Dads celebrate 1st Father's Day after adopting 6 siblings
Dustin and Daniel Johnson and their six kids officially became family in May.
A Florida couple is spending its first Father's Day in a big way.
Dustin and Daniel Johnson, who live near Tampa, adopted six children in May.
The children, who range in age from 3 to 11, are all siblings. This Father's Day will also be the first that they've spent together as a family.
"Excited," Maia, one of the Johnsons' two daughters, told "Good Morning America" of how she feels being together as a family.
"It's been cool and happy," added Reed, the oldest of the Johnsons' four sons.
For the Johnsons, the road to becoming dads was a long one that began six years ago.
Dustin and Daniel said they decided to go the route of adoption when they saw the need in their community.
In November 2021, while undergoing a home study, the couple said they were asked by their adoption specialist how many children they were willing to care for.
"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?'"
The Johnsons said they learned the siblings in need were spread out across five foster homes. The couple said they fell "instantly in love" with the kids when they saw their photos and learned more about them.
"At the end of the day [the siblings] just wanted a safe and loving home," Dustin said. "Daniel and I said, 'Absolutely' and so we started the match process."
The match process took over one year and included many obstacles and hurdles, according to Dustin.
They learned last March that the match process was successful and they had been chosen to adopt all six siblings. The couple faced another year of obstacles before the formal adoption could take place this May.
The family has been able to live together though since last year and has now adjusted to all the changes that come with being a family of eight.
The Johnsons said they traded in a sedan for a 15-passenger van and began buying in bulk at stores like Costco and Sam's Club.
"It’s been a fun and interesting learning experience," said Daniel, who now works at the local public school the children attend.
The siblings also adjusted to living together permanently for the first time in their lives.
"It was crazy. We were all moving all over the place," said Maia. "The boys all moved into one room ... me and Rosalind [her younger sister] stayed the same."
Dustin said that in the first weeks of their time together, the siblings had to adjust to simply living with each other again.
"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," he recalled. "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."
Over the past year, Dustin said the kids "have turned their grades around" and become used to the rhythm of being a family of eight.
For other men considering becoming first-time dads through adoption, his advice is simply, "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."