The final visit

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Being foster parents, you know in the back of your head, that every child placed into care may possibly be up for adoption.  The likelihood of that happening is very slim, but it still gives you hope.

Our journey has been far from easy, and these precious boys of ours (ages 8,6,3) have been through so much in their short life.  On Thursday May 4th, my boys had to say goodbye to the only parents they knew–their birth Mom and Dad.

Throughout the past year and half, they have looked forward to the visits with them every other week (even if the parents tested positive, CPS still let the visits happen) unless the parents cancelled, or didn’t show up.  They have gotten to know them in a supervised setting, and felt safe and secure knowing that nothing could happen during their hour visits.

On the day of the final visit, I told my boys I would be the one taking them and picking them up.  I let them know that since they were aware that their parents cancelled this “goodbye visit” twice already during the week, that if they cancelled this last and final chance, they would not get to say goodbye (per CPS rules/regulations).

I felt SUCH a relief when their birth parents showed up to the visit, because each one of my kids wanted to buy them gifts and give them things as well for them to remember them by.  Each one of my kids picked their own picture frames, with one of their favorite pictures that I printed for them to place inside the frames. My oldest foster son (8) also picked out a nice Jordan hat for his Dad, and some really nice earrings that he thought his Mom would like as well.

There were no tears shed before/during/after the visit from any of my kids at the final visit. My conclusion is that God protect them that day.  I prayed hard that God protect their precious hearts and cover them with His goodness during these hard times, and that prayer was more than answered.  I feel like they had cried all they could before the visit took place, that when it actually happened, they were okay.

If the biological parents don’t appeal the termination of rights, then we get to move forward with adoptions and that would start the process in July.

Thank you for just having the rights words to say to us during this time, and for always being so uplifting and encouraging.

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

 

The “talk”

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So on Monday,  I had to do the thing that I have been dreading since the day the boys came to us and they said “they might be up for adoption one day in your near future” to Shane and I.  Little did I know though, that the process to get here would take this long, and take such an emotional toll on everyone involved.

After termination of rights happen (which you can find a little more about what happened at our trial here), then CPS must tell the children what is about to happen, and that they will only have one more visit with their parents known as the “goodbye visit”.

The legal worker arrived on Monday afternoon to our house, and spoke to me outside for a minute stating that she would like me to start the conversation with the boys and she will feed off what I say, and then allow them to ask any questions that they are wondering/thinking.

I can’t go into a LOT of detail about word for word on how the conversation went, but let let me tell you..telling them that they will no longer have any contact with their parents after this last visit, and knowing how much that must truly hurt to hear, pulled at my mama heart strings so much.

I know the conversation needed to happen, especially for my 8 year old foster son because he was the one was so bonded to them, and wanted his parents to “stop doing bad stuff”, so he could go back home to them. He broke down sobbing when he realized what was happening, and I just held him so tight in his room while he weeped into my chest.  It truly broke my heart.  My 6 year old foster son, definitely handled the news way better than I thought he would, but he could be masking his emotions as well.  His phrase after myself and the legal worker were done talking was “that’s great, now we can get adopted!” and my 3 year just told me “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and then started laughing.  I even broke it down into toddler terms, and I am not quite sure he even understood it then.

I hope and pray that God continues to give them strength, just like it says in Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.

Please keep the Johnsons in your thoughts and prayers as we are transitioning into new and abundant stages in our life and our journey! ♥♥

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

The FINAL trial!

Trial

Gosh, this has been a whirlwind of a journey for us!  I cannot believe that we have only been involved for nearly 6 months in this case since we got the call that has/will forever change our life.

Taking on the 3 boys ages 2,5,7 at the time, meant that everything we thought we knew about raising children, kind of went out the door.  We didn’t know how to raise boys (we have only had girls), and we truly didn’t understand the severity of all of the trauma that they had experienced during their lifetime. It has been difficult at times (a lot of times), but it also has been the most rewarding experience to see that these boys feel safe, loved, and secured and have actually said on multiple occasions that they want to live with us for the rest of their life.

All of the visits that we took them to with their biological parents, just tore them apart.  Especially when the parents showed up testing positive for drugs and they still allowed the visits to happen (so crazy)!  The damage that was done after every visit was heartbreaking and we spent the next two weeks trying to pick up all of the pieces, before they were then shattered again a the next visit.

Then comes the waiting game of when the actual trial would happen.. this trial had been reset 4 previous times(in almost 6 months), and on April 28, the TRIAL actually happened!

Six hours, Six witnesses called to the stand, countless arguments from both of the parents lawyers, CPS providing every single possible detail about the parents history and lack of involvement during this entire process, and the Judge finally determining the verdict.

Verdict stands: Termination of rights (for all three of the children and of their 18 month old younger sister who is placed in another home) for both of the biological parents.

What does that exactly mean?  That means that they will be given a goodbye visit (one last visit with their kids), and then they are no longer in their life anymore.  It means that they did not do what was provided to them and expected of them during the last 508 days while the children have been removed and in CPS care. It means that they do have a time during which they can appeal (which can last up to 90 days).  It means that we can FINALLY talk about adoption (after the goodbye visit), and moving forward during this process.  It means that these boys can be given the chance at having a successful life.

This day has come and gone, and I am SO very happy to be sitting here typing this. Staying up much later than I would have intended on doing (because I have to go to work bright and early in the morning), but I wanted to let you all know here, that this is what we have been praying for, and I thank you ALL for the many prayers during this process as well.  Please continue to send them as we will be facing the fact that the parents may appeal to the verdict, and that may delay the adoption process from starting.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the next few months bring! Until next time.

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

The “good” in goodbye

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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.