COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Adopting has always been on the mind of Megan Hollis.
One of Hollis' best friends growing up was adopted, as well as Megan's father. Holding the idea of adopting near to her heart, she knew in some capacity, she wanted to adopt.
Little did she know... how integral, the foster care community would become, as a part of her life adult life.
Then came John, the Hollis' first foster child. John came to the Hollis' home, at just 3 days old.
"We were totally smitten obviously at first sight, we then kind of got word that he may be going back to his biological family," Megan Hollis, the mother of John said.
Heartbroken at the thought of not making the addition of John permanent, the Hollis' opened up their home to another foster child Dani, in the process. A little later, they said yes to another child, a newborn, named Lee.
"A couple months after that, we got word that John was re-entering the foster care system. Of course, as quickly as we could say yes to him, we got him back in our home as well," Megan added.
The Hollis' soon found themselves as a family of 5, with 3 open foster care cases. Their days were full of court cases, attorneys and CPS workers. As soon as they received word that all three, John, Dani and Lee, were headed towards adoption, they received another surprise.
"We found out we were pregnant... surprise!" Megan said.
The Hollis' journey to having 4 children, all under 2 and a half years old, became official, on a landmark day in May of 2020.
"The cases closed, and we managed to adopt all 3 at the same time in May. May 14th. That was awesome, and exciting, and unique," Clayton Hollis, John's Father said.
Intrigued by the Hollis' family's journey, a friend close to the new parents wanted to spread awareness of the foster care system, and in the meantime, chose to name their newly-formed non-profit, after John.
"What is something... what is a name you feel comfortable with us using, and ever since he was little-bitty, something we always called him, we called him was 'John boy'," Clayton added.
The Hollis family has become the backbone of the Brazos Valley non-profit, John's Boys, whose goal it is to resource the foster care community. John's Boys, aims to help, anyone, who may be facing the foster care system with resources, and awareness.
According to John's Boys website, "the local non-profit is an organization, dedicated, to providing assistance, resources, and support to the foster community of the Brazos Valley. Our programs are designed to promote awareness, and advocacy, for foster children, by providing personal, and comfort essentials ,during times of transition, increasing access to child care training, to ease the strain on the family unit, and local community inclusion, through grant programs, providing access to extracurricular activities, as well as funding, for our displaced children and youth."
"This area needs so many foster homes for children. There are a lot of kids who may be here, but there is not a home for them to go to," Skylar Brown, President of John's Boys said.
John has forever changed the trajectory of this young family, allowing their home, to be filled with that forever foster kinda love.
"People who open up their homes ,for foster and for adoption.. that love, is not contained right where they are at... it's bigger than them." Brown added.
"If not for that exact set of circumstances, our family would not look like the way it is today," Clayton added.
Whether biological or adopted, John made the Hollis', parents, for the very first time.
There are many different ways the non-profit assists the foster care community. John's Boys, aims to provide as many children who may be facing the foster care system with a GoBag, providing each recipient with basic necessities after being displaced from their home, including comfort items, toiletries, blankets and stuffed animals.
John's Boys says in 2020 alone, they had a goal of giving out 100 GoBags to babies, and children, facing the foster care system. Last year, Brown says, they handed out nearly 300.
So what's on the rise for 2021? For the John's Boys, it's to increase awareness of how many families are needed to allow kids, into their homes to foster.