The desire to adopt was placed on both mine and my husband Damion’s hearts in childhood. Thus, the idea of growing a family through adoption was part of our conversations as far back as our high school sweetheart days. We’ve now been married sixteen years and have been blessed with five children-two by birth and three by adoption. Our children are the apples of our eyes and all of them bring us tremendous joy. We’re adoption advocates because so much of that joy stems from the children who have entered our family through adoption. I’m convinced that adoption is one of the most beautiful adventures a family can take. But what makes it beautiful is so much deeper than cute Christmas card pictures we send out each year. It’s the journey of refining, healing and redemption that we get to experience together.
It’s not uncommon for people to tell us how special we are or how “lucky” our adopted children are. To that, we can honestly say that WE are the “lucky” ones. We can’t believe what amazing kids God has given us the opportunity to parent! We pray that in 20 years they’ll all feel the same way about us-until then, the verdict is out as to whether we’re anything special in the parenting department. We strive to make our home a secure haven full of lightheartedness and laughter, but it’s also something we take very seriously. Adoption and adoptive parenting aren’t always easy, but we do our best to do it well. We’ve learned to be more intentional because some of our children are in a process of healing and still learning to trust. We’ve needed to educate ourselves about unique and important issues that come with being a trans-racial, multicultural family. We’ve been stretched and challenged in many areas, from our finances to our faith. Our children are treasures-priceless and adored. Damion and I are keenly aware that no sacrifices made by us will ever compare to the depth of the losses our adoptive children experienced before they came into our lives.
Christina, Damion and their two sons they are hoping to bring home in the next few months.
While we’d spent years researching, reading about and planning to adopt, it wasn’t until we actually adopted that we really grasped the magnitude of the losses that are part of all adoption stories. Because all adoptions stem from brokenness-be it abuse, neglect, chaos, death, rejection, abandonment, stigma (social, political, familial), poverty or other tragic circumstance. There’s ALWAYS loss. It’s these types of losses that resulted in our children living in orphanages in Haiti and Ethiopia. And it’s these same types of losses that bring children into care with the Children’s Homes, whether in Florida or any of their partner orphanages around the world. That brokenness will forever be a part of these precious children’s stories whether they’re eventually reunited with their birth families, or grow up in foster care, or are placed with adoptive families.
But though there is brokenness, there is hope!
I’m thankful that, like my children from hard places, the children served by the Children’s Homes are introduced to a redemptive God who can heal all wounds. They’re taught that He came not only to save them, but to make them whole. Though their losses weren’t a part of God’s original plan, He has always been with them, loves them more than they can imagine, and will never leave them. Wounds from the types of brokenness that results in foster home and orphanage placements are deep. Healing doesn’t always come easily or quickly-for some it can take a lifetime. But through God ALL things are possible. He is always good and always faithful. There is no destruction, no trauma, that He cannot restore. There’s no tragic situation that He cannot use for His glory.
“. . . bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3)
My adopted children are survivors! They’ve inspired me to seek ways I can make a difference in orphan care-improving conditions for children who need care-and also in orphan prevention-addressing issues that cause children to become orphaned in the first place. What a privilege it is that I get to be their mother and watch Jesus work in their lives, transforming their stories of heartbreak and loss into testimonies of His everlasting love and grace! As Women of Compassion, we have the privilege of partnering with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in sharing Jesus and providing safe places of hope and healing for the children it serves. What an incredible opportunity to make a real and eternal impact in the lives of children and families around the world!
Together for children,
Christina M. Johnson-Boyce
Women of Compassion Council