I love the adoptive families I work with through Red Thread Sessions and I especially loved this at-home session with the W family who just welcomed their second adoptive child. We shared some of their favorite, simple moments: breakfast made by dad, piano practice, baseball in the back yard, and making apple crisp for a get together they had with friends that evening. So much love and lots of precious memories they’ll bring out in 20 years, recalling what it was like to have two little ones.
If you know a local family who has recently adopted, or who would like to capture any part of their adoption journey, please have them contact me as I offer free sessions for adoptive families.
When I first met Joy, we were at the Sacramento Parent Magazine Babies and Bumps event, where I have been photographing children annually for the past 3 years. In a five hour period I photograph about 100 children; it’s super fun but a whirlwind that ends in exhaustion. It’s also hard to connect with each child or family in the way that I am used to doing when I work with a family one-on-one. But I do remember Joy’s little guy, his easy smile, chubby cheeks, and soft pink toes.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that his parents, Joy and James, had just recently adopted him. I found this out recently when Joy contacted me to let me know that they wanted me to not only capture their new family of 3 together, but help them put together a family book to share as they search for the next, newest member of their family. (Squee!) Through my association with the volunteer organization Red Thread Sessions (now, coincidentally, run by my fellow Sham of the Perfect photographer and friend, Erika Roa) I photographed them recently at their home in Sacramento.
I can’t wait to meet their 4th family member whenever he or she joins the clan. Joy and James clearly lap up every giggle, cuddle, and smooch with their son, and their next child will be one lucky little munchkin.
On a separate note, I often get families dismissing their homes as not large or pretty enough for an at-home photo session but this session is a fantastic example of what gorgeous moments we can capture in just one room of a house. Joy and James’ house is not large and (I hope they don’t mind me saying that) while it’s warm, clean, and welcoming, it’s not super fancy either. What it is is a home. Especially with young children, this is where the good stuff happens, where their toys, their books, their favorite blankies are. It’s the couch you snuggle on as a family, the armchair you read books on before bed, and the front lawn where your son’s first wobbly steps will happen. The photo-worthy things you want to capture? We don’t have to make them up. They’re right there, happening in your living room every day. Just sayin’…
It was 10:40 on a Thursday night at Sacramento airport. The H family were finally arriving in from the Ukraine, their family three children grander. Mom, dad, grandma, two previously-adopted children from the same country, and their three new siblings, had been traveling for hours across the Atlantic and finally clear across the U.S., to reach California and home after spending a few weeks in Ukraine to finalize the adoption process. Eagerly awaiting with me at the bottom of the escalators was grandma #2, grandpa, a proud aunty and uncle, and a tired but excited cousin – plus several, shiny balloons bearing the U.S. flag.
Grandpa and I decided to push the TSA guidelines a little and wait upstairs, just beyond the security zone, hoping to capture the first glance of the new family of seven as they emerged. The time ticked on, long after their flight landed and new family members arrived downstairs, all the way from Santa Cruz, impatiently pacing at the bottom of the stairs.
And then there they were…
I was so incredibly thrilled and honored to be asked to capture this homecoming for this truly special family, on behalf of the Red Thread Sessions, an organization which connects families going through adoption with photographers who are willing to donate their time to capture these special milestones. If you know of someone who is thinking of adoption, is going through the adoption process or who has a special adoption milestone to celebrate, please encourage them to check-out the Red Thread Sessions website to learn more.
Being invited into these bright flashes of life with heretofore complete strangers, is (outside of time with my own daughter) one of the greatest joys of my life.