They were open to adopting older kids and sibling groups from adoption agencies who face difficulties in getting finding loving homes.
The foster care system in the US offers a caregiving environment to children whose biological parents are unable to be a part of their lives. In several cases, siblings are torn apart and adopted and placed in different foster care homes. However, a set of six siblings found themselves to be the lucky ones as they were adopted by a couple from Tampa, Florida. They decided to take in all six children so that they don't fall at the risk of getting separated by the foster care system ever again. Daniel and Dustin Johnson were pretty determined to include kids in their families and found the perfect situation to adopt six siblings, reports TODAY.
Surprisingly, wanting to have children was a conversation that the Johnsons had on their first date. "I was like, 'I need to be with someone who wants kids,'" 28-year-old Dustin shared. Fortunately, his husband Daniel wanted the same and as the couple got married in 2020, they immediately started attending pre-adoption classes. However, the duo was not willing to opt for surrogacy. "We knew there were kids in our own backyard who needed a loving home," Dustin said, mentioning how several LGBTQIA+ children end up being homeless after being rejected by their birth families. The couple wanted to give a home to the children in need.
They were open to adopting older kids and sibling groups as well. "Daniel and I are both close with our siblings and we knew how much it would hurt to be separated from them when we were growing up," Dustin said. Their wishes were granted when a set of six siblings consisting of Reid, 11, Amiyah, 10, Izayah, 9, Kaelix, 7, Cade, 6 and Roslin, 3 met them through the adoption agency. However, adopting these siblings doesn't mean the fathers didn't have to face several challenges.
"One of the kids had over 25 different placements," Dustin revealed. "They never had enough food, so they’d just gorge. I’ll never forget the first time we had one of the kids over, and the kid sat there and ate, like, 12 hot dogs." When the siblings first arrived to live with the Johnson couple on May 2022, they experienced night terrors and some of them were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing domestic violence and drug abuse in various foster families. They needed love, care and empathy, which the Johnsons were keen on providing.
...and what have you homophobes done lately? Just judge gay people?— ilona (e loe nah) 🇺🇦🇸🇾🇵🇸 (@ilonapet) June 17, 2023
A Florida family is gearing up for a very special Father's Day!
In May, Dustin and Daniel Johnson adopted six children, siblings between the ages of 3 and 11, who were living in five different foster home. pic.twitter.com/gdtrIEpWV1
Now, with the help of family therapists and four of these children getting individual therapy, their grades at school have improved along with their mental health. "When they first moved in, they were completely withdrawn and had major trust issues," Dustin recalled. "It took months and months to build up that trust. Then the light started coming in."
Amiyah, the oldest daughter had a hard time adjusting as she held onto the idea that "her mom might come back and save her." Dustin added, "We were terrified of what was going to happen and then she did a complete 180 and was so happy and cried tears of joy."
You are amazing people! Thank you for helping these kids. You have an absolutely beautiful family! 🆘⚖✊💜 pic.twitter.com/9rRISh384S— As (@AmandaMSidesRN1) August 9, 2019
The Johnsons are now a happy family of eight members who love going out for bike rides, fishing trips and spending typical family evenings in their home. The siblings who had spent three years living apart from each other are now in a safe haven. "They’re almost co-dependent," Dustin adds. "We had the boys split up in two different rooms, and they came to us and asked if they could all be together." When questioned about whether or not they are willing to adopt more kids, Dustin reveals with a chuckle that the biological mom of the six kids is pregnant again and due in August. So the Johnson family probably expand once more.