Baylor senior finds her true family inside the Baylor family
[We sometimes talk about the “Baylor family,” because that’s how Baylor people act — as a family. But three of the key players in this story — a Baylor student, an alum and a professor — have taken that term to a whole new level.]
Born in Kentucky to a mother who may have suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, Ali was homeless off and on for the first six years of her life. From age 6 to 10, she bounced back and forth between her biological mother and Child Protective Services. At age 12, she was adopted by a military couple, eventually moving to Fort Hood.
With her adoptive father in Iraq, Ali’s relationship with her mother quickly deteriorated. By age 14, the relationship had reached its end, and Ali moved to Waco’s Methodist Children’s Home. There, she began to discover her faith.
“There’s no reason I should have survived and then gone on to be functional,” Ali told The Baylor Lariat. “It’s only my complete dependence on Jesus that makes anything good.”
[READ a longer version of Ali’s story in this Baylor Lariat feature.]
As a senior in high school, Ali became interested in Baylor, but figured it was a pipe dream given her financial situation. But when scholarships came through, she found herself a college freshman — still searching, in some way, for a true family.
That’s when God stepped in once more. Ali’s best friend was Katie Fry, BFA ’14, a recent Baylor graduate with whom she attended church. During Ali’s sophomore year, Katie’s family approached her with a radical idea: adult adoption. In December 2011, the Frys adopted Ali.
“It’s powerful to realize what God can do with anyone’s circumstances and use them for good,” says Cindy Fry, Ali’s second adoptive mother and a Baylor computer science professor. “She’s amazing, and you can so clearly see the hand of the Lord on her life.”
Today, Ali is a senior studio art major, specializing in ceramic art. She says that in some ways, her art helps her learn and share an important part of God’s character.
“Creator, you know, is the first way that God revealed himself to the world,” she says. “I think we were made in God’s image. He’s our dad, and our dads love it when we’re like, ‘I’m being like Daddy.’ I’m mimicking my Father. I just believe that it’s reflecting Him, and the Lord finds so much joy (in it).”
Sic ’em, Ali!
[Photo courtesy The Baylor Lariat; Rae Jefferson, photographer]