We had the good fortune of connecting with Wellon Bridgers and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Wellon, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
We have four children–twins in 5th grade and our youngest two (1st grade and Kindergarten) are Congolese, adopted 5 years ago. It’s deeply important to us as parents that our children understand that the world they experience in our small community is very different from the experience of many children around the world. They hear about the challenges faced by children at the inner-city school where my husband worked for 7 years; they have seen first-hand the challenges children in Congo face. We aim to find a balance between offering them a carefree, protected and joyful childhood while exposing them to others’ experiences that are very different from their own. Our hope is that they will grow through this awareness as compassionate and generous individuals.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It’s not often that “orphan care” and “artist” are used in the same sentence, but that’s my life! My full time work is as the US Director for an orphan care nonprofit called Mwana Villages. We’re a grassroots organization based in the Republic of Congo (not to be confused with DRC) that seeks to preserve families and reunify children with families when possible. It’s a powerful little organization that is doing things in a completely different way than the norm, which is why we call our Mwana Refuge #NotYourTypicalOrphanage! Our journey to this organization came after a long, heartbreaking journey through an unethical adoption that opened our eyes to the dark side of international adoption. It forever changed us and ultimately led us to the opportunity to be part of something that is literally changing lives!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Pssst…I’m a hermit at heart! The best place to be is right here in my home. Our perfect day would start with a stroll down the dead-end tree-lined street listening to a message by Tim Keller, then we’d pull some books from our 15-foot tall library wall of shelves and snuggle up with the dogs by the fire, surrounded by artwork we love (Catie Radney, Shanequa Gay, Courtney Garrett and more). After visiting our horse Rosie and taking a bareback stroll, we’d come home to cook a delicious dinner (Italian of course) wine in hand, and end the day with a splash of Bourbon in a sipper made by our dear friend who makes amazing pottery (Eugene Sailor Studios).

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m giving a double shoutout to my mama and my hubby! My mama is an interior designer who has a beautiful eye. I grew up enveloped in a beautiful home and exposed to beautiful things, which gave me a true appreciation for the power of the aesthetic. My second shoutout is to my hubby whose love for studying art prompted us as poor grad students to attempt painting for cost-saving family Christmas gifts! He’s the ever-willing canvas transporter and feedback-giver to my work, and our life journey together is the substance of all of my work.

Website: wellonart.com
Instagram: wellonart
Facebook: wellonart
Other: MwanaVillages.org and on Instagram @MwanaVillages

Image Credits
Eric and Jamie Photography

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