Story by Rachel Rucker
Photography by Beth Bouknight
Meet Elisabeth McKinnon-Smith:
There are some people in this world who have undergone trials and tribulations in their life that no one should ever have to go through. Elisabeth McKinnon-Smith is, without a doubt, one of these people. Although I won’t go into detail of the exact events, the devastating heartbreak that this woman has been through is evident through her firsthand stories. ‘Tis the season to be thankful, however, and Elisabeth epitomizes thankfulness in every essence of her being.
“My New Year’s resolution this year was to take care of myself. Who would’ve thought that I would be getting a makeover today?” Elisabeth said.
If anyone deserves a luxurious day of pampering, it’s her. Recently suffering two brain aneurysms, Elisabeth said she could not have gotten through the past few years without the loving support of her husband and 19—yes, you read that right – 19 children.
Although not all of them are “hers,” Elisabeth said she hates when people try to decipher which ones are biologically related and which ones are considered adopted. But when she has to explain, she lists them like this: “Two homemade, two ‘store-bought,’ three imports (from India, Taiwan and Korea), six Texans, three young ones, two mentored and one 10-month-old.” Whew!
“God put adoption on my heart when I was just 11 years old. I told my husband pretty soon after we met that if that wasn’t okay, then he wasn’t right for me. I guess he was OK with it!”
Between the children, illnesses and just life, in general, Elisabeth was ready and willing for Miranda Garvin at Lime Lite Salon to give her a fresh, new look for a fresh, new start.
Elisabeth said up until about a year ago, her almost white hair would still turn her natural ash blonde in the summer, between the sun and the sea. Miranda felt the perfect way to bring out Elisabeth’s inner blonde was to lighten up her look with just a few highlights. The cut would be sort of like an inverted bob; shorter in the back, with a few sweeping layers around her face. To start things off, Miranda gave Elisabeth a re-plumping treatment, to give her hair some lift and voluminous body for extra oomph.
While Miranda went to work, Elisabeth gave me a little more insight into how she retained such a positive outlook on life, when she’s faced such hardships throughout her own.
“There’s always a lot of loss, no matter how you look at it. It’s a choice to be happy. My favorite thing is to walk on the beach; more than anything I want to one day get a place on the water and just enjoy life.”
Not only did Elisabeth, along with her husband, George, enormously expand their family through adoption—they chose to adopt children who were encumbered in some way with a physical or emotional disability. “God takes us how we are. In turn, we wanted to adopt kids with disabilities, and show them that they should be taken just as they are,” Elisabeth said.
Miranda finished Elisabeth’s hair to reveal a luminous, light-filled cut, which put Elisabeth’s sweet and sunny smile on full display. For makeup, Miranda used Temptu Airbrush Foundation to create a flawless complexion that left Elisabeth’s face looking impossibly like porcelain. A few touches of blush, sweeps of mascara and a little pop of color on her lips; Elisabeth was all set to head to Beaufort Clothing Company & Blush to complete her revitalizing transformation.
Beaufort Clothing Company had the perfect pieces that can transition a summer wardrobe to fall in a flash. Although Elisabeth was a little wary at first, she was finally convinced to try on a pair of black leggings. Although some may think leggings are too young, or can look juvenile, if you wear them with the right piece, they can be the perfect bottom-piece to more voluminous tops. And, they are incredibly slimming.
A beautiful blouson tunic and the perfect belt (which features tassels, one of the hottest trends of the season) completed the look and had Elisabeth convinced that leggings might just be her thing after all. After she was all dolled up and ready to roll, we walked down to the waterfront where it became clear that Elisabeth was no longer just an overworked mom of 19. Her new look brought out all the gorgeous optimism that has always been inside her, and clearly conveyed it for everyone to see.
Without a doubt, Elizabeth continuously touches the lives of everyone she sees and shines bright light wherever there might be the least bit of darkness. She hopes her story will inspire others to consider adoption along their own life journies, as she has seen the rewards first hand. “Every time I talk to one of my kids on the phone, before we hang up, I always ask them, ‘When do I love you?’ and they say ‘All the time.’ Because that’s what I want them to know. They have always been and will always be loved.”
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