We have some news to share…..

….yes, our Little Miss Tolly-pop has some news for you……
*******Here we “Grow” again!!!!!!!!********
WE ARE IN LOVE WITH OUR NEWEST BLESSING FROM CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
maybe you saw it coming, maybe you are shocked and surprised! 
But….one thing is for sure: WE are in shock and awe by how GOD has made his plans known to us!!!
Ok….you gotta hang with me for a little while….cause there’s a story…a VERY BIG GOD STORY!!
and… I have to back up….LOTS. 
Sorry, but there is just NO WAY to tell you this GOD’s story without starting from the beginning where he started getting ahold of us….grabbing our hearts.
God has simply used a string of SOVEREIGN events to GET OUR ATTENTION and WAKE US UP!! 
And, I am SO VERY thankful he did! To think of all we would have missed had we stayed lulled to sleep by the things of this world.

Each event led to the next, but it was up to us to take each step so that He could guide us to the next and show us more of His plan for our family.
It started when we had  been invited to celebrate a momentous event. 
We were in the throws of trying to sell our house, spending so much time on Realtor.com, dwelling on big questions like : Corian or Granite???
Then, God shook us up!!
It started with our Road Trip to travel to Nashville to celebrate SHOW HOPE’s Ten Year Celebration.
Let’s just say it was God’s “stage one” of His plans to re-open our eyes to things of more importance… for instance, the things that break HIS heart like, the orphan Crisis in the world today. 
And, He reminded us that HE was still moving and working and we needed to get on board so we don’t miss the blessings! 

DREAM COME TRUE!!!!!!!!!!
We were moved and stirred by the many stories of radical faith that various families shared that night in their efforts to LOVE those who MOST needed LOVE… They were ordinary heroes making a BIG difference in a child’s life. 
Changing the world…one extraordinary life at a time.
sweetie Jaelynn, and her precious family
Jim Caviezel and his wife sharing their incredible testimony…
All of us walked away feeling moved, unsettled and determined to keep doing all we can to speak up for the orphan…..we were being jostled from our sleep! 
Here we were spending so much of our mental energy talking about bigger yards and hard wood floors…but, we were hungry for something that truly satisfied.
When we got home, trying to sell a house just didn’t seem important anymore. 
We were no longer attracted to the things of this world.
We wanted more.
we came to the conclusion that we wanted to be USED by GOD, we were sick of being irrelevant…we wanted to make a difference. We were done filling our minds with things that didn’t satisfy! 
Then….our hearts started carrying little Teresa….. a little warrior girl from China who was fighting for her life not too far from where we lived.
We prayed and prayed and prayed for her miracle, all of us….but her miracle came a different way. She was made whole, carried to Jesus’s arms by her mommy and daddy. Her healing came in heaven. But, the real miracle was this: She didn’t die an orphan. She died knowing the love of a mommy, daddy, sisters and brothers. SHE KNEW THE FEIRCE LOVE OF A FOREVER FAMILY!!
That is the Gospel. Laying down your life for another…..
I was moved, I was changed.
My heart started to break in a new way for these precious children who waited…those with serious heart defects ….especially.
I prayed that God would show us what to do with this great sorrow for the many orphans who still waited,  and what to do with this greater determination that I now carried to just do something. To help even just a little.
He then gave me this verse

The one word that kept stirring in me was HOPE! 

Surely, you’re HOPE will NOT BE CUT OFF! 

It was a promise from God!

 and…in that moment, for us, it was a commandment!!!

We were to try to bring to bring hope to the orphan. 


It was clear…..we were to officially advocate and start a new website!!!


We started a new journey into the world of advocacy. We, as a family, started praying each of these snowdrops by name that they would GET THIER HOPE!
like sweet Linny…we cried many tears for her. The kids fundraised for her…We burned with sadness for this precious little lamb

And, It hurts….it hurts to be a 1/2 world away and to feel like you can’t do very much to help a child who so desperately needs help!! However, we were convinced that GOD is BIG and uses prayer to bring HIS miracles!

he then gave us this promise for Linny….



As we walked further down the road and held these precious snowdrops in our hearts, God was poking  mine and Brian’s hearts as well, in a different way.

We went out to dinner for our anniversary one night and we just shared with each other how God was speaking to each of our hearts. 
He shared with me that he believed God had a plan for us to adopt one day again, and that he knew that from the time we were leaving China with our Tolly. 
I was thrilled…..because God had shown me the same thing!!!
He gave me many verses from Isaiah to confirm this promise. I love Isaiah and I just decided I was going to camp out there all summer. Such an incredible book of the bible that is bursting with God’s heart all over it!
These were the verses that just jumped off the page for me

Isaiah 55:2-4

New International Version (NIV)
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>
    and you will delight in the richest<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> that you may live.

Isaiah 54:2-3
New International Version (NIV)
“Enlarge the place of your tent,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;

Isaiah 48:6

New International Version (NIV)
You have heard these things; look at them all.
    Will you not admit them?
“From now on I will tell you of new things,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>
    of hidden things unknown to you.


Finally THIS passage felt like it popped out of my bible:
Its TOO good to leave out!

Isaiah 61

New International Version (NIV)

The Year of the Lord’s Favor

61 The Spirit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> of the Sovereign Lord<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> me
    to proclaim good news<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> to the poor.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>
He has sent me to bind up<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> for the captives<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,<span class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
    and the day of vengeance<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> of our God,
to comfort<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> all who mourn,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> of beauty
    instead of ashes,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”>
the oil<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> of joy
    instead of mourning,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”>
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> of the Lord    for the display of his splendor.<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>
They will rebuild the ancient ruins<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”>
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”>
    you will receive a double<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> portion,

and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”>
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> with them.
Their descendants<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”>
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”>
as a bridegroom adorns his head<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> like a priest,
    and as a bride<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”>
    and praise spring up before all nations.
Well, we didnt do anything…we just pondered and I was hungry for more of God’s revelations. Let me tell ya, when you hunger and thirst and go to HIS word to satisfy, HE FEEDS YOU!!! 
Oh my GOD, HE WRECKED me with his word…sometimes, I just wanted to put it down because He’d speak so loudly and clearly!
It truly is alive and active!
To lay down our lives and take up the cross and follow HARD after Jesus?
Or do we go to church each sunday and worship the GOD of “comfort, security, easy, prosperity”
No…Jesus didn’t preach prosperity…in fact, he preached quite the opposite.
We have to lose ourselves to gain.
It’s opposite of everything this world tries to teach us.
We chewed over the scripture truths in this book, we had friends over to help ourselves to dig in further…we couldn’t let it go.
Our eyes were now fully opened, we were now fully awake….
and God showed us this verse
and we were stunned by it….
We are held responsible for what we know. God showed himself to us and revealed to us what it really means to follow Him.
Because, here’s the thing: why do we want to follow him? 
Because of what HE DID FOR US. 
HE SAVES us from HELL. 
He sent HIS son to die for us, he offers us FORGIVENESS with no strings attached. 
A free gift.
He teaches us how to love sacrificially by laying ourselves down. 
But, He asks the same of us….TO LOVE.. to be let ourselves feel pain, be vulnerable, be affected. To risk getting hurt.
It felt like a crisis of faith….I was heavy for what He was showing us.
Thats when I wrote my “WHAT IF” post
What if we allowed God to change us radically???
…. then God brought Anna into my life, in a whole slew of supernatural events that were connected to our Linny.
The moment I saw Anna’s eyes, my heart was slammed with a fierce love for her. Dear Anna has a critical heart condition and she needs a miracle, FAST! 
her eyes…those eyes pierced my very soul. Her hope was fading fast….I cried nightly for her, for her life, for her miracle.  We prayed and prayed and prayed and carried her in our hearts and souls. 
Then I asked Brian the critical question:
Is she supposed to be ours?? Is GOD calling us??
As hard of a question as it was, we both agreed God was calling us to seek his Hand for that answer. We were to call on HIM for direction.
We prayed Isaiah 30:21
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.

We fasted, we prayed….he spoke: He said, “no, she is NOT yours”
I was crushed. I grieved as if I had lost my child in my belly. It hurt like a hurt I had never had before.
I asked God, I yelled at God, I wrestled. WHY WHY would He have me so connected to her, yet not be her momma?
Though I questioned…I trusted and I had to lay down the desire. She was somebody else’s baby girl and I was determined for them to find her! She could not afford to wait!
Then, I met dear Maggie on Facebook. A fellow “Anna adovocate”. The Lord brought us together to brainstorm and pray for dear Anna!!
Little did I know that Maggie would be used by God in another powerful way! To eventually lead us to our new daughter!
As it became clearer and clearer to Brian that GOD was calling us to adopt again, I began praying about who that little one could be? SHOW ME LORD! I don’t want to miss her!!
I couldn’t deny one thing, a scary thing: I believed God was calling us to a “heart baby”….
He reminded me of my Isaiah verses:
“He has sent me to bind up<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> for the captives”

And….as I would tell Brian of this, he would say, “perhaps God doesn’t mean a literal broken heart…After all, heart defects are VERY scary!”
That was the Special Need that previously we had run from…and Brian was still trying to run from!!

But, I couldn’t ignore what I believed God was showing us….

God had other plans…higher than our plans. I once heard it said….the thing you are resisting the most, is probably that which God will end up calling you to.


There is sometimes great truth to that.
Then….we were packing for one last “HOO-RAH” to end summer. We were gifted with an awesome tiny beach house in NJ for the last week of summer!
We were thrilled to get away and play!!!
But, God had more plans for our time at the beach…..
Just a few days before we left, my dear friend, Maggie, messaged me on FB and told me that LIFELINE agency had just added a new little “heart baby” (who they were referring to as “danae”) on their waiting list page. And the Lord had laid her on her heart to TELL US!
Well, as soon as I got the message…something just clicked. I didn’t even go to Lifeline agency’s webpage to look her up. I just stopped everything I was doing and called Lifeline right away and asked them to please send us her file!
We HAD to see her, know her….love her. I can’t explain it. It was as if something took over my body!
Well, as soon as I opened the file I saw her sweet, angelic face
I felt a rush of love! I wanted her!!!!!

Then, I read her file…I saw lots of scary words

She has a serious heart defect that will require surgery once she is home…

This little one is a survivor! I can’t believe all that she has had to endure and go through in her first 18 months of life.

Hospitalized for heart surgery (which is a miracle that she got one in China). 
Hospitalized for a deadly infection that almost killed her.:(

She is a brave warrior girl! GOD HAS BIG PLANS FOR HER!!!

I thought to myself….”oh GOD, what are you doing??” 
“If you are telling us she is ours, you are going to have to REALLY show us, cause this is crazy!!”
But, then God would have me look into her eyes, and those fears melted away fast!

God showed me this verse from Isaiah…yet again

Isaiah 45

New International Version (NIV)
45 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>
    to Cyrus,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> whose right hand I take hold<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> of
to subdue nations<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> before him
    and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
    so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>
    and will level<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> the mountains<span class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a];

I will break down gates<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> of bronze
    and cut through bars of iron.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>
I will give you hidden treasures,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>
    riches stored in secret places,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”>
so that you may know<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>
For the sake of Jacob my servant,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”>
    of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
    and bestow on you a title of honor,
    though you do not acknowledge<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”>
    apart from me there is no God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”>
I will strengthen you,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”>
    though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>
people may know<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”> there is none besides me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”>
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”>
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”>
    I, the Lord, do all these things.
I felt that the Lord was calling US. But….God had to not only show me, he HAD to show Brian. I prayed that if He meant for us to be this little one’s mommy and daddy, that HE would make it very clear to Brian.
But, He decided He was going to take us on a bit of a spiritual journey of faith and wrestling before He made it clear.
one thing I knew, though she had many health unknowns. I KNOW that she is FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY made, HIS WORKS ARE PERFECT!! She is a gift…

So, hear we are…off to the beach! With a commitment to pray over this little one, to HEAR from GOD!!
I even knew what her name would have to be…
…I knew if she was ours her name would be 
GIANNA FAITH
“Gianna” means God’s gift of grace (anna means gift)
and “Faith”….well, Faith is what is SO NEEDED in this journey!
It was God’s grace that led us to this little one…..
So, we here we are at the beach…playing, splashing, swimming, digging…
and PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING!!!
We heard back from many cardiologists, pediatrician, neurologists.
And, while some reports were encouraging, many just left us with more questions and fears.
What would the long term effects be from her bacterial infection??
What about this serious heart surgery??
But, one thing we knew:
“FEAR is NOT of God, He does NOT give a spirit of fear”
So, we came to the conclusion that we did need more answers. So, we asked the agency to please submit some questions to her orphanage.
And, when we got home from vacation I called the agency and explained that maybe it was better for us to just let go of her file. I asked them if it was fair to hold on to it while we waited for the answers?
But, they encouraged us to keep holding to the file until they can see if they can get some answers. That was SO GOD!
I then asked Brian if we could PLEASE WAIT till we had ALL the information in front of us before making a decision…
HE agreed, but (in frustration) asked that we wait quietly…and not keep discussing her because we were just going in circles. IT was frustrating!
(but, what he later confessed: he was wrestling with God, knowing GOD did not want him to let her go either)
So, I kept quiet….but, days went by and we heard NOTHING. I started to become so discouraged and really wondered if she wasn’t ours after all….I was very sad and desperate to hear from God.
I lost faith. I thought to myself: He is done. HE is done speaking to us about her! 
(oh me of little faith!!!)
Well, enter the amazing author and fellow-adoptive momma: “Eileen Mestas” to our God story….
over the summer I had read her incredible book about “walking in Faith” called More than “I” can Handle. 
It was another book (like Radical) that opened my eyes to the amazing realization of what a life of walking in faith can really look like!
…after sharing her story with Brian, we both agreed she HAS to come to our church and share her testimony with us! Our church NEEDS to hear her story of FAITH and miracles. It stretches you, humbles you and inspires you to truly live by faith! And to hear from GOD!!
So, we were on our way planning this event! 
One night, Brian popped in her DVD with her speaking on it. It was her whole testimony.
He started playing it in the family room while I was on the computer..and I wasn’t planning on going to listen to it, because I already knew her incredible story! And, I wasn’t in the mood….honestly! ( I was in a pit)
Then, I started to hear her voice…her enthusiasm…her story and I felt God say to me “Johanna, I AM NOT DONE WITH YOU….GO LISTEN TO my Daughter, Eileen’s, story of what FAITH CAN DO!!”
I was drawn immediately in to listen. We listened together Brian and I….and I felt God speak to my heart!!!
He said, “I AM STILL WORKING, OH YOU OF LITTLE FAITH!!!” 
So, the next day I texted Brian saying…”I really think God is going to show himself this week about this little baby girl…we need to make sure our hearts are ready to hear HIM!”
I just felt like something was stirring. SOMETHING was gonna happen!
Well, then a few days went by and God was quiet again!!
NOTHING…no agency updates still!!
Then I woke up Wed morning and I came downstairs early to have my Quiet Time with the Lord and I prayed before I opened the Bible. I begged God to show me why He kept my heart so attached to this little baby girl, why we couldn’t let her go?? To show himself to US…I was asking for some reassurance that it HAD been Him speaking to us, something!!!
Then, I opened to Judges and my mouth fell open as I read Gideon’s words..it was as if I was reading my own words:

Judges 6:14-18

New International Version (NIV)
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> and save<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>
16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
17 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> that it is really you talking to me. 18 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”
And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.

It was as if I was having a conversation with the Lord through the Bible!!! Wow, God’s word is so alive!!!
I closed my bible and prayed for some sign, some confirmation that she was ours or NOT ours. I just wanted to know.
Then, I left to go read my emails.
And, there it was….sent to me just one minute before I opened it. It was an email from the agency with answers to our questions. And, they were all positive and encouraging answers!!!
We learned that she had no hearing loss, she was speaking a little, developing on par, she was not sick currently….
NO RED FLAGS….
We coudn’t have handled anymore red flags because we were weak! Weak with fear of the unknowns.
 But, God in his graciousness, sent us this encouraging update with NEW pics of our little girl!!!
I believed it was HIS confirmation that WE WERE TO GO GET HER!!! I knew she was our daughter at that moment, more than ever!!
Just like He assured Gideon, He was assuring us.
Well….Lifeline told us we had to have a decision by the next morning. And, so one week ago….at midnight on a Wed. night we prayed, prayed and prayed some more.
Let me tell ya people….SPIRITUAL WARFARE is a REAL REAL thing. It is oppressive…and Brian will tell you, it was all around us that night as we tried to discuss and pray.
Brian couldn’t even pray aloud. So, I fell to the floor and I prayed for us like never before. I prayed that GOD WOULD SPEAK and that anything that was not of Him would leave!!
 and we both felt it lift….. God’s light came in and the darkness had to leave!!!
I found out later, that It was during that time that a dear friend was woken up in the middle of the night (having dreamt about us) and was burdened to pray for us…for this decision, for Brian specifically.
She had texted me, and told me she was praying…it was at the exact time that we were praying and seeking and battling warfare.
WOW.
She was used mightily on the front lines to cover us!!
…. Brian said he needed time to just soak in the Word and ask God to show Him once and for all if she was our daughter!!
We did NOT want to be fear -led!!
If it was a “no”, then we needed to hear that (like He had told us with Anna)….but, if it was a “YES”…He needed to hear it clearly!!
After about 30 minutes…he called me in and just started pouring his heart out. He said that GOD showed him that first he had to repent of his idols of comfort…..
Then He showed him verse after verse about how we are to go, and that He will go before us and be our strength…..
It was crazy!!!!
As scared as we were of the “unknowns” he confessed that HE couldn’t let her go.
I couldn’t either…SHE WAS OURS. He had put her in our hearts just as powerfully as He would place a baby in a mother’s womb.
When you get pregnant, You don’t get to question, you just trust that God will equip you because that child is MEANT FOR YOU!
That’s how it was. HE WAS CLEAR.

“I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.

I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” -Is 41:10


Brian’s words: “Let’s GO GET OUR DAUGHTER”
It demanded a “fist-pump”….LOL….a victorious moment for sure. To finally be able to lay down and cast out the fear and see God clearly.
Because….It was the fears that were preventing us to walk in faith, It paralyzed us. We finally felt free to step….free to finally “trust fall” back on Jesus..as scary as it is. 
 He was asking us if were going to trust her future to HIS HANDS….
It was a crisis of faith. 
We knew we did NOT want to miss this blessing, as hard as it could be. WE DIDNT WANT TO MISS THE GIFT of Grace that was our 
Gianna Faith

We are SO BLESSED to get to call her ours!!!!!!!!!! She is SO WANTED!!!!!

Well….I know what you are thinking….”shew, the story is done, right??” WRONG!!!!
No…there are more miracles!!!
Within hours of making the faith-based decision to move forward with our daughter, we found out that ANNA had a family!!!!
I just balled my eyes out at that news…we all did!!! 
It was the confirmation I needed. It was Sweet Anna that further broke our hearts for heart babies….and it was dear Anna that was the reason I met Maggie, my dear friend who followed God’s nudges to share our Gianna with us….
His plans are higher than our plans, HIS WAYS HIGHER!!
        
Then, within a day….we heard the news that our sweet Linny and Ming both had families now pursuing them.
Three snowdrops close to our hearts had finally found their hope!!
WHAT WAS GOD DOING???…it felt like the floodgates of blessing were just flooding our house with all this good news!!!
My heart couldn’t contain the joy…..it still can’t!!!!
oh LORD!! You are mighty to save!!! KEEP MAKING YOUR POWER KNOWN TO ALL THE WORLD!!!
So….there ya have it!! There was NO WAY to just make a short announcement without giving you the WHOLE GOD STORY!!
Because, here’s the thing…we feel weak and we feel ill-equipped. But, the word of God says that HIS powers are made perfect in our weaknesses…
and that we are to trust HIM.

That’s what we are doing…not in our futile and imperfect strength and abilities .but in HIS STRENGTH ALONE.

WE ARE JUST OVER THE MOON IN LOVE!!! We can’t wait to wrap our arms around her and kiss her squishy, yummy cheeks!!!

We still can’t believe that God would choose US to be her family…wow…just wow!!!

Please join us in praying for our newest daughter. That God would keep her strong while she waits for us!!!

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT 



Oh we just can NOT wait to kiss those cheeks and wrap our arms around her and tell her that SHE IS OURS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!






This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 NLT
                     

                       

THE Most beautiful moment was when we got to share with the children. We were able to tell them that the little snowdrop on the fridge who they had been praying for was their new baby sister!!!!!

THERE WERE LOTS OF SCREAMS AND SQUEALS and so much happiness!!!!

They are so excited and they all are begging to go to China with us!! 🙂

All the Siblings together!!!!!

For those of you who wonder what Tahlia thinks of being a big sister….I am happy to say that she is SO excited along with all her other siblings!
Well….she is SO Excited to dress her, teach her, feed her and play with her! She also wants to do her hair and put makeup on her! LOL ….should be interesting!
I am so excited for her to have a sister from China!! 
WE ALL ARE!!!!

GOD IS SO GOOD!







Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. 
Deuteronomy 13:4 NLT 

ps. we won’t be able to officially share pics till our “pre-approval” comes from China!

Our prayer is to be able to go get our new daughter by early summer!!! We CAN’t WAIT!!!!

Wait…there’s still more!!! READ PART 2 HERE

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15 thoughts on “We have some news to share…..

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  1. In tears!!!! Oh praise Jesus!!!! Oh just speechless! One less, Johanna! And what a baby doll!!!! Oh dear Lord, Gianna is so precious, and sooo loved! Love, Jamie Becker

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  2. Beautiful, Johanna. Thank you for sharing Truth from the Word. Thank you for proclaiming our God's goodness & faithfulness. Thank you for being the hands and feet of our Jesus. I look forward to seeing how your story continues to unfold.

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  3. Beautiful, Johanna. Thank you for sharing Truth from the Word. Thank you for proclaiming our God's goodness & faithfulness. Thank you for being the hands and feet of our Jesus. I look forward to seeing how your story continues to unfold.

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  4. If anybody can make it happen, its you and your family, Johanna! What a beautiful story and testament of your family's faith. Praying for your beautiful little girl and China and for your family! Blessings to you all.

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  5. I simply could not be happier for your family and little Gianna! I love how you detailed all the ways that the Lord orchestrated bringing you and Gianna together and all the blessings of other children who have families now too! God is so absolutely amazing!! I am praying for your family, this crazy roller coaster process you are entering again and for Gianna's health and emotions. May God be glorified!!!

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  6. I am so completely thrilled for your family and for little Gianna!! I love how the you detailed all the ways the Lord orchestrated bringing you to Gianna. It was such a special blessing to read about all the other families touched with their own little ones along the way. I am praying for your family, this crazy roller coaster process you are now entering again and for little Gianna's health and tender heart. So excited to see the Lord glorified further through your family!

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  7. Congratulations! I came upon this post thru No Greater Joy Mom. I can not tell you, how you sharing this whole story ministered to me. Speaking to my own heart…scripture after scripture and truth upon truth in our own adoption experience we are going thru right now. Calming my heart and centering my thoughts back where they should be once again. Thank you for being obedient in sharing the whole story. As I needed to read “today” every precious word of it. May God bless the work of your hands and the fruit of your lips. Blessings!

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  8. I am so excited for her and you! I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Gianna(Lily) 2 weeks ago as I was on a missions trip to China. We spent some time at Harmony House and I absolutely LOVE that girl, and am SO happy that she has an incredible family waiting for her and praying her “home”:)

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  9. I am SO excited for you and little Gianna(lily) to meet:) I had the incredible pleasure of meeting her 2 weeks ago while I was in China on a missions trip! We spent a few days at Harmony House helping and loving on the adorable children. It is awesome to hear that she will be joining an amazing family very soon! God is good.

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  10. oh thank you SO SO much for connecting with me!! I can't tell you the joy I feel when someone contacts me who has met our Gianna!!!!!! God is so incredibly good!!!

    I bet it was an incredible experience to get to love on those babies at harmony for your missions trip! What a privilege!

    Harmony is such a blessing!! I can't wait to meet everyone there when we go to China to get our precious daughter!!!!! I want to love on those awesome caretakers just as much as I want to love on those beautiful children!! Such amazing people!

    Do you happen to have any pics from your time there?

    Thank you again for your sweet note! We were so blessed by it, esp since my 13 yo can't wait to someday also do mission work in China foster homes one day!:))))

    Blessings and love
    Johanna

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