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Dann Robert Johnson

Dann Robert Johnson

Dann has enjoyed the mixed blessing of moving his family three out of every four years since marrying his college sweetheart in the '90s. So far they've lived in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Indiana, Minnesota, and Taiwan, and also Xi’an, Chongqing, and Xining, China.

Dann and his wife Tammy have taught adults and kids of all ages on three continents, served orphans in three Chinese provinces, been business owners, youth and children's directors at a church, education consultants in China, and most recently general managers of a coffee shop and culture center. Best of all, Dann likes to write.

He has six children, none of them born in the same place, three biological and three adopted.

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Success! Lily Was the Valley sold 172 pre-orders by Dec. 14, 2015, was pitched to 3 publishers, and will be self published.

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The author travels at his expense to participate in and/or speak at your event (civic, church, private dinner, etc.) within a 2-state radius of Indiana.

Subject to successful scheduling between July 1, 2016 and Aug 31, 2017 by purchaser and author together. Money will be returned (minus the price of The Authors' Friend Level and all transaction fees) if event fails to be successfully scheduled.

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$590 The I’ll Make It Happen or Your Money Back Level 2

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The author travels at his expense to participate in and/or speak at your event (civic, church, private dinner, etc.) anywhere in the Continental U. S.

Subject to successful scheduling between July 1, 2016 and Aug 31, 2017 by purchaser and author together. Money will be returned (minus the price of The Authors' Friend Level and all transaction fees) if event fails to be successfully scheduled.

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Lily Was the Valley

Undone by Adoption

Take a stirring, humorous, suspense-filled walk down a 3-year road of adoption difficulty, loss and hope. Rivetingly told by one honest dad.

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Memoirs
65,000 words
100% complete
1 publisher interested

What's it about?

Lily Was the Valley is the memoir of a father's journey through international adoption and expatriate life in China. Dann Robert Johnson is a first-time author whose storytelling does not disappoint.


"Dann Johnson has given an invaluable window into a heart-breaking, heart-testing, heart-deepening world that many have entered, but few have verbalized. This book is a glimpse into a father's struggle to walk in the mysterious strains of deepest love, not a fairy-tale version of a princess in a castle. Lily Was the Valley is a true behind-the-scenes story of the adoption process, a story which reveals the unexpected beauty of a child, the reluctant embrace of loss, and the dramatic depths of God's love for us." Dr. Ken Castor, author of Grow Down: How to Build a Jesus-centered Faith and contributing editor for the Jesus Centered Bible. Adoptive father, 2002.
"Incredible vulnerability and honesty. Dann Robert Johnson has become one of my heroes." Dr. Ron Walborn, Dean, Alliance Theological Seminary


Who will be reading it?

Lily Was the Valley is a book for the thousands of families who have adopted. It's a book for those who have lived cross-culturally. And, in some ways more than anything, it's a book for adoptees who've wondered if anyone could have loved them before they came home. It's for all those of us who wish to be loved as much as we hope for.


"Brilliant writing that had me laughing and crying start to finish. Lily Was the Valley will prove deeply rich for many – regardless of adopting experience or spiritual views." Chris Turner, Executive Director, Asia Connect.
"It seems at times to be fiction, but fiction can't compare to the reality of the heart of a man touched by a forgotten child. Dann Robert Johnson has taken us deep as he shares the mountains and valleys of this journey towards adopting a child from a foreign country. For those wishing to do the same this book is a must. The same for any who have lived the adoption experience, both parent and child. But the drama and turmoil of a man's soul, as a cycle of hope becomes shattered hope followed by new hope fed by persistence and even stubbornness, will take all of us to where we are confronted about our own responses to what life has dealt us. How different it might have been had these insights been available to me in the early days of my journey." Kelvin Gardiner, co-author of Pastoring the Pastor: Emails of a Journey Through Ministry. Adopted son, 1944.



What does the "number of copies" goal signify?

Two hundred fifty ebook pre-sales would roughly replace the amount of money the author has spent to date on Lily Was the Valley: Undone by Adoption. Expenditures like printouts for rewrites, queries to literary agents, services from Writersrelief.com, ISBNs, barcodes, and printing and shipping services from Staples.com (the author lives in Xining, China) for manuscripts sent to editors, proofreaders, etc. The uncounted hours spent writing since September 2013 were not factored in. Those were – without exception – the author's pleasure.

Recouping expenses to date, or even a portion of them, is the author's goal for this campaign, not landing a traditional publisher per se. But the reasons you should be pre-ordering it now are the reasons listed in the quotes from others listed above! The author, hoping to connect with readers who would not have otherwise discovered Lily Was the Valley apart from this website, has also made every attempt to price reward levels as reasonably as possible in order to justify readers taking a chance on an unproven author.

Your pre-order will enable the author to complete the book's final design touches and ensure Lily Was the Valley gets published before year end. You may even congratulate yourself as contributing to the Johnson family's current adoption fund, because (as book expenses to date came from there) you will be!

Thank you for your support. At all levels.


Chapters:

PART I: Difficulty

With a Capital D

A Birthday Party

She Married a Complete Pain Noob

Adoption's Beginnings: Conflicted To Say the Least

The Boring Part

Just About There

Surgery and More Screaming

Back to the Future

Part II: Loss

Sick

Really Sick

Roller-coastering

Fighting for Her Life

Reeling Silk

Toward Health

Fabulously Harebrained

All Roads Lead to Beijing

Relentless Father

Part III: Hope

Found

Beijing Again

Goodbye, My Dearest

The Bravest Thing of All

Mommy's Trip

Nothing Happens… While Everything Happens

Moving Mountains

Changed

The Ending

Yet, Hope


Sample:

Prologue

I had thought we would be the ones to profoundly change her life. An orphan? Coming to belong in a family? Blessing itself.

But no.

Pain—even death—lay waiting. For all of us.

The night before I would finally meet Lily, I wrote her a letter.

My Dearest Lily,
I have done little else the past twelve hours other than think of you. The morning will find me on my way to see you. You, of course, won't recognize me, as we've never seen each other. In fact, you may be in for a bit of a rude awakening as your noodles and your chopsticks and your baozi and whatever else your favorites are and your aunties and your friends all soon disappear! But don't worry, there will be many, many wonderful things, too.
A family.
I will love you for as long as I live, Lily. I know, I don't understand it myself. Thank you for inspiring me. It's my privilege to love you, although a bit overwhelming and scary sometimes to feel so much when I can't explain it. I know there are many more chapters of understanding to come.
I will see you in the morning…

At some points in every adoption journey, all is hope and anticipation and joy.


Part I: Difficulty

Chapter One: With a Capital D

No one told us about the screaming.

In the early stages, still filling out paperwork, I thought the hard part would be simply accomplishing this thing called adoption. But paperwork and long waits would prove to be nothing to the war our daughter brought into the house.

I had taken no courses and done little reading. My realm had been the paperwork, and I'd plowed through it with due diligence and left the nurture stuff to my wife. I judged myself prepared. This was our fourth kid; I was not in the “clueless new parent" category. I was hardly a candidate for a class on how to be a dad.

But I was mistaken.

Nothing debilitates quite like being clueless about your own cluelessness. Somehow I missed the memo that adoption difficulties often stretch for years beyond finalization. Somehow I hadn't learned that negligible touch and scant nurture in the first year of life can alter the human brain indefinitely. I had never heard the words sensory, processing, and disorder together in one sentence. I'd had no reason to think about neurotransmitters or synapses since college biology. I had never considered that the cerebral health of our new little family member might be something I should concern myself with. I had not one clue about significant differences between rearing adopted versus biological children.

Even once those differences had walloped me over the head, I was still ignorant about what to do about them. Doors onto life-giving adoptive theory were only opened to us years later when we got involved in our second adoption. Meanwhile, our first three months of adoptive life were difficult beyond expectation—exponentially so. Those three months got seared into memory. Having been a dad three times already counted for almost nothing.

Our difficulties with paperwork and waiting would fade to nostalgia.

The screams were bloodcurdling.

Every night before the storm I would sit in the rocking chair and hold her, reading books and singing. Once the drama began, I would cuddle her close, hoping to exhaust her. The screaming and sweating and pushing and fighting were hard to endure if listening from the rest of the house, let alone close up, but I held on. I was loving and patient most of the time, but at others just as exasperated and exhausted as she.

Out-stubborn me, will you, little girl? I don't think so.

I was doing what came naturally in the course of desperation. I knew nothing about holding time as method; we were surviving. My daughter needed sleep, and this helped her get there. She slept better exhausted. Getting her there quickly became preferable to four hours of fidgeting and fussing only to have to end up enduring the scream session anyway. Nights when she dropped off immediately for an hour's doze were the worst. It only freshened her for true death matches.

Three hours, every night. I can hear the screams still. They could start at seven and finish at ten, or start at nine and finish at midnight. Occasionally it seemed wiser to keep her up later to tire her. In reality it only meant starting at eleven and finishing at two, so we tried it seldom. There were no days off: seven nights each week, three hours each night, like clockwork.

We didn't love her.

Not always, anyway. Not by a long shot. It tore my wife apart. Tammy had been so in love during the waiting process, and she reeled with guilt over those good feelings being supplanted by frustration, irritation, and anger. Once in a while we soared to apathy, but more often we went the other way. Emotions leaked out that just a few months earlier Tammy would have thought herself incapable of feeling: loathing, disgust, dislike. I had them, too, just didn't struggle with the guilt. It likely didn't help matters when I invented silly, cynical lyrics to the “Hush, Little Baby" song I sang her every night. Papa's going to buy you everything you never wanted, kid. Unfortunately I sang it one night while my other kids were listening in, and they never quit asking for “that totally hilarious other version" afterwards.

Our naiveté kept us from knowing that what we were going through was far from uncommon, so there was little to comfort us. We pitied ourselves.

Had adopting been a terrible mistake? We found ourselves verbalizing such things, only to be even more horrified to think the kids had overheard them.

Her cry was like no cry any of them had ever made. For they, touched and cuddled and cooed over since birth, subconsciously possessed deep knowledge about where they were, who they were, and whose they were. The knowledge was part of them, as real as their looks or their personalities. They were home. They were themselves. They were ours.

Our fourth child's brain had instead been overloaded as an infant with a struggle for survival. Her psyche had no room for those other questions, or their answers. She was missing cerebral and neurological capacity that we had assumed were a given. They aren't. Her brain had not been given the environment for normal postnatal development.

Instead of the security and safety our other children had known, this baby had known abandonment and neglect. She knew that closing her eyes in one world could mean waking up in a frightening new one. That fear brought on desperate struggle. Sleep, along with a great deal else, must be fought with every fiber of one's being.

Samples

*

Prologue

I had thought we would be the ones to profoundly change her life. An orphan? Coming to belong in a family? Blessing itself.

But no.

Pain—even death—lay waiting. For all of us.

The night before I would finally meet Lily, I wrote her a letter.

My Dearest Lily,

I have done little else the past twelve hours other than think of you. The morning will find me on my way to see you. You, of course, won't recognize me, as we've never seen each other. In fact, you may be in for a bit of a rude awakening as your noodles and your chopsticks and your baozi and whatever else your favorites are and your aunties and your friends all soon disappear! But don't worry, there will be many, many wonderful things, too.

A family.

I will love you for as long as I live, Lily. I know, I don't understand it myself. Thank you for inspiring me. It's my privilege to love you, although a bit overwhelming and scary sometimes to feel so much when I can't explain it. I know there are many more chapters of understanding to come.

I will see you in the morning…

At some points in every adoption journey, all is hope and anticipation and joy.



Part I: Difficulty

Chapter One: With a Capital D


No one told us about the screaming.

In the early stages, still filling out paperwork, I thought the hard part would be simply accomplishing this thing called adoption. But paperwork and long waits would prove to be nothing to the war our daughter brought into the house.

I had taken no courses and done little reading. My realm had been the paperwork, and I'd plowed through it with due diligence and left the nurture stuff to my wife. I judged myself prepared—I was not in the “clueless new parent" category; I was hardly a candidate for a class on how to be a dad—but I was mistaken.

Nothing debilitates quite like being clueless about your own cluelessness. Somehow I missed the memo that adoption difficulties often stretch for years beyond finalization. Somehow I hadn't learned that negligible touch and scant nurture in the first year of life can alter the human brain indefinitely. I had never heard the words sensory, processing, and disorder together in one sentence. I'd had no reason to think about neurotransmitters or synapses since college biology. I had never considered that the cerebral health of our new little family member might be something I should concern myself with. I had not one clue about significant differences between rearing adopted versus biological children.

Even once those differences had walloped me over the head, I was still ignorant about what to do about them. Doors onto life-giving adoptive theory were only opened to us years later when we got involved in our second adoption. Meanwhile, our first three months of adoptive life were difficult beyond expectation—exponentially so. Those three months got seared into memory. Having been a dad three times already counted for almost nothing.

Our difficulties with paperwork and waiting would fade to nostalgia.

The screams were bloodcurdling.

Every night before the storm I would sit in the rocking chair and hold her, reading books and singing. Once the drama began, I would cuddle her close, hoping to exhaust her. The screaming and sweating and pushing and fighting were hard to endure if listening from the rest of the house, let alone close up, but I held on. I was loving and patient most of the time, but at others just as exasperated and exhausted as she.

Out-stubborn me, will you, little girl? I don't think so.

I was doing what came naturally in the course of desperation. I knew nothing about holding time as method; we were surviving. My daughter needed sleep, and this helped her get there. She slept better exhausted. Getting her there quickly became preferable to four hours of fidgeting and fussing only to have to end up enduring the scream session anyway. Nights when she dropped off immediately for an hour's doze were the worst. It only freshened her for true death matches.

Three hours, every night. I can hear the screams still. They could start at seven and finish at ten, or start at nine and finish at midnight. Occasionally it seemed wiser to keep her up later to tire her. In reality it only meant starting at eleven and finishing at two, so we tried it seldom. There were no days off: seven nights each week, three hours each night, like clockwork.

We didn't love her.

Not always, anyway. Not by a long shot. It tore my wife apart. Tammy had been so in love during the waiting process, and she reeled with guilt over those good feelings being supplanted by frustration, irritation, and anger. Once in a while we soared to apathy, but more often we went the other way. Emotions leaked out that just a few months earlier Tammy would have thought herself incapable of feeling: loathing, disgust, dislike. I had them, too, just didn't struggle with the guilt. It likely didn't help matters when I invented silly, cynical lyrics to the “Hush, Little Baby" song I sang her every night. Papa's going to buy you everything you never wanted, kid. Unfortunately I sang it one night while my other kids were listening in, and they never quit asking for “that totally hilarious other version" afterwards.

Our naiveté kept us from knowing that what we were going through was far from uncommon, so there was little to comfort us. We pitied ourselves.

Had adopting been a terrible mistake? We found ourselves verbalizing such things, only to be even more horrified to think the kids had overheard them.

Her cry was like no cry any of them had ever made. For they, touched and cuddled and cooed over since birth, subconsciously possessed deep knowledge about where they were, who they were, and whose they were. The knowledge was part of them, as real as their looks or their personalities. They were home. They were themselves. They were ours.

Our fourth child's brain had instead been overloaded as an infant with a struggle for survival. Her psyche had no room for those other questions, or their answers. She was missing cerebral and neurological capacity that we had assumed were a given. They aren't. Her brain had not been given the environment for normal postnatal development.

Instead of the security and safety our other children had known, this baby had known abandonment and neglect. She knew that closing her eyes in one world could mean waking up in a frightening new one. That fear brought on desperate struggle. Sleep, along with a great deal else, must be fought with every fiber of one's being.

1 publisher interested
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