Her friendship is one that hugely changed the direction of my life. When I was sixteen I went down to Mexico to visit a friend who had been an exchange student in Vancouver. While at her house, I got to know another girl who was working with YWAM that summer from Chicago and staying at our mutual friend's home between working with teams that were serving the people there. We visited, ate some pretty awesome food, and tried to navigate through the world of Mexican soap operas together. We became friends and in the fall, I started my last year of high school and she headed off to Bible school. A few months later, I got a letter from her saying maybe I should pray about coming to her Bible school the next year. I did and I went to Texas when I graduated. Alison and I were roommates and walked through a lot together. I think it is interesting how going though such heart growing times during certain seasons, can permanently connect you to  friends. We talked and talked for hours and covered such a spectrum of topics in our lives. We munched down her mom's care packages, took a train trip where some guy went streaking through the cars, learned to appreciate the song "Moon River", and went to La Madeleine's for soup and all the free bread we starving students could eat. I witnessed the attraction with this guy named J. and saw a ring on her finger and a grin that went from ear to ear by the time she graduated.

She is my heart friend...a kindred spirit. In the craziness of our lives and raising our kids, I hadn't seen her in about six years and as soon as I saw her in Texas, it made me realize just how much I missed her. She has a huge heart and love for the Lord and for people, a ready laugh, and a rich spirit that makes me feel loved and understood just being around her. I love Alison.

She's so beautiful.

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She and J. drove their girls all the way up from Houston just so we could have a short visit and to let me photograph their wonderful family. Theirs was a full session and though they all protested that they weren't good at being photographed....I beg to differ. Those girls are absolute sweethearts, so beautiful and so loving. I just adore them.

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Natali.

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Taylor (her family insisted that she wear that hat...and I LOVE it!).

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Annalea.

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Lydia.

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Jada.

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No room for Jada on the bench so we started her on one lap and just moved her down the line. Giggle, giggle.

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This sweet darling has been with her family since she was a baby but they were just able to adopt her and make her officially theirs a few months ago. Full of spunk and personality, they all adore her. To raise money for the adoption, the older sisters had a garage sale and bake sale. She is wanted and loved.

Alison said after the adoption, she went unprompted to pictures of each of the girls that were hanging on the wall and said each of their names with their last name, adding Jada at the end with her new last name. She belongs heart and soul.

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So in love. They constantly speak so highly of each other.

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The twins...double the smiles...double the hairbands...double the teeth falling out. So sweet!

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The little girls...and the big girls.

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Oh, this one makes me happy.

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These just make me laugh. So much better than staged smiles...real laughing! LOVE.

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They are rich indeed, in everything that counts.

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Beauties.

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I just love all their expressions here. Alison was teasing them as I was shooting and I LOVE their expressions.

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I asked Al and J. to tell me about getting their littlest girl. This is what he wrote:

Years before we had children of our own, we knew we wanted to adopt. It was always one of those safe prayers that felt too outlandish and unlikely to actually come true. Just to be safe, we told the Lord that such a child would have to be delivered directly to our doorstep. As if that couldn’t be arranged! Over a period of several years we opened our home to a dozen little ones, all foster babies on a temporary basis. But Jada was different. The day she arrived, (you guessed it, delivered directly to our door on a crisp spring day) everything changed. Even the small details remain frozen in our memory. We pulled the blanket off the car seat and instantly our stories became one; Jada was home and in the most beautiful and astonishing way, we were complete.

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One of the nicknames I heard J. use years and years ago, was "Chicken Lips". Sure enough, he was using it on his girls that day.

What a gorgeous family!

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I wish....we lived right down the street from them.

Love to you all.

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