You Were Made For This: the Johanson Family’s Story

Meet the Johanson family. Jen and her husband, Brodie, have adopted four children through Lifeline. We sat down with Jen to ask her some questions about her adoption experience.

Question 1: What would you tell a family that felt intimidated or unsure about adopting through a medical special needs program?

We were told so many times as we found ourselves intimidated by special needs adoption that we would be blessed beyond anything we could imagine. And I have to say, it’s so true! One of our special needs kiddos has been home 5 1/2 years and one has been home 1 year and we have 2 who were non-special needs from Haiti, home 3 years. We can honestly say they have ALL been such a blessing but there is for sure something miraculous about special needs adoption. Our kiddos with special needs came to us with really no hope at all and more obstacles in their path than we could count. As a family we have been blown away by God’s goodness and provision over their lives. They’ve healed in more ways than we ever would have imagined and we’ve been so blessed to have a front row seat to His miracle-working-goodness!! We definitely have days that are challenging and sometimes we still feel unqualified but there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t see the glory of God as a banner over our family reminding us that He is good and that He is all-powerful!!

Question 2: Having been to China twice, what do you feel like you have seen and learned about the need for adoption in China?

Having seen orphanages in 3 different countries we have a very special place in our hearts for China adoption. One thing we have learned from traveling to China on two different occasions is the desperate need these children have for Jesus. The gospel is so prohibited there that these kiddos really don’t have a chance to hear the Good News of Jesus apart from being adopted into a Christ-centered family. There is no greater need these kids will ever have other than the need of knowing Jesus. We believe adoption is the best way for these children to grow up knowing the love of Christ!

Question 3: What is the biggest lesson you have learned post adoption?

We have to love with Christ’s love – ours will never be enough. Our patience will run out, our joy will run out, our gentleness will run out…..but His never does! So we have to lay ourselves aside and let His love take over. I literally imagine myself laying myself to the side each day and I ask Jesus to love these kids that He has entrusted to us with His love.  I ask Him to give me wisdom of how to best help them in that moment and for perseverance to carry out loving them with His love. We have to be willing to lay our feelings aside and do whatever it takes for them to heal and feel safe. Only Jesus can help us do that!!

Question 4: What has been the hardest part of your post adoption journey?

Learning that my life is not my own. It’s one thing to say “Jesus, my life isn’t my own, do with it as You please!” But it’s a whole other thing to live it out daily. Adoption gives me the opportunity to die to myself every day – which is such a blessing because God’s Word tells us we have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live but Jesus Himself lives in us!!! (Galatians 2:20)  So it has been such a gift to HAVE to lay my life down daily, but even years down the road it is still hard for me to do and I see how quick I am to want to take my life back for myself. When we say yes to adoption we are saying yes to laying our lives down and yes taking up Christ’s life ~ even though it’s hard, it’s one of the greatest surprise blessings of adoption!

Question 5: If you could encourage adoptive families in the process right now, what would you tell them?

Jesus chose YOU for your children! He has given you everything you need to train them up in His ways! No matter what struggles / mountains / hardships are ahead, He has already conquered them! Fill yourself with God’s Word so you are ready to pour it out over your children. His Word will not return void – speak it out over your kids and pray it into their lives. It will accomplish what He desires! When we are sure of this, we can walk confidently in His Love…..”being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6