Meet the Johnson Family!
The journey of fostering can be significantly different for every family. While the main goal of foster parenting is to support reunification between foster child and biological family member, adoption opportunities may arise. As we continue to celebrate National Foster Care Month, we would like to introduce Nicole and Roy Johnson who have successfully adopted with Wolverine after starting their care provider journey as foster parents. We would like to recognize the Johnson family as Care Providers of the Month for their past services as foster parents, and dedication to providing ongoing care to their three adopted children.
The Johnson’s first began their foster journey in 2012. During their nearly seven-year span with WHS, they received a total of seven placements. As of today, they have four adoptive children, ranging from 7 to 10 years old. Two girls, Marie and Annabelle, and two boys, Michael and RJ. While fostering the Johnsons received placement of their youngest daughter Anabelle. Nicole and Roy recall their first meeting with Anabelle as “love at first sight”. While reminiscing on their past experience as foster parents, the Johnson’s have learned that you do not “pick” your biological children and you love each child unconditionally. This same concept is true as a foster parent.
As the Johnson’s foster parent journey continued, the opportunity arose to foster two biological brothers named Michael and RJ. Nicole expressed that before accepting placement of Michael and RJ, she took the time to sit down with each child in the family to ask them how they would feel about welcoming two other children into the home. Nicole feels this is an important step in assuring that each child was comfortable in their home and welcoming of new family members.
While the Johnson’s family story may seem like a happily ever after fairy tale, it wasn’t always easy for Nicole and Roy. The family spent years in limbo with the adoption process of their eldest daughter, Marie. During this time, Nicole explained that they had adapted to living their lives “90 days at a time”, meaning that every 90 days they showed up to court, waiting to hear on whether if Marie would be placed with a relative or remain in the Johnson’s family care. It wasn’t until December of 2016 that Nicole and Roy were able to legally adopt Marie, which undoubtedly was one of the best days of their lives.
While remembering their time as foster parents and celebrating the growth of their family, the Johnson’s shared three pieces of advice to current and future foster parents.
First, be full of patience and understanding. Naturally, there are going to be times when you want to give up or when the journey feels all too overwhelming, but when you finally get to say “forever” to the kids, nothing else matters. Even if you are presented with a reunification case, don’t hold back. Those kids still need your all. Does it hurt when they leave? Of course. Can it be scary at times? Yes. Is it all worth it? Absolutely.
Another piece of advice for consideration is to teach foster children proper coping skills. Determine what trauma-based behavior is taking place in a foster child’s life and find the best way to respond. Let your responses to foster youth always be kind, and full of grace.
Lastly, be as honest as possible when thinking about accepting foster placements. Thinking through what trauma-based behavior your family can or cannot handle. We would love to help you identify examples of these behaviors, and help you start your foster parent journey.
To learn more about foster parenting, and the overall training process, please complete the Care Provider Form below.