In July 2012 Joshua became our son.
With a big smile and brave heart he faced each new day as a member of our family and we began the attachment dance, getting to know each other and falling in love, and ﬁnding our rhythm as a family of six.
His transition into our family has been so easy. While his diagnosis of Spina Biﬁda was nothing we were familiar with, Someone greater than I smoothed the the road in such way that we can only point to Him with great thanks for all He has done. When we were at the orphanage, before meeting Joshua, I to this verse and like a balm it soothed my heart and soul for all the new things that lay ahead. And I have found it to be true again and again as it paints a picture of our little boy...
I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
“Riches stored in secret places.” Other versions says “treasures in darkness.” Riches and treasures. That is Joshua. From difficulty that surrounds the beginnings of each of these little ones’ stories, there are treasures brought forth. Treasures that for a moment are hidden in darkness, are brought forth in a way that are truly trademarks of the the One who transforms... beauty from ashes, a crown for mourning, restoration, unshakeable love, reconciliation, preservation.
Preservation. I often look at Joshua and think he is a testimony of all that has been preserved.
His smile never falters, even in those first days after we met him, even in between tears longings to return to his “other mama” at the foster home, the smile would easily surface and the innate tenacious spirit would take its deep breath and rise up inside of his little heart and give him strength to laugh.
He never gives up. With legs that failed him and transition after transition that could have overcome him, he continues to persevere. He came to America with a cursory knowledge of how to use his walker but never really used it outside of the walls of New Day. Within a month of coming home, he still crawled most everywhere inside and travelled very short distances with his walker outside. A few months later his walker became his main mode of transportation outside the house, but due to logistics of a split level home, he still crawled inside. In November his world opened up with the introduction of crutches. I still remember his therapist telling me it might be 6 weeks or 6 months before he was comfortable with them. It was a full 6 DAYS before we hung that walker up in the garage and Joshua joined his siblings, everywhere they went!
Upstairs? No problem, he can walk there. On the playground? He’ll be right there! Bumpy and uneven terrain? It can’t stop Joshua. The spirit that gives him courage and persistence to try until he gets it: preserved. The muscle tone that allows him to walk and to walk up and down stairs and stand all by himself to hit a baseball and TAKE HIS FIRST UNASSISTED STEPS: preserved.
He is so, so smart! At five and 1/2 he is beginning to read with such ease! He understands complex concepts and is seldom outsmarted by my witty mommy logic meant to talk little ones into doing the things I want them to (moms, you know what I mean!). In fact the other day, I suggested he take his bath because he said he was tired and hot and I told him it would help him cool off and relax. To which he replied, “I am tired, mom. A bath won’t make me un-tired.” I couldn’t help but smile, “Well... I guess you’re technically right, Joshua! I can’t argue with that!” (He still took a bath!)
Spirit. Body. Mind. Preserved.
There are those moments for a mother that make you stop and reﬂect. Take account. Whisper a prayer. Take in a deep breath. Sing songs of thanksgiving to the Healer, the Compassionate One, the One at whose right hand, we will not be shaken.
Watching my three littlest walk off to their ﬁrst ever day of school was such an emotional one. But watching Joshua walk to his ﬁrst ever day of school is a moment that will stay with me for a life time. It whispers to me of the past, of all he has overcome with his Father by his side, and it shouts to me of the future, of all the good works prepared in advance for him to do.
And I whisper a prayer of thanks.. Thank you, because the end of this story was not written by human hands or limited by human faith or human hopes and aspirations. Heaven-prepared plans have and will prevail in Joshuaʼs life because his life is upheld by Him. What a testimony he is of an unmistakable, unshakable great love. What a gift it is to be his family.