Josiah was born at 25 weeks weighing only 1 lb. 5 oz. Numerous drugs were found in his system. The first four months of his little life were spent fighting in a neo-natal intensive care unit hooked up to feeding tubes, oxygen and heart monitors. The doctors weren’t sure if he would make it.
Sharon and Paul Shubert became foster parents more than 25 years ago because it was “the journey God called them to take.” For the last eight years, they’ve served as specialized foster parents with LCFS, caring for medically and behaviorally challenged kids. In September of 2014, they’d just said goodbye to three children they helped return to their birth father, when they received a call from LCFS for a new foster child.
The LCFS worker shared Josiah’s story with the Shuberts and discussed the challenges they’d be facing if they agreed to become his foster parents. Their response was “How soon can we pick him up?” An hour later they brought then 4 month old Josiah home, with all of his equipment, from the hospital.
As Josiah grew, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism, sleep apnea, feeding issues, cognitive delays and hearing, visual and speech impairments. Due to his many medical and developmental challenges, he required extensive care. LCFS supported the family by ensuring that Josiah received all of the specialized treatments, therapies and equipment he needed.
“Our caseworker was a God send,” explained Sharon. “She was always on top of all the paperwork, making sure I never had to wait for anything in order to get Josiah to a needed doctor appointment.”
Sharon also valued the trust that LCFS placed in them as foster parents. “The workers trusted our judgement and had our back in getting Josiah what he needed.”
Early on Josiah’s birth parents would come to the house for visits with their son, but soon realized that they weren’t capable of caring for him. They did the most loving thing they could do and surrendered their parental rights, so that Sharon and Paul could adopt Josiah. “I give them giant praises for realizing that they couldn’t give Josiah what he needed as far as care,” said Sharon.
LCFS also played an important role in the adoption process. An LCFS’ adoption worker helped the family navigate through all the required paperwork and supported them emotionally when court delays dragged the process out.
In June of 2017, at the age of three, Josiah was officially adopted. “He was always mine in my heart, but now he was mine on paper and no one can take him away,” shared Sharon.
Today, Josiah is a happy little boy who enjoys building Lego towers, playing with his siblings and knows that he is loved. “I may never hear him say, ‘I love you mom!’ But if you ask him who loves him, he says ‘Mommy!’ … and that’s the greatest gift,” explained Sharon. Josiah brings such joy to his parents and every day they celebrate his small accomplishments. As for the future explained Sharon, “We try not to burden him with expectations or limitations. He will be the best Josiah that he can be, and accomplish what God sees for him.”