Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) ‘adopted’ Black son is speaking out for the first time and is crediting the Johnsons for saving his life.
“If the Johnsons hadn’t taken me in as a teenager, my life would look very different today. I would probably be in prison or I might not have made it at all,” Michael James, 40, told The Daily Mail.
The Johnsons met James when he was 14-years-old in 1996 and filed papers to become his legal guardian three years later when he became homeless.
Though he raised him as his own, Johnson said he never officially adopted James because of the “lengthy adoption process,” The New York Times reported.
“I always felt loved like I was a part of their family,” James said. “They have been there for me when I have been lost and in the deepest valleys, and I know it was hard at times to constantly help someone who didn’t always get it right.”
He lived with the Johnsons until 2002 when they moved to Shreveport, Louisiana from Baton Rouge. By that time James was an adult.
Since 2003, James has had several run-ins with the law. According to the New York Post, he was sentenced to 37 days in jail for cocaine possession that year and faced several other charges since then including theft, possession of a concealed weapon, violating a protective order, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“Kelly and I have always seen him as one of our own,” Johnson said. “Despite any mistakes he’s made, we love Michael and are blessed to have him in our family.”