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Zaure Ibrayeva, Wash- ington, D.C., said her son Beknur “now knows he’s not alone. That doll teaches him to accept himself the way he is.”

body types,” she said. “I think that’s so impor- tant for a child … particularly a

child who has never seen him/herself refl ected in a doll before.” Her dolls are aff ordable, well

under $100, and she makes them for girls and boys. About every third doll order is for a boy. “T is whole experience has been

so fun and so humbling, as over- whelming as it can be,” she said. “I love seeing the kids get their dolls, and it makes this labor of love worth it.” T e doll-making business has

Hayden Betts, Waikoloa Village, Hawaii.

Louanne Mason’s daughter Amelie was adopted from China just before she turned 2. When they brought her home to Texas she didn’t know how to pretend play and had no interest in dolls or stuffed animals. After receiving her Doll Like Me for her 6th birthday, her mother said, “she sleeps with her, takes her everywhere and plays with her like little girls do. It’s been such a blessing to see her bloom in this way and see her delight in the doll that she thanks us for all the time.”

busy. At 42, she and her husband, Matt, parent their sons 10 and 6 and a girl born in August. Jandrisevits is a one-woman

show. Friends encouraged her to hire employees, but Jandrisevits said she feels that would take away the personal touch. “I look at the doll making much like making a prayer shawl. I like to sit and think about each child as I make their doll and hope that the doll will provide some type of comfort.” Jandrisevits believes it’s important

the children know that their limb dif- ferences don’t defi ne them. “It is my heartfelt belief that dolls should look like their owners and dolls should be available in all colors, genders and

taken on a life of its own, Jandrise- vits said, and one thing she didn’t anticipate was hearing from strang- ers who want to donate dolls to kids they’ve never met. “T ey always refer to it as a ‘pay it forward’ ges- ture, and it’s one of the kindest, most selfl ess things I’ve seen,” she said. “T at is a part of this doll making that I never expected, but it’s abso- lutely where I fi nd the most joy.” Jandrisevits hopes her custom-

ers understand that she might have to slow down her doll making now that baby Kalea has arrived. “I’m just praying she is a good

napper,” Jandrisevits said prior to Kalea’s birth. From the latest reports, she is. 

Author bio: Lackey is director for communication for Women of the ELCA, for which she first wrote this story.

December 2015 31

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