The 2015 Arizona Mother of the Year, Bette Doxey, of the Arrowhead on the Ranch Ward, North Glendale Stake, had all the experience a woman needs to feel prepared for parenthood. She had a degree in Early Childhood Education and Family Relationships, as well as many years of teaching seminary students in three states and of schooling toddlers at a preschool she started in Phoenix. Her husband, Ron, was even a pediatric dentist.
After five miscarriages however, Bette had no children; and, with Ron facing the likelihood of kidney failure, they wondered if adoption would be wise. In a priesthood blessing, he was instructed to go on with life as if he would live forever.
Seven years later, five siblings needed a home. They had spent a little time in an orphanage, where the girls were separated from the boys. Kristi, the oldest, who was eight-years-old at the time, had gone on a hunger strike, demanding the siblings be reunited.
For the next several months, they lived together again in a foster home with an older LDS couple who worried that no one would be able to adopt them all.
Then the Doxeys came along. The first night in the Doxey’s home, the two youngest children curled up next to Bette and both declared, “You my mom. You my mom.” That verbal confirmation, along with the spiritual one they felt, assured Bette and Ron that the five children were to be theirs.
“We wanted to make life fun,” Bette said.
“And then they became teenagers,” Ron added.
The children had come from a challenging environment of poverty, had suffered the death of both parents, and still had emotional scars. The Doxeys called parenting “a journey of faith.” Still, they are grateful to be parents and now enjoy the blessing of 12 grandchildren. And, in 1995, their daughter Kristi’s husband donated a kidney to Ron.
Now representing American Mothers, Inc. (AMI), as Arizona Mother of the Year, Bette feels a desire to help each of Arizona’s mothers somehow. She wants them to grow in confidence in their own wonderful abilities to care for children.
She believes AMI can help them with that. The non-profit organization does more than grant awards to Mothers of the Year. It seeks to honor mothers of all faiths and ethnicities, to educate them by bringing them together to discuss difficult issues and to serve them. Local service projects include relief baskets given to women with babies in the NICU, to homeless mothers and to those with foster children. AMI also gathers international experts to find solutions to the violence so many mothers and children face.
Their Pledge includes the phrases, “To encourage honesty, integrity, patriotism and the application of moral values in every area of American life beginning in my own home…” and “[t]o remember that with God, all things are possible.”
“This organization has helped me raise my family,” said Susan Ray, president of the Arizona chapter. She said she remains part of AMI because of its pledge.
“I love American Mothers so much,” Bette added. “It’s nice to work with women who truly care about their community and country.”
Bette will speak at an AMI convention October 24 at Mesa’s Interstake Center, 830 E. 2nd Ave., beginning at 11:30 a.m. The program will include brunch and traditional dance performances by Native American, Latina and Polynesian mothers.
For more information about AMI or to nominate the next Mother of the Year, go to www.americanmothers.org. See azamericanmothersinc.blogspot.com for local information.