6 Siblings Were Separated in Foster Care For Over 3 Years – Then 2 Dads Adopted Them All
“We knew there were kids in our own backyard who needed a loving home.”
Life just got a WHOLE lot busier for Daniel and Dustin Johnson.
The Florida couple, married in 2020, always knew they wanted kids. Ruling out surrogacy, they immediately began attending pre-adoption classes.
From the start, they made it clear to the adoption agency that they were open to older children and sibling groups, which are typically much more difficult to place.
“Daniel and I kind of made the joke that we could fit six in the back of our Suburban,” Dustin Johnson told GMA. “The next month, in December, our adoption specialist reached out and said, ‘How serious are you about that six number?'”
Turns out they were pretty serious.
They went from a family of two to a family of eight, literally overnight, adopting six siblings who were living in five separate foster homes.
As for that Suburban? They’ve traded it in for a 15-passenger van.
The Rocky Road to Adoption
Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that becoming a parent isn’t easy. The road is often paved with challenges. But for Dustin and Daniel, their road was littered with land mines.
All six brothers and sisters, ranging in age from 3 to 11, had never had the chance to live together. While foster care provides necessary care and support, it is difficult to keep large families together.
For over three years, they were bounced around from foster home to foster home.
By the time Dustin and Daniel appeared on the scene, the siblings were living in 5 separate homes. “One of the kids had over 25 different placements,” Dustin told Today.
Obviously, they didn’t come alone. They brought a lot of baggage with them, including night terrors and post-traumatic stress disorder from exposure to domestic violence and drug abuse. But Daniel and Dustin knew they could handle it. Giving up on these kids was never an option.
At first, the couple struggled to bond with their eldest daughter Amiyah. She believed her biological mother would return for her and she may be betraying her mother by bonding with them.
“When they first moved in, they were completely withdrawn and had major trust issues,” Dustin recalls. “It took months and months to build up that trust. Then the light started coming in.”
And while the kids adjusted to their new life together, the state still needed some convincing.
“There were a lot of ‘what ifs,'” said Jennifer Robinson, an attorney with Bay Area Legal Services. “What if it doesn’t work, we’re taking a child away from what’s stable to put him with his siblings but what if it falls apart and we cause more trauma?”
But family won out in the end.
Adoption Day and Finding Their Forever Family
Finally, all the stars aligned and in May, they started their forever. Together.
The Johnsons officially adopted the six siblings: Reid, 11, Amiyah, 10, Izayah, 9, Kaelix, 7, Cade, 6, and Roslin, 3.
And today? The kids are doing amazing. Thanks to weekly therapy appointments and two incredibly loving dads, they’re all excelling in school and (mostly) loving being together.
“Maia had to realize that boys are really stinky and Isaiah really struggled the most with a 2-year-old sister that broke up his LEGO sets,” Dustin said. “So they did have some quirks of learning that siblings are all over the place sometimes but they were all really happy to be together.”
Dustin and Daniel are really happy too, living their dream of parenthood.
For other men considering becoming first-time dads through adoption, Dustin’s advice is simple: “Do it.”
“There’s a huge need in every community for foster kids that need homes,” Dustin said. “So if I can say anything, it’s to advocate for people to do it.”
He’s not wrong. According to the latest statistics, there are currently an estimated 391,000 children in foster care in the United States.
By adopting these six kids, Daniel and Dustin have not only provided them with a safe and loving home but they have also demonstrated the profound impact that a committed and caring family can have on a child’s life.
An impact that will shape not only their present but their future as well.
More from Goalcast:
- 18-Year-Old Single Mom Gives Up Son for Adoption – 58 Years Later, an Unlikely Source Brings Them Together