Roughly 35% of siblings taken into foster care in Florida end up separated. The odds of sibling groups of three or more remaining together are even worse.
Siblings Ryan, Macy, Isaac, Felix, Cameron, and Rosie had spent three years apart in the foster care system. They feared they’d remain separated permanently - a prospect that was stressful to the young children. But they couldn’t advocate for themselves.
Staff attorney Jennifer Robinson and social worker Jackie Russell of our L. David Shear Children’s Law Center (CLC) stepped in to become the children’s advocates. It was clear, despite their time apart, that their familial bond was as strong as ever.
“The first time we met Felix, he was quiet and reserved, refusing to speak,” Jennifer shared. “When [he] saw his brothers he instantly transformed into an animated, excited little boy.”
The CLC Team knew their efforts to find one household for all six siblings would be an uphill battle, but one well worth fighting. Jennifer and Jackie spent days reviewing home-studies, ruling out one prospective family after another, until the Johnsons stood out.
Dustin and Daniel Johnson had always wanted a large family. They were ready and able to give all six siblings the loving and enriching home life they needed. A year after starting the adoption process and bonding into a family, the six children were legally adopted! Their story quickly went viral and became national news. The family flew to Washington D.C. and enjoyed a tour of the White House led by U.S. Representative Kathy Castor.
“With the kids finally having their forever home, it’s amazing to see,” said Dustin. “There’s no longer destructive behaviors at school or in the home… They went from failing academically to now getting As and Bs and being top of their classes and entering gifted programs. They’re all in extracurriculars and sports and outside constantly," he told us.
The Johnsons are now a party of eight!
The Johnson Family, minutes after the adoption was granted.