Monday, July 31, 2017

The Wiley Family - Quad Cities Family Photographer

It was so awesome meeting this good looking crew!  They were EASY PEASY to photograph!

I love it when older siblings show their love for each other openly for pictures...sometimes at the ages that these two were at, that is hard to come by.  They were such amazing kids and so adorable to boot!

Mom and Dad were laid back and fun and willing to do anything I asked!


It was so nice to meet your lovely family!  Thank you all for making my job so easy!  I can't wait for you to see all of your images!

The Smith Family - Quad Cities Family Photographer

It has been such a pleasure to meet this family and photograph them as they grow these last couple of years!  I was thrilled to meet their newest addition last week!

These little girls are so gorgeous and so loved and just have the most awesome parents.  Meeting new people is one of my favorite parts of this job.  It's incredible how many amazing people there are out there and I just love learning about them and their family story.  Everyone has one.  What a joy it is for me to get to call this my career!

Here is a sneak peek into my session with the Smiths.... 

Thank you again for putting your trust in me to capture your family in pictures!  I love photographing you and can't wait for you to see all of your images!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Brandon and Tate - Quad Cities Family Photographer

We were blessed with all 3 of our boys through the gift of adoption.  Tate is our oldest son.  We knew right away when we were sitting in that room with his birth father that this man would be a part of our family.  It was something we didn't know until that evening, sitting in the Bethany Christian Services offices.  We were open to the idea of "some" openness in our adoption, but we had no idea what to expect.  We were first time parents and had not had any experience with adoption.  However, we knew.  It was a feeling that was undeniable.  And only 2 1/2 short months after we hugged Brandon goodbye and he watched us drive away with his son not knowing if he would ever see him or us again, we invited him to our family Christmas.  We learned so much that Christmas with Brandon.  Tate was only about 10 weeks new and he knew Brandon, he looked his way and followed his voice.  He smiled at him and couldn't keep his eyes off of him.  Their bond was undeniable.  We learned that Brandon and Sean (my husband) shared a birthday!  Crazy, right?!  We learned that Brandon was one of the most kind and respectful men we'd met and we learned that any thoughts we had before about "open adoption" not being a good choice were completely thrown out the window.  This is not to say that open adoption is right in every certainly isn't.  In our situation though, it was a no brainer and nothing that Sean and I even really had to discuss.  We just knew.  We gained a son by this incredible gift that Brandon and Tate's birthmother had given us, but we also gained a new family member in Brandon...and later many of his extended family as well.  To say that we are blessed is an understatement.  

This bond that Tate and Brandon have shared since day 1 has only grown stronger.  Tate is himself around Brandon, he opens up to him and laughs with him and shares feelings and thoughts with him.  This is so unlike our little introverted 10 year old.  He shares these things with us, but not just anyone.  He's always known of this connection between Brandon and himself and he has never fought it.  We don't know what our adoption story would look like without Brandon in it, but we know that it wouldn't be as fulfilling without him and Tate would likely have questions that he doesn't have because Brandon is in his life.  Tate understands his adoption story, he understands why he was placed for adoption and he is not confused or left wondering.  It is such a blessing.

Brandon used to live in Iowa until a few years ago when he and his wonderful girlfriend, Emma moved to Florida.  Good thing we spend so much time in Florida because despite the long distance, we have managed to see Brandon at least once or twice every year (still not enough, but better than nothing!) since his move.  He always comes and spends a few days with us when we travel down to Florida and we always see him when he comes back up to Iowa.  Now that our times with him are fewer and further between, we cherish them even more...Tate looks forward to any time he can spend with Brandon.  He adores and loves Brandon beyond words.  Brandon is as much of a constant in his life as we and his brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are.  It's so incredible to see how much this man loves the son that we all share.  It's such a blessing that Tate has the love a father from two men!  And it's an added bonus that we are pretty fond of Brandon too!  We love him as family and love spending time with him so much!

This trip to Florida, I knew I wanted to do a photoshoot of these two together.  Nothing formal or posed, just candid, real shots of these two being together, just being themselves.  So that's what we did!

They climbed trees and laughed...

They talked and acted silly...

They managed to "look and smile" for a few shots as well...

Tate is always genuinely so happy when he is with Brandon...

They did a piggy back ride and I even made Emma get in a picture or two!

And of course they acted like sloths...because they are silly...they just can't help it!

These two together make my heart want to burst.  I thank God every day not only for the gift of Tate, but for the gift of Brandon and for the gift of their ongoing relationship.

Thank you, Brandon for being you, for being such a constant in Tate's life and for making us parents through your selfless gift.  We will never in all our years be able to thank you properly or enough.  Know we love you more than we could ever express and thank God for putting you in our lives.