Have you or anyone close to you has adopted a child, given a baby up for adoption, or been foster parents? If so, you will relate personally with a new CD titled Do You Have a Little Love to Share. All of the songs are on the theme of adoption and foster parenting. The song writers are Janice Kapp Perry and Joy Saunders Lundberg, cousins who have collaborated in songwriting for many years. When Nathan Gwilliam, owner of Adoption Media in Gilbert, Arizona (an organization that connects unwed birth mothers, adoptive parents and adoption agencies worldwide) asked the songwriters to create this album they jumped at the chance.
At the time, Gwilliam was unaware that Joy and her husband Gary had adopted their five children, three internationally, and been foster parents to three other children. Nor did he know that Janice and her husband Douglas had been foster parents to numerous children while they were raising their four birth children. The project was a natural fit, a project of the heart that resulted in an album of fourteen songs.
When I listened to the songs I was deeply moved by the messages and the music. Many others have felt similar feelings, such as one woman who wrote the agency saying “We have biological kids and adopted kids, and I just sat and cried and cried as I listened to the songs on this CD. It is like the songwriters took the words straight from my heart ? especially ‘We are all the same inside,’ because we have an interracial family through adoption.”
Another mother wrote: “The lyrics touch the chords of the heart of anyone touched by adoption, they are set to beautiful melodies, and the vocals are amazing. What a wonderful combination! As a long-time Janice Kapp Perry/Joy Lundberg fan I was ecstatic to find they had applied their incredible talents to the adoption theme. I love it!”
To find out more about the creation process of these songs, Joy suggested an interview approach. Here is the result.
Darla: Janice, you’ve become an LDS music legend and you’re still going strong. Rumor has it you’ve written more than 800 songs. Is that true?
Janice: True. I love writing music; it’s a very fulfilling pastime.
Darla: So, how is it for you, Joy, writing with one of the Church’s foremost composers?
Joy: Humbling… and tons of fun. It’s our favorite thing to do together, if you don’t count grabbing our husbands and the four of us going out to dinner. It really is fun writing with Jani – that’s what we in the family call her and have since she was born. Having the same grandmother, who was an amazing woman of faith, puts us on equal footing regarding our spiritual foundation and family values.
Janice: And that’s an important element in our being able to work together so well. In all the years we’ve collaborated, we’ve always been very compatible. Maybe we have a difference of opinion on occasion, but we are always able to resolve it for the best good of the song.
Darla:< Sharing the same heritage would be a definite advantage. When you write together what comes first, the words or the music?
Joy: We talk about the songs and what kind of message we want to portray as well as the style of music we want to use, then I get busy and write the words, outlining a rhythm pattern. Jani takes it from there by creating the perfect music for the message. I say “perfect” because I always love what she writes. I’m absolutely thrilled with the music she wrote to these adoption songs.
Darla: Did you write all of the lyrics on this album?
Joy: All but two songs where Janice wrote the lyrics as well as the music. Her songs expressed my own feelings about our adoption experience so beautifully that we just had to include them.
Darla:What are the two songs you wrote, Janice, and what motivated you to write them?
Janice: I wrote Do You Love Me as Your Own, and Empty Arms. The first one was inspired by a conversation I had with an adult woman who was adopted. This was a nagging question in her mind that came to a tender conclusion. Empty Arms was the result of conversations I had with a birth mother and adoptive parents. Their thoughts and feelings touched me deeply.
Darla: Do you both have a favorite on the album?
Joy:We especially loved writing the title song Do You Have a Little Love to Share. It fit the country flavor that we both enjoy but rarely use. It fit this song perfectly and we really had some fun with it.
Janice: Then Greg Hansen wrote an inspired arrangement that nailed it perfectly, and had Jenny Jordan Frogley sing it. Wow! It blew us away! It sounded like we had Faith Hill in the studio that day.
Darla: Jenny does have a fabulous voice.
Janice: She sings many of the songs on the album, and we love them all. The other singers are superb, also, especially our male lead, David Tinney.
Darla: Tell me about Our Little Wounded Angel.
Joy: This song tells the story of our mentally disabled daughter, Carol. We adopted her in Germany at a community hospital when she was three months old. The tiny smile we were able to coax from her stole our hearts. It was Christmastime, so we called her our little Christmas Carol. She has taught us and our other children more about life and loving than we ever thought possible. As we talk with others who have adopted disabled children we discover similar sentiments and expressions of deep gratitude for having a special needs child in their home. That doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult, because it is! But the blessings seem to trump the challenges every time.
Darla: What other songs stand out in your minds?
Janice: They wanted a song that addressed the issue of stepfathers who adopt. This was an interesting subject and we wondered what direction to go. Then Joy came up with the Designated Daddy idea, and it worked. Here was another chance to do a little upbeat country tune which we both love.
Joy: And it really worked. Many have expressed how much they enjoy this song. Actually, it fits any daddy who is in the role of being a stepfather, whether they’ve adopted or not.
Janice: Daddy’s Little Girl is another favorite of people, regardless of how that little daughter came into their lives. One delighted father said his little three-year-old daughter goes around singing it all the time.
Joy:Kinda like Mama’s Lullaby fits all mothers.
Darla: Well, you certainly don’t have to have adopted your children to enjoy this album. I can vouch for that.
Joy: I can’t let this interview end without telling you about the song How Do I Say Thank You. I remembered the joy of bringing home our last two little baby boys, John and Paul – born three years apart. These little boys, now all grown up, have brought indescribable happiness to us. There were many times when I watched them play as little ones that I thought life couldn’t get better than this. Then they and our older three grew up, married and have given us more of themselves through their own children. Now as we watch these little “duplicates” run and play, our hearts overflow.
All I can think of at times is, how can I say thank you to my dear children for loving us as their parents and being such a priceless gift to us? This song is my expression of gratitude to all five of our children, and I feel certain expresses the feelings of other adoptive and natural parents.
Darla: Thanks to both of you for creating such a unique and timely album. If there are young unwed mothers out there who are uncertain about adoption for their baby, this album could help put their minds to rest. Also, I would hope it would inspire others to adopt or to be foster parents to the “many lonely children out there.”