Wednesday’s Child: Now 26, man adopted by Newport News couple in 1996 says it ‘feels amazing’ to be ‘chosen’

10 On Your Side

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — “Say ‘Hey Mr. Cameraman!'”

With that prompting, 2-year-old Joseph tried to mug the television news photographer, as if to make sure the cameraman got his good side.

10 On Your Side first met this frisky toddler in 1996 when he visited the area with a social worker affiliated with the adoption agency Coordinators2 out of Richmond.

Days later, Myra and Richard Fain of Newport News saw him on WAVY-TV 10 in our “Wednesday’s Child” feature. They said they knew they had to act quickly.

“And, when I seen this little guy run across that floor, I thought to my self, ‘Oh my God, he has to be ours.”

Richard was a warehouse manager for the food bank in Newport News. Myra, a Pentran bus operator. They’d been married 20 years and were unable to have children.

Then two years later … “Elephants stink!”

That, from wiggly 4-year-old Joseph as he recalled a trip to the circus with his new parents — yes — Myra and Richard. 10 On Your Side reunited with the trio two years after the first meeting.

Now, to today.

“And, so, here we are today, 20-plus years, 24 years later,” said Myra, while sitting in the middle of the trio and staring into the camera during a Zoom interview with 10 On Your Side.

“24 years ago became the greatest moment of my life. An angel came down from heaven,” said a happy, yet serious 26-year-old Joseph.

The Fains moved to northeastern North Carolina. Joseph may have taken “a minute” to get used to the country-fresh air. Father, Richard, said Joseph was shorter than most other boys in school, and that prompted some to try and take advantage of him.

“High school, I tell you, it was brutal growing up,” Joseph said. “I was always the one that did not resort to violence. First, I was always the one to go to the teacher, and walk away.”

Mom, Myra, worried about his size. “For one thing, we thought he would never ever grow, he stayed so small.”

Joseph would eventually grow enough to look his dad in the eye. He told his pop he wanted to serve his country and join the military.

“My dream was to join the United States Army. In a way, I did achieve that. I went to training. But along the way during training, I injured myself and medically had to be discharged. So, I couldn’t pass training and had to come on home. And when I got home, I had maybe a few odds and ends jobs. I worked for Food Lion.”

He finally found a job that he’s turned into a career.

“Working as a correctional officer. I enjoy that job. It has solid, decent income, great benefits,” he said.

Myra and Richard relaxed on the living room sofa, listening to their son, now a grown man. They beamed with pride when reflecting over the past 22 years since 10 On Your Side last spoke with them.

Joseph, in the meantime, did some reflecting of his own when thinking that he was “chosen” by the Fains to be their son.

“It feels amazing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Richard Fain said more than a dozen families were among those vying for Joseph back in 1996. And, Joseph was one of hundreds of older children waiting and hoping to be chosen by an adoptive family.

Hundreds are in “the system” even today.

If you’d like to consider adoption, call your local social services agency. There may be a “Joseph” or “Janice” waiting for you.


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