Janni Adoption

Rebecca Janni
Rebecca Janni Johnston, Iowa

A year ago, we said YES to adopting Elizabeth, and we are weeks away from traveling across the ocean to bring her home. When we first read her story and saw her picture, it was like seeing an ultrasound. There were features familiar to us, that she’ll share with others in our family – her mischievous grin, her deafness, and her beautiful birth country of China. But there’s so much that a photo doesn’t show, and we can’t wait to know more about who she is, what she hopes, fears, dreams, loves. 

 

The steps we have taken to reach her are familiar. We are only walking in the love we’ve been shown by God and our families and following others who have called strangers brother, sister, son or daughter. We’ve traveled the adoption path to China once before, and we know the joy that awaits us on the other end, see it every day in our son Joshua. And although the waiting is hard and costs are many, we believe there’s profound purpose in both – from protecting children to preparing parents and families. 

 

In addition to the costs of adoption, there are medical expenses to consider, and we long to take our family with us on our adoption trip. We saw how taking our children to adopt Joshua grew our faith, deepened our compassion, and bonded us as a family. We wanted Joshua then and Elizabeth now to have the truest sense of the family they are being brought into, and we want our other children to glimpse the life their Chinese born siblings are leaving behind and the huge change we are asking of them. 

 

Until two months ago, we believed we would be traveling in March or April 2019. When our Letter of Acceptance came from China one to two months earlier than anticipated, we celebrated. And then we panicked. The time and money budget that had been falling into place had to be scrapped. We needed a new plan. And fast.

 

As if the adoption tsunami of emotion weren’t enough, we are also walking with my mom through stage 4 lung cancer and the sale of her home of forty years. 

 

The intersection of so much joy and anticipation — Elizabeth’s arrival, a new chapter, a new home — and so much fear and doubt — how long does Mom have, will she get to meet Elizabeth, will she make it to move-in day — all the uncertainty of life and the unforeseen of a new parenting journey — have stripped away every shred of control we would be tempted to claim. We are past the end of ourselves with no idea how to do this — the timeline of it, the provision of it, the big and small of it. 

 

But God.

 

God keeps showing up in people who reach out to help even before we articulate our need. Friends have offered to watch our dog Mickey, clean our house and fill our refrigerator while we’re away, assemble a small wardrobe, and they have handed us generous donations – before we ever thought to ask – matching dollar for dollar our need in that moment. 

 

Now, our home church, NorthPoint Des Moines, is partnering with Lifesong for Orphans to offer us a $5000 matching funds grant, and all of you, our friends and family, have encouraged us to reach out for help. 

 

It’s hard to ask for anything when we’ve already been given so much, and we know that when we adopt a child, all of you adopt with us. We may go to China to bring Elizabeth home, but we know she’ll find her way (as our other children have) into your homes and kitchens, your backyards and minivans, and your arms and hearts.

photo credit: Sarah B Photography


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Janni 8091”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
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Raised to date by 44 people
 of  $10,000
2 days left

My Story

A year ago, we said YES to adopting Elizabeth, and we are weeks away from traveling across the ocean to bring her home. When we first read her story and saw her picture, it was like seeing an ultrasound. There were features familiar to us, that she’ll share with others in our family – her mischievous grin, her deafness, and her beautiful birth country of China. But there’s so much that a photo doesn’t show, and we can’t wait to know more about who she is, what she hopes, fears, dreams, loves. 

 

The steps we have taken to reach her are familiar. We are only walking in the love we’ve been shown by God and our families and following others who have called strangers brother, sister, son or daughter. We’ve traveled the adoption path to China once before, and we know the joy that awaits us on the other end, see it every day in our son Joshua. And although the waiting is hard and costs are many, we believe there’s profound purpose in both – from protecting children to preparing parents and families. 

 

In addition to the costs of adoption, there are medical expenses to consider, and we long to take our family with us on our adoption trip. We saw how taking our children to adopt Joshua grew our faith, deepened our compassion, and bonded us as a family. We wanted Joshua then and Elizabeth now to have the truest sense of the family they are being brought into, and we want our other children to glimpse the life their Chinese born siblings are leaving behind and the huge change we are asking of them. 

 

Until two months ago, we believed we would be traveling in March or April 2019. When our Letter of Acceptance came from China one to two months earlier than anticipated, we celebrated. And then we panicked. The time and money budget that had been falling into place had to be scrapped. We needed a new plan. And fast.

 

As if the adoption tsunami of emotion weren’t enough, we are also walking with my mom through stage 4 lung cancer and the sale of her home of forty years. 

 

The intersection of so much joy and anticipation — Elizabeth’s arrival, a new chapter, a new home — and so much fear and doubt — how long does Mom have, will she get to meet Elizabeth, will she make it to move-in day — all the uncertainty of life and the unforeseen of a new parenting journey — have stripped away every shred of control we would be tempted to claim. We are past the end of ourselves with no idea how to do this — the timeline of it, the provision of it, the big and small of it. 

 

But God.

 

God keeps showing up in people who reach out to help even before we articulate our need. Friends have offered to watch our dog Mickey, clean our house and fill our refrigerator while we’re away, assemble a small wardrobe, and they have handed us generous donations – before we ever thought to ask – matching dollar for dollar our need in that moment. 

 

Now, our home church, NorthPoint Des Moines, is partnering with Lifesong for Orphans to offer us a $5000 matching funds grant, and all of you, our friends and family, have encouraged us to reach out for help. 

 

It’s hard to ask for anything when we’ve already been given so much, and we know that when we adopt a child, all of you adopt with us. We may go to China to bring Elizabeth home, but we know she’ll find her way (as our other children have) into your homes and kitchens, your backyards and minivans, and your arms and hearts.

photo credit: Sarah B Photography


STRIPE charges an online processing fee (2.2% +.30 USD per transaction). Your donations will be decreased by this amount. You may also send a check payable to “Lifesong for Orphans”. In the memo line please write “Janni 8091”, to ensure it is credited to our account. Please mail to Lifesong for Orphans, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL 61744.

Lifesong has been blessed with partners who underwrite all U.S. administrative and fundraising costs (TMG Foundation and other partners). That means 100% of your donation will go directly to the adoption.

  • In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong for Orphans. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor’s suggested use.
  • Lifesong is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 or more will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Receipts for donations under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.
Read more

One week to flight: Dumplings and KFC

December 5, 2018

 

This morning’s update comes from the hospital where I’m sitting with another Elizabeth I love – my mom, Kathryn Elizabeth.  We’re in the hospital waiting room, during this Advent season of waiting, waiting for healing, waiting for a new home, waiting for a long journey, waiting for a little girl and remembering how since the beginning of time, miracles have come in the waiting. 

 

On November 27, we received our travel approval and learned that our family day – the day we will meet Elizabeth and bring her with us from that point forward – is December 17, James’ birthday. We fly to China one week from today, December 12.

 

We have cried fresh tears of gratitude with each gesture and word of kindness, every generous donation. Help comes from near and far and from every chapter of our lives in the form of texts and emails, meals and cards, and size 7-8 pajamas. Family, neighborhood, church and school, childhood friends, high school and college friends, coworkers and writers and teachers and pastors and adoptive families and Chinese and Americans and hearing and Deaf, are saying we’re here for your family, we’re here for your mother, we’re here for your new daughter.

 

If we feel like we are drowning, it is in an ocean of love. It’s an ocean that connects continents, and we feel that too, how foster parents, caregivers, and teachers in China – people we’ve never met – are doing everything they can to prepare our brave girl for her new life ahead. 

 

The day before our travel approval, we received an update, a couple of photos taken earlier this month. One picture shows Elizabeth in a KFC outfit, with a sesame seed bun on a placemat in front of her. It is beautiful irony that while we are making pork dumplings, someone across the world is introducing Elizabeth to a sandwich she might taste over here. 

 

As a writer of children’s books, sometimes I wonder what will I write next? In this season of waiting, there is no wondering, there is one story I want to write for the rest of my life – in notes written in cards, in prayers scribbled in journals, in texts and emails and posts – it is the story of our gratitude to God and each one of you. 

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Comments

$100

Brent & Sharla

Dec 11, 2018

“We are praying for you, your travels, health, and transition as a family! We are excited to meet Elizabeth when you return!!”

$100

Patricia

Dec 11, 2018

“I pray for safe travel and God's richest blessings on you and your family in this new chapter in your life's story.”

$100

Thomas

Dec 9, 2018

$100

Wei

Dec 9, 2018

$100

Ben

Dec 9, 2018

$200

Dennis

Dec 9, 2018

“Blessings on your trip as you bring home your precious daughter.”

$50

sharelle

Dec 9, 2018

“God speed!”

$150

Sarah

Dec 9, 2018

“So excited for your family!!”

$20

Sarah

Dec 8, 2018

“Becky & James, much love to you and your family. We are in awe of all that you do, and your youngest daughter will be blessed to call you her family - so much love ❤️”

$200

Kyle

Dec 8, 2018

$50

Gretchen

Dec 7, 2018

$100

Gregory

Dec 7, 2018

“Love y'all, G,J,S,J”

$50

Jed & Mara

Dec 6, 2018

“God bless you all on your journey! We’re keeping you in our prayers. Your family is such a light in this world!”

$25

Thomas

Dec 6, 2018

“Praying for you guys!”

$256

Hidden

Dec 5, 2018

“So blessed to have the Janni’s as neighbors and can’t wait to have Elizabeth join our “Village”!”

$100

Jen & Scott

Dec 5, 2018

“Congratulations! We’re looking forward to meeting Elizabeth! Safe travels if we don’t run into you before you leave! Best, The Harkens”

$200

Amy

Dec 5, 2018

“As a fellow Northpoint adoptive mom - congratulations and good luck on your trip! I know how crazy it gets right before you travel. Sending prayers your way!”

$1,000

Kathryn

Dec 5, 2018

$250

Kersten

Dec 5, 2018

“We will be praying for you and your family! How exciting! Congratulations!”

$100

Patricia

Dec 5, 2018

$50

Scott and Cary

Dec 5, 2018

“So much love for your sweet family! We can't wait to meet her.”

$50

Hidden

Dec 5, 2018

$300

Beth, Kevin, Eric, MacKenzie, Andrew, Leah, Allie, and Blake

Dec 4, 2018

“Loving you all and loving Elizabeth!”

$200

Shannon

Nov 29, 2018

“So excited for the Janni family!”

$250

Hidden

Nov 28, 2018

$100

Jill

Nov 28, 2018

$1,000

Michelle & GW

Nov 25, 2018

“We feel blessed to be a part of your journey to bring sweet Elizabeth home!”

$100

Mandy

Nov 25, 2018

$50

Amy

Nov 24, 2018

“Congratulations! We will be praying for your journey back to China! And for Elizabeth as she joins her beautiful family. Love to you all.”

$100

Jeanne & Stan

Nov 24, 2018

“You are in our thoughts and prayers.”

$100

Hidden

Nov 24, 2018

$50

Rashelle

Nov 23, 2018

$1,000

Jenny and Jacob

Nov 22, 2018

“Praying for you and your beautiful family!”

$50

Kara

Nov 21, 2018

$512

Andi

Nov 20, 2018

“We are so excited for you Janni family. We are praying with you for all of your needs to be met. We cannot wait to meet Elizabeth. The Fishers”

$50

Priya

Nov 20, 2018

$100

Jan

Nov 20, 2018

“Excited for your family to meet Elizabeth and enfold her in your love and joy.”

$100

Pat

Nov 20, 2018

$250

Brad

Nov 20, 2018

$1,000

Christine

Nov 20, 2018

$50

maribeth

Nov 20, 2018

“Blessings on your growing family, and the welcoming of your Elizabeth! Much love to you all and many prayers.”

$100

Jeremy & Sara

Nov 20, 2018

“Thank you for sharing your story on Sunday. We will be praying for all of you!”

$100

Jenny

Nov 20, 2018

“So happy for you all and pray you feel much support and love from your community. Can’t wait to see Elizabeth with you!”

$100

Doug

Nov 20, 2018