Monday, November 16, 2009


Saturday, October 31, 2009


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Friday, October 9, 2009


We went for a fall drive in the mountains a few days ago. It’s, of course, that time of year – the aspen are changing and its gorgeous – can’t miss it.



Koko was underwhelmed apparently.

Guido jumped from the front seat onto Koko’s lap in her car seat on the way home….funny….He was trying to get comfy and Koko was trying to push him off her lap. Too cute.

So then, Some questions we have received:

- Did you break down in emotional crying when you met Koko for the first time? Not really, we were pretty much running after her trying to keep up with her energy from the first moment we met her. Go, go, go – no time to cry!

- How was the plane ride home? Pretty much a period in time I would rather not repeat. Koko slept for maybe 4 hours of the 16 hour flight from Dubai to LA, and needed to be eating, moving, or screaming the rest of the time! SOOO glad to be home.

- Is she wearing the 18-24 month clothes you got? No. When we got home I dug out the 12 month clothes I had removed from the closet and they fit her like a glove. She’s on the small side for an 18 month old, but still growing normally.

- Has she been to the doctor yet? Oh yes. We went to the doctor last week – the doc says she’s smart, a lot of fun (totally!), and despite being behind slightly on some of her developmental milestones, he says she will have absolutely no problem catching up, and quickly, too. He says she’s very healthy. He was awesome – I’m so glad he is Koko’s doctor – he was great with us, too, giving us tons of great info and asking if we had any questions, etc. Very kind, gentle, and loving as he was examining Koko. She had shots as well, screamed her head off by the 4th one, but recovered quickly. She was pretty much a champ!

- Did you have a great time in Ethiopia? Ummmmm….yes. But glad to be home. It was hard to get into any sort of routine with Koko while there, and with her energy it is totally necessary to find a comfort zone. Ethiopia was much as we expected, with the poverty, conditions of the orphanages, older children’s homes, culture. We met some super great families also there to bring their kiddos home, we had a full group to enjoy the group events with, and to bond with over the experience. It was beautiful and emotionally exhausting all at the same time – hard to describe.

- Is Koko eating well? Pretty much – she’ll eat almost anything.

- Is Koko sleeping well? Sleeping through the night no problem! Sweet! However, naptime sleeping doesn’t happen in the crib. The first few days home when we went to lay her down for her nap (she was visibly tired), she would stand back up in her crib and scream. Not cry – scream and yell - forever! For now we are just sitting her down on a blanket in the living room with some toys and most days she’ll fall asleep for an hour or so after lunch that way. We’re still figuring it out!

- Is she attaching to you? Koko is a social butterfly - it is just simply her personality – loves saying hi and blowing kisses to anyone, will even run and hug a new person’s leg. But, she does seem to be comfortable with Mama and Dada, regularly gives us hugs and kisses and runs to us when in a playful mood, wants to stay close initially when around groups of people, etc.

- How is Guido doing with Koko? He seems to see Koko as a toy or exciting new friend, not sure which – he is relentless in licking her in the morning, just as he is with Chad. He does seem to get jealous when Chad or I are holding Koko and will run over and bark or whine at our feet for attention. He’s been very gentle and hasn’t gone hiding like we thought he might. He has to be in the middle of the action most times.

- How is Koko doing with Guido? Koko seems to be putting up with Guido – doesn’t despise him or scream at him, etc., but also doesn’t go running to him to give him hugs and kisses. She’ll push him away or try to hit him (we’re working on the no hitting and no biting issues) when she’s not in the mood for him to be around. They both often fight over each other’s toys, although short lived.

- How does Koko like being in a car seat? She’s got no problem hanging out in the car seat surprisingly. After a while she gets restless like any kiddo would, but gets right in when we’re ready to go.

- How does she do in church? Haven’t been there yet – first weekend back in church is this weekend. Can you say “nursery”?

- What was the care center like where Koko lived? A lot of toddlers roaming around a room with many cribs, with several caregivers near by tending to what they needed. We are told the kiddos were on quite a schedule, eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping, etc…didn’t see any toys around, but it was clean and the caregivers seemed to really care about the kids, providing for any need that came up as immediately as they could.

- Are you all settling into a routine? Hmmmmm….pretty much. We both get back to work full time soon so it will be interesting to see how daycare shakes up the routine we’ve gotten into. All being home together for these few weeks has been a HUMONGOUS blessing. Spending the time as a new family has been invaluable. We learn more about Koko every day, and she seems more and more comfortable with us and in our home every day, more affectionate as the days go on. Her little personality is bright and energetic! Doesn’t like to hear “no”, explores everything she can, touching, watching, listening, mimicking, LOVES bathtime, etc. She is so precious, so adorable, so beautiful – we love her soooo much.

Okey Dokey - Super duper photos coming soon of our arrival at DIA and first morning at home with Koko, and of our recent long weekend in South Dakota visiting family. Stay tuned for more on our changing seasons….

Love to all,
Smj out.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Hola fellow Husker football fans! GO BIG RED!!!

"Go Huskers!"

"OK, gotta run!"

" can I get through here?"

"I guess I'll sit for 30 seconds and play with my toys."

"Ha! I'll get you Guido!"


Another exciting college game day at the Johnson house!

smj out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


As our spunky little girl sits on my lap while I type away, I look down at her beautiful face and am amazed. We are home - finally rested up enough to update the blog, check facebook, etc., and we are amazed at all the wonderful people still out there cheering us on! We were blessed to spend our time in country with our family, and we were blessed to make it to Arrivals at DIA with family waiting there for us, too. Truly a time in our lives to remember.

Koko is a special little girl to be sure. Even now, as I type, she wants to help! She is on the go, go, go. From the moment we met her, we have seen her energetic and loving personality shining. She loves walking, hates sleeping, loves eating, hates waiting, loves saying hi to people, hates sitting still! She is perfect for us - she will challenge us, and bless us all at the same time. Oh, and Guido is suprising us by wanting to lick her face, feet, hands all the time, and Koko seems to like him, but doesn't really sit still long enough for us to really be able to tell!

More on Ethiopia later - for now, some photos of our first day and first week getting to know our new daughter Koko Mimi...

Above: Koko with her special caregivers in the Ethiopian dress they gave her.
Above: Koko with our driver Henok - she loved him! And he was fantastic!

"Hello Family! I'm HOME!!!"
Ciao - Susan, Chad, and Koko

Saturday, September 5, 2009


You know you have Koko Mimi on the brain when...

You're sitting in a meeting at the nursing home where you work and you hear the word 'continent' and instantly think - "Africa!" (as opposed to the more typical nursing home usage of the word!) Hmmmmm.....yes, it's time to go!

We're packing (trying to pack efficiently, but holy buckets, we're packing for a kid here!), we're remodeling (now? yes, crazy, I know), we're clearing out a space for J & A to sleep (they're stopping by before heading to Rome), we're giving Guido a little hair cut and bath before dropping him off at Kirsten's for our time away (he can't wait for his hair cut - ha!), we're pulling extra hours at work to 'get it all done before we leave' (right, we both work in 24-7-365 businesses - it's never really done!), we're watching for everyone's care packages to arrive to pack away to deliver to waiting families' kiddos (totally blessed to pay it forward), yes, we're dreaming of flying off into the sunset on Thursday...

We. Are. Almost. There.


smj out

Friday, August 21, 2009


Preparations are being made. It’s hard to believe we are finally talking about these kinds of things – plane tickets, where we’ll stay, seeing Koko for the first time, meeting Koko’s birthmom, what she’s eating/drinking, and the list goes on!

We’ve got house projects to finish and jobs to prepare to be away from. Wow. Just wow.

After a minor glitch with CIS fingerprints not yet received in Addis, we’ve learned all is well with that now (whew). We’ve got air booked – we leave Denver Sept 10 to stay in Dubai for a couple days before arriving in Addis on Sept 13 . We are staying at a guest house called the Ayat House with some pretty cool people we know. We hope we get to meet Koko Mimi for the first time on the 13th. And the in-country staff is working on arranging a meeting with her birthmom while we are there.

Slightly surreal to be at this point. But it's also...

Absolutely. Totally. Perfect.


Friday, August 14, 2009


Today, Friday, August 14th, 2009 is THE day. The day we are privileged to be given a daughter.

How very grateful we are to be at the end of this part of the journey. Our lives are forever changed – and, finally, a new journey awaits!

But, for now, we will bask in the glory of this day – today. A beautiful day, with beautiful news, and a beautiful new reality that we are indeed parents to a beautiful little girl.

And now, all thanks be to God for this precious gift!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I would like to officially submit my request to be granted a wee bit of peacefulness in this anxious moment. (moment being the next 24 hours)

We hope that the report we received this afternoon of "no bad news received today" means "total super duper fabulous good news received tomorrow". However, we certainly know the tension of 'possibly-but-possibly-not', and will just try to stay in our quietness until we know tomorrow's outcome.

That's all.

Peacefulness to all.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


One miracle down. The document is in hand. Absolute. Total. Miracle.

We're now looking ahead to the next miracle - tomorrow.

Tomorrow the miracle needs to be that MOWA will get to our file, find the document adequate, and issue a positive opinion. Oh, PLEASE. (then on to friday...)

But we'll take the miracles one day at a time at this point.

Rocky is fighting, and we're holding fast.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We are thankful the courts are giving us another chance so soon - - no go today - - but we will try again in court this Friday the 14th. Despite multiple attempts to secure the needed document - no luck yet. We need a miracle to happen to get this document from the necessary officials and into our file for MOWA to review by Thursday, to be ready for court on Friday. This ongoing anxious suspense is pretty amazing. (Honestly I could think of other words!)

Oh when will we finally see you Koko?!? We HOPE it is soon - what do we have if we do not have HOPE?

smj out

Friday, August 7, 2009


“To everyone who's hurting, To those who've had enough
Hold fast, Help is on the way
Hold fast, He's come to save the day
What I've learned in my life, One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp, So hold fast.
You may think you're all alone, And there's no way that anyone could know
What you're going through
But if you only hear one thing, Just understand that we are all the same
Searching for the truth
So, hold fast, Help is on the way…”

So, of course I know our small journey is not the center of the universe. There are so many others out there struggling with all kinds of things. I heard Mercy Me’s, “Hold Fast” on the radio the other day – I hear it a lot, but this time I really heard the words in the context of our journey and was also reminded of how we are not alone.

Hey everyone, we are with you on the journey, wherever different paths may lead. AND, Rocky is still fighting, so even though there is still no document ready for court on Tuesday, and even though we’ve been hurt, and, dang it, even though at times we feel we’ve had enough, we will Hold Fast!

- - Stay strong everyone!

Have a super duper weekend!
smj out

Monday, August 3, 2009


Been away from internet for a few days...but just wanted to pass on that Gladney did go to court for us on Friday. Birthmom has officially relinquished, and a new court date of August 11 was issued. We are now racing against the clock to get the additional document. We have obtained a document from this same government agency in Ethiopia in recent months - it took several weeks. Thus, we are guarded in our hopes to have the document within the next few short days. It needs to be in our file for MOWA to be able to review prior to our August 11 court date.

And so, in the words of my dear husband, we will live hopeful and joyful because we are faithful that this fight will be won at some point, in spite of this journey taking a different path than we had imagined. Someday this part of the journey will all be over...

...someday when it's time.

smj out

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NOT 7-31-09

Today we heard news that we will not make it through court tomorrow. MOWA is requesting another document. We pretty much thought that after 15 months of searching out documents that we had everything. No. Gladney will go to court tomorrow with the plan of getting a new court date. Not sure when new court date can be expected or how long this additional document may take to get. We anticipate a call from Jessica with an update tomorrow.

We are so stinkin’ frustrated and terribly terribly disappointed.
We thought we actually had a chance this time. We thought wrong…

Hearts broken again,
smj out

Monday, July 27, 2009


HOLY SMOKES - We're shocked and thankful for the news we received this morning...

(yes, that's this Friday)

Like I always say, slow and steady wins the race...

GO ROCKY GO!!! Everybody hum that theme song!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

NOT ON 7-24-09

Ever feel like Rocky? Like you continually get the crap beat out of you?!? Ugh! Ok- we're down, but not out!

To give it to you straight - -
Court date not happening.
Don't know when it will.
Hope to have more details next week.

As we've been reminded...Rocky won in the end...

love to all,

Sunday, July 19, 2009


So....we're just hangin' out...

You know, not much going on...


Doing what we do....


Pray for my patience and sanity this week, will ya?!?

love to all,
smj out

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I don’t often admit to being afraid. And as the days slowly go by, admittedly and vulnerably I find myself feeling some fear. Fear that things will not happen on the same time line I have imagined in my mind. Why? The timeline in my mind was blown to pieces months ago! But, man, we are so close. Perhaps that is why I am more afraid now. I let my mind wander…some of you may know how that works… If only the process wasn't so unpredictable! My dear Chad is so much more level-headed where this is concerned. “Susan, it’ll happen when it happens.” I try to hear that and feel that inside, but many times, my mind runs wildly away! I want it to happen on MY time! Not good!

"The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18). However I am not perfect, and thank goodness God knows it. Thank goodness he spread tons of words of encouragement against fear throughout the bible. He reminds me to “fear not.”

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Ok then. I will read and re-read this post several times over the next few days. I will work to let go, and put my trust in the hands of the officials in Ethiopia, to trust their timeline, that they will use their hearts to accomplish amazing things for our family and so many other families, to trust in God.

Ok then!

smj out

PS - Prayers for safe travels for Chad while he is in Haiti this week!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Deep breaths - - - we are now waiting on
July 24.
That's our court date.
One foot in front of the other - faithfully waiting on life-changing beautiful news.
Oh boy...
Deep breaths!
love to all,
smj out

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Document 3 is in hand - for real!

We're waiting on a court date - for real!

Jessica says we shouldn't expect to hear anything for a couple weeks - for real! TORTURE!

Heart's pounding, tummy's doing flip flops...

smj out

Sunday, June 28, 2009


One of the readings in worship today was from Lamentations….Sheesh! Really? Lamentations? “It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…It is good for one to sit alone in silence...” Now, while in adoption news we’re not exactly talking salvation (!), I think the concept of waiting quietly can still apply. We'll give it a try and call it therapeutic, reflective time.


We’re quietly waiting to hear about document 3 and our

Love to all,
smj out

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Peace, be still, Jesus said as the disciples were freaking out in the boat. This past weekend the preacher ;-) pointed out that it’s easy to get caught up the in drama of storms. And furthermore, the storms we think we experience in our lives are not the only storms we experience. Perhaps more perplexing are the storms we create inside of us. What is it about the human condition that allows us to let someone or something steal our joy?!? We have a choice when it comes to how life circumstances affect us. This adoption process we are in may create feelings inside that have us focusing on negatives, feeling upset, stressed out, detracting from what positives actually exist! WHY DO WE ALLOW THE NEGATIVE TO GET TO US SO??? How about focusing on the small things, really appreciating the beautiful small things that could so easily pass us by if we are not paying attention. Things like little doggies licking our faces. Like spring bulbs finally poking through the ground. Like text messages from ones we love. Like a photo of our little bundle in ET from someone we don’t even know. Like a beer on the patio in summer. Like a Sunday drive in the foothills.

I think we just have to remind ourselves to stop every so often and remember that even with storms all around us, and inside of us, there is so much beauty in life. Sooo much. What a shame it would be to miss so much.

I pray that we watch for the beauty, that we enjoy and appreciate the beauty, and that we don’t let the drama of the storms steal our joy. Now more than ever.

Love to all,

PS -- And by the way, while we are watching for those beautiful small things, we will take joy in the news we got today that document #2 has been retrieved! One more document and Jessica is hopeful that we can get in line by early next week to get a court date on the calendar before court closure in August.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Well, no movement this week. Agency's still hopeful, we're still hopeful...

I have been back in touch with Jessica recently, mostly because, at this point, we're getting scary close to court closure, and its so hard not to know the details of the journey at this time. My stomach goes into anxious knots when I think about all the details that have to come together still....

Staying in "hopeful" mode!
Will report in again next week!
Love ya all so much!
smj out

Friday, June 12, 2009


Well…still waiting on documents to be retrieved, agency’s still hopeful, we’re still hopeful…another week gone by in adoption-land.

Next week is a new week - - we continue to believe something great could happen - - the odds should be in our favor, right?!?

Hmmmm…difficult to guess about the odds. We’ll just try to be patient and pass the time productively! So… about new polling questions? Come on, give us some insight on:

*** KOKO vs. GUIDO ***

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


A new picture and update is always pleasant to see in the ol' inbox.

Although I don't always get the little ditties put on the blog, this one.......well, this one seemed like something to share at this point in time.

“Her bright eyes really let her personality shine through! She scooted around the entire room on her bottom to check out what all the bigger kids were doing. She is so curious! And she wasn’t scared to try and steal a toy or two. If she isn’t satisfied with what you are doing… you will know it. You will hear a strong yell, immediately followed by a devious grin. Our playtime ended with high fives for everyone! We had so much fun together.”

Love to all,

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Something: We got our I-171H renewal in the mail this week. It was more involved than I had realized, as we had to have our homestudy updated, which became complicated, since our old homestudy agency is no longer in business here in CO and we had to start with a new home study/post placement social worker (Kate now - with LFS). The paperwork never ends, but it kept us busy and we're good to go again with US Immigration.

Nothing: No movement on our case this week, maybe next week...

Just Because: New dreamy pics of Guido. (I know, I know, he's not our kid, but he IS now an important part of our family - enjoy!)

Love to all,

Why Adopt? Check out this video!