Sam and Ellie Adoption Fund

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:19-21

The Sam and Ellie Adoption Fund was established through Families of Promise to inspire the people of Kentwood Community Church to pursue adoption and to assist them with the financial need. This primarily includes international and domestic infant adoption, since domestic adoption through the foster care system is virtually FREE.

*The Sam and Ellie Fund also financially supports indigenous adoptions for Christian families in Ukraine through "Adoption Without Borders." 

Applicants may qualify for:

  • Grants or matching Grants

  • Interest-free loans

  • Grants to help with financial need associated with post-adoption counseling services

 Basic requirements to qualify for adoption funding:

  • Must be regular attendee/s of Kentwood Community Church for one year

  • Must have a completed home study from a licensed adoption agency

  • Must complete the application process, which will help determine financial need 

For more information or to receive an application for the Sam and Ellie Adoption Fund, contact Lori at

TO MAKE A DONATION: Simply designate "Sam and Ellie Adoption Fund" on your check, giving envelope or online donation to Kentwood Community Church


The Sam and Ellie Adoption Fund History

The Story of Dan and Joni Johnson

Founders, Sam and Ellie Adoption Fund 

In the spring of 2003 Dan and Joni Johnson went to an ultrasound, so excited to find out if their third child was a girl or a boy. They were thrilled to learn that they were expecting Ellie. She looked perfect to them and in a few short minutes it felt like their world had turned pink. Those minutes are precious to them, as they are the only memories they have of Ellie that are not butted with the weight of uncertainty and grief that marked the rest of their journey with her. Quickly, they learned that Ellie’s body was slightly swollen and that meant something was seriously wrong. Initially doctors told them to expect that she would not survive pregnancy. But as the weeks and months went on, and as all of the typical tests returned negative, and as they prayed and prayed and prayed, Ellie continued to grow. Her birthday was a day of painful hope. The verse God gave them for Ellie is “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) They were given only 6 days with Ellie. Because of His presence, they were also given peace to be able to hand her to Him, comfort for all their tears and most amazingly, joy.

Several months later, they were expecting a new baby. They were shocked to learn at their first ultrasound at 16 weeks that Josh had already gone to Heaven.  

Because their first two children were born perfectly healthy, and because doctors were not able to find a cause of death for Ellie or Josh, they hoped they would go on to have another healthy child. This was the desire of their hearts and they felt God’s blessing.

Sam’s first ultrasound was perfect, as was his second, third and fourth. But, at seven months it was discovered that Sam suffered the same symptoms that Ellie had.  Sam was delivered early. Doctors worked tirelessly and friends and family cried out in prayer with the Johnsons. There was hope for Sam. The hospital staff talked in terms of “when” they would take him home, not “if.” They couldn’t find rest in medical hope, however, but did find it in the verse God gave them for Sam. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8) After a couple of weeks of praying over him, kissing and holding him the best that they could in NICU, God whispered to their hearts that He was coming for their son. All of Sam’s 17 days are precious to them. 

God provided for the Johnsons in countless ways during their hardships. He changed them, grew them, helped them and most importantly, He held them close. One of the ways He cared for them is through the care of loving family members, friends, church members, even strangers. Many of them gave money to the church in memory of Sam and Ellie. They believe their children’s lives were and are His, as are the gifts that were given in their memory. It was their hope, and they believed it to be God’s desire, that those gifts would be used to start this fund to help bring orphans into the homes of loving KCC families. That hope has been fulfilled, and since the Sam and Ellie Adoption Fund was established in 2006, it has continued to grow and has helped seven children to join KCC families! We continue to pray that God will use this fund to bless the lives of children and families.

A friend once gave Joni another verse: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:5) The Johnsons’ journey didn’t end with the death of their beloved babies. They wonder at the miraculous heart changes and the amazing ways God guided and arranged for a new blessing in their lives, the adoption of their daughter from China and most recently (2016) the adoption of their daughter and son from the Congo. Since then, He has also provided strength and wisdom for this new chapter of their parenting journey.