There are roughly 7,000 children in Texas are waiting to be adopted right now.
Advocates say that older teens, kids with special needs and sibling groups face more challenges finding a forever home. A North Texas family shared their story with NBC 5 Anchor Brittney Johnson, hoping to encourage others to take on the challenge and open their homes.
“l look at my husband, and I'll go, we have six kids. Um, yeah, tons of laundry,” said Johnna Hensley.
More loads of laundry, snacks and love fill the Hensley home since they initially decided to become foster parents.
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“We feel led to do this through scriptures and God's plan for our family,” Hensley said.
After having three biological sons, one with spina bifida, they adopted their daughter two years ago on National Adoption Day. While they tried to figure out whether they were open to fostering more children, they received a phone call from case managers.
“Letting us know that Stormy was a big sister. The bonus surprise was that it was twins” Hensley said,
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They considered whether to accept the placement and says it only took about two minutes to make their decision.
“We immediately said yes, because these are her brothers, we wanted her to have, whether it was a week, whether it was a lifetime, we wanted her to have her siblings in her life,” Hensley said,
Jessica Sanders is their case manager at Buckner International. She says not enough families say yes, but they keep trying because research shows that keeping siblings together leads to better outcomes.
“Always educating our Buckner families on, on 'hey, what if you could just take one more? What if you could take this sibling?' Sometimes you see better behaviors and more attachment because they're with their sibling."
Hensley says the experience has taught important life lessons to their children and their neighbors.
“People who are vulnerable, or who are needing something, that you have a way to help them and just not, again, sticking our head in the sand,” she said.
They finalized their adoption of the twins in October and bought a bigger dinner table.
They'll spend this Thanksgiving as an official family of eight.
“There’s a quote that I love. That says if you have more than you need, don't build a taller fence, build a longer table. And when we bought that table, I just kept hearing that in my head and thinking like that's it. We are just building a longer table and bringing more into the fold, which I just love,” Hensley said.