The “good” in goodbye

new

This little girl in the picture above was our “newest” foster child, making our total turn to 6 kids in the Johnson household.  Call us crazy, we think we are too, lol!

She is wild, bold, and has a very strong personality! She is hilarious when she figures something out, and she LOVED having “older” siblings in the house, since she is an only child with her mom and dad.

This little girl came to us at 21 months old, non-verbal, loved to treated like a “baby”, and with only the clothes on her back, and 1 extra pair from her daycare.  You can never know what to expect with emergency placements such as what they will come with, or what they will need (bottles/diapers/clothing), but we knew we were going to take care of her until her hearing/or until a family member stepped up as a placement opportunity for her to be with her family.

It was an adventure having her here for the last few weeks, she taught us so much more about ourselves and our family dynamics, she taught us to lean on each other more for patience through this trial of parenting six children, and she taught us how to clean up better (had to put ALL food away at times of not eating or else she would scream/beg to be fed all.day.long).

As of today, we had to say goodbye to her, and it’s the “good”bye kinda thing, since she got reunited with her family today! Her Aunt and Uncle stepped up and said they wanted to care for her, and that makes our heart happy! I truly hope she does amazing things with her life!

It was nice getting to know you, precious little girl! Now our family is back down to just the 7 of us!

Thanks to everyone for following along our journey!

©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Gray area in foster care

grey

Sometimes in foster care, it’s all butterflies and roses and things go exactly the way you pictured it would.. the child fits perfectly into your home, get’s along well with all of your children, eat/sleeps good.. you know, everything you could possibly imagine going well, just does.

But sometimes in this process, you find that things are not always as black and white as you remember in training and sometimes those lines that you remember signing your name by,  don’t always happen the way you thought it would.

Let me give you all a few examples of the “Gray area” we have experienced.. now first and foremost this is solely my opinion an what has personally happened in our family, it doesn’t mean that this happens for everyone.

  • The “end-all trial” which was supposed to happen to us to start our adoption with the boys, has been reset 4 different times, in 5 months.. still haven’t started that process.
  • There is a 30 day removal request that you are allowed to make when you feel one of the children in your house isn’t really working out (I won’t go into detail, but that is the nice way of putting it) and it should mean that CPS has just 30 days to get them out of your house and placed elsewhere, or you can have an expedited 14 day request that means the same thing.. and what we have found out is that, that is just a number and that CPS can leave them in your house longer if need be, due to them unable to find a placement for that child elsewhere.. hmm..
  • The paperwork.  When they say you have monthly documentation on a child, you start to think “ok maybe just a few documents” but no.. I am loaded in about 6 pages/per kid/per month + any doctor/dental notes that I have to show proof of + any incident reports (scratches/beavhorial, etc) +educational docs of what they are learning in school+ report cards.. Okay, you get the point right?  SO. MUCH. PAPERWORK.
  • The team.  Every single child that comes into the foster care has an attorney+ad lidem+case manager+CASA (if they get appointed a worker). Every single child has a team that you somehow have to coordinate everything with! Let me tell you, my month gets filled up pretty quickly coordinating everything with them.
  •  The required stuff.  So much stuff is mandatory–doctors visits/dental visits/tb tests/specialist visits/ training/etc. that sometimes it is hard to just keep up with it all.  I try to schedule everything all at once, but it doesn’t always work out that way.. it makes for a lot of driving.
  • Counseling.. it’s like a double-edge sword.  You would hope that taking your child to an out-of-town counselor 3+ times per month would be great, but sometimes you see no benefit.  While all foster children are required to be in counseling at 3 ages and above, sometimes you don’t really see the effectiveness of it all, with some children. I think family counseling would be best, so the truth would always be told and heard.
  • Hearings-ugh.. it’s something that happens at 2 weeks after removal, and usually every 3 months after that, until the trial at 1 year post removal happens.  Foster parents (or least in our case) are not heard.  We are not asked by the Judge how the children are doing, or how they are handling this process developmentally/behaviorally….nothing at all.  “The team” (which I have actually very rarely seen them interact with my foster children) are always trying to figure out “what’s best for the child/ren” with little to no regards of the kids themselves.  Usually the arguments in the hearings are polar opposites of what’s usually best for these precious children.

**I am not talking down to foster care or in any way/shape/form/fashion or trying to deter you from this process, just wanted to speak about stuff that we think we should have been told when initially getting involved in this process.

©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

Hey, Friday! Oh how I needed you!

friday

So we have finished another week, and Friday has come once again! Every week I try to savor every single moment with each one of my kids, but it seems like time just passes and it’s gone! So I wanted to do a little five this Friday recap of how this week went!

1. ) I surprised all my kids on Monday (since they were all off of school) and met my parents at Palmetto State Park (in Luling, Tx) for a picnic at the park and some outdoor fun so that we wouldn’t be cooped up all day, and it was a huge hit for my kids! My parents brought the food and drinks, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed playing (for the most part, before we got rained out) and we will definitely be going back soon before it gets too hot!

2.) We did “family fishing” with myself and Shane and all the kids (or majority of them anyway. I think my mom had baby girl both times) twice this week!  This kids LOVED having mommy there.. because majority of the time I am at home with the “littles” as we call them (so that I can be cooking dinner, cleaning house, and making sure all night time stuff is ready)so they just adored showing me all of their fishing skills and catching a lot of fish!

3.) We had our monthly visit with CPS and it went as expected.. we have some issues going on with a couple of our children in our house that needed to be addressed, so we will see what actually comes from it.  Other than that, we are SO thankful my parents stayed to help with the kids and entertain them during the visit since there was so much to talk about!

4.) I decided it was a good idea (when I made the appointment) to take all of my boys to dentist on the same day (since the location is over an hour away), and I booked the earliest appointment possible, which was 8am.  Remind me to never do that again, my body naturally woke up at 445am since I was panicked that I was going to miss my alarms an get there late, so it truly made for a long day! My 3 year old didn’t have any cavities, my 6 year old needs to have 3 teeth removed on May 12 (due to abcess that could eventually lead to an infected tooth later on) and we are not looking forward to that! And I was told I have to get a consent signed (foster care regulations) before he can have any form of sedation! Very interesting to know.  My 8 year old doesn’t have great teeth either, and he had to get 1 cavity filled that morning after all the cleanings were done and he did great! I can definitely wait 6 months to do this all again, for sure! (So thankful my Step-Dad came and helped me).

5.) I took the kids on my one day off (the four littles) on an impromptu trip to the zoo in Victoria, Tx and the kids had a blast! No crowds, all animals were awake an roaming around, and they even got chased by some birds (which was so hilarious to watch) and I think it was the best thing we needed after I changed 3 poopy diapers before 9am, I was like “we are getting out of here”! I got some great shots of the animals as well (between coordinating 4 kids and trying to hold a nice camera, I am surprised I got any at all!

zoo1

zoo2

Bonus: We are spending this weekend at Nana and Papa’s!! Shane is going on a fishing trip with the boys and I very rarely get to spend time with my parents (they spend a lot of time helping me with the kids,  but it’s just not the same) and I am so happy that I get to do that! I am looking forward to some garage sales, nap times, great food, and better yet.. no cleaning (ok I still do that at their house, but you know what I mean..)!

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and I hope to see you all soon again (rather than later.. with 6 kids, it might just be later).

I am linking up with Karli who blogs on over at Sept. Farm and I would love for y’all to stop on by and show her some love!

 

©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.

Collateral beauty

beauty (1)

After attending this years Haven of Hope (which I still haven’t had time to write about) with the many women who have lost their children entirely too early, and have walked/still walking through this journey of grief, I was so amazed and encouraged by so many of them!

This one mom (Georgia) spoke about collateral beauty and basically finding different ways that God speaks to us after suffering a loss of a love one.  She told us that it’s based on a movie, and that some people may not be ready to watch it, but to “remember the name and the meaning and watch it when they felt the timing was right”.

I went home and bought the movie right away and watched, and absorbed every ounce of the movie, and loved it.

It got me thinking of life, my personal journey, and my future.  It’s amazing to think that God has been with us throughout our “highs” and our “lows”.  That He has used my personal journey to open my eyes and my heart to helping other children that are in need and provide them love, shelter, and a place to call their temporary (or permanent for some) home.

There are only two words that describe the life that we been through, and it’s collateral beauty.  It’s finding God’s grace through the midst of it all, and continually working to better ourselves and our faith daily.  It’s opening our eyes to see things that we may been shielding them from seeing years before.  It’s ministering to those other moms who have had everything taken from them.

Collateral beauty is amazing and can be interpreted in so many different ways, and if you get the chance to watch the movie, definitely do so and let me know what you think.

©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.