Joey's mom always made sure he had two birthdays.
Oct. 8, the day Joey arrived on Earth, and Feb. 14, the day he arrived in June's family, by judge's decree.
Doctors told June she'd never get pregnant. So June and Richard prayed for a child, and in 1957 adoption brought them Joey.
"This gorgeous, gorgeous baby was mine," June said. "He's always been very, very special."
She never hid the adoption from Joey. While other kids in the neighborhood were adopted and didn't know it, Joey knew it and celebrated it.
"She made sure I knew what a blessing I was to them, how much they loved me," Joey says today. "She made sure I understood what it was all about."
And soon enough, Joey repaid the gift of family that June and Richard provided.
A year or so after Joey's arrival, June gave birth to Ann, and then Rick came along, too. Those doctors' diagnosis? "As God's blessings usually occur, they found out otherwise," Joey said.
June credits Joey. To take care of her new baby, June quit working as an operating-room nurse. Doctors figure her stress went down, her medical condition improved and pregnancy became possible.
So June raised her kids in Fort Lauderdale the way she had been raised on the outskirts of Evansville, Ind., where 10 kids piled into the two-bedroom house during the Depression and World War II.
"She understood the importance of the little things in life that helped make our family very, very special," Joey said.
June came by it honest. "My mother was very loving, taking in neighbors, sharing food," June said. "Grow up that way, it's a normal way of thinking."
June went to nursing school, then in 1954 journeyed to Florida for a one-year hitch as a nurse. Through the Lauderdale Catholic Club, June met Richard, a displaced New Yorker, and never left Florida. They married in 1955 and started praying for the family that eventually came.
As a lad, Joey was lively and funny. June remembers trying to take home movies of the kids, and while Ann would stand obediently in her new dress, Joey would dart about, in and out of the frame.
It was a good life. Centered around home, school and the church. Richard and June didn't have a lot of money but made sure they sent the kids to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs grammar school and St. Thomas Aquinas High School. When you pray for a family and the prayer is answered, you don't worry too much about dollars and cents.
Said Joey, "We always felt like we were the wealthiest family on the block in terms of the support we received from our parents."
Joey eventually went to college at Maryland and continues today on grand adventures. But he thinks often of the folks who chose him for their home.
And he's not been tempted to search for his birth parents. "Never really had that burning desire," Joey said.
June has been all the mother Joey needs, both as a boy and now as herd rider on Oklahoma athletics.
So on this fine Sunday morning, a tip of the hat to the lady who prayed for a family and was rewarded with same. Happy Mother's Day to June Castiglione.