They’d been praying over her since the moment they first saw her face on their newsfeed back in December.
They’d wondered if she was theirs from the moment her combination of bows and boxing gloves won their hearts.
They were drawn to her. They felt attached to her. They were enamored by her. They adored her.
They just didn’t know if they could responsibly COMMIT to her in that specific season in time.
A military family stationed on the East coast and awaiting orders anywhere in the world, they were a family in transition, unsure if they could physically begin the international adoption process because of where they might soon be stationed … but one nevertheless gripped by the joy that was Joy.
Although we had mutual friends, we didn’t know each other, and we’d never lived in the same place. But this sweet military family messaged me anyway to learn more about the winter host child who had captured our hearts and theirs in under 5.2.
Joy. Personality-packed, affectionate Joy.
Joy, it seemed, would be the perfect addition to their family.
When they saw her photos fill their Facebook feeds, they just couldn’t get enough.
Of her antics.
Of her dancing.
Of her light saber fighting inside a family that looked very much like the dynamics of theirs.
And time and time again throughout Joy’s time here, God seemed to confirm that tug they were already feeling on their hearts.
This precious family, who I clicked with and loved instantly, had been drawn to children with Down syndrome … and had decided long before December that if they adopted, they knew the child’s name.
It was already Joy.
This family traveled to a retreat hundreds of miles from them (and even farther from us) for a military function over the winter break. There, the family got into a discussion with another military family about orphans and adoption. That’s when the other soldier shared about the neatest thing his son bought him for Christmas — jerky from a brand new company that donates partial profits to orphan care.
As he pulled up the website for Sage Harvest Gourmet Jerky, the company owned by one of my dearest, closest friends — a friend who was helping me to advocate for Joy — Joy’s contagious smile stared back at them. From several states away. From the top of the SH Facebook wall.
God drew them closer and closer to Joy … as the military drew out orders longer and longer and longer.
Without orders for a location inside the United States, this precious family didn’t feel they could responsibly commit to this girl who deserved stability. And so they waited … while another family in our town moved forward.
Though it was heartbreaking, they released Joy.
But Joy never released THEM.
Although this family knew that another family had already committed to Joy, they just couldn’t get this sweet girl out of their heads. They looked at possibly adopting other girls, younger girls — other girls who might be the “Joy” God had placed on their hearts. But none seemed like the right fit, and time and time again, their hearts just returned to OUR Joy.
Last month, this in-love family emailed our agency, just to make 200 percent positive that Joy’s family was still moving forward. It had been three months since her original family had committed to her, and although they knew it was a long-shot, they had to know that this girl they couldn’t get out of their heads was indeed taken care of.
At the time, she was.
But two weeks ago, the family who lives in our town who wanted nothing more than to bring this sweet girl home, because of multiple circumstances, put their application on hold and, in one of the hardest decisions they’ve ever made, released sweet Joy to God’s all-providing hands … and into the hands of a new forever family.
Great Wall contacted this military family immediately to share with them the almost unbelievable news … that the girl they had now been praying for for months was actually available again for adoption.
They received the call … the day they were packing the moving truck … to move to a destination FIVE HOURS (!!!) from my home … inside the United States … where they would have stability to start a homestudy the following week.
With one phone call, God answered THREE families’ prayers.
That Joy would be cherished, loved, treasured and HELD … as DAUGHTER.
Although they’ve only been committed to Joy for a week, this new family has already submitted their application, interviewed homestudy agencies and begun work on their dossier … all while they move into a new home at a new post in a new state in a new season.
They haven’t wasted a minute doing everything in their power to bring this girl home NOW.
And we don’t want to, either.
Every month, Of Capes and Combat Boots donates 100 percent of the profits from the Orphan Warrior t-shirts on the Threadless store to a family adopting a child with mobility issues or sparkly extra chromosomes.
For the month of June, we can’t think of a better recipient than the family bringing home the girl whose Chinese name is PRONOUNCED like “June” — the girl who will forever hold a place in all our hearts.
Purchase t-shirts (the women’s sizes run small), mugs or tote bags at www.ofcapesandcombatboots.threadless.com, or make a tax-deductible donation directly to Joy’s Pure Charity account at https://www.purecharity.com/change-joys-story.
100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to Joy’s adoption.
Let’s fight for this family who has spent years fighting for our freedom … and is now fighting for the freedom of a girl living in an orphanage in China.
She is every bit worth going to battle for.