ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – For some becoming a foster parent is a tough decision. But it’s one Johnny Taylor and his wife Jeanette made 20 years ago.

“Young folks have so much peer pressure going on today. They can get pulled this way or that way. So it’s good to have programs in place that’s going to keep them on track, and let them know that they can be what they want to be,” says Taylor.

Taylor, along with other foster parents spoke about their experiences during a “DePaul Community Resources” event in Roanoke. Taylor, and his adopted son Ezekiel Benson shared their story. It’s a tale that brought them so much joy.

“I’m proud of him for just coming out to share his life and what he’s been through. It let’s me know that we’re on the right path, and we’re doing something right,” explains Taylor.

The Taylor’s have had Ezekiel since he was 13-years-old. Although they’ve had their ups and downs. It’s something that has made their bond stronger.

“They just mean a lot to me, they mean everything. At first I was just there to stay the night. It was like a rest stop. Fortunately, I just kept staying there longer and longer. I stayed with them about a year, and I was still in foster care. But two years passed, I got a adopted, and that was a big impact on my life,” explains Benson.

During the panel Benson, the Taylor’s, and other foster parents talked about navigating the child welfare system. For the Taylor’s, providing a child with structure, encouragement, and love is always the best place to start.

“We’re there to assist him, to encourage him, and to be there for him. If he falls let him follow the lord that he leads and we’ll pick him right back up,” says Taylor.

For Ezekiel he’s just happy to have a place he can call home.

“It’s really good that I have people like that in my life. They really care about me, and want to see me do well. It means a lot to me to have them in my life,” states Benson.

DePaul Community Resources is already gearing up for another foster parent, and adoptive family event.