Monday, January 16, 2012

Joel's Next Milestone

Life is like a path, marked with milestones which are, daily, monthly and yearly, completed. Sometimes the milestones in life come naturally; sometimes they are difficult to overcome. Joel, in his short life, has completed his share of milestones. He didn’t begin his journey in the best of shape – a “disabled” orphan certainly has their work cut out for them – but during the past two years we have watched as Joel not only accomplished, but conquered, many milestones that should have been unsurpassable.

For much of his life, Joel’s mobility was very limited. Without therapy, he would spend the rest of his life limited to the four corners of his crib - unable to experience, unable to explore.

Joel’s weak legs didn’t keep him from getting around when we gave them the chance, and we discovered that he was skilled at maneuvering about on the floor. He became nearly independent, and could do so much on his own.

Therapy gave him strength. Braces enabled him to stand. Joel’s world began to open up but that wasn’t all. Joel’s physical horizons were not the only ones broadened; other things began to fall into place, and Joel was placed in a foster family. He was one of the top preschool students, so he joined our new Pre-K class. Joel did well. He learned quickly and soon was ready for another transition.

The time just seemed right, last month, for Joel to graduate once again into our backyard school. He now studies hard with Serena, Elly, Hannah, Alex and Holly, doing his schoolwork at the Kindergarten level. He’s learning things like math, Chinese, writing and PE. Recently, Joel was putting together a puzzle during the class’s “fine motor” period. Joel loves the challenge this new classroom brings him.

Of the many milestones in Joel’s life, two are still ahead of him - two very important milestones, both of which we cannot wait to witness. We dream of the day when Joel will take his first independent steps, and eagerly wait for the day when he will have a Mom and Dad of his own.

Joel is almost seven and a half years old today.  Seven years is too long for a little boy to not be able to run and play. And seven years is too long for any child to be without a forever family.

But that spark is there, in Joel’s eyes. He is determined to do whatever he can to walk one day, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to make that possible.

Joel is a happy boy, but he’s also very aware that he is missing something. Even living in a loving foster family, he knows that there is something more. He’s watched his friends leave; he’s watched as they learned of their new families. Joel has rejoiced with them, but he needs a forever family too.

Could you be Joel’s family? Please e-mail if you think that you are.


  1. I just came across your blog today such great work! My wife and I actually live in China and foster 3 little ones that are HIV+. Glad to see others out there opening their hearts to others.

  2. I would love to be Joel's family! However, I'm still too young (26) to adopt from China. Someday! That boy is just a cutie though.