A Picture of Strength

Meet CJ, age 10

She’s strong, this girl behind the smile.

Torpedo a football? Sure she can, and swish a basketball, too. Tennis and volleyball, yes and yes.

But gymnastics – that’s her sport, and she’s good at it. She’s working on a new move, the double back handspring back tuck. And when she gets that right, she’ll learn another one – something with even more flips and twists.

Because CJ is strong, and not just in body.

Spirit, too.

Spirit, especially.

Until her adoption, life seemed to flip and twist in ways CJ, as a child, could not understand. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t in kinship care or foster care.

Still, she smiles.

And her family beams back.

Parents Sarah and George and brother, Parker, adopted CJ this year. She’s one of them – on the go, pushing herself. Determined.

“She got the ‘I’m OK Award’ this year at gymnastics,” Sarah says. “That’s for the one who takes a fall, bounces up, brushes off, and says, ‘I’m fine.’ Then keeps going.”

“That’s who she is.”

CJ shares her ‘favorites’
  • Food: Broccoli (“It’s true,” Sarah says.)
  • Holiday: Her birthday (She wants slime.)
  • Movie: “Raya and the Last Dragon”
  • Adventure: Ziplining in Panama (“It’s like flying, like a rollercoaster in the air.”)
  • Weekend: Travel meets for gymnastics (Maryland, Tennessee, and South Carolina this year.)
  • 13-year-old: Parker (“He’s fun to play with,” she says. “And slightly annoying.”)