Adoption was on Joshua and Cally Ezzell’s hearts before they even met. They thought they would first have biological children, but God had other plans for them. In February 2017, a friend in the process of adopting shared with them a photo of two sisters on an adoption waiting list in Nigeria. At that moment, Joshua and Cally knew the girls, Mia and Olivia, were meant to be their children.
The Ezzells traveled to Nigeria in September 2018 and were overjoyed to meet Mia and Olivia in person. Their long, difficult journey involved a lot of paperwork and coordinating with government agencies to complete the adoption process, but Joshua and Cally were not discouraged. They knew it would be worth the wait.
The couple said, “The nerves, the joy, excitement, and peace we all felt on that first day was something we will never forget.”
Once they traveled home to the United States as a new family of four on November 28, 2018, one of the first steps was to enroll Mia and Olivia in school. The girls had been away from school for a few months and talked about how much they missed it.
A friend recommended Orlando Junior Academy’s pre-K – eighth-grade school in College Park. The diversity in the staff and students was a comfort to Joshua and Cally, and they knew it would be for Mia and Olivia too.
Joshua shared this about his family’s experience at OJA: “Day after day Mia and Olivia would come home with amazing stories of friends, learning, and their experience with God. Their favorite thing about school was learning the verse of the week and being able to pray and worship with their friends. They have grown so much socially and emotionally. Being around other kids has helped them to learn how to regulate their emotions in tough situations. Many of the lessons they have learned about life skills at school they’ve come home and taught us here, and we’ve implemented so many of those lessons in our family life. We’ve always wanted our girls to be in an environment where Christ-centered education was important, and where they could grow spiritually and academically. OJA has been more than we could have ever hoped for in that regard and has helped them set a solid foundation for their future. We can’t wait to see all that God has in store for them at OJA. We are truly grateful for OJA. The teachers and staff have been some of the biggest parts of our support system as we settled into being a new family. We could not be more thankful for this school. It’s truly a blessing to all of us.”