I remember longing for my children before I had them. I would imagine what we'd do and what they'd look like. I felt sometimes like they were so close I could almost smell them. I wanted them. That familiarity when they arrived and I loved them so much already was incredible. They were mine. These little people that I'd wanted and loved my whole life were finally with me. I remember talking with Desiree when she shared with me the journey she had started, to adopt a little child with Down Syndrome, a little person she had been thinking about and longing for. Instantly, I was so excited and felt like it was so right in my heart.

This is Desiree. She is pure gold. Funny and kind. Generous and warm. She's amazing and she'll be an incredible mother. She's already "Auntie Desiree" to a host of little people.

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Here's a little something that she wrote about this journey she's on.

Samuel. Esther. Ruth. Moses. Dave Thomas. Malcolm X. Steve Jobs. Scott Hamilton. Marilyn Monroe. Melissa Gilbert. Babe Ruth. Faith Hill. Harry Carry. Eleanor Roosevelt. Leo Tolstoy. George Washington Carver. Edgar Alan Poe. Crazy Horse. Aristotle. Nancy Regan. ALL adopted. All born into one family and raised by another. All loved and cared for by someone without their same blood. Each with their own hurts, joy, failures and successes. Each with the permanent mark of God’s redeeming story…you were vulnerable, alone and unable to care for yourself and I sought you out to love you as my own. Adoption IS the Gospel story. I’m sure every adoptive parent has a different on-ramp on their road to adoption, but the mileage is the same. Mine was on a plane, December 1994. I was seventeen and on my first trip to Seattle—the city that I now call my own. During the boarding process, a woman in a white t-shirt holding an Asian toddler passed on my left down the aisle. She didn’t bump me. The kid wasn’t screaming. No one smelled funny. There was no reason why this woman & child should have stood out to me. But the Voice within me that echoed as she passed me was significant: “That’ll be you”. Of course, at the time, I didn’t understand the magnitude of that prophetic statement. I nonchalantly tucked it away in the “Someday” file that, at the time, included riding in a hot air balloon and marrying Val Kilmer. (Hello, Top Gun!) Over the next 15 years I kept a soft spot for adoption. I was drawn to the young and sick on missions trips. I focused on pediatric & international medicine in school & work. I gave faithfully to adoption organizations and was in awe of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman’s adoption story of their three daughters. Then one Sunday in November 2009 the Voice echoed again “It’s time”. Say WHAT?!! I knew instantly, the Lord was calling me, eh, tossing me from 30,000feet, onto the adoption road, but it would take me another 18months of personal struggle before I would finally say YES. YES to the Lord’s calling. YES to welcoming a child of a different race and with special needs into my home. YES to the financial struggles and social stigmas. YES to believing God’s plan for me and my family was FAR more important than my desire to marry Hugh Jackman (Sadly, Val didn’t age as well as I had hoped…). YES to understanding that God was not asking me to do anything I hadn’t already promised Him I would do…Go to the ends of the earth, and to care for the widow and the orphan (Matthew 28:19 & James 1:27). YES to realizing that is EXACTLY what God had done for me.

You can read more about her journey on her blog, THE ADOPTION SEED.

She has been matched with a little boy with Down Syndrome in China. We can't actually share his picture or name out of respect for the process and procedures right now...but he's a sweetie! Her face lit up as she told me how she just knew this little fellow was the one. It's pretty much a miracle.

We took some photos the other day for her to use in her book of the preparations for him, and also a few to send to her Little One while she walks through the final few months of this process. When I arrived at her house the other day, she and our friend, Jessie, were wrestling together his crib and debating paint colors.

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What a smile on her sweet face.

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I love that he'll have some of these pictures to see until he gets to see his mama face to face. What a happy day that will be!

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I know it costs quite a bit to adopt. Though I knew that Desiree was writing grants, working extra shifts and doing everything she can, I also have had some excitement in my heart about helping to raise a bit of this money to bring this precious boy home. So I have thought and decided that I would open up some opportunities for you to partner with me in blessing Little One and his mama who can't wait to meet the boy she already loves. Following are three ways to jump in. 100% of the proceeds will go towards the adoption of Little One. How fun would it be to not only be getting great photography value but also help a little boy to have a mama and a mama to have a little boy.

Please read these with an open heart and see if you might like to do one of them.

1. Session Package (two of these are available)- $400 donation (a $575 value)

This is a regular session to be paid for by Feb. 15 and then can take place anytime in 2012 that works for both of us. It includes:

  • my session fee for a family, couple, maternity, newborn, senior ($150)
  • a disk of all the images with copyright release ($200)
  • professionally printed images: one 16x20 ($70), one 11x14 ($50), three 8x10's ($105 total)

2. Parent Photography Workshops. Saturday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, April 7. -$50 donation

Send in your $50 donation to hold your spot.

I will be hosting two workshops at my home (French press coffee and cookies included!). These workshops will be limited to just six people each and are targeted at moms, dads, and grandparents who are intent on getting the best pictures possible of their children. This includes:

  • one full resolution headshot of YOU taken the day of the workshop. (I bet it's been a long time since you've had a good picture of yourself, hasn't it ;) ?)
  • I am going to be going over some practicals of lighting, perspective and composition, clothes, background, how to get your children to co-operate (haha!)
  • Then we'll practice so bring your cameras. I'll have a little person here and and we'll take pictures together. I'll show you some common mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • I won't replace reading your camera manual (sorry, barely made it through mine!) but I will tell you what settings to try for different situations.
  • I'll be more than happy to answer questions the day of the workshop and I'll also have you email in 2-3 target areas that you want to learn about.

I'll be hosting the first one on February 11 from 9:30-11:30. This one will be focused at getting the best pictures that you can, no matter what kind of camera you have.The next one will be on April 7 from 9:30-11:30 and will cover many of the same basics but will be more focused at those of you looking to use your d-slr's better.

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3. Individual Portraits and Small Group Portraits. March 17 between 10-2. $20 and $40 donations.

On this day, we will be doing individual portraits and small group portraits outside at Northwest Church 34800 21st Avenue SW, Federal Way, WA 98023. (This is not an official church event but they have kindly given us permission to use the outside of the building since it is protected and we can do this day rain or shine...hoping for shine :) )

  • ($20 donation) The individual portraits are perfect for children, for you for your website or as a social media image or just because :) You can choose black and white or color. The full resolution image will be emailed to you.

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  • ($40 donation)The small group pictures can have 2-4 people. Think you and your sweetie, siblings, you and your bestie, you and your child, you and your mom (then you can make it into a great print for Mother's Day). You can choose black and white or color. The full resolution image will be emailed to you.

Here's one of Desiree and her good friend, Jessie. What a perfect idea for a small group portrait!

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To participate, you will need to:

  • Let me know that you want to participate and I'll say, "Wahoooo!" and then give you my address to mail the check and tell you how to make it out.
  • Send me your donation. (Suggested donation x the number of images you would like. ie If you want individual portraits of three children that would be $20x 3= $60)
  • Choose one of the two blocks that would be best for you: A) 10 A.M.- 12 P.M. B)12 P.M.-2 P.M.
  • I will then work out a schedule and let you know a 15 minute block of time for you to come.

If none of these work for you but you would like to participate, stay tuned to Desiree's blog which will be talking soon about an Online Auction to raise funds (items and services to be donated would be fantastic!) . If it's on your heart and you'd like to make a straight donation to bring this Little One home that would be an incredible blessing. No amount is too small. Let me know and I'll give you an address to mail a check to as well as tell you how to make it out.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to do any of these. Thank you!!!