB at all because I was so focused on Kids Camp and ok really exhausted from Kids Camp. Kids Camp is the annual, week-long summer camp for kids ages preschool to grade 5. It is from 9:00-3:30. We open the day with music and worship (the kids and adults on camp worship team work on writing, recording, and producing the kids camp cd for months before camp). Then a little skit about the Bible and then Bible focus of the day in really cool form. Then the kids go off with their groups to Art, Music, games, drama, and Legos all centered around the same part of the Bible that they all learned about that morning. In the afternoon the kids go to the station of their choice for the week(with the addition of dance and the subtraction of games) and work on a special project further exploring that area of art and Bible. I could never fully explain how much work goes in to preparing this camp. We even had a team of 10 missionaries come up from Mississippi  to help us for the week.ANd it shows in the fruit. The focus of every leader/helper/teacher there was God. This camp was birthed in prayer and every little part was His.

SO was it worth it?

Way beyond measure. We did not just produce fruit and then sit there looking pretty with our big fruit. But God is so amazing that he actually made the kids hungry and they wanted the fruit and oh boy did they pick and eat. 11 children came to know Christ as THEIR savior this week. Many more heard about him for the first time. There were about 100 kids that came. Whenever I shared something about the Lord with the groups of 20+ and asked “Is there anyone here who has never heard this before?” there were always some that raised their hands. The children that did accept Christ were talked with longer in 1 on 1 and they were truly saved!They knew exactly what they were doing and why.How amazing is God! Is Derry a mission field or what? 

I had an especially great time talking with a couple of them all week and opening the Bible and telling them the truth about all the questions they had during lunch or snack or in between classes. These kids want to know all about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, evolution, the big bag theory, baptism and so much more. They were hungry.Thank You God that it is not me to change their hearts and dispell the lies they have been taught, but you and your perfect Word. Thank You!

I had so much more to write about my kids and the missionaries adoption but I just have to stop there and praise God for what He has done. I will leave you with this video Walt told me to post. Let’s see if I know how to do that.

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The Good, the Bad and the Yo-Yo

the good

Well we got the news. The little girl that we had waited for was placed with another family. This is good. It is good because a little girl with no home is now matched with a family that will give her a wonderful one(I know they must be wonderful because they beat us out, I mean c’mon). Now this family will begin the process of bringing her home and by October or so she will be home. This is great news for her and them and I praise God that we had a little part in that and so did all of you. I know there is a reason when we pray and she must have needed those prayers. I know I did. It is a little weird to me that someone else got the call about our little girl but I can only imagine what a wonderful weekend they are having right now. Praise the Lord for them!

the bad

We got the news by email while we were traveling to Boston to pick up paperwork.  They don’t give us any more information just that she was placed with another family. Of course through all of this we are hurt.  We thought she was perfect for our family. I can’t give you details about her because legally I have to protect her privacy. I cry off and on a bit and sometimes I think I don’t want to do this anymore but then I get over it. Walt and the kids are pretty disappointed too.  In between the time that I was told I would get an answer soon and the time that I actually got an answer, I was praying and telling God that I know His plans are better than any plan I could imagine and if this was not His plan I was prepared to be okay with it. It is so hard to imagine that His plan is better than the one I could see but I believe that it is true. SO we are a little wounded but so thankful and looking forward to His plan unfolding. Thank you all for your support I know how much you all prayed and were emotionally involved in this with me and I thank you so much.

Yo-Yo

I have to add a random and long thought not related to adoption. Friday night we went to go see The Boston Pops led by John Williams, several Harvard grad amazing musicians including Jeffrey Korn, Tom Morello, Ann Preven, Martha Babcock, MIA CHUNG (who got us 5th row orchestra seats), and Yo-Yo Ma! what an amazing, amazing experience. We were so close and the sound was incredible. We could see the sweat on Yo-Yo’s face. Some of those musicians are ranked in the top 100 ever at their instrument. Certainly as a composer conductor John Williams is. Yo-Yo Ma is and we learned that night that so is Tom Morello. We were blessed to have seen them in our lifetime and all together in the same night. I was also with two of my sisters and my mother. It was a very blessed night. We kept saying we wished our kids were there to see it and how much they would have loved it . I wish I could have brought them. I wish I could bring them all the time. They love classical music and I wish I could have seen their faces as they experienced this for the first time. Music is a very special gift from God. It changes us chemically and emotionally it is something unlike anything else. If the Lord allows us to experience that much joy and beauty in this part of life than I can not even imagine what it is like in Heaven. What a great night. but I have to share a bit of my heart here…if ever there was a room to feel like an underachiever in, that was the room. Never mind all the amazing, accomplished classical musicians, but did the room also have to be filled with 25 and 30 year Harvard grads who had come from a reunion to see their classmate perform? It is true for a few minutes I felt like I had not accomplished enough in my life thus far. I wanted to play an instrument really well, I wanted to graduate from Harvard , I wanted to be one of the people there that attend weekly. I felt bad about myself and wished I was better. I was right back to a 23 year old girl holding my first child for the first time.

flashback

before I had children I was a nanny for a long time while in the Army reserves and attending college.. The families were wealthy, their children spoke multiple languages, they traveled abroad often, they went to the opera, they played instruments and read classics, all as young children. I wanted all of that for my children. I thought when I was a mom some day I would make all of that available to my children. I wasn’t walking with the  Lord and that was ok with me at that time. SO my little girl is born and I am looking at the most precious little baby ever created. The was perfect. SHe had so much potential. She could do anything. She would be amazing but we would have to help her. That was a big responsibility. I was so upset with myself. I suddenly felt like I was not good enough to be a mom. I felt like I was nothing. I could not speak multiple languages.. How could we teach her multiple languages if we didn’t know how? We never went to the opera. How could she go if we didn’t? We never read great books. How would ever know what books to get for her? We didn’t play any instruments. How could we teach her? SO in the hours after holding our sweet baby and adoring her, feeling unworthy and reflecting back on all I had not accomplished in my life, it suddenly hit me and really hard. I was raised in a Christian home and taught Biblical truths. I retained enough of it to know that what the world esteems as worth is actually worthless. I knew that the only thing I could give her that was worth more than anything else is eternal life. Of course I could not give her eternal life but I knew who could. I knew that more than anything else I had to teach her the truth and point her in the direction of Jesus. We have tried really hard to grow them and teach them about the only thing worth knowing, Jesus.

Most of you have heard this before and know this about me and my baby girl but I went back there that night at the Pops. I again doubted my worth and especially what I was worth as a parent. “Why have my children not been here already? WHy are they not already accomplished musicians?”. There is nothing wrong with the other things I mentioned. And there is nothing wrong with desiring them for my children or working toward helping them do some great things. But if there are not 40 hours in a day and some things have to go, it can’t be Jesus. It really is OK. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I was asked to raise them and teach them about God and I am doing the best I can at that. He doesn’t ask me for more than that.I can go and enjoy the music and take it for the gift that it is and not feel worthless. My kids can enjoy listening to classical music on the radio and learning their instruments at a regular rate. I had to refocus and remember that who I am, just the way I am, and the exact parent that I am is OK. Actually it is great because I am a daughter of the Most High King! SO I thought I would share in case any of you were in the place that I can get and you needed to remember not to feel bad about yourself but to know who you are is a daughter of the Most High King and do your job as parent like that is all that matters. Take the blessings as they come and just enjoy the music.

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a little bit of news and a cool story

Right now we are patiently awaiting news of a waiting child in Ethiopia. We are waiting to see if she will be our daughter by the end of this year. It is so different from we expected and we are so excited. All this time we were waiting for multiples, under the age of 3, and we have all their names picked out. But then we saw this little girl, just 1 girl, and she is older than three and we knew she was ours. Plus we will keep her birth name and give her her birth mother’s fist name as her middle name. Let me back up and tell you a little background.
short version:
  • we started the actual adoption process over a year ago
  • going strong until November of last year and then hit a wall
  • I got very sick in January/February and everything came to a complete halt. It is amazing the amount of catching up there is to do when a mother of 4 is down for a month
  • since then we have been burnt out and losing faith in adoption
  • we are homestudy ready and USCIS approved and we completely stopped the process to pray and seek the Lord’s direction
Walter and I have been praying lots about what was next for us. It seemed like everything we did we had to do twice and one of the grants we were really counting on said “not now”. The task seemed way too big for us.  Over the  last 17 months we had been pretty optimistic. We knew it was going to be difficult but we also knew we didn’t have to worry about that.  I remember someone telling us that “impossibility is the prerequisite for a miracle”. We believe that but in the past couple of months we have been slowly losing faith that this is what we are supposed to do.
A cool story..
May 11th
I was in anguish about the adoption process and Walter and I took 2 hours or so and went and prayed together specifically about adoption. “Lord this is  so hard, so much work, no time to do it with homeschool to catch up on and home repairs to do, evaluations to prepare, no grant money coming in. Lord why did you break our hearts for orphans if we were not going to be able to adopt. Lord we so desire to grow our family in this way and to serve You this way but we are not sure if that is your plan anymore, we feel like there are no open doors. We know that hard does not mean bad, and easy does not mean good, but You will have to make this happen” and so we prayed and prayed and we went to bed sadish and still wondering.
The next day I got a call from a friend of ours. She is also adopting from Ethiopia and many times we have talked on the phone and encouraged each other to continue in this process even when it is hard. Since we were not sure what we were doing I had not talked with her in at least a couple of months.  But she called me on
MAY 12th
Well now she is matched with a child and waiting for court date. HOORAY! ! She had been slowly and steadily raising support $20. at a time. They were faithfully walking but there is no way that would have paid for adoption by itself. It would have had to have been through intervention. She had good news. She told me that much to her surprise her entire adoption was paid for by a friend!!!WOW!We talked and cried and praised the Lord. That is a miracle. After we got off the phone I called Walter (at 2:00pm) and I said “Honey this is so heavy on my heart today and I have a renewed hope. God can still do this.We should not have doubted.  Honey can you pray for the rest of the  day from work today and I will pray at home about this” and so we did.  “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength”
side note:
  • Sometimes God answers prayer in a way we could never imagine. Just like with my friend. She never could have known someone would pay for her adoption. I often think of the Israelites and they were leaving captivity. A whole nation following Moses, following God;they have soldiers chasing after them, and what’s next? A sea! Seriously a SEA!.Can you imagine how they must have felt then? A sea in front of them and the Egyptians behind them. “uh God, umm, I thought you wanted us top leave and I know you are leading us and ah, here the thing, we have all these soldiers behind us and they want to kill us and uh now we have nowhere to go, nowhere to hide”. Can you imagine what they would have thought? They never could have imagined the way God would end up providing. They could have lost hope. They could have taken what their human eyes could see and thought there was no hope. But God is so much bigger than our human eyes can see. He gave Moses the power to part the Sea. PART THE SEA! and they went though. Through is not an option they ever could have imagined.
At 3:00 I sent my daughter to check the mail and in the mail was the letter from Show Hope saying we were approved for a $4000. grant!!!!!
We cried all of us. We couldn’t believe it. For God to have answered our most sincere prayers of a totally empty self looking for Him really, He must have answered our prayers before we even prayed them. For Him to orchestrate the letter arriving at my house that day He had to have answered the prayer before we prayed it. Thank you Lord.NOW THAT IS A GOOD GOD!
May 13th
we got an email, as we usually do once every couple of months, with all the waiting children. Waiting children are children that are usually older or special needs or have been passed over by other families for one reason or another. We usually look at the children and pray for them for a few days and pray that they are safe and happy and healthy and find good homes. But this time we saw one of the little girls and we knew she was ours. SHe is a Johnson. We let our agency know we would be honored to have her and now we wait for their answer. Today we got an email asking more questions about us and we are hoping that means they are seriously considering us. We love her.We know that He will work out the rest
cool story right?
Also today we deposited a sizable financial gift toward our adoption. How amazing! He is making the way in a path we could not have seen.
good night
LOJO
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3 fold adoption

We see our adoption as 3 fold.

First: Celebrating Life

We are pro-Life. We hope that women choose to carry their babies to delivery. But what happens when they do? What happens when women that are having a crisis pregnancy, have their baby?  Then they have a baby that they still can’t care for. When we adopt we are celebrating Life, the victory of that baby making it to birth and giving hope to birth parents who think their child will be alone if they make the difficult choice to make a birth plan instead of having an abortion. We are saying that children are worth saving

Second Rescuing Orphans

Many of the orphans
live on the streets and
hang around dumpsters
scavenging for food.

5 million orphans in Ethiopia

Out of every 1000 babies born alive in Ethiopia 123 of them die before the age of 5.

It’s Not just the statistics of orphans that matters—it is also that we are called to care for orphans

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphan and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

God wants His people to care for orphans

God rescued us. We were born sinners and we were destined for death apart from God our father here on Earth and apart from Our Father in death.  We were orphans. WE would have been destined for a life of torture.  When God sent Jesus, He sent Him to rescue us; to adopt us into His family. We didn’t earn it, there was nothing we did to deserve it. He accepted us just the way we were into His family, His Kingdom and heir to His throne. How could we do any different? We are rescuing orphans because we were rescued.

Gal 4:1-7 “Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is an owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the Father. So also are we, while we were children, we were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His son, born of a woman, born under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’.  Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Ephesians 1:5  (Paul writing from prison in Rome to the church in Ephesus where he once was. He is reminding them of what a blessing they have in Christ. He reminds them of who they are in Him. In chapter 1 he is reminding them of what God has done for them)

Eph 1:4-5 “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”

He adopted us

 

Third Growing God’s family

God wants us to Glorify Him with our families. We are raising little soldiers for Christ. We are teaching our children about Gods love, His wrath and His forgiveness. We are helping our children to build a relationship with Christ as their love deepens, their desire to serve Him does too. When we bring more children into our home, we are raising them knowing Christ we are witnessing and leading them to Christ. We are hoping though those children we will raise several generations of Christians whose desire is to serve. We desire to grow our family personally and God provided us with a home big enough to bring some little ones home.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

I hope we have shown you God’s vision for caring for orphans. And obviously not everyone can adopt and bring them into your homes. But there are ways you can get involved. The cost for the adoption process is huge. You can help care for orphans by helping us, or other families in the process, bring them home. Please help orphans, regularly, in some way. Meet families who have adopted, bless them in some way. Provide rides, meals, tutoring, trip to the movies or anything you can think of to bless them.

You are not giving money to us, you are giving it to them.

1 Pray for our adoption process

2. If you drink coffee or your workplace provides coffee buy some of our coffee. Buy it as gifts, buy it to serve at your cell groups. It is organic and you can choose the country of origin. The money helps to fund our adoption.

Go to our coffee website

http://justlovecoffee.com/lotsajohnsons

3. GO to our Ordinary Hero page. They sell alll kinds of clothing, jewelry and other cool stuff.  http://ordinaryherostore.org/ make sure you enter “Laurie Johnson” in the drop down box at check out. The proceeds go directly to our agency toward our adoption.

We are trusting God to supply all our needs

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Our call to adoption

Our adoption journey for you starts now. For us God began the work long ago.

My grandmother, Angela Rafaella Camella Coviello, was an orphan. Her mother died  giving birth to her younger sister (or shortly afterwards).  She had many children and her husband could not care for them so they all went to live in an orphanage. They stayed there until the oldest turned 18, moved out and then took all the siblings out to live with her. I knew about this when I was reeeaallly little. This may have been the first seed for me. If not for that, I may not have been so attentive to orphan type stories and felt so much compassion at such a young age.

I had a great childhood. My parents adored us and we knew it. I could not imagine that there were children out there who did not have that. I tried to imagine what life must have been like for my Nana. I have one clear memory of a ride in the car with my dad one day. He took us out to see a mansion somewhere. I remember telling him that when I grew up I wanted to buy that mansion and adopt all the children with no parents and all the pets with no owners and I would love and take care of all of them. (FYI my man doesn’t like pets too much, and I don’t want to clean a mansion so those parts of this dream may not come to fruition).

As a young adult I knew I wanted to adopt. God gave Walt and me our oldest daughter and that was great. ..and then 3 more. My pregnancies and deliveries never went smoothly (extreme understatement). After each of our children was born I would ask Walter if he thought maybe he was ready for adoption. He wasn’t. I couldn’t understand why God would give me such a strong desire for orphans but not my man.

In 2005 we had an opportunity to have our twin nephews come and live with us for a while. This was Walter’s first seed. He began seeing that it was possible to have children come into our home and not have birthed them yet love them as if they were always meant to be there.

When our youngest turned 1 Walt began making comments here and there about adopting. I didn’t take him too seriously. Then on Christmas day 2009 (also our 10th wedding anniversary) Walt was playing with our 1-year-old nephew. He was holding him and loving him and goo-ing and oo-ing and snuggling this little chunk. When he handed the baby back to my sister he said “‘I can’t believe there are babies out there his age with no one loving on them”. I was surprised he thought of that and then said it out loud knowing I may jump at the chance to discuss adoption but I remained cool.

My sister was ready to go so she took the baby and put him in his car seat and started to load up her car. The baby started crying—a lot. We didn’t want to take him out of his car seat but we tried everything else to make him happy while he waited for his momma to be ready for him. Nothing worked. On one of her trips in the house she poked her head in and said “oh he hates his socks” and then she pulled his socks off and the baby was immediately happy and smiling.

On the way drive home that night we discussed how sad it was that there are babies out there right now who have socks on and hate it and are crying but no one knows why they are crying because no one knows them well enough to know that they hate socks. Ok maybe not that exact problem but you get the point.

Later that night I asked him if he was serious about adoption. He said “Yes, I have been telling you”.  I guess when my man tells me something I should just believe him the first time. Girls are so much easier to understand. That night we went onto the Bethany Christian Services website and looked around and read some info. We prayed and talked to God about our desire to adopt and grow our family.

Over the next week we really started to realize that as we should be caring for orphans (Jas 1:27). And our desire grew and grew until we were bursting with desire. Well I was bursting with desire I think Walt is way too cool for that. He was just plain old excited.

On New Year’s day we filled out an online preliminary application with Bethany. We discussed which country we would like to adopt from and choosing seemed wrong and overwhelming. We just decided to apply for all countries, having no preference and then pray for the Lord’s direction. That is exactly what we did. We clicked send and then prayed that God would match us up with exactly who He desired for us. Two days later we got a call that we only qualified for Ethiopia. How do you like that for the Lord’s direction?

Africa has always been a part of my heart. I always thought someday I would live there as a missionary (in a mansion with all the children and animals mind you). I don’t know why, maybe just another one of those seeds. Stay tuned to see how that story unfolds later in life. For now, God is bringing part of Africa to us.

LOJO

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Johnson Adoption Fund

If you would like to donate to the Johnson’s Adoption Fund you can do so by clicking here:

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