My auditions in Chicago were part of a national search for the film directed by John Huston. I did well enough—and my strawberry blonde hair looked the part closely enough—that I became one of ten finalists from among 8,000 girls.
My mom and I were flown out to New York City in October of 1980 to meet the legendary Huston and his daughter, Anjelica at the Plaza Hotel.
One enduring impact from my “Annie” moment was that I gained a small glimpse into the complex maze of feelings that go along with being an adoptive parent as well as being the one adopted. That was my first exposure to such a world.
Years later, when I became an IBO associated with World Wide DreamBuilders, I met real-life versions of adoptive parents and children.
Bob and Shelly Kummer are among those couples I know in the World Wide DreamBuilders organization who have adopted one or more children. In their case, they adopted two children at infancy: the first was a girl, Morgan, who is now 17; the second was a boy, 15-year-old Dillon.
In the midst of helping Morgan and Dillon make the transition to adulthood, the Kummers, at events like WWDB Family Reunion and WWDB Free Enterprise Days and WWDB Dream Night, continue to be transparent about the joys and heartaches that come with being an adoptive family.
“We are blessed that their birth moms chose us to raise these children. We’ve had nearly 18 years of creating memories as parent,” says Bob. “But we have always been of the mindset that these are God’s kids. We have the honor of stewarding them until they become adults.”
That day is swiftly approaching, particularly for Morgan.
For her entire life, through letters, she has been in regular touch with her birth mother. Bob and Shelly are encouraging her to meet her, though Morgan has indicated she is not yet ready. On the other hand, Dillon has not been contacted by his birth mother. The contrast generates varying levels of joy, pain, confusion, feelings of abandonment and reassurances of love from their adoptive parents.
As a result of the Kummers’ openness about these aspects of their life, individuals and couples with a connection to adoption regularly speak with them before and after business meetings.
Whether it’s someone who is struggling to conceive children of their own, who was adopted as a child or is otherwise intimately involved with an adoption-related issue, they express thanks for the encouraging, down-to-earth communication that the Kummers offer on the emotionally laden topic.
Those personal connections are just one example of the many ways in which the Amway business is so much more than making a buck.
Bob and Shelly have always been profitable with the Amway business, qualifying as Emeralds for a decade before becoming Diamonds 10 years ago. Even with all of that success and prosperity, they will be the first to tell you of the many non-financial serendipities the Amway business has to offer.
And getting to know a couple like the Kummers, for me, has been one of them.