Joshua Laurence
Our second biological son, and the driving force for what led us to opening our hearts to more children

 

 J
oshua at age 17

Joshua was born on September 18, 1993.  Like his brother Jacob, he was born a few weeks earlier than planned.  The pregnancy was normal and without complication.  Joshua was born with a full head of black hair!  If I had not seen it myself, I would not have believed it. He was a chubby little baby and full of smiles.

When Joshua was only a few weeks old, we had already discovered that he was not going to have the mild temperment of Jacob.  When Joshua was unhappy, he let everyone know about it!  He was a good sleeper from the beginning.  He played well and enjoyed time with his brother.  They especially liked to play outside together.

Joshua has always been one of those children who does well at everything he does.  He learned to read early, made a 98% average for the year in his 2nd grade math and excels in sports and music.  Joshua is a perfectionist. 

There have been times when we have wondered how we could be the biological parents of both Jacob and Joshua and have raised them in the same way, and yet they are so different from each other.  As time has passed, we have learned to recognize that this was God’s preparation for adoption.  Having Jacob and Joshua has taught us to accept the differences in each child.  It has taught us that all children are different and that so many times families see the differences in adopted children because they are "adopted."  The truth is that even biological children raised in the same household can be very different.

When Jacob was three years old and Joshua was two years old, we had a horrible lawnmower accident.  It was a very difficult time in our lives.  Jacob was okay, but Joshua’s foot was cut and his hip was dislocated.  The only thing that saved his life was that one of his legs was above the mower deck and the other was below it.  Also, both of the boys were wearing rubber boots which protected their feet somewhat.  In the brief moment that this accident took place, we thought we might have lost both of our children at the same time. We were so thankful that they were alive!

During our time in the hospital with Joshua, God prepared our hearts for the adoption of a child with a medical condition.  Until this accident, we had never considered adopting a child with special needs.  We did not know what our future held. Joshua spent four weeks in a special kind of traction for his hip.  After the traction, he had to learn to walk again. This was the same kind of traction that was used for Samuel, our son from India.  Today the scars on Joshua’s foot are almost invisible, but the lessons that we learned will be with us for a lifetime.

Every bunch of kids has to have one that is "accident prone."   For us, that child is Joshua! We can’t figure out why this is, because Joshua is really not a "risk-taker."  Perhaps it is because he was a very active little boy.

Joshua has a loving heart and is always trying to figure out ways where we can give another child a home.  When we were considering the adoption of Nathaniel, Lydia and Joseph, we were really short on money and did not know how we would find the finances to adopt three children from Russia.  Each day we prayed for the children and that God would give them a family that was perfect for them.  One day when Joshua was 8 years old, he came to me with all of the money from his piggy bank.  He told me, "Mama, I want you to have this so that we can go adopt the three children from Russia."  At first I laughed and then I cried. Joshua’s heart is so beautiful. 

Of all of our children, Joshua is the most determined.  When Joshua was four, he decided that he really wanted a horse.  We told him that if he wanted a horse, he would have to save his own money to buy one and feed it. B eing the "smart" parents we were, we thought we’d taken care of the horse situation.  Then, he started saving his money from his allowance each week.  For a long time, he never spent a dime of his money.  We even went to Legoland in California and he only allotted himself $5.00 to spend on our vacation.  He deliberately left all of his money, other than the $5.00 at home so that he was not tempted to spend it. Over the next couple of years, Joshua did extra jobs for his granny and grandpa and continued to save his money.  When Joshua was eight years old, he bought himself a horse. He settled on a miniature horse because we felt it was safer for him to work with.  He named her Rosy and she is his pride and joy.

Jay and I have learned that we won’t be making the same "deal" when it comes to buying a car! J oshua has a determination like no child I have ever met.  He is steadfast and not easily discouraged.

Joshua’s favorite thing to do is go fishing.  He has even been known to get up really early, like 5:00 am, to have a little time to fish in the pond in front of our house before starting school.  Joshua seems to have a knack for fishing.  He always seems to catch the most. Maybe it is because he works the hardest at it.

Joshua is very bright.  One day, a friend of ours named Mr. Winkler saw Joshua fishing at the pond.  It was a slow day for "the fisherman!"  Mr. Winkler told Joshua that he would give him a dollar for ever fish he caught.  Joshua decided to take Mr. Winkler up on his offer. Then he reached down by his side and grabbed his cast net.  He threw it in the water and caught a few tiny perch.  Mr. Winkler has since learned not to make "deals" with Joshua also.

Joshua has played the guitar since he was give years old.  He plays very well and has even written a few of his own songs.  His favorite musician is Steven Curtis Chapman.  Joshua loves to play praise and worship music. Of all of our children, Joshua is the only child who does not have to be reminded to practice.  He is the only one who enjoys just sitting down and playing his instrument.  When Joshua was thirteen, he started taking fiddle lessons as well.  Notice I said “fiddle,”  Joshua gets very upset if I say “violin,” but it is the same instrument. 

Joshua also enjoys playing roller hockey. He is a good player and is very consistent.   When Joshua was twelve, he stated playing ice hockey.  He loved it!  He received “most valuable player” several times.  

Joshua loves the Lord and he has a desire to help children in need.   He tells us that one day he will have 11 children, and somehow I don’t doubt this.   He even tells us that the first three will be from China!   We hope that his determination will continue and that one day his dream of an international family will be a reality.  

In November 2007, Joshua went on a mission trip with Here I Am Orphan Ministries to work in the orphanages of Bogota, Colombia.  Joshua led the music during Vacation Bible School.   It was a great experience for Joshua.  He saw first hand why there is such a need for families to open their hearts and homes to orphaned children.  While there, he also got to meet his new sisters, Naomi and Hannah, who had not been cleared to come home yet.  

Joshua loves working with horses and cattle.  He has been active in showing Texas Longhorn Cattle through the Texas Longhorn Breeders of Tomorrow since he was twelve.  He has seen much success in showing cattle.  In 2008, Joshua received 3rd place in the TLBT Gold Merit Award.  That same year, he won first place in the Autobahn Super Stakes cattle judging contest, and was the only participant to ever make a perfect score.  In 2008, Joshua was the recipient of the TLBT Hall of Fame Award.  He was elected as the TLBT Senior Director for 2009-2010.  In 2009, he received the TLBT Hall of Fame Award again. 

 Joshua’s tried out and made the Lil Wranglers, a country and western swing dance team patterned after the Aggie Wranglers.  The following year, he made the team again.  The Lil Wranglers competed in numerous dance competitions and even served as the half time entertainment during the San Antonio Spurs games and Texas A&M Men’s Basketball games.  Joshua stopped Lil Wranglers to focus more on cattle and horses.

Joshua has also been involved in showing cutting horses through the National Cutting Horse Association.  He has been under the instruction of Mr. Keith Barnett, one of the top cutting horse trainers.      

We are blessed to be Joshua’s parents.   We thank the Lord for the precious gift he has given us in Joshua.