At age 23 in 1969, I married Gary. After pursuing careers rather than family, we endured years of trying to have a baby, including every form of infertility treatment available at that time. We also worked with lawyers and a potential surrogate mother. In our infertility doctor’s office, the surrogate’s “husband” confessed that she was married to someone else; they had fraudulently signed our contract for the money. She did not get pregnant, and our “failure” was complete.
That “failure” became a turning point in my life. I decided: This baby is not meant to be, and I began to form my deep conviction that a positive outlook on life helps us deal with life’s challenges and provides us instead with opportunities to succeed.
In the 1990s, I taught myself how to make balloon creations and started volunteering at nonprofit groups as a clown. In 1999, I went to Vietnam to entertain children, and since 2004, Gary and I have volunteered regularly as clowns at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and local pediatric hospital units.
What we find is that, as caring clowns, we can speak from our hearts, bringing joy and laughter to children and children-at-heart, if only for a few moments.
Judy Gleklen Kopff,
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