A global pandemic. Quarantined at home. Travel halted. Unrest and anxiety hovering as Covid-19 spread. These were not the circumstances Brian and Jenn Johnson of Bethel Music expected they’d be in during their second adoption journey. And yet, for such a time as this their son Malachi would enter the world. As an Adoption Consultant with Christian Adoption Consultants who has walked the Johnsons through both of their adoption journeys, I’m honored to share some of their most recent adoption story today.
Brian and Jenn brought home their son, Ryder, in 2017. They have beautifully shared God’s heart for adoption and desire to walk out 1 John 3:18 (NLT) “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” In February of this year, the Johnsons got in touch to let me know they were considering adopting again.
Like every couple thinking about adoption, they faced an inescapable reality: unknowns. Anyone interested in adopting will encounter this same impasse: in faith, will you take the step that’s visible in front of you, even though you can’t see all of the twists and turns ahead? Or will you stay put, held back by the inevitable uncertainties and potential challenges that could await you? Brian and Jenn chose to move forward, trusting the One who already knew what lay ahead, even though they did not. And no one could have predicted the storm that awaited them.
Almost as soon as they began working on their adoption home study (the process that legally approves you to adopt), Coronavirus began spreading in the U.S. Offices quickly began closing around them. If they couldn’t complete all of the necessary background checks and licensing process prior to businesses closing, their process would be stalled. Brian and Jenn raced to complete all of the paperwork and clearances required. And as He loves to do, God made a way where there seemed to be none. Incredibly, they became licensed to adopt in the middle of March right before everything officially hit pause from the virus.
At Christian Adoption Consultants, an important service we provide families with is a multi-agency approach. As a home study approved family, the Johnsons were officially ready to show their adoption profile book to expectant mothers making an adoption plan. I created a customized agency and attorney list for them to help them apply with multiple vetted offices across the U.S. in March. We sensed the Lord might be centering their story in Texas so we shifted our focus primarily to Texas agencies, open-handed to what God might do. But the question marks continued. How long would they wait to be chosen? Given Covid-19, would they even be allowed in the hospital when the time came for them to adopt? I prayed for the Lord to clearly lead them and asked Him to make a straight path through the obstacles.
Almost exactly two months later in May, one of the agencies they had applied with contacted Brian and Jenn about an expectant mom due soon who was choosing to place her baby for adoption. They were the perfect fit for this expectant mom and she was the perfect fit for them. This was exactly what they’d been waiting for. Chosen! To make it even sweeter, the hospital where the baby would be delivered had just opened back up to allow adoptive parents entrance. With every unknown, God was paving the way to their son.
On May 12, in the midst of a world swirling with suffering, precious Malachi Judah (meaning “messenger of praise”) was born. In God’s kindness, Brian and Jenn were able to be there for his first breaths, supporting his courageous birth mom with their love and watching again the miracle of adoption.
It’s been such an honor for Christian Adoption Consultants to support and guide Brian and Jenn as they welcomed Ryder and now Malachi home forever. Despite the uncertainties and difficulties, they stepped out in faith with their “yes” and trusted God’s heart. He was so very faithful. Jenn’s words on her Instagram convey it well: “Welcome to the world son. You were born for such a time as this. You are the sweetest and a gift from God.” Amen.