Clermont – The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) honored Pastor Chris and Alicia Johnson as Angels in Adoption™ during a ceremony on October 8 and gala on October 9 in Washington, D.C. Each year, CCAI selects individuals, families or organizations nationwide who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of children in need of permanent, loving homes. The Johnsons have been chosen for this honor because of their dedication to adoption and positive child welfare practices.
CCAI’s Angels in Adoption™ Program provides Members of Congress the opportunity to honor an individual, couple, or organization from their district that have made an extraordinary contribution on behalf of children in need of homes.
The Johnsons were honored for their extraordinary dedication to spreading the message of the importance of adopting and fostering the abused, neglected and abandoned children. Not only do the Johnsons preach this message, but they live it.
In 2009, the Johnson family felt called by God to become a foster family. Since that time, they have welcomed 15 children into their home. Over the last two years, the Johnsons have adopted five children through the foster system of Florida. In total, the family includes five daughters and three sons.
The mission doesn’t begin and end with the parents; the children embody the mission to care for the children in need also. As Pastor Johnson explains, “Fostering and adopting is a family decision. We hold family meetings when it’s time to discuss changes to the family.”
The Johnsons are also very active advocating on behalf of the children in crisis. Pastor Johnson is the Regional Vice President for the Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association. He is also actively involved with Kids Central’s Foster Care Steering Committee and Lake/Sumter Families, the Lake and Sumter County foster parent association. Furthermore, Pastor and Mrs. Johnson are involved in the
Quality Parenting Initiative, a statewide initiative aimed at improving foster care and the experience of foster children. The teen children publicly speak on behalf of foster children and advocate to better the processes. Joe and Ethan recently spoke at Marion County’s Open Your Heart, a foster and adoptive informational event focused on recruiting families to care for the children.
Pastor Johnson says “It is a true privilege to answer the call of James 1:27, ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
When asked about receiving the Angels in Adoption™ award, Mrs. Johnson said, “We are truly humbled to receive this award! We are looking forward to representing the awesome Kids Central team while in Washington.”
This program boasts more Congressional participation than any child welfare event in the nation, with over 140 Members of Congress participating and more than 700 guests in attendance at the gala each year.
“The Angels in Adoption™ program is unlike any other program in the Nation’s Capital. Because of it, over 2000 Angels came to share with Washington their adoption experience and left with a renewed excitement of all that adoption makes possible,” said Kathleen Strottman, CCAI Executive Director. “I learned one simple lesson from my time on Capitol Hill, knowledge is power. Angels in Adoption™ is meant to give Members of Congress the knowledge they need to use the power they have toward making the dream of a family a reality for every child.”
Pastor and Mrs. Johnson traveled without the children to attend the Angels in Adoption™ ceremony and gala in Washington, D.C. to be recognized for their passion, commitment and love. Even though the children stayed home, the Johnsons arranged several special activities for them to enjoy.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu presented the Angels in Adoption Award personally to the Johnson. Also while visiting the Capitol, the Johnsons had the pleasure to meet Pennsylvania Representative, Thomas Marion, who is also a foster/adoptive parent.
Kids Central CEO, John Cooper, admired, “Kids Central is blessed to work with the Johnson family and be one of the beneficiaries of their involvement. Not only do they care for the children Kids Central serves, but they inspire others to take action. They truly deserve to receive the Angels in Adoption™ award.”