Before the Lord graciously placed adoption on our hearts, we really never thought about adoption.
We certainly never talked about it. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Jesus CLEARLY placed adoption on our hearts and changed our lives forever. We are so very thankful for the many ways adoption has beautifully transformed our family and helped us to be a little more like Jesus.
Our family is now in the process of our second adoption… which came just as unexpectedly as our first.
Through our first adoption, we were blessed with our sweet girl from China. Our eyes were opened and our hearts were broken in such amazing ways. We knew we’d never be the same. And as the Lord taught us to love this sweet and fragile little life with HIS love and not our own, He began to nudge our hearts again… this time towards a sibling set in Haiti. My husband and oldest daughter went on a mission’s trip with our church to an awesome crèche called Chances For Children and before we knew it, we were rushing through paperwork trying to meet deadlines. We had such a great experience working with Lifeline for our China adoption that when the Lord placed these Haitian kiddos on our hearts, we knew right away we wanted to work with Lifeline again. There was only one problem~ the crèche that our children lived in wasn’t partnered with Lifeline. But we weren’t going to let that stop us. We talked with our friend, who is the director of Chances For Children, and told her over and over how much she would love working with Lifeline. We assured her that not only would she love working with them on our case, but she would also want to send many more families their way! She agreed to add another agency partnership and Lifeline worked quickly on their end to do what was necessary to add a new crèche.
We couldn’t be happier to have our Lifeline friends working with us through this beautiful, yet sometimes erratic Haiti process.
We just came off of our two-week-socialization trip which was a beautiful time of bonding with our two sweeties (who, by the way, we can hardly wait to bring home!). Our whole family traveled to Haiti for this special time… our 3 bio kids (ages 14,12, and 10) and our Kaylee from China who is 4 1/2. Our time was truly a blessing in so many ways! We got some precious time with our new kiddos, we all got a chance to really begin forming some sweet bonds with them, and we left feeling like the Lord revealed a pretty clear “game plan” for next year when they come home. While we were there we had a blast getting to love on our kids’ friends at the crèche, we got to know the nannies who bless our kids every single day and we also had some crazy, loud and super silly time together as a WHOLE family laughing and playing with one another.
Our Embassy appointment may have been the most eventful part of the whole trip!
We have heard of and prayed many times for the riots that have been happening in Haiti… but we never thought we’d be IN a riot! Our appointment was bright and early on a Monday morning. As we neared the Embassy we could see black smoke in the distance and noticed that ALL of the vehicles were traveling the OPPOSITE way… in fact, we were the ONLY van headed down the street… everyone else was turning around and going back. One driver, who had just turned around in front of us, rolled down his window and urged our driver to turn back as well. He let him know that the roads were all closed due to a massive riot in front of the Embassy. The Haitian director of our crèche (who was our guide) told our driver to pull as close as he could and then he walked ahead to see if it was safe. He felt that it was, so INTO the riot we went. We were told to put our heads down and walk quickly… so we did exactly as we were told.
Thankfully, our embassy appointment went really well and as we left, we were glad to see that most of the black smoke and crowds had dissipated so we headed back to where our driver had parked. However, when we neared the riot scene, we saw people running towards us with rags over their faces. Before we knew it, our eyes were instantly burning and we couldn’t breathe. Instinctually we all just turned back towards the embassy and began to run away as we simultaneously heard someone yell something about “poisonous gas”. Apparently the local police threw some type of tear gas on the fires to make the protestors stop. Our guide called our driver and he picked us up there… as he swung into the parking lot and unlocked the doors for us he said, “Welcome to Haiti!”. We all just laughed. We really weren’t too worried at any point because our guide was so calm and cool about the whole thing that we thought he must do this all the time. However, he let us know that we were the first family this has ever happened to and in fact, this was the first time he’s ever gone through a riot! Our big kids thought it was an exciting adventure… especially the tear gas… and we have certainly had a few laughs about it since!
All in all we had a wonderful socialization trip. We are truly thankful for the time that we spent with our kids and at Chances For Children.
We can’t wait to go back and visit this beautiful country… and especially our awesome kiddos there!
The Johanson Family
“What a blessing it has been to see the Lord work out His plans in His perfect timing. During each step of this process, we have seen Him open doors for the Haiti program and for this family in amazing ways. God continues to bless us with Gospel-centered families and partners on the ground. We are so thankful for Chances for Children and the work they do, caring for orphans around the globe.” Meredith Campbell, Haiti Program Director, Lifeline Children’s Services
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of the Johanson family’s visit to meet their 2 Haitian children. Christ’s light shown bright in every single interaction between every single family member. It is an honor to partner with Lifeline – they are an agency with a thorough understanding of the adoption process and Lifeline families trust in God’s timing and sovereignty – making them well prepared for the sometimes grueling adoption journey.” Kathi Juntunen, President, Chances for Children