Adoption Across America Project

It is with great excitement I announce our final dates for an amazing photography project we are calling “Adoption Across America”. For the next couple months we are traveling across the nation to share stories of adoptive families for the purpose of encouraging others to consider adoption for themselves. If you’ve been following our personal story you already know that 8 months ago my husband, oldest son and I traveled to China to bring our little boy home. The last year or so has been the most difficult but most amazing time for our family. Just about a month ago we submitted our application to go back and bring another child home. As we wait for the day we are to be united with our child I wanted to take the time to encourage and share the amazing stories of adoption across the country. We will be driving from Pennsvylvania all the way to Southern California along the route listed below. If you’re near one of the cities (or in between) and would like to be included in the project please contact us at studio@aforgetmenotmoment.com

 

adoptionacrossamericaadd

Our Adoption Story

gotcha day story

Friends, what is your calling in life?

3 years ago I joined a mentoring group which was made up of 6 women of all walks of life, one of them was our “mentor”. I was the youngest in the group, the only one of two with children still at home. We met once a month for about 2 hours to pray, and talk about some different books we were reading. These books were practical bible based books all of which were extremely educational and practical for the Christian life. I was unsure about joining a group for a lot of reasons. I had a lot of reasons why I couldn’t join this group. I had to find childcare, it required a commitment of reading/studying and I didn’t know if I’d have the time to do it, the women were all much older then me.. would I feel comfortable.. the list goes on. We always come up with excuses when something is out of our comfort zone right?

Well during the year I was in this group God was really working in my heart. There wasn’t a specific moment, or a specific thing that I read in a book, or even anything special anyone said to me, but because I was regularly reading, studying, engaged with believers I was growing and the Lord was opening my heart to things I never really had considered before. That year I asked the Lord to break my heart for what breaks His.

That simple prayer started this amazing journey of adoption and it isn’t until the moment that I held my baby boy in my arms that I realized when I asked God to break my heart what He would really do was grow my heart and teach me what it truly means to love. He transformed my heart to love more passionately, more completely, and more amazingly then I ever thought possible.

It isn’t that I didn’t love my own husband or my own kids before this. Ofcourse I did, I loved each of them tremendously. But what adoption did, is it showed me how God loves me. When I knew Him not, He called to me, He desired me, He reached out to me, He rescued me, and He adopted me and made me His child. When I could offer nothing in return, He still loved me and sought me. There is nothing more amazing and awesome in the world then that kind of love.

God gave me a glimpse of that when I said yes to His calling of adoption. I started to fall in love with someone I didn’t know, had never seen, and didn’t know when I would get to meet. I had a burning desire for this person that couldn’t be explained with words. And it wasn’t just that I loved who would later be my son, it’s that as that love was forming I was also falling more deeply in love with the Lord. I began to understand more so the deep love He had for me. And it was through the giving up of myself that I truly am beginning to understand the true meaning of love. The deeper in love with God I became, the easier it was to give up on the things that held me back from adoption. Believe me, there was a big list of them too.

I’m so busy already; I just couldn’t bring another child into this family – My time.

Adoption is too expensive. We could never afford it. – My money.

How would I take care of a special needs child? I’m not equipped, I don’t have experience. – My fears.

How am I going to put all these kids through college? How will we enjoy our lifestyle of travel and leisure? How would another child fit into my plans for the future? – My path for My life.

I don’t have the energy to give to another child. What about my own children and what they want? – My kids and My ideas for what they need in life.

Every argument for not adopting was centered around ME. The Lord quietly, in His time, opened my eyes to see what was really standing in the way was me and my list of “Mys”.

What then? For me, it was the journey of adoption. It was clear to me that was what He was calling us as a family to do. I brought this desire to my husband and with much prayer and a lot of waiting for the perfect time here we are today. More blessed then I could have ever thought possible. I have a curious, inquisitive, sensitive, amazing little boy who will forever call me mom.   My husband and I went on a journey of faith together which brought us closer then we have ever been. My children have a real tangible understanding of selfless sacrifice, unconditional love, and our calling to be the light of the world. More doors have been opened with friends and family to share Jesus then ever have to us before. We can now share what it means to be adopted into the family of God in a more powerful way because we’ve experienced the love and meaning of adoption.

So I go back to my original question. What is your calling in life? I don’t know if it’s to adopt. But don’t just right it off as something God may want you to consider. Do not let your list of “My’s” get in your way of the blessings that God has in store for you.

Maybe God is calling you into a relationship with Him. “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16. “ Romans 10:9 says “If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” If you haven’t made Jesus the Lord of your life, please consider doing that now.

Lastly, I want to share with you our story of adoption in images because you all know that is how I communicate best. I hope you are not only blessed by our story, but moved to take action for the cause of the orphan, or whatever cause God has laid upon your heart. With all of our love….

 

Bathed in Innocence and Light – San Diego Children’s Photographer

There is something very magical about a boy and his horse. It may be because I grew up hearing Narnia stories and if you know anything about the wonderful world of Narnia you’ll remember the story of Brie and his rider Shasta who are escaping to the North, to the free land of Narnia. At first the two are strangers and by the end of the story they become the best of friends. Animals and children both of them pure. Maybe that is why I love this image so much. The beautiful light just bathing them in this sweet and tender moment, strangers when they meet, but now bonded together as the best of friends.

_MG_0993

The End to Summer – Poconos Children’s Photographer

Pennsylvania is such a beautiful state. The Poconos especially are a refreshing, stunning environment to build a family and harness creativity. There isn’t a morning in the summer we don’t see at least a woodpecker, squirrel, hummingbird, or deer out our backdoor. The caterpillars are turning into butterflies as the season draws to a close and I reflect upon how every season our children grow as they blossom into the adults they will soon become. I try to cherish the little moments everyday but I know it won’t be long before they are walking away to build their own lives, to have their own children, and to walk their own path. I pray that they will walk that path holding the Lord’s hand. That they will always set their eyes to the light. And that the days of summer will slow down because the faster they go, the faster the days and the years seem to fade. Oh how I cherish the forget me not moments we are having as the last days of summer this year come to an end. I hope your family is as well.

_MG_2265

New Baby, New Brother – Huntsville, Alabama Photographer

One of the most wonderful things about being in the photography business for so long is that I have developed an amazing relationship with so many different clients, many of whom I consider dear friends. This family is one of those families that is very near and dear to my heart. For that reason I packed up my bags and flew out to greet the newest member of their beautiful family, little D. You may wonder how we got a 2 month old to do sleepy newborn photos. The answer is simple, move in with the family for a few days and eventually the baby has to go to sleep! 😉 In all seriousness though, 2 months is a wonderful age for “newborn” photos. For all those moms out there who think they’ve waited too long to get a newborn session please let me encourage you to book your newborn photos when YOU and your baby are READY. We will take the time we need and we will get you beautiful images that you’ll treasure for your lifetime whether or not you’ve missed the 10 cut off! 😉

IMG_0412

RE 3 Clothing Company – Yogawear – Poconos Photographer

_MG_2507

Dance away the days – Greensboro Children’s Photographer

_MG_2662

Philadelphia Zoo – Travel Hacking with kids

There is ALOT to do in Philadelphia. We’ve been there 4 times now and every time I go I wish we could stay longer. Its a beautiful city full of incredible history. But aside from all of the historical landmarks in the town, there is still So much to do. You’ve got the Ben Franklin Center, the Please Touch Museum, the parks, the gardens, the shopping, the list goes on. The only way I think you can really enjoy all what Philly has to offer is to move up here for a year or two and do something at least once a month. This past weekend we went to the Philadelphia Zoo. Now to be honest, I was not all that excited about going to another zoo. We’ve been to the “big” name zoos in both San Diego and North Carolina not to mention countless other smaller zoos around the country. We’ve seen pretty much every animal there is to see in a zoo and although the reviews on Trip Advisor were pretty great, I was ready to be unimpressed. I was certainly mistaken though and here are the reasons why the Philly zoo is now officially my favorite!

1. It’s the first zoo in the United States. That fact alone makes it pretty cool.
_MG_1973

2. The rare animal hall is amazing and has some of the most unusual animals I had ever seen.

 

_MG_1893 copy

3. The great mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits. This comes in handy especially on a super sunny or hot/humid day. Just when you’re about to die from the heat you can escape to an indoor area (most.. but not all are air conditioned)

4. The awesome 360 exhibits. The animals aren’t confined to one little area of the zoo here in Philadelphia. Many of the cages have tunnels which spread all around the property so you can see monkeys swinging above you as your walking through or cougars running up and down the path as you’re eating your lunch. Also, most of the main exhibits are really close to the walkways so you really feel very near the animals. I suppose this also means that the animals don’t have as large of a space to roam as other zoos.. but for the spectator, this makes for a more personal experience.

_MG_1961 copy _MG_1966 _MG_1945 copy

I didn’t bring a zoom lens with me to the zoo, and I was still able to get many “close” shots of the animals.

5. The Philadelphia zoo is part of the Zoo reciprocal membership. I can’t stress this point enough if you are an avid traveler. Buy yourself a family membership at your local (or semi-local) museum and use it for the year to get into other places all over the country. You can check out the entire list here: https://www.aza.org/

I’d recommend joining a place that also has a membership in the Association of Science and Technology Centers. That way you will get discounts and/or free tickets to both zoos and science museums around the country.  Here is the link for those:

 

Summer in California – San Diego Children’s Photographer

_MG_0874

Little Bunny Foo Foo – San Diego Children’s Photographer

_MG_0547