Her name is Annabeth. She was perhaps the most delightful child I’d ever met—beautiful, charming, and keen wit about her. With her dark curly hair and big brown eyes, this adorable child had her mom and two grandparents wrapped around her little finger. She appeared shy as we introduced ourselves, but it wasn’t long before she warmed up to us and was once again a carefree little girl with a huge personality. Right there—waiting in line to attend The Presleys’ Country Jubilee in Branson, Missouri—Annabeth stole my heart.
Once we found our seats, my newfound friend, Carrie (also known as Sissy), along with her wonderful mom and dad, and of course, Annabeth, were seated right behind us. That was the beginning of a friendship that has grown over the past eight years. Although we live 500 miles apart, Carrie and I connected on Facebook, and I have literally watched her little family live life.
No one would have suspected this lovable child—cuter than a bug’s ear—would have a troubled past. How much trouble can a four-year-old accumulate in such a short time? Certainly more than her adoptive, single mom bargained for. Annabeth, a bi-racial child in the state’s child care services, had been in fourteen different foster homes at the time Carrie adopted her. Being a “crack baby” at birth, she was not easy to care for. Nonetheless, God had a plan for her life, just as He does for all children. When Carrie made the decision to adopt, God had Annabeth in the right place at the right time.
Annabeth’s grade school years were met with challenges, yet in spite of her learning disabilities, she is full of life and joy wherever she goes. She adores her big family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Being in a Christian home, Annabeth learned to love Jesus with all of her heart. She loves her church (pastored by her Papa and Nana), her youth group, and singing. And sing she does! But there was still something missing in her life—siblings.
Annabeth and her mom began to pray for her a little brother or sister, and preparations for the baby’s room began. Time passed slowly, yet Annabeth’s faith never wavered. When she was seven years old, Carrie had the opportunity to adopt a newborn baby boy, and the following month, she was offered a newborn baby girl. She accepted both babies and Annabeth’s double-miracle happened.
—Annabeth and her miracle babies!
Life for this little family was sheer bliss for the next two years. Jayce and Chloee were like twins—both learning to do new things at the same time. Carrie’s quiver was full, and Annabeth couldn’t have been happier with her little brother and sister.
—Annabeth, Jayce & Chloee
However, when Jayce (called Bubba by his sisters) turned two years old, their heartwarming story took an unusual twist. He was diagnosed with an incurable disease called Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) that would snatch him from his mother’s arms a few months after his third birthday. It was unthinkable that this miracle baby would be taken away so soon. The sorrow that gripped this family was unconscionable, as my sweet friend and her two girls grappled with the painful loss. It has now been two years since Jayce left them physically, but he has never left their hearts.
—Carrie and Jayce
Just a few days ago, Carrie told me that nighttime prayers still include Jayce as a member of the family. Both Annabeth and five-year-old Chloee continue to talk to Jesus about their brother. One will say, “Jesus, tell Bubba this happened today,” and the other, “Oh, Jesus, remember to tell Bubba that I said….” There are few days that go by without tears from one of the girls, if not the whole family, over the big empty hole in their hearts.
—Chloee & Annabeth
Yet for people of faith, there is always hope—hope for a better tomorrow, hope for happier times, and hope for another miracle. Although they have walked through difficult circumstances, God is their ultimate strength, and because of Him, they have hope for the future. Recently, Annabeth told her mom that they should ask God for another baby, thinking a baby brother or sister might heal some of their wounds. Her mom said that was a great idea, except that adoptions cost $10,000 and she doesn’t have the money.
That’s when Annabeth had a BIG idea. While one of her disabilities is not being able to comprehend time or money, she believes that she can help raise the funds needed. Her BIG idea was this: she would paint a picture for everyone who donates to their adoption fund. Thus, the “Art for Adoption” fundraiser was born. You see, Annabeth has been drawing and painting for much of her short life, and she has honed her skills such that she knows in her heart she can do this.
Annabeth’s story reminds me of Mary in the Bible, the one who broke her alabaster box of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. While bystanders criticized her for being wasteful, Jesus called it a noble act of love. Then He said an amazing thing: “She did what she could.”
Annabeth decided to do what she could to help her mom raise money to adopt another child. It seems strange to me that adoption is so expensive. Most states are overrun with children needing homes and yet the bar of being financially qualified is set so high. But nonetheless, Annabeth is accustomed to her God working miracles—so she is busy doing what she can.
—Annabeth at her art table
When I saw Carrie’s post on Facebook announcing Annabeth’s plan, my heart was stirred. I clearly heard the Lord whisper how much I was to donate. Because doing what we can is contagious, I wanted to be part of their miracle. I messaged Carrie and told her what God had spoken to me, and that I wanted Annabeth to paint me a picture of a sunrise—something that represents a new day and a new beginning for their family.
A few days ago, I received my package of art for adoption in the mail. I was delighted, but also a bit astonished that this picture was painted by a twelve-year-old! It is painted on canvas, a miracle in itself as another doner brought Annabeth a boatload of real painting supplies. It was Annabeth’s idea to paint a little swing hanging in the tree in my picture—an empty swing now—that represents her faith in God for a new brother or sister in the future.
—A New Day
This dear-to-my-heart painting hangs in my house where I can see it as a reminder to pray for Annabeth’s next miracle. It has become a conversation piece, and everyone is amazed when I share her story.
Today, I share Annabeth’s story with you. If you want to be a part of making her miracle happen, there are different ways to donate below. She is very creative and paints most anything, including popular action figures for kid’s rooms. Annabeth has been busy in the past few weeks painting the requests that have come in from doners. Be sure to check out Annabeth’s Gallery at the end of this article for some of her completed paintings. She sometimes paints-on-the-move and totally enjoys each new challenge!
—Annabeth painting on the move!
Perhaps you can’t help financially, but you can still be a part by giving your prayers for Carrie, Annabeth, and Chloee. These things—the things we can do—are what miracles are made of. Consider the Bible stories of the boy with five loaves and two fish that fed a multitude; or the woman who had a jar of meal and a jug of oil that didn’t dry up for three years; or the fishermen who cast their net on the other side of the boat and made a great catch. When all of these gave what they had and did what they could, God worked a miracle!
“Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean that we can’t do something,” wrote Miriam Huffman Rockness, in her amazing book Images of Faith.
I am so proud of Annabeth—a girl with BIG faith in a BIG God—for doing what she can! Don’t forget to visit Annabeth’s Gallery! ~ Janie
TWO WAYS TO DONATE:
1) You can donate to Annabeth’s adoption project by contacting Carrie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2) You can donate through the GO-FUND-ME link to Art for Adoption. Place cursor over the link below; then press control and click to follow the link. Then click on “Contact” in the Organizer section. This takes you to a screen to type your name, email address, and message about your picture.
(If this link doesn’t work properly, copy & paste the above line into your browser.)
Note: When deciding on your donation amount, please take into consideration that the cost to mail your picture to you is approximately $10. Thanks!
~ ANNABETH’S GALLERY ~
You can request a painting from your own idea or request a painting similar to one of Annabeth’s paintings in the gallery.
—America the Beautiful
—A New Day
—Pete the Cat (Personalized)