Milo

Michael and I have been praying for a child for six years. For the last two of those years, we have been waiting to adopt a baby. In June we received word that an expectant mother had chosen us to be her baby’s adoptive family. And then in July, on our eighth wedding anniversary, we were told she would be keeping the baby she had delivered that morning. And it was that phone call that ultimately led us to admit defeat. We had done everything in our power to try to build the family we so desperately wanted.

In the weeks after our failed adoption, I felt tired. I didn’t know what else we could do. We had exhausted all of our options. Our contract with our adoption consultant was expiring and we had just lost the only baby we had ever been expecting. My prayers over the years had been a steady stream of requests. I had prayed to be able to conceive, then for fertility treatments to be successful. When my body couldn’t take anymore, I began asking God to give me a heart for adoption. And then prayed that some mama somewhere would choose us to adopt her child. And through it all, God remained silent.

 But it was at this time, after our adoption failed, that I found myself on my knees asking God to help me accept whatever plan He had for our family. It was the first time I truly laid down my desires and my plans and asked that His will be done. At the same time, Michael felt that God was calling us to ask for prayer from our church. There were dozens of people who had been faithfully praying for us for years, but the church leadership had reached out to ask about scheduling a prayer time for us.

On August 23, a group of elders and leaders from the church gathered at our home. They circled around and laid hands on our shoulders and asked God to bring us a child. Five minutes after they left our house, the phone call came. A baby boy had been born that morning in Texas and he needed a family. All we had to do was say ‘yes’. And 48 hours later we were in Austin, Texas meeting our son.

I’ve thought a lot about those five minutes between the end of our prayer session and when we received the call from the adoption agency. I imagine God watching us in those five minutes thinking ‘Just watch what I’m about to do for you’. How excited He must have felt knowing what was in store for us and knowing that it would play out in a way that gives Him all of the glory. And I hope that’s exactly what this story does. I hope that for the rest of my life, when I tell the story of my son, that each listener walks away in awe of God’s goodness and mercy.

These pictures are a snippet of the most beautiful week of my whole life. Our first ten days as a family of three were spent in an unfamiliar city. A friend of a friend connected us to a local church, and through that congregation, God provided a free place for us to stay for our entire time in Texas. People brought us meals and coffee and clothes for our new baby. God met every single one of our needs. And He gave us the most beautiful baby boy. Our miracle Milo.

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At the beach

There’s a longstanding annual tradition in my family of spending a week together at the beach. A whole week away from the routines and obligations of our every day lives where we get to enjoy slow mornings, big meals, and time in the sun. I’m always thankful to get so much time in one of my favorite places with my favorite people.

It’s sometimes hard for me to find a balance between picking up my camera on vacation and putting it down. I can feel torn between capturing the moments and being present for them. I don’t want everyone else’s memories of me to include a camera in front of my face.  So I tried to make an effort this year to play more, to converse more, to enjoy more.

This is a short recap of our vacation. But let’s be honest… this is really just a summary of my nephew’s week at the beach with cameo appearances from the rest of the family.

The Johnsons

It is an honor to be asked to photograph a family; to be welcomed in to the intimate space of hugs and kisses between parents and their littles. In one quick hour I learn their nicknames for one another and discover what bribes work best for eliciting smiles from the kiddos. What I hope to preserve for each family is a record of a season of their lives. A series of images they can revisit in the years to come that remind them of the good places they have been.

The Johnsons have given me the greatest compliment by asking me back a second time to capture their family. I hope these pictures always remind you of the joy found in the gift of your boys!

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