Hello, and welcome to our AdoptTogether page! We are the Johnson Family and we're so grateful you're considering joining our team as we step into the exciting process of adopting a child from Ukraine!
Our story began more than a year ago when God began to grow a desire in our hearts to reach out to and love the fatherless, unloved, and unwanted (Isaiah 58:7). At the time, we didn't know any orphans specifically, but we had a vague idea that someday God would call us to pursue something related to foster care or adoption, so we committed to walk through the door when God opened it for us.
In spring of this year (2021), we learned about orphan hosting from a family member and took our first step to welcome an orphan from Ukraine into our home for the summer. However, due to COVID restrictions, the child we had planned to host could not travel to the United States. It seemed that perhaps this wasn't God's plan for our summer; however, a few weeks later, we were given a last-minute opportunity to host a different child. We only had a single photo of a little seven-year-old girl named Margarita and 2 days to decide. After praying together, Christy and I clearly felt that God wanted us to open our home to this sweet girl for the summer.
In late June, we picked up Margarita at the airport to spend the summer in our home. She quickly joined our family's routines and rhythms and found a place among our five children. Our summer days were filled with crafts, bike rides, countless games of UNO, and lots of family time to connect and build relationships. Margarita is an energetic, fun, and curious girl - she is also very thoughtful and kind, especially towards younger children. We found out that she loves babies - she had an opportunity to hold a newborn cousin near the end of the summer and loved it!
About halfway through the summer, we inquired about Margarita's adoption status and found out that she is a true orphan (i.e. one of her parents has died). Our hearts were broken for her situation and by this point we had grown to love her and consider her a special part of our family. In August, we started the adoption process with a local adoption agency. As the summer hosting time ended, it was sooo difficult to take Margarita to the airport and send her back to a life no child should have to live. We love Margarita so much and know that she has gone through significant trauma already; even in the orphanage she is vulnerable as a younger child. It is clear that Margarita needs a forever family, and we believe that God wants us to be that family for her!
So here we are, brand new to adoption, early on in the process, and excited at the prospect of welcoming Margarita into our family - not just for a few weeks or months, but as a daughter and sister. Adoption is an intense process and a big investment (both in terms of finances, time, and emotions). You might be surprised to learn that international adoption costs can easily total up to $40,000 or more. This is why we have set a goal of $35,000 to help ease the financial burden on our family.
Additionally, there are risks involved - we currently have no control over Margarita's situation and we don't have an official "match" approval from Ukraine, although we hope we will be approved once all of our paperwork is complete. Due to these risks and a host of other factors outside of our control, we have to wrestle with the possibility that our family might not be able to adopt Margarita. If this happened, we would explore all available possibilities to bring our girl home, but also take a step back and consider what God's plan is for our family. Should we pursue another child? Or wait to host again? For now, we're trusting God for each step as we collect and prepare paperwork, attend parent training, and also start fundraising.
We would love to invite you to join us in this adventure by contributing financially and praying for our family. You can follow our story on our family blog at https://mcjohnsons.com or our Instagram @mcjohnsonadoption. Even if you are unable to personally host an orphan or welcome a child into your home, we hope that you will see yourself as part of the story that God is writing about Margarita's life.
Dear friends and supporters!
It has been way too long since we published an update about the adoption process, and we wanted to let you know about a number of things that have happened since our last update in February.
Due to Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, adoptions have been placed on hold and Ukraine is not processing any paperwork or facilitating adoption proceedings except for families that have already completed the legal process. Of course, our greatest concern early on was for the safety of Margarita and the kids in her orphanage. Through a series of miracles, all of the kids in her orphanage were evacuated safely from their city (in Russian-occupied territory) and they are now refugees in a nearby European country.
To add to that good news, we have been able to travel to visit Margarita and serve all the kids from her orphanage in the country where they are staying. Through our hosting organization, Host Orphans Worldwide, we have been able to go as volunteers on two separate trips to help with her orphanage, which included organizing activities for the children, purchasing food and supplies, running errands for Ukrainian staff, and even providing transportation in our rental car when needed. Our love for this incredibly special group of kids has grown immensely and we were overjoyed to spend a few weeks seeing our sweet girl every day, letting her know that we have not forgotten her and that we still plan to adopt her, even though the war has created a significant delay in those hopes and plans.
In our last update, we celebrated that our AdoptTogether page was 100% funded, thanks to your generosity! At the time, we didn't imagine that we would be making two trips to Europe to visit Margarita and serve her and so many other children. Additionally, almost all of our paperwork will have to be redone once Ukraine starts processing adoptions again. Because of this, we are adjusting our fundraising goal to $45,000 to help with unexpected travel costs and likely paperwork updates. As always, we are immensely grateful to each of you who have walked alongside us in this journey and joined us with your financial support and prayers! Thank you so much!!