O'Keefe Family: 5 Years Later
Adopted over five years ago, eleven-year-old Josiah O’Keefe is not camera shy. “When I grow up, I want to be a professional soccer player or act on Broadway,” he said while sitting down for this interview. Josiah has acted in several plays at his school, dressing up as Elvis and singing “All Shook Up” for the talent show at the end of 5th grade.
Josiah joined the O’Keefe family just past his 6th birthday. Lori O’Keefe, his adoptive mom, recalls the first days with Josiah home. “We were both super nervous. He was nervous, I was nervous, and it was just recognizing that.” Lori’s husband, David, was at work when Josiah was brought to their home by his caseworker. “We played games in the basement with the other kids, trying to make him feel comfortable,” Lori remembers. Then she took him upstairs to bathe him and put him to bed, and Josiah, miraculously, slept through the night.
The O’Keefe family felt called to foster care in 2015, attending a Project 1.27 info meeting in December, then completing the rest of their training throughout 2016. David and Lori chose Project 1.27 because they wanted a Biblical Worldview and a Christian perspective. “We felt like some of the things we were concerned about regarding foster care would be better approached through a Christian organization.”
After they were certified, they received several phone calls for placements. Lori remembers one boy they had considered, “We had to say no because we knew we weren’t the right family for him, but it was so hard.” Several years later, when the family was at the courthouse for Josiah’s adoption, they discovered the same little boy was being adopted that same day by another family. “To me,” Lori recalls, “that was confirmation it’s not about us and what’s best for our family; it’s about what’s best for these kids, and you’re not it for every kid.”
In the early days with Josiah, many catch-ups were needed. The O’Keefe’s worked hard to meet his medical and dental needs and help him in school. They signed Josiah up for soccer, which he loves and still plays today, and taught him how to swim and ride a bike. Josiah remembers learning to ride his bike at the park with his family. “I was doing good, so I started cheering on the bike," he said. The premature celebration caused Josiah to hit a curb and fall into the grass, "We were all laughing so hard!"
David and Lori have three biological children who had challenges accepting Josiah into their family. Lori admits, “It was a good stretching for everyone. A good opportunity to do something outside of themselves.” Josiah says he loves to listen to music with his two older sisters and play sports with his older brother.
Reflecting on their life with Josiah, Lori stated, “He is thriving. He is very joyful and inclusive and loved by everyone.” Lori calls him the “Mayor” of his small private school. “Everyone knows him, from kindergarten to seniors and all the staff, and he knows almost everyone by name.”
When asked what advice David has for families interested in fostering, he said, “If God is prompting you in any way, go ahead and take the first step. Don’t overthink it too much.” Lori adds, “Just take it one thing at a time. Trust that God has a plan for your family, and he will see you through it and walk with you along the way.”
11/2/2022 11:24:13 pm
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