We were back home after a stressful five years in North Carolina which included two deployments. We thought we had entered “the good old days” phase of our lives when so unexpectedly the surest thing in life next to taxes happened. My dad passed away unexpectedly at the age of 53, to make a complicated time a bit more so, I became pregnant with identical twin girls. I found out the night of the funeral. My dad was my closest friend next to Reed. His parting felt like I had lost a limb.
This was not according to our plan. Just a month before, Reed and I went up to his family's cabin on the mountain and had a family planning meeting. We decided we were going to move to Bend, Oregon and then wait three years to have another biological baby so that we could hopefully adopt, possibly a sibling group.
We were looking at houses and Reed had job interviews lined up. We were ready to go, but the end of a life and the beginning of two new ones came down like a sledgehammer. With the girls being identical it meant that their pregnancy held more possibility for complications.
They made it through without any great issues and were born healthy and spent no time in the NICU. We were so grateful and thought we had made it through the toughest part but it was only beginning.
Postpartum depression and unexplained pain showed up and cast a shadow over what should have been a very happy time. I didn’t know at the time why we couldn’t get my pain under control, just this year we learned about some auto immune issues I have that was the cause.
The winter after the girls were born my mental health was so poor that I realized I had a plan for escaping the pain I was dealing with. That realization scared me so badly I fought hard to get treatment. I did, and got better. When I say that I barely survived the first year of the twins life it’s not a joke. I’m so thankful that I am still here.
I didn’t start to feel normal until 2 years after my girls were born but when the fog lifted I could look back on my chaos and soak in the fact that my chaos was a broken fingernail in comparison to the tragedy that occurred daily around the world because of poverty, human trafficking and the orphan crisis. My desire to adopt had never left me. I was so desperate to help, to give back to all the poor hearts who know the ache of loss much more than my own heart, who know unexplained and unnecessary pain far worse than any I had endured.
But there I was, a stay at home mom with three under three years old, still very much in the trenches. I was not in a place to be able to take on foster care or adoption or to even give of any time outside of my home. When the idea for this shop came it was like a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I was being prepared throughout my life with all the skills needed and a deep passion to carry out this job; and any I lacked were filled in perfectly by my husband Reed.
Pretty much every evening for the next six months, after we put babies to bed, Reed and I stayed up most often till midnight working on Elegance Restored. It felt like no work at all. I felt an unexplained energy that didn’t make sense. A well of energy that just wouldn’t run dry when it came to this labor of love.
16 months later we still have this energy and in part it’s due to all the hearts that have joined in our battle cry against the orphan crisis, human trafficking and poverty.
We are declaring that we will not relent simply because of the magnitude of the issues. People are worth more than that.
They deserve for ALL of us to fight, the exhausted stay at home moms, the work all day stay up all night with sick kids dads, the college students with two jobs to pay their tuition, the night shift workers, the care givers, the foster parents, all of us who have nothing left to give can now give of ourselves in a way that makes sense.
We can turn our dollars that we already spend on clothing, bags and jewelry, gifts, into jobs, into funds to make adoptions happen, into new identities for marginalized women. I can’t tell you how much this makes my heart leap. It’s not just help for them, it satisfies a ache in the soul to love our neighbors, love them with compassionate and unrelenting action.
Thank you for being a part of this story, for not ignoring those who have been cast aside. You are being the change we all wish to see in the world. You are Elegance Restored.