You could quickly summarize the story of Dorothy Woodhouse’s life by saying that she was taken in at 18 by her 26-year-old Young Women president and that alone would make her story remarkable. The reality is that there is so much more to her story.
After joining the Church, Dorothy Woodhouse’s mother, Rene, moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, in an effort to distance her family from an abusive biker gang she had been part of before her conversion. With two children to support in their new home, Rene began writing checks to herself and forging her boss’s signature, stealing close to $30,000.
“I think the reason she stole that money is because she was in a hard spot,” Woodhouse says of her mother. “But she was also stuck between the natural man in her. And she went back to her worldly ways for a second and then realized, ‘I don’t want to be like this; this isn’t who I am.’" While in the temple, Rene had a prompting that she needed to make things right and turn herself in. "I guess she came home, she wrote a letter to her boss, and she called the cops on herself.”
Rene was placed on probation and found a new job in Austin, Texas. It was there going to church in Austin, that Rene and her family met Kurt and Naomi Williams. Naomi was the Young Women president in the ward, and she and her husband instantly fell in love with Dorothy. As the end of Rene’s probation approached and she awaited her sentence, she approached Kurt and Naomi and asked if they would take care of Dorothy while she erved her sentence. However, perhaps as a result of much prayer and fasting, the judge miraculously cleared Rene’s record.
“She was so excited. I wish you guys could’ve seen her,” Naomi Williams recalls of Rene’s reaction to the news. “She was just bouncing down the hall, and she said, ‘Naomi, the Lord could take me now and I will feel like my work is done.’”
But even after Rene’s records were clear, the feeling came to her while she was attending the Dallas Texas Temple that she needed to make sure Dorothy would be taken care of should anything happen to her. It persisted, until one day, in a roundabout way, she confirmed with Naomi that the Williams would be willing to take care of Dorothy if needed. Three weeks later, she was killed in a car accident. Kurt and Naomi, who had long struggled with infertility issues and had no children of their own, instantly agreed to become the parents of an 18-year-old.
“I never worried where was I going to live, what was I going to do. Nothing like that crossed my mind, and normally that’s terrifying. I just lost my mom. That means I’m losing my house. Everything I know is gone, and I never felt any anxiety or fear. I just knew that I was okay,” Dorothy remembers.
Dorothy served a mission, and upon returning, the three were sealed in the temple for time and all eternity. For Kurt and Naomi, who have never been able to have biological children, it was a special experience to have Dorothy become theirs.
“She completed our family, and I didn’t worry about all of the failed infertility. I didn’t worry about the adoption, I didn’t worry about kids anymore because we had a daughter, and it was a long wait, but it was so worth it,” Naomi says.
“Isn’t that funny,” Dorothy observes, “how He takes broken hearts and He mends them with other broken hearts?”
Watch the complete touching story of Dorothy, Kurt, and Naomi here.