When Emma and Ethan first arrived at the door of Tiffany Johnson’s foster home in Victoria, Texas, they were heartbreakingly dirty, hungry, and medically fragile. Tiffany became a licensed Foster In Texas (FIT) parent in 2011, after moving to Victoria from Mississippi. Emma and Ethan were placed in her home by the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) on May 17, 2012. Emma suffered from MRSA (a staph infection that is resistant to most antibiotics) and Ethan had attacks of apnea due to enlarged adenoids. Within the first month, Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) declared Ethan was deaf.
Tiffany made numerous trips to the ER with Ethan due to his recurring, severe apnea attacks, when CPR had to be performed. At 15 months old, Ethan had surgery to remove his adenoids and insert tubes into ears to drain the excess fluid which was keeping him from hearing and walking.
All this time, Tiffany was working diligently to help the Emma and Ethan’s parents get their children back. She attended court hearings, met the parents for approved visits, conferenced with the family about their needs, and included them in the medical procedures of their children. Tiffany allowed the parents and grandparents to make visits to the hospital when Ethan was dangerously ill.
Although Tiffany offered the support that most biological parents only dream of, they were not able to become stable enough to get their children back and their rights were terminated February 19, 2012. Since being in her home the children have progressed and are now considered medically healthy. The little family had become very close and Emma started sleeping with Tiffany’s keys – to keep her from leaving her, she said. Ethan’s surgery was a success and he is able to hear and walk now. He is becoming a very verbal and loving boy. Emma continues to thrive and has not had a bout with MRSA since January 2013.
It’s been a long and exhausting road, but Tiffany was able to adopt Emma and Ethan (now 4 and 2) as her forever children on November 12, 2013. Congratulations to this fabulous new family!
Now that’s the way to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month!