Thursday, March 5, 2009

When I was little my sister and I were infatuated with Annie. You know, Little Orphan Annie, the movie that was a hit circa 1982. My sister, Kori, and our two friends, Meredith and Cinnamon, and myself had all the songs and the routines memorized. We used to perform the show in our living room together. My favorite part of the movie is when Grace Farrell (Daddy Warbuck's lady), and caretaker to Annie, has the approval to take the papers needed for Annie's adoption to the appropriate authority. She sings the happiest little ditty because she is so elated to know that they "Got Annie." Remember the number I am talking about? If not I have embedded it here for your viewing pleasure. Anyone else love this song the best? Sing it with me...

Last Saturday I had the tremendous pleasure to meet and photograph a new family who
is singing, "We Got Lucy!!" 

I am always fascinated by adoption stories. (I think TLC should have those in addition to A Birth Story. Don't you think Adoption Story 
would be so endearing and special to watch? I digress...)I am interested in the idea that someone's "mistake" can be someone else's greatest blessing. 
My sister and brother- in-law have one biological child and two adopted children.  
The stories of their two adoptions is the content you find in great novels. 
My sister teaches high school mythology. 
She was telling her students during one lesson how sad she was that she wasn't going to be
able to bring any more heroes to the world (it related to the lesson she was teaching). 
At the end of the class one of her students approached her and said, "My boyfriend and I made
a mistake; we are having a baby, and we want you to adopt it." That was the first adoption. 
The second happened in a flash. Kori took several students to Greece for a study abroad 
program. While she was there she was telling a chaperone about how they adopted Bethany. 
The chaperone asked if she would be open to the experience again. Kori explained that they 
would love to adopt another child. Long story short she came home on a Monday and they 
had a new baby on Friday. (The chaperone had a friend looking for a family to adopt her baby.) 
These two little girls are gifts to our family. In fact, it feels like they were supposed to always 
be a part of us. I think that is all part of God's plan. Bethany and Sadie were supposed to be in 
our family, they just had to get to us through other people.

Same thing with Lindsay and Mario. Lucy was always meant to be theirs. She just had to get to 
this world through someone else. I asked so many questions during our shoot. I was so 
interested in their story and how everything had happened and all the feelings they had. 
I also wanted to be able to tell their story in correlation with their photographs. When I started 
driving home after the shoot I thought that I just wouldn't be able to do it justice. I emailed 
Lindsay and asked her to write it out for you. 

Here it is, kamee june photography presents, 
"An Adoption Story."

"Here's our story.  I hope it inspires others who are thinking about adoption to consider fost/adopt:

People often think that adoption was our back-up plan.  In our case, adoption was THE plan.  We've always known that we wanted to adopt we didn't know how or when, that was the part we gave to God.  When the time was right, we knew instantly that fost/adopt through Riverside County was the route for us.  With our careers in law enforcement and education, Mario and I have come across foster children and social workers from the county, that was a big part of the decision.  

We had an interview, they put us through weeks of parenting classes, had background checks, credit checks, medical checks, home inspections, and homestudies.  We were initially told that the process would take about a year to a year and a half.   Two weeks after our home study was approved, we received a phone call that a baby girl, 14 months of age, was available for adoption and if we wanted, we could come and meet her.  Lucy came home 4 days later, 8 months after we first called the Department of Social Services and inquired about the process of adopting through the foster care system.  

Having Lucy home was a miracle, there is no other fitting way to describe the joy we felt, it was a miracle.  Instantly, we became parents to a toddler, and we were in love . . . head over heels in love.  The first week was tough, we were scared, she was scared, she cried a lot.  It was a big adjustment, but we got through it and that trust began to build.  The first time I heard "mommy" was surreal, I still get goose-bumps thinking of it. 

One of the rules that the county had was she had to be placed in our home for at least 6 months before we could petition for adoption.  This was the most difficult of the process, as her birth-mother's parental rights had not yet been severed.  Although her birth mother had never requested visitation or had any intention of being reunified with Lucy, I was still very nervous and scared.  Mario was not, he was completely confident and was not worried, maybe he was just telling me that so that I wouldn't have a nervous break down.  But with our faith, the grace of God, and support from our family and friends, everything fell perfectly in place.  

We finalized our adoption 10 months after Lucy came home.  It was a day of celebration, but it was not the day that marked us as a family.  We became a family the day I got that phone call from our social worker saying a baby girl was matched with us.  

Fost/Adopt is not talked about too much.  When one thinks of adoption, people often think of international adoption or private adoptions.  There is not one avenue that is better than the other, it is up to the particular family.  From personal experience, people don't often know much about fost/adopt and are scared by the idea that the children may be abandoned and abused.  I cannot say enough good things about the Riverside County Social Services department.  Our social worker truly worked to make sure that Lucy was a good match for us and that we were a good match for her.  

We are a proud adoptive family.  Being Lucy's mom is indescribable, the joy I feel when she holds her arms out for me, when she calls me mommy, when she makes silly faces, it is all so amazing!  

She is our baby, she is a gift from God, just as other babies are.  She didn't grow in my tummy, but that wasn't God's plan for us.  Lucy was God's plan for us."

Pass the Kleenex, please.

Lindsay didn't tell you that Lucy's birth mother gave birth to her in prison...

Another Kleenex, please.

Having been able to meet this little girl and see the family dynamic that has been created, I can say without hesitation that this little girl was truly meant to be with Lindsay and Mario.

Lindsay and Mario have such a great connection. They have known each other since they were sixteen. 
It was evident how much respect they had for each 
other and how comfortable they are being together. That is a great relationship to welcome a child into.

I hadn't met Lindsay and Mario previous to our shoot; when she got out of her car though I thought, I hope that is them. 
I would love to get my lens on her. I think she is a stunning woman with an incredible personality. 
We had a lot in common (both English teachers, both yearbook and newspaper advisors, both prolific readers, both foodies.) 
She is the type of person you would want to have as a friend. Lucy is lucky to have Lindsay in her life.

This is called the "We got Lucy" smile. I LOVE this image!!

Mario told me he didn't want many pictures of himself. He warmed up to the idea after a while and I was able to get a few of him solo. 
He is an outstanding father who is so attentive to his new daughter. 
There was one moment when they were walking down the street and he was playing tenderly with Lucy's little curls as she walked closely to him.

Kleenex, please.

He is in law enforcement like Lindsay said; I would not want to mess with him. 
What I found so magnetizing about him though is that he has a very humble nature about him. 
He was interesting to talk too and had a lot of great stories; I could have asked him questions about his work all day. ;)

I loved this moment.

He was very attentive to Lucy and looked after her, perfectly.

And the girl of the hour, Miss Lucy.

She is such a tender hearted baby. She kept giving me hugs and kisses. I loved it. She was also very curious, like all 2 year olds. 
We went into an antique shop and she was mesmerized by this area filled with pink and feathers.

She is a gift to Lindsay and Mario and to this world.

I felt so humbled to be able to have the first photo shoot with this new little family; it felt like I was making history for them. 
Thank you for thinking of me and for granting me such a special opportunity to immortalize this time in your life.
Lindsay, may you never tire of hearing yourself be called, "Mommy." Mario, may you enjoy holding a little hand and 
keeping a new someone close. 
Lucy, may you always be as happy and as spirited as you are now.
Lindsay and Mario told me that they will adopt more; may all your adoptions go smoothly and may they all be as blessed as this one.
Congratulations again; I am so happy for your family!

Please leave this new family some love and encouragement in the comments section. 
Lindsay and Mario stepped into parenthood with a 2 year old; they jumped right in, didn't they? 
They deserve all the best and well wishes possible!! 

Once again thank you for the opportunity to photograph such a memorable time. kj
Also, if any of you are interested in knowing more I am sure Lindsay would be open to answering your questions. Fire me off an email at and I will get you in touch with her. ;)


Steph said...

Kleenex please! I couldn't agree more...

Mario & Lindsay - Congratulations on your beautiful little Lucy! She's gorgeous & your family is darling! Best of luck & lots of love now and always!

'T' said...

Lindsay thanks for sharing your adoption story; from one adoptive mommy to another.

I didn't need a kleenex until I saw the pic. of Lucy goin' in for that kiss with daddy.

Daddy's are so important in a child's life.

Kamee, WOW how do you capture the most amazing perfect emotions and personalities in pictures... You rock my socks!

Bless this family, bless the birth mommy, and thanks to Heavenly Father who really does the 'placement' of where these children go; sometimes they just have to come another route :)

AnonMom said...

Beautiful story!

Bethany said...

What an adorable family! And an amazing story!! It truly takes a special parent to step right into parenthood with a toddler! I wish them nothing but a wonderful future together!

KAHigh said...

Pass the box.... I am having trouble even seeing the page because my eyes are filled to overflowing and I have a big huge lump in my throat... this story has soooo touched me. I am hispanic and looking at that beautiful little girl and knowing how her life could have turned out breaks my heart.... and these two amazing people are going to make such a huge difference in her life!! Awesome barely describes it!! She looks soooo happy!! They look soo happy! Beautiful pics!! Thanks to you all for sharing.... I needed that today!

Tonya said...

lovely is so refreshing to see 2 people really cherish something that so many people really do take for granted...

what a lucky little girl and what an honor to photograph their beautiful family...


*Jess* said...

Definitely needed kleenex for that one! I think my favorite pic is the one with Lucy on the stairs. Gorgeous!

Sherami said...

Kam, you never cease to amaze me! What beautiful pictures; they capture the love and beauty of this sweet family! I loved their story!!!

~love said...

these are gorgeous. what a fun, loving family you captured! and yes, stepping into a 2 year old is something just in itself! = )

matt and i have always known adoption would be a route for us and are excited as we see God's timing starting to come closer and closer. its amazing that there really is a child out there meant to be in our family...they just have to get here a different way. they're growing in my heart right now instead of my belly. =)

thanks for sharing lucy's story!!

(oh--there IS an adoption story show, kam!!)

tracyallegre said...

This is truly a wonderful adoption story. Thank you so much for sharing. The picture of Mario tickling Lucy just warms my heart! Congratulations and many many blessings to this beautiful family!

The Gillespie's said...

Kamee, you are truly talented. What a neat opportunity for you and them! Thanks for sharing:)

ashley morgan said...

What a beautiful story and family. It brought tears to my eyes.

kymberli q. said...

May God bless this family. Beautiful, beautiful story and beautiful, beautiful hearts. :)

shannon said...

Incredible! Incredible story. Incredible photos. Wow!

Heather Ferenc said...

What an incredible story of everyday normal people being "heroes". We too are looking in to the foster/adopt program in Orange County California. We hope to have an amazing story such as yourselves on our plate someday. Best of luck and happiness to your little family of three.

Reb said...

Kam, I swear your pictures look better than the real thing. Just amazing and truly inspiring.

Cat K said...

this is a really beautiful story and the pictures are amazing!