Bright balloons, loud cheers and crowded seats typically fill a courtroom on a day of adoption. But the coronavirus pandemic led to a reimagining of adoption hearings. Luckily, this did not stop the Johnson family from celebrating one of the most important days of their lives–the adoption of their two beautiful children.

Two years ago, Ben, age 8, and Maya, age 6, came to live with the Johnson family through foster care. When Ben first came into their home, he had a lot of trauma to process from his birth family. Sarah, the mother of Ben and Maya, recounts calling her sister in the middle of the night the first time Ben had a bad dream that wasn’t trauma-related, but just an ordinary, fictional bad dream.

“Fostering can be difficult,” shared Sarah. “It’s amazing. Watching Ben work through his trauma and supporting him on his journey brought us even closer together.” As for Maya, she remembered some of her trauma as well, but shared that she continues to thrive in her new, loving home. “They are resilient, amazing kids,” said Sarah. “Ben loves life, he loves to play soccer. I can’t imagine life without him now. Maya is our in-house comedian. She walked right in and filled a void that we didn’t even know existed. I couldn’t have handpicked better children to fit in our family.”

On the morning of their adoption day, the Johnson family wore matching shirts, waiting in excitement in their living room as they gathered shoulder to shoulder around their computer. In just a few minutes, their dreams would come true.

But the court proceeding before theirs took longer than expected, and their adoption was rescheduled for the next day. Tears were shed, but they knew their moment was coming soon. The next day, the family gathered again around the computer and smiled as they watched the court proceedings that would officially make them a family. Their extended family members were able to join the call as well, including the teacher who first guided their adoptive mom to a foster care agency and their aunt, who lived in another state. The judge hit the gavel and said the words they had all been longing to hear, ‘You’re now a Johnson!’ Maya wrapped her arms around her mom and Ben’s entire body lit up with joy.

“Adoption day is monumental for families,” said Kaytlin Wyatt, a Foster In Texas Amarillo family services worker. “A child is officially becoming a part of their forever family.”

The Johnsons have cared for nine kids so far and intend to keep fostering and adopting. They are currently fostering a 15-month-old and an 18-month-old. Sarah puts it this way: “We don’t know when our foster care journey will end, but we know it’s not yet. It’s important work. The need is out there.”

Forever families, like the Johnsons, are connected through Upbring’s Foster In Texas program because of wonderful supporters like you. Our mission to break the cycle of child abuse begins with your partnership.

*The Johnson’s story is true, but we used pseudonyms to protect the family’s privacy.

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