Josiah was adopted at the age of six from his foster home in China by parents Jose and Mary. Immediately the couple felt their family was whole—Josiah was the recipient of love and affection, and “it seemed like we [had been] together forever,” says Jose. However, as Josiah integrated himself into his newfound home, someone was missing.
The year before, Josiah and his lifelong best friend Elijah had been separated at their foster home. It is likely that at the age of five, Josiah didn’t understand what it meant when he was told that Elijah had been adopted and moved to Colorado. He just knew that he was gone and Josiah felt his loss profoundly.
When Josiah was diagnosed with severe congenital heart disease, his journey towards physical health was intertwined with the pursuit of translating between two worlds. Questions about the meaning of home were joined by questions about his own body, and a battle with critical illness.
When he was 11, Josiah was referred to Make-A-Wish. He wished to go on a Disney Cruise, but the place Josiah visited meant less than who he went with. He said, “I want to go with Elijah. I just want to see him once again to know that he is okay.” After six years apart, he needed to know his friend was happy and healthy.
After the trip to reunite these two families, Mary says, “it completed a part of his heart,” just like Josiah had done for his parents. The excitement, the love, and the memories, drew continuity across Josiah’ life and formed a trip that “gave him hope.” His medical journey was linked to his growth as a young boy.
Josiah’s story is a deep reminder of the necessity of emotional support when battling critical illness—a need that children, themselves, recognize during their fight. Donors like you allow Make-A-Wish to help materialize Josiah’s incredible capacity to know what family means, and to find strength in love.
Click below for more on this amazing story.