God is writing another story

God is writing another story. It starts with 3 Johnsons, a ministry to unwed mothers in Taiwan, 2 passionate God-loving ladies, an 18 year old girl and 1 tiny baby. Let's see where the story goes...

Monday, May 23, 2011

We have our COURT DATE!!!!!!

On our 16th wedding anniversary, June 24th, 2011, a judge in Taiwan will hear our adoption case.  Our Power of Attorney, His Hand's administrative assistant Rae Fang, will go to court on our behalf and will take Selah with her.  Selah's biological mother and family will also be in attendance.

Eric and I do ask our family and friends to pray with us for a few specific issues:
1)  That God will grant us favor with the judge
2)  That all the paperwork will arrive in court and be "in order"
3)  That every person expected to be in attendance will be there on time
4)  That the court process will be complete before we need to reapply for U.S. Immigration approval to bring Selah home (our approval expires October 16; we will reapply 30-90 days prior??)
5)  That God will give comfort and reassurance to Selah's mother and family that Selah will be deeply loved and cared for, and that we will maintain contact with them in the years to come.

Thank you all!

Selah at 7 months

We continue to receive regular photos and videos of our baby girl.  As of May 22, Selah is 7 months old.  She seems to be "catching up" in her growth and development.  She hasn't grown very long yet, but is sure filling out weight-wise!  Her personality is blossoming and she regularly gives her care givers big smiles and laughs frequently.  We are also told that Eric and I will have our hands full-- as she knows how to get attention / get her way when she wants it!  That's ok by us.  We like our girls spunky! lol

I'll post some videos soon~

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I heard a powerful song on Family Life Radio today, "Blessings" by Laura Story.  It was an encouraging and touching reminder that God never wastes our tears and uses every difficulty to grow and enrich us.  If you've never heard it, I encourage you to listen and watch the video here.  Or just read the lyrics below and let the message uplift you as it did me!
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Monday, May 16, 2011

What If...?

As of today, we are a little over 3 weeks in to our 2-4 week wait to hear when our first court hearing is.  I check my email obsessively, hoping like crazy to see a message from His Hands.  Getting the court process going is major, and I can hardly wait to hear the news that a judge in Taiwan has been assigned our case!  It's like waiting for Christmas morning when you just know you are getting that wonderful something you always wanted.

I find myself indulging in lots of "what if" scenarios, especially late at night when I can't sleep. 
I wonder when our court date will be and how long the process will take...and if it is possible to travel to Taiwan in August
I imagine the phone call when Holly and Trena say, "You passed court!  Get your bags packed!" 
I dream of holding Selah for the first time and imagine what it will be like to spend time at House of Hope and exploring Taiwan. 
Oh lots and lots of dreamin' going on here! :)

We do know that Holly leaves Taiwan on June 9th and returns at the beginning of August.  Trena leaves June 6th and returns August 24th.  Mona and Dudley will be at House of Hope all summer taking care of everything if our court date occurs while Holly and Trena are out of the country.  So here's my new favorite dream/prayer request:::  Dear Lord, can we please have our first court date before June 9th???  ;-)

On one other note, I spoke with USCIS on the phone Friday to inquire about our application to change our orphan immigrant visa approval from Ethiopia to Taiwan.  Their website ("check your case status") was not working correctly.  I was very relieved to learn that our application was received and is indeed being processed.  We have had very positive results with USCIS every time in the past, so we are hoping to receive our "Taiwan approval" in a few weeks.  Let you know!

a few recent photos

5 New Videos!!! includes major laughs! :)

Selah on Mother's Day

Selah on Mother's Day

Selah and her friend Lena
Selah laughs loads
Selah laughs some more

IRS Runaround

Yo!  IRS!  Quit pulling our chain!!  Finish your "review" (aka "delaying tactics") of adoptive parents' 2010 tax returns and release the promised funds already!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes I'm feeling a mite hot under the collar.  For the first time we are eligible for the Federal Adoption Tax Credit for Noelle's adoption due to changes made to that bill as part of the Health Reform Act.  Yet we are one of thousands of adoptive families who are having their refunds held up by the IRS. 

--Our accountant filed our 2010 taxes in early February
--In early March we found out our return was being "reviewed" (i.e. "audited" says our accountant) because we were claiming the adoption credit.  We received a letter telling us we would receive a letter telling us what to do next.  Yes, seriously. 
--In April we received the letter requesting additional documentation to prove we adopted Noelle in 2008.  We also needed to include copies of all the receipts to show we spent enough money to be eligible for the credit.  Since we knew this request was coming, we already had everything gathered together and mailed it immediately. 
--Today (May 16) we receive a letter from the IRS saying that our "correspondence was received" and they have 30 days to review our paperwork.  (This means that since February that have not yet started reviewing our return.)  OR they would send us another letter telling us when they would review our paperwork. 

You have got to be kidding me!!

Know what, how 'bout just be honest up front and tell us all one of the statements below:
a)  We are woefully untrained and every office has different information so no one knows how to process these adoption claims anyway.
b)  Plan on receiving your money by the end of 2011, or whenever we get our act together.
c)  The government has no money, so forget about ever seeing your refund.

I apologize for the dripping sarcasm.  We truly are grateful that the changes to the bill allow us to receive a refund for part of the money spent on Noelle's adoption.  It is a blessing!  It is tough news to swallow, however, when the delays keep coming.  We wonder if the money will arrive in time to finish paying our adoption fees to complete Selah's adoption...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pics, Update and a Video!

Keep reading all the way to the end and you will find a new video...of Selah laughing!!!
I LOVE this picture!!  This is our Angel-face Selah...  Look at those eyes!!

The most notable news to report is that last week we submitted a petition to U.S. Immigrations.  We are already approved to bring a foreign-born newly adopted child into this country.  HOWEVER we are currently approved to adopt from Ethiopia, and our approval expires mid-October.  This time around we paid for our approval to be switched to Taiwan, but we still only have until October to complete the adoption.  Otherwise we start over with the application process.  We would love to avoid that, if at all possible. ;) 

USCIS received our small stack of paperwork on Thursday and yesterday we received our electronic notification that they received our paperwork and opened our case.  We were unsure where to send the paperwork, so it is a huge relief that our paperwork is now in the system.  I sent a nice cover letter and photocopies of every document I thought would be helpful.  I am hopeful that we won't have to wait too long to get switched back to Taiwan.  The truly humorous thing about the electronic notification is that they sent me 5 text messages and 5 emails to tell us!!  From what I heard from other adoptive parents who never received any confirmation, I wasn't expecting any either.  So 10 notifications was a shock, to say the least! 

The other adoption news is that the Chinese translation of our new Power of Attorney is being mailed to us tomorrow.  We should have it early next week.  We will get it state certified, TECO'd and mailed back to His Hands.  I think this means that we will be officially done with paperwork.  I hope. lol

 Is that the most adorable thing you've ever seen, or what??!!  Maybe I'm biased, but we 3 Johnson's LOVED this video of Selah's first recorded laughter!!!  Her personality is starting to shine through.  It is also reassuring to see her continue to grow and develop.  Thank you Lord!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's A Mess!

Okay so I know I haven't posted those new videos and pictures of Selah yet. 
We've been a bit distracted around here.
This past week has been a mess.  Our area had bad storms on Wednesday and we personally lost power / Internet for several days.  We are so blessed, however, that we had only minor tree damage, and my parents had none at all, in spite of being only a mile or so away from the path of the EF-4 Tornado in Ringgold, GA.  Thank you Jesus!!  Unfortunately many many people in our area facing devastating loss-- houses, cars, businesses--   There has even been loss of life.  The current death toll is 78.  So awful!!  Here is a link to the Chattanooga Times Free Press article which includes a video of one section of the destruction in Ringgold.

Please pray for all the hurting families in the coming weeks and months as they try to rebuild their lives.  I pray that Eric and I personally, and the many Christians in our area, will do everything we can to help show the love of Jesus in this time of need!