Doll Adoption Program
You know, dolls make the very best friends. Just because they can’t speak doesn’t mean they don’t listen. The Doll Adoption Project provides children in shelters with beautiful handmade dolls donated by crafters from around the globe.
Adopting a doll gives children the opportunity to nurture and express love. This satisfies an innate need that we are all born with. The urge to love and protect is not the sole possession of the maternal instinct. Children feel it too, and seem most free to give it expression when they play with dolls. I remember when I was a little girl, taking care of my doll felt like I was taking care of myself. Tucking my precious doll into bed each night, I had to make sure her arms were comfortable and legs were covered so she could stay warm. I knew in my heart she was happy, because I nurtured her the way I loved to be nurtured. I made sure every piece of her hair was in place, not covering her delicate face. My doll needed to shine, just like me. I wanted the world to see her beauty and light through her eyes and mine. I loved my doll, and my doll loved me back. The Doll Adoption Project was born out of memories of me and my dollies, and it is my hope to give children in shelters the same gift of unconditional love that my dolls gave to me.
Share a piece of
Whatever type of doll you create, you are sharing a piece of your heart with precious children.
Each doll is unique and will be “adopted” and “loved” by a boy or girl living in a shelter. The joy these dolls bring to the children is priceless!
Here’s one woman’s powerful story of how she honored her daughter by participating in the Doll Adoption Project.
Judy is a mom from Wisconsin whose daughter Maddie sadly struggled with mental illness and eventually died by suicide at 22. She reached out because she and her family and friends wanted to make dolls for in honor of Maddie’s memory. Maddie’s favorite storybook was Madeline and each doll was inspired by the books. Maddie’s Mom and friends made 20 something dolls in little Madeline inspired outfits including the signature cape.
We found a local Michigan shelter for teen girls, which felt most fitting to honor Maddie. Originally Maddie’s Mom had wanted to ship the dolls from Wisconsin to Michigan. I suggested that she come in and share her story, because I encourage every donor where possible to get involved, meet the people they are they are helping and bring the human touch into serving others. She agreed and flew to Michigan!
We arrived at the shelter and sat with Maddie’s Mom in the office before we met with all the girls. The director warned her that some girls might come across as angry, disrespectful or not paying attention. It is nothing personal, they have been through a lot.
We came in and laid all the dolls out so every girl could pick what she wanted, rather than us handing them out. Then Maddie’s Mom got up and shared her story. She said that with her daughter the thoughts wouldn’t stop. She couldn’t take it anymore and she ended her life. She then said if they felt silly they didn’t need to go up and get a doll but if they did, it would be in memory of her daughter.
Her story touched every heart and it seemed the grief was understood by every girl in the room. Everyone was crying as Maddie’s mom shared her story.
Every girl ran crying to the table and grabbed their doll. These girls were between 12-17, however it is important to remember that a 17-year old girl might be more like 11 years old in emotional years, it’s not about the physical form. They grabbed the doll, started fixing the outfits and naming the doll. The girls ran up to her and started sharing their stories about losing their parents, about losing their cousin and how they died. They shared about how they were grieving too. I remember thinking how this is so much more than dolls, this was how Enchanted Makeovers bring people together. Imagine if she had just shipped the dolls! The staff was in awe and said they don’t work with any charities or non-profits that actually serve this way.
After the experience, Maddie’s Mom was able to talk a lot more about her daughter. Healing will obviously be a life-long journey, but she was able to find her creative outlet to work through her pain. Now she’s making more dolls!
How to get started
You can participate in the program in three ways.
Organize a doll making party with family, friends or a group.
Make and send your individual doll(s).
Make a monetary donation to this program.
We really encourage you to create your dolls YOUR way.
We don’t make you do a particular style of doll because we want your creativity to come alive. We want a doll straight from your heart! We ask that you make your doll with love and care. We accept soft dolls, not plastic/hard ones – remember this would be something a girl in a shelter would sleep with so we want them to be comfortable! Please only place items on dolls that a child will not choke on. Example: embroidered face, painted face, etc. Some people crochet, some make traditional rag dolls, some make dolls based on their culture or their favorite character, some women make sweet monster dolls, some dolls have hair made of threads while others have felt/fabric hair, some name their dolls and give them stories. Try to make your dolls diverse so they represent all the girls in the shelters: think of different skin colors, hair colors and outfit colors/styles! Not sure how to get started? Try Googling “How to make a Handmade Doll” and you’ll get plenty of tutorials. Check out this article.