We signed up with ABBA Adoption in December after losing our precious baby boy, Duke Elliot, in April, when I was eight months pregnant. We felt, from the earliest days of our loss, that Duke Elliot's story would somehow be connected to adoption, to bringing babies home.
On Saturday night, we got a phone call about a baby girl who had just been born---this was the first we knew of our daughter. We were in Saint Louis for spring break with our big kids when we got the call, and we drove all through the night. We met our baby girl on March 24th, eleven months, to the day, since we learned we'd lost Duke Elliot. There are no words for how completely our hearts have broken in the loss of our son, and there are no words for how it feels to be in another maternity ward, eleven months later, with a beautiful baby girl we didn't even know about until the night before we met her.
I am overwhelmed at the Lord's goodness in bringing this beautiful little girl to our family and in bringing joy alongside our grief. We will love and miss Duke Elliot forever---he could never be replaced. I ache for him, this very moment. But oh, what a gift his baby sister is.
There was a (very) big part of me that didn't want to breathe a word about our adoption until we had already been to court and could present our child to you as officially, irrevocably, a Johnson. But, the truth is, this baby girl’s story is bigger than us. The journey to bringing her home, for good, is not one we will make in secret and announce when it is complete---it is a journey we will make with so many of you by our sides, just as you have journeyed with us for the last eleven months. Everyone who has offered the profound gift of your friendship through our grief has played a part in Duke Elliot’s legacy. And now, as his legacy expands---as our love for him has led us to open our hearts and homes again and as the Lord has answered the deepest prayers of our hearts---we invite you to be a part of his baby sister’s story, too.
The story of her homecoming will be deep and wide, and it will belong to everyone who has made this journey with us. There’s a new way you can join in her story now, if you’d like to. The costs associated with this type of adoption are significant and will ultimately exceed $30,000. We have been planning and preparing to meet these costs for the past several months, though we had no idea our precious girl would arrive so soon! We still have a significant chunk of money to raise to finalize the adoption.
So, to that end…we bought a jigsaw puzzle yesterday that we will work and hang in her nursery. We picked a puzzle with big, bright flowers because this baby girl is a beautiful bloom in what has been a desert season, a breathtaking new life. Anyone who wants to sponsor a puzzle piece can make a donation of any amount at the link below, and we will write your name on the back of a piece. This puzzle, with the names of everyone who helped make it possible for her to join our family, will forever hang in our home as a picture of all the lives that wove together for our precious girl. (Beginning, of course, with her beautiful birth mother who made such a courageous and sacrificial choice.)
You can donate here to sponsor a puzzle piece and help fund this adoption. Or, you may also mail a check to ABBA Adoption, 422 W. Sevier St., Benton, AR, 72015, with our names in the memo line, and we'll make sure those names are on the puzzle, too.
Our baby girl’s homecoming story is going to spread far beyond the walls of our home, and if you were sitting in front of me, I couldn’t even meet your eyes----I am so deeply, completely humbled at the thought of our friends and family helping make this adoption possible.
If I told you we had begged the Lord for this baby (more on that later), it would not begin to do justice to the way our hearts have ached for her.
Her name, Elliana, means “my God has answered.”
We can’t wait to introduce you to her when the adoption is final.
(Spoiler alert: She’s perfect.)
"The Lord will comfort Zion. He will comfort all her waste places. He will make her wilderness like Eden, her deserts like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody."
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