I grew up in a home full of art. My father was an artist who worked a factory job to support his wife and one daughter. He gave up an art scholarship to start a family. I’m glad he did, although I know he would have loved going to college to learn more. Because of him, I grew up loving all forms of painting and drawing. He would draw and paint on anything that wasn’t moving. Acrylic and oil paints were always to be found somewhere. Brushes were a normal thing around the house and watching television was not the normal thing to do. We were always doing something artistic. He lived a short life when cancer took him at age 37. I was only 11 at the time, but what he taught me was already planted. I didn’t do much about it until I was 18 when I went to college to become a photojournalist.
I always tell people I meet that in a former life (pre-stay-at-home-motherhood), I worked. Ha! I was the full-time PR photographer for Western Kentucky University. For eight years, I worked day in and day out taking the best photos I could for the best department one could hope to work for. I met a ton of people who made getting up in the morning worth it. I got to create art through the lens of a camera. Although I was happy, there was something missing from mine and my husband’s life…a child. Each day, I was reminding that I was childless, not able to have a baby with each doctor’s visit; with each pregnant woman I passed; with each toy I bought to celebrate a colleagues’ pregnancy.
After visiting doctors for what seemed like forever and having more tests than I want to remember, my husband and I decided that we were going to adopt. When you are told you can’t have children by several doctors, you kind of just give up after a while. Well, I did anyway. We started attending various adoption seminars for Chinese adoption. Foreign adoption is what we had decided upon after much discussion. So, for a year we waited until we could actually apply to adopt from China as the minimum age was 30. A few months before my 30th, I felt completely unlike myself. Like anyone who goes through infertility issues, I kept pregnancy tests on me. If you have or are going through it you know what I am talking about. The test came out positive. I just about fainted. I flew home and took the rest of the box and they were all positive. This was how God introduced me to my beloved Assistant!
It was on that day that I TRULY started believing that God could do anything. Sure, I had said I believed before, but had I really? No, I hadn’t. It was that day that I told God that he could do what he wanted with my life and could lead me in whatever direction he wanted, no matter how odd it might look. Within a few years, we had two more children.
Going through infertility and then having children has taught me so much. When researching adoption, I got to see into the world of the adopting parent and the foster parent and just how much the child is going though both domestically and internationally. There is so much stress on everyone’s part. Never in my wildest dreams did I think all of my past experiences would lead me to fixing dolls for children in need. Now, everything seems to have come full circle. After the e-mail from Mama Mary, I started buying paints. I had forgotten what paints my dad had used but when they came in the mail the memories flooded back to times spent with him. Now, I am sharing these times with my oldest daughter…the one I wasn’t supposed to be able to have. Ha, take that science! Assistant and I are doing what my father and I did all those years ago, but only on bits of plastic. We restore dolls with paint for those kids waiting to be adopting, for those kids going through a life crisis. Maybe they are in the middle of losing their father and feel like their world is crumbling around them. Maybe they have been though an abusive situation. Maybe they are the one with cancer and don’t quite understand what is going on, but need something to hug in the middle of the night when they feel all alone. I don’t know the stories of the kids these dolls are reaching, but my Savior, Jesus Christ does and that is what matters. He sent me on this mission and I plan to stay on this path as long as he wants me to. I love meeting all of the people I have met on this journey so far. I feel blessed and humble to be a part of people’s lives and their families.
So, if you are going through something right now, keep your chin up. It might be that the Lord is writing one of the many chapters in your life that you don’t understand yet. But, it will be revealed and it will be beautiful. Thank you for reading this entry. I wanted to share this with you so you know just how important you all are to us, me and Assistant and how you all are a part of OUR story. Blessings upon you and love to each of you and your family!