what if, what if, what if ~ in her words

Many months ago Amber showed me her blog header & I just about fell over giddy! I couldn't believe she'd had her blog designer redesign their whole family blog around our session! It just put a huge smile on my face knowing that she could look at them every day & share them with her readers (she is quite the avid blogger). Within a short time I asked her if she wouldn't mind sharing on the blog. Well, as luck & fate would have it, she shared so much more. So much of our personal story together (which means a ton to me, as I really try to get to know each & every one of my clients & their kids & now our connection goes far beyond that). I remember getting to share about our boys after we finished our photo shoot & tearing up at some of the things we all talked about. It was an amazing experience for me on that end as well. So how fitting that this comes to me in November. You do know that November is National Adoption Month right. :) Aaaahhh ya gotta love it when the stars {effortlessly} align.

I hope you'll read this post, in her words, and not only get a better sense of what our sessions can be, but also marvel at the Universe & how well it coordinates. How well is orchestrates. Even when we aren't looking.

What if ... 

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When I joined Twitter something like two years ago, I thought I'd follow a few celebrities, be briefly entertained, lose interest, end of story. What I didn't expect was to meet so many wonderful local folks. This is how I first encountered Chelsey. Of course, I only knew this person as MachC Photography initially - one of several very talented local photographers I’ve met since joining the site.  I enjoyed the photos she posted on Twitter and soon added her blog to my daily reading list.  I knew that she and her husband were currently in the process of adding to their family through adoption, so I felt a little bit of a connection with her right away.

 

For some background – my husband and I had been married for six years at that time and, despite our best efforts and that of several doctors, we had not been blessed with any children. This was a very difficult thing for me, as I had spent so many years wanting nothing more than to be a mother, and I felt like I was being denied that opportunity. In 2008, our hearts led us to adoption (which is where I now believe we should have started our journey; but hindsight is 20/20, isn't it!). Between 2008 and late 2010, we experienced three failed adoptions. One of the babies even came home with us from the hospital (400 miles away) and stayed for two weeks before her birthmother had a change of heart and decided to parent her.

 

Finally, in August 2010, we were chosen by a most amazing woman who asked us to raise her son. Aidan was born just about three weeks later and though we tried to guard our hearts because of what we'd been through before, we immediately fell so madly in love with him.  His birthmother had several weeks to change her mind, but she held firm to her adoption plan even though it was so hard.  Imagine the sheer joy that we felt when we realized he was with us to stay! He was to be our son forever.  Our adoption was finalized in court when our son was four months old.  What an amazing day that was!

One chilly winter day, right after our adoption was finalized, I ran across a blog post on the MachC site in which Chelsey announced she was sponsoring a "Cute Kid Contest."  I didn’t really think much about it right away, but as I continued to read this post I saw that the grand prize was a FREE photo session for your child! I became completely twitterpated at this idea.  Sure, our son may have been the most photographed child in the history of children already… but I was just really excited at the thought of having a free professional session for him.

 

Much to my surprise, and after a very intense last-minute rush of votes for several of the participants including ours, the contest closed.  Shortly thereafter, Chelsey announced that Aidan had won!  I was so very excited.  She worked closely with me to learn more about Aidan and about our family, which was a pleasant surprise.  (The most in-depth photo session I’d ever experienced in my life was in a department store portrait studio, so this was totally refreshing.)  It was February, but Chelsey wanted to schedule our session for May.  Not only would it be warmer and more conducive to an outdoor shoot, but Aidan would be about 8 months old, which she very excitedly told me was one of her very favorite ages to shoot!  Even just communicating through emails, I could feel her bubbly energy and it was so invigorating!

 

It seemed to take forever, but May finally arrived and we met Chelsey at the prearranged spot.  I’ll admit I was a little nervous since I’d never had a ‘real’ photo shoot before.  What if Aidan was crabby?  What if he had a diaper blowout in the woods?  What if, what if, what if?  We walked for a few minutes to the first spot that she’d chosen to take a few shots.  Out came the camera and as we watched her interact with our little guy, all of those fears faded away.  She was so gentle with him and so careful and so engaging!  It only took a minute for an ear-to-ear grin to appear on Aidan’s face.

 

We spent about two hours with Chelsey that day – a lot more than I had expected – and we just really had a blast.  We laughed and talked about life in Alaska, raising kids, and especially adoption; she and her family had just recently been chosen by a birth mother in the lower 48 to adopt her twin boys!  We compared notes about adoption and for my husband and I, it was so nice to interact with someone who could relate to things we had gone through.  It is so wonderful to encounter someone who is so genuine and so positive.  As we left the shoot location, we talked about how once in a while, you randomly cross paths with someone in life and you just feel like they’re someone you want to keep close to you because you’re a better person for knowing them.  In a nutshell, that’s Chelsey.

 

A couple of weeks later, we got to see the ‘sneak peek’ of our photos, then shortly thereafter we had our ordering appointment with Chelsey, which is when we saw all the photos.  I was just completely blown away.  I cried the first several times I saw them; don’t get me started on the slideshow she put together! Not only were they outstanding photos, they captured emotions between the three of us that I didn’t know were possible to portray with photographs.  I remember telling my husband, “I was standing next to her when she took that picture and I didn’t even see that happening,” (referring to the sunlight, a well-placed leaf, or an expression on Aidan’s face).  Realizing the value of the investment we were making, we decided to purchase The Digital Collection. I’ll be honest, it was more money than we had really planned to spend, but something told me that it would be worth it, and boy did that turn out to be true!

 

As soon as I had the thumb drive from Chelsey with all the files on it, the photos were quickly passed around to family and friends, all of whom were as impressed by them as we were!  I couldn’t stop looking at them.  I ordered prints, I put the pictures on Facebook and Twitter, and I blogged about them.  I chomped at the bit to hang my canvas wrap of the photo of all three of us; however we were in the midst of a move, so it would need to wait a couple more months.  Instead, I kept it handy throughout the move so I could admire it anytime I wanted to.  I dreamed about where I’d hang it in the new house.  I wanted the whole world to see this beautiful art!

 

Then, a great idea came to me.  I contacted the lady who does my blog design, who also happens to be an adoptive mother, and asked her to re-design the header for my blog to incorporate these pictures.  I wanted to keep them close by so that I’d see them all the time, even if I wasn’t at home.

 

The result, as you can see, was really outstanding!  I have had so many compliments on the new header, and every time I add a new post to my blog I see it again, and every single time, I smile.  It is a great reminder of a wonderful day, an unforgettable experience, a celebration of how fortunate we are to have Aidan in our lives, and the birth of a great friendship.  (Oh, yeah, and a reminder to keep saving for our next shoot.  Let’s face it, I’m addicted!)

 

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I love reading what you had to say about our session together, in your words.

In mine, thank you.