"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

To Tell of His Grace

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One Year of Forever ~

One year ago today we scooped up our precious treasure, Kaylee Grace!
She was terrified beyond what we had ever imagined
By the grace of God alone, she clung to me right away out of fear (they call it a trauma bond...which we later learned was what helped her to begin to truly bond to me).
We were so excited to finally have her in our arms!
But she of course had no idea what was going on....which made it all the more scary
I'll never forget this moment....or really any of China. The big kids finally getting a good look at their long awaited and fervently prayed for sister! It seems like just yesterday we were there. The kids and I talk a lot about how much we miss it 
and can't wait to go back one day!

We really had no idea what was ahead. We had a very sad, completely shut down, scared to death little girl who had NO idea what was going on...those first few months our main goal every day was just to get her to feel safe and calm enough to eat. Most days we'd be lucky to get 1-2 bottles down her. Around 4 months home, she finally felt safe enough to eat on a pretty consistent basis (which was when we had a break in her surgeries....poor girl! She had to go through SO much those first few months! I can't even imagine!) ...then at 6 months home, she tried a cheerio and a puff! YAY! Major breakthrough! Then tiny bites of soup and cereal.....
now she will eat "lunch"with me everyday! 
Still not a full meal....eats about 1/2 piece of turkey, 
1/4 cheese stick and a slice or two of pear... 
but we are SO getting there!

One thing we say as a family as we look back over this year is that we have had WAY lower lows then we would have ever imagined.....BUT, we have had WAAYYYYY higher highs then we would have ever imagined!!! Even on our hardest days of her healing, she would do something to make us laugh our heads off. When we ask our big kids what the biggest difference with having our Kaylee Grace is, they all say "we laugh A LOT more!" It's so true....and we laugh a lot harder!!!

By the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ, we've all come a long way!!!
Tonight we went to teppanyaki to celebrate, and as Brodie said, we were celebrating our big kids just as much as we were celebrating our Forever Family Day with Kaylee Grace. They have been SUPERSTARS and we know that Jesus used them to bring great JOY and healing to Kaylee Grace. She LOVES each one of them deeply!

From even our time in China, Kaylee learned right away that Keegan was them brother to have FUN with....Kolson was the brother who would be there for her when she needed compassionate-care and understanding....Sissy was another "safe" person to hold her and watch over her. Without them, I can't even imagine what she would do! Or what we would have done...they were ROCK SOLID all along!!!

Big Kids, we love you and are SO proud of how we have seen Jesus' unconditional love in you. Even when she wouldn't receive it, you kept pressing on in gentleness and understanding.....Daddy and I learned so much by watching you be unshakable and unwavering in your love and compassion. We know this last year hasn't been easy for you all, but we know that you have each been strengthened in your faith....and most importantly, that you KNOW the love of Christ Jesus, our Lord!!! You know that no matter what, HIS LOVE PRESSES ON...and HIS LOVE COVERS ALL. These are truths that He has ingrained in you for ALL time. We wouldn't trade that for the world!!!

Even after a full year with her, she still asks me everyday, "Ko-Ko?, Keegan? Sissy?" when they are at school.....now that she has heard me a million times tell her that they are at school and they will be home soon, she will say,  "Ko-Ko - school!, Keegan-school! Sissy- new one school!" (since Sis goes to a different school than the boys do, she calls it "new one"...love it!)

She still loves music...but the BEST part is that she LOVES worship music at church...it's her very favorite thing in the world...and she closes her eyes and lifts her hands ~ I know that she doesn't comprehend what praise and worship is really all about, and that she is copying those she sees around her....but I'm tellin' you, it's IN her to worship! One day she will fully understand JESUS and His Love and His Sacrifice...and I can't wait to see her passion then!!! Right now she does understand that "Jesus always helps us"....when she is upset or hurt we pray and tell her that...and she has connected the dots a number of times :)

She also loves her daddy :)  Which is a HUGE praise.... I have to say, he is the most AMAZING dad (and husband) of all time! She rejected him big time those first 6 months home ~ and he kept loving and pressing in through all the hard...he kept praying earnestly, and being gentle and safe and super playful ~ and she finally gave in :))) She's learning more and more everyday that her daddy will protect her heart at all costs and love her no matter what ;)

She loves Bubble Guppies & Dora & watching His Little Feet Orphan Choir DVD...her favorite movie is Annie (because of all the music!), cheese and pears are her favorite foods (the foods she will eat off of her plate on her own without me putting it in her mouth...oh and cheeze-its...and occasionally cheerios), she loves Speech Therapy and Mrs Gina (her "school" as she calls it), she loves "doing dishes"(playing with the water in the kitchen sink), she loves riding her scooter all around the cul-de sac once the bigs get home from school, she loves going to the cabin, she loves "driving" at our kitchen nook table at lunch time, she LOVES tennis (and has crazy-good hand-eye coordination, so she can hit the ball really well!), but what she loves the MOST of all.....is when we are ALL home and together....this is when she is truly happiest :)

And how did she spend her special day while at home with Mommy today?
Watching her favorite movie and  playing with the water in the sink!

We love you, Kaylee Grace!!! You have brought more JOY to us then we could  have ever imagined! We have seen Jesus' overwhelming, relentless love firsthand as it has flowed through us to you. We have watched you grow a million miles this last year as you have bravely stepped out and trusted us with your heart little by little. Oh how blessed we are by your precious life, your hilarious giggles, your sweet snuggles and strong spirit....we love you FOREVER, our sweet girl!!!


  1. What a treasure!! Thank you for allowing me to peak into this wonderful year with you!! Awesome! Love your gentle and loving and persistant hearts!!

  2. WOW, such a testimony of God's EVERLASTING LOVE! It has been an honor to be a part of your lives! I love you ALL and am so proud of the way you have followed Jesus by not only loving the fatherless, but filling that void AND pointing Kaylee to OUR HEAVENLY FATHER! I'm humbled by each of you!

  3. Love, Love, Love It!

  4. What a great telling of the story! It has been so much fun watching Kathleen grow and her personality take hold. God bless the Johansson s

  5. I, too, am humbled by your steadfastness, patience, love, compassion, and faithfulness. It is unstoppable, abounding, and real. Your love for Jesus is everywhere and He sees it, loves it, and gives it right back 100 fold! And, your kids are walking examples of Christ followers in every way possible! Love you guys!