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Love Redeemed Part II - Joseph's Story
By Cheryl Stone
Where do I start?

When you first meet Joseph, he looks like an average teenage boy with blonde hair, brown eyes and a big smile. He is polite, respectful, and funny. Then you ask him a few questions and he surprises you. For 13 years old, he has a bold spirit and true strength in character. He’s more than a 13 year old kind of smart. He has the maturity and voice of an adult- and there is something deeper.

When Joseph was about 3 years old, his birth family was kicked out of their home. They were living on the streets and he remembers picking food out of the trashcan. Still, they attended church because his birth parents wanted him to know God. They wanted him to know God because God could get him through anything. After that, he went through 5 foster homes. Some foster homes were rough. Some foster parents hit him when he didn’t do anything wrong. Finally, he reached the home of the Hardy’s where he lives now. He was the first child that the Hardy’s fostered and he was the first one that they adopted. This is where he calls home.

Robert and Roberta Hardy built a strong foundation in this child.  To hear Joseph speak about his adoptive parents is deeply heartwarming. There is tenderness and eternal gratitude expressed in his voice that words cannot describe. “My mom, she is a joy and my dad, he’s a good listener. I know that because of them I’m going to be a great parent.”

When I asked him if he was comfortable sharing his story, he replied sincerely “I am not afraid of what I have to say because almost every kid has been through this. They have been hurt, abused, and heartbroken.”

Wow. I was speechless. He truly had a mature compassion for others.

He adds, “My heart has been sealed in love and I gotta thank my parents.”

I interviewed Joseph when he and his family were helping Never Knew a Father’s Love in their outreach ministry. It was Sunday evening and they were on 15th and G St in Downtown San Diego feeding the homeless. I asked him why he had a heart for the homeless and he told me, “The reason I have a heart for the homeless is because it hurts me that they are homeless. I’ve experienced it. And I just want these people to have food in their stomach before they go to bed.”

There are many layers to Joe. He is highly intelligent and also very compassionate. He is confident and also humble and grateful. He tells me what he does and how he is doing and I can sense that he possesses an incredible passion for life. 

Every morning, he leads a bible study for his sisters. He has 3 adopted sisters, Aaliyah, Alexys, and Alany. He enjoys quality family time because it is when “we get together and bond.” He added, “We get to talk about our feelings and what we can do in life and how we can do better.”

 He tells me that in 5 years he will be in the military. Whether it is the Navy or the Marines, he wants to serve our country. His godfather Rick and his grandfather Robert have been his inspirations. Every since he was 6 years old, he knew he was going to serve in the military.

Last year, Joseph was awarded Leaguer of the Year and also Leaguer of the Region by the Naval Sea Cadets.  This award was given him because he demonstrated above standard performances in academics and physical training. In December 2010, he also received the Theodore Roosevelt ribbon. This honor represented Leadership and Excellence.

I asked him: What is one advice you would give someone if they didn’t know God? He replied, “Get to know God. Learn what grace can do. Meet a friend that is Christian and go to church so that you can make sure you know who God is.”

During the end of interview I couldn’t help but look over and tell him, “God has a lot in store for you.” He looked back at me with true and humble conviction and replied, “I know.”

To read more go to: Love Redeemed-Roberta's Story

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