This family is truly one of a kind. I felt it as soon as I stepped into their home. The love was palpable and the emotions genuine. Here is their remarkable story. Imagery by Coleen Hodges, words by Joseph's Mama.
" After many years of struggling with infertility followed by a failed adoption, we were presented with the idea of foster care. Our church started an initiative called AZ 1.27 to help end the foster care crisis here in Arizona. We felt led by God to choose this path to become parents. While you can adopt through foster care, the main goal is always reunification with the biological family. We came to peace knowing that we would likely have many kids come and go before we were able to actually adopt a child. We decided to get licensed and prayed that we would be able to adopt sooner than later. Our paperwork for licensing was delayed almost a month longer than the rest of the people in our training and we were feeling so frustrated by that! As Christians we chose to trust in God knowing that this was all part of His plan. Finally, our license came through and 2 days later we received a call a about a baby boy who had been in the NICU for almost 3 weeks and was ready to be released. We knew nothing about him when we said "YES" we will come pick him up from the hospital and give him a home as long as he needs one. After they told us his name, we decided to look up his name of Joseph to see what the official meaning was. My heart stopped and I began to cry when I read that it meant "God gives" or "God adds a son!" In our hearts, we felt Joseph was going to be the son that God gave to us. At the hospital we were told he was born addicted to meth and opiates. We also learned that his Mother was found getting high in bathroom at the hospital after giving birth to him. Knowing what a rough start to life Joseph had had, our hearts we broken for him. We didn't know what the future held for him or for us, but we knew that we loved him with all our hearts. For many months he struggled with withdrawals. Specifically, he struggled with restlessness, digestive issues, and tremors. After his bio Mom chose not to participate in services required by the state, we were able to adopt our son when he was 13 months old. It was the happiest time of our lives! Not too long after that we took in another foster baby who we were also able to adopt! When JoJo was about 15 months old I noticed a few red flags. I had worked as an auttism habilitation provider for about 7 years and so I knew what I was looking at. Friends and family were in denial, but my husband and I knew that he fell on spectrum. It was truly confirmed to us over the next several months when the few words he knew had disappeared, the toe walking got worse, the hand flappy and stimming behaviors starting showing more, and the strange sounds and lack of eye contact kicked in. I knew we needed to start therapy and start the process of diagnosing him, and so we did.. Just before turning 3 this year, JoJo was officially diagnosed with autism. It was such a mixture of relief and sadness when it became official. We have many up days and many down days, but we see so much potential and growth even in these last few months. We have great HOPE and FAITH that Joseph will do amazing things in this life. He inspires us everyday and teaches us more about the love of God than we could ever have understood without him in our lives. Joseph has been a fighter since the day he was conceived. More importantly, Joseph is an overcomer!"