The FINAL 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.

Gray area in foster care


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.