I think I’ve said it before, but we adoption moms have an incredible bond unbeknownst to us. There is a Chinese quote that says~

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.”
–An ancient Chinese belief 

We can meet in the most unusual of ways and God makes us friends through the red thread of adoption.

Jen Johanson is one such friend. Once again, she is a friend I have never met in person but we became acquainted through other friends’ blog and one day she reached out to me for encouragement. I had shared enough of my adoption woes for her to know I would validate her where she was and support her to fight forward. We became prayer partners for our families and adoption journeys. Even though we have never met, I count her one of my precious friends. I could call her in the middle of the night and she would pray right then and there into my ear for Jesus to come. I am SO thankful for you Jen!!!

Jen Blogs at To Tell of His Grace and her family is a beautiful testimony of Jesus’ grace poured out on a family willing to live His chosen path. I know she wouldn’t mind me telling you they are spending the weekend in deep prayer over a family decision they are making. Won’t you join me in lifting up the Johansons: 1) God would speak clearly of what He wants them to do, 2) God would bring their two Haiti children home soon.

Thank you for reading her story and praying for her family. You will be blessed by both I am sure.

Please meet my friend Jen Johanson~

 

I’m so thankful that Jesus speaks to His children through His Holy Spirit ~ through His Holy Word, sometimes through other believers, sometimes in the quietness of our hearts when we sit at His Feet and listen. “My sheep hear My voice, I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28.

I need to sit and listen more often ~ like Mary. Her sister Martha was busy and distracted with serving and Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teachings….longing to hear from Him. Jesus says that Mary chose what is better. (Luke 10:38-42) I need to sit and listen more.

Adoption is one of those things that honestly I didn’t want to hear from the Lord on.

Our lives were predictable and headed in the direction we wanted them to go in. That was the problem ~ I thought I was in control.

I would have said at the time that my life belonged entirely to the Lord and that I had surrendered all to Him and that was true. Brodie and I would have done anything He asked us to…..but we were in a season where we were too busy to hear.

Maybe we didn’t want to hear all that God would call us to. Maybe we wanted to choose our own way. Maybe that’s why we just “clocked in” and did our quiet time rather than sitting long and listening deep.

Thankfully He is not limited by our desires to control our own lives and He speaks clearly…..one way or another.

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Even through our avoiding hearts we did clearly hear the call to adopt ~ He spoke in many different ways and we KNEW it was His plan for us. His plan to give a child a family. His plan to have this child grow up in His Word and His Ways. His plan to sanctify us. His plan to allow us and our biological children to LIVE OUT the gospel first-hand, day to day, rather than just have mom and dad teach them about the gospel.

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I’m so thankful that His Ways are higher than our ways! (Isaiah 55:8) I’m thankful that many are the plans in a man’s heart but the Lord’s purpose prevails! (Proverbs 19:21) We will never be the same and neither will our little girl, Kaylee Grace, whom we brought home when she was almost 3 from China in 2013.

We were thrown into a whirlwind of trauma the instant we got her… screaming, violence, rages, severe sleep issues, failure to thrive, forced eating.

We had tried to prepare ourselves during the wait but nothing could have prepared us for the storm our family would enter into for the first 2 years she was home.

Our big kids, now ages 15, 13 and 11 were rock stars! We saw Jesus in them in true and sincere ways. All three of them traveled to China with us to meet our forever girl and they saw first-hand how our Kaylee Grace had lived for the first almost 3 years of her life.

God used this to open their eyes and give them enduring grace for the trials ahead.

If there was any part of us that still held on to the notion that our lives were our own that was now gone ~ to help Kaylee heal, to lead her to Jesus, to be His hands and feet as He made her whole, this would require us to entirely lay aside our lives (I would literally picture myself placing “Jen” to the side of me and imagine the Holy Spirit filling every ounce of me and pouring out of me).

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It would be HIS LOVE that would be enough for her ~ I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough love, I didn’t have enough patience, I didn’t have enough perseverance…..but HE DID!!! What a joy it was to FEEL His Love flow through us to heal our Kaylee Grace. Day by day, little by little, we watched Jesus redeem, breathe life, and transform.
All 3 of our big kids tell us that this is when their faith in Jesus became their own….no longer was Jesus something their parents urged them towards. Now He was real. They SAW Him, He became tangible and personal to each of them. No one around us could deny that Jesus was performing a miracle right before our very eyes!

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It was in the thick of Kaylee Grace’s first year of healing when the Lord spoke to us about our next adoption: a sibling set from Haiti.

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Brodie and our oldest daughter, Kennady, went on a missions trip to Haiti to visit an orphanage partnership that our church had just started. The Lord spoke clearly to them about a sibling set that had just been placed in the crèche and He opened every door right away. I trusted entirely that it was the Lord speaking to them as Brodie and I were not even considering adopting again at this point of Kaylee’s healing.

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It’s been over 2 years since we started the process in Haiti ~ so very different from our China adoption. We’ve met and visited our babies there a number of times. Such a blessing to get to know them and love on them before they come home. Yet so bitter sweet because it’s the hardest thing to leave them there not knowing when we will see them again or how long this unpredictable process will take.

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We praise Jesus for the progress we’ve made! Lord willing, this will be the year our Little Brother and Baby Sister join our family forever! One way or another we feel this is His Will ~ either by us moving there for the remainder of the process or by Him bringing them home!

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The very best part of the Lord inviting us into this beautiful way of loving as He loves is the JOY we’ve all had in growing our family and having these beautiful treasures entrusted to us! Such a humbling gift.

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But equally as joyous has been having our lives transformed for all eternity.

What a privilege to be invited by our Savior to lay down our lives! To be more like Him! To have His love flow through us to the least, the broken, the lonely!

His Word says, “Whoever serves Me must follow Me, and where I am My servant will also be.” John 12:26.

He invites US in our brokenness to follow HIM as HE heals the lost and the hurting!

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The invitation is for ALL who follow Him! I never would have imagined He’d invite us on this journey – we never would have thought we’d have a large family…..we never would have thought we could endure the trauma we faced when Kaylee first came home…..but we can’t thank Jesus enough for opening our eyes to those that are lonely and hurting and giving us hearts to love them with His love!!!

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What a gift that our lives are not our own! He holds all of our days. His Ways are higher! There’s a lost and broken world out there ~ WE, His children, are His answer for redemption! WE are His answer for healing! Let’s follow Him to the hurting and lonely ~ He’ll do all the work. We just have to GO!

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19

Bless you all as you press on in Him!
Jen Johanson
*If anyone is experiencing extreme rage and violence issues with your adopted child and would like to talk to someone who has walked it I’d be happy to chat. In the very thick of it I just wanted to hear from someone who made it through :). Email me: johansonfam@sbcglobal.net