Why foster?


I just wanted to write a post (since May is National fostercare awareness month) and answer a couple of the common questions that we would have wanted to know when we decided to dive into this journey!

After our daughter Rochelle passed away, Shane and I knew that God was calling us to love other children the way we would have loved Rochelle.  We knew that we had love to give, and knew that this was our calling that God was leading us to.  We did not know one married couple (at the time) who had ever fostered a child (or even adopted) so we definitely had some fears going into this process!

I remember that we googled “foster care in Texas” and what showed up was the state agency in San Antonio, Texas and we knew we had to at least go to the class and find out more information!

The teacher scared us so much and it made us ask ourselves “do we really want to do this” or “can we handle this situation”? There were so many unanswered questions and I truly feel like God just gave us to the answer to say “yes”. Saying yes didn’t mean that we were able to handle all the trauma or have an answer to how Brielle would be affected by accepting a child with trauma into our home..  saying yes meant that we knew we could love another child unconditionally even though we knew that they would most likely have to leave our home.  Saying yes meant that we could teach each child about God (even if they were only with us a short amount of time). Saying yes meant that we would pray over the parents that did wrong or made harsh mistakes that had their kid(s) taken away from them.  It meant that we were solely depending on God to bring us through it all.

The  training classes that we initially took in San Antonio were brutal (and broke us so hard hearing all of the sad stories) but so so worth it! Since the state agency was in no rush to get us to become a licensed home, we switched to another agency (Family Link–in Gonzales, Tx) and were licensed within a month of transferring over!

One common question is how often does reunification actually occur?  For us, one child (of the 8 that we fostered) actually were reunified with mom and dad once leaving our house, but have now been removed from them once again.  Parents actually don’t have a lot to get done during the time that their child(ren) are in care, so it should sound easy for them to return to them but the average time for the parents to get all their classes done and show proof that they have stayed drug-free is usually 6 months-1 year. What we have seen is that addiction is HARD and we pray for the biological parents all during the process (and even now) that they understand the beauty of what God had given them and that they let that addiction go and be able to love and provide for their child(ren) the way that they should.  The main goal in fostercare is to reunify with mom and dad, but so often you see SO much time go by during the case before that is even possible.

Another question is how much do you get paid?  Of course money is not why you should be called to do this, but it is part of the process, and does help provide financial aide to you.  For basic level of care children (most children are) I believe that each child gets around $650 per month and for moderate level of care I believe it’s between $650-$1,000 a month.  I am sure that different agencies follow different guidelines and the amount that foster parents get reimbursed (not sure if it’s the same rate throughout the state)but the money does not go unused.  Each child brought to us had very minimal clothing so you have to think that buying them an entire wardrobe is a must, buying diaper/formula, food, and  driving to therapy appts, counseling, doctors, and monthly visits with parents and siblings.  It is definitely helpful to have during the process.

One of the most important questions regarding Brielle is how does she adjust to “letting go” of the children? Our answer to that is, she has to.  We don’t sugarcoat anything with Brielle and we would give her advance warning (if it was given to us) that the child would be leaving our home and returning back to a family member or the parents. Brielle understands that we were there to take care of the child(ren) and to love on them and show them what it feel likes to have your needs met, be clean, and just be given unconditional love.   Did it break our hearts when they left? Yes, but Shane and I both feel like Brielle grew up so much the past two years with 8 foster children coming in and out of our of house.  The good thing is that three of them stayed and were able to be adopted and become Brielle’s forever sister and brothers.

Just know that even if God doesn’t call you to become a foster parent, there are ways to support other children/families that are in care.

-Meals (cook for the foster families without them having to ask you).

– Training (take some training so that you can babysit the children and let the foster parents have a night off or a weekend off).

-Just schedule a play date with the child(ren) that are in care.

-Just provide an ear (for both the foster parents and the kids and just listen to their struggles and see if their is a way that you are able to help them out).

-There are also ways to help out the agency (by donating gently used clothes or new toys, and more).

-Also if you would like an amazing podcast to listen to, head on over to Risen Motherhood and it will leave you inspired (especially the episode 99 on Foster care and the gospel).

Just remember, when God calls you to it, He will bring you through it.

I hope I was able to give you a little insight into why we chose to go this route and as always, feel free to reach out to me at any of my social media accounts or via email and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

©2018 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.




It already happened


I think every foster parent (or most parents really) get to the point of just feeling very overwhelmed.

We often do everything for our children (cooking, cleaning, laundry,school, counseling, sports, church, and any extra activities).  We take them to everything, because we wouldn’t have it any other way.

But at times, it gets overwhelming when you are doing all that for 5 children.  Each child needs love, attention, affection, and all of their needs met, to be able to grow and develop appropriately.

Let’s just say that I needed God more than ever last week.  I went to Bible study with the intention of digging deeper into the Bible and just really appreciate all of what God has given me in my life, but what happened next was truly amazing.

At the end of each lesson, the Pastor and the Minister ask if anyone needs prayer.  Well, I am always hesitant to get up in front of people (I have anxiety about that) but I couldn’t resist the pull that was happening to me, and I knew I had to go up to the front.

I told the Pastor in her ear about what was happening to me in my life, and she leaned me back and said to me “God just told me it already happened,” and I of course broke down in tears, knowing that God did place these kids in my life for a specific reason.

For me to raise them, love on them, nurture them, and watch them grow into such amazing and astounding individuals.  To watch each of the foster children find a special place in our home and in our heart, is so amazing to me and I am so glad that God forgives me for the moments that I do not lead with grace, and pats me on the back when I do.

A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I know that this year is going to mean some major things are going to happen with us and that we must depend on our faith to get us through it all.

Thank you so much for the kind comments, prayers, and hope for the Johnson family!!♥♥♥

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



The 60 day hearing!


Yesterday was a VERY important day in our foster/adoption case with baby girl.  It was her 60 day hearing, stating whether or not we were going to stay on track with everything that we are doing at this time.  I chose to go to this with my parents and it was SO good for me to be there.

The entire team was there:

  • baby girls mother and her lawyer
  • baby girls father and his lawyer
  • the legal worker (that communicates with both us and the parents)
  • baby girls lawyer (even though she was stuck in SA traffic, she stayed on the phone during the hearing and spoke when it was her turn)
  • baby girls caseworker (who sat with us in the visitor section)
  • the Judge

At first, the Judge asked each person to state who they are and who they are representing.  Then he went on to let the legal worker answer some questions that the court was asking about the case, and he answered them straight-forward to his best ability.  Then each lawyer said their cases, and what each the services that each parent is suppose to be going through (drug treatment, domestic violence classes, parenting classes, etc.).  It was baby girls(I so wish I could say her name sometimes, it would make the sentence writing, a LOT less confusing, lol) lawyers turn next (and she was still on the phone), and she stated the importance of baby girl to be fed properly, to make sure that they are aware that there are risks with their baby when feeding (aspiration, choking, etc.), that she cannot be around people who smoke(mom denies doing it.. even though I see in my rear-view mirror after every visit), that she still has two holes in her heart that we have not gone to the appointment yet to verify if they are indeed still open. She stated the importance of not spreading infection, because her little body may not be able to fight it off (like an average, healthy baby), and tons more. Let me just say that I am SO happy that God sent this amazing lawyer in our life to protect the best interest of baby girl.  I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a lawyer in the San Antonio area!  The faces mom and dad were giving during this time (eye rolling, head shaking, whispering in their lawyers ears) basically showed that they were not happy with what was being said.

**The moms lawyer did try to bring up the fact that baby girls aunt did try to step up in the beginning for baby girl to be placed with her initially instead of in a foster home, and the legal worker had to state to the court that the aunt is MIA and won’t respond to any of his calls, so aunt is now out of the picture and no other family members have stepped up yet**

The Judge ended the hearing by telling the parents they have 3 things to do:

  1. Follow ALL of the services.. not a single one can be missed.
  2. Review and sign ALL documentation saying that they are aware of the situation and why their baby is in foster care.
  3.  That if they choose to NOT do #1 or #2, and fail at following any and everything, their rights could be terminated by the court of law.

As of right now, things are going to stay the way they are with her in our care at this time, with weekly visits with the parents for one hour.

The next hearing is in January, and we will know more information, by that time.  Her trial is in April and that is when rights will be terminated, or reunification will happen with the parents.

After all was said and done, God definitely answered our prayers.  He put the right people in her case, and in our life.  We have been praying over baby girl and the situation at whole, and we know that God is trying to prepare our hearts for what’s to come in the next few months with her case, and that we must listen and open our eyes and our hearts to receive His message.

Thank you for all of the prayers for baby girl and for our family.  We greatly appreciate it!

©2016 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved