Dying Adopted Teen's Wish: Step Up And Adopt A Child

By Corinne Rose - 21Alive

November 21, 2013 Updated Nov 21, 2013 at 7:10 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) – Thursday was national adoption day. And the dying wish of an adopted Albion teen is to increase adoption rates.

19-year old Josh Jank was adopted when he was six months old.

His adoptive parents knew he was born with sickle cell anemia.

He spoke in front of a packed audience at the Allen County courthouse for national adoption day, talking about how adopting a child changes everyone's lives for the better.

Here's a little bit about Josh: he had a stroke when he was five. And earlier this year, he was diagnosed with a rare disease, where his liver produces toxins that are destroying his lungs.

Josh isn't a candidate for a liver transplant because of the sickle cell.

He's in hospice care right now, and he wants people to start seriously considering starting or adding to their family through adoption.

Josh's core message is that time is precious -- something he knows all too well.

He says children long to be loved and chosen to be included in a forever family so they can spend whatever time they've been given knowing they belong somewhere special.

“It's a beautiful thing. It's just, kids who don't have a family become part of a family, that's how families get started. I know that because I was the starter of my family,” Josh says.

“What this young man is doing in these days, is absolutely remarkable. Everybody has a story, everybody has a vision and a passion,” says Brenda Jank, Josh’s adoptive mother.

Josh has a number of things to accomplish on his "bucket list."

He wants to drive a tractor and ride along with a sheriff's officer.

On his "making a difference" list, he wants to hand out 100,000 of what he calls red diamonds.

He wants people to know that it's red because love matters and that God does amazing things under heat and pressure.

He also wants to find a forever family for a 12-year old boy, and recruit 400 new blood donors, since in his lifetime, he's had to use more than 400 units of blood during medical procedures.

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