Last summer we were visiting our friends, Oscar and Rebecca, and over our spaghetti dinner they started telling us about this crazy, crazy idea of adopting a little girl. They had met her through the Royal Family Kid's Camp, an amazing ministry of our church which reaches out to foster kids. Everyone that I have known who has gone can hardly put words to the experience. As they described the series of events and the things that the Lord seemed to be putting together, I had an overwhelming sense that God was doing something truly miraculous for both their family and this little girl. Up until the point that they knew things would happen for sure, this sweet  girl would not know what was going on so as to avoid terrible disappointment if it didn't work out. Step by step God was leading them. Then there came a point when Tricia's social worker told her that there was a family that wanted to adopt her, and I believe she guessed right away that it was Oscar and Rebecca and their two children, Antonio and Bella. She was so excited and said, "They could really love me!" When I heard this I just wept. What an incredible moment for that little girl, to know that she was wanted and would be loved by a family.

Rebecca has beautifully documented their story in her blog and you can read it HERE. They have walked through much during this whole process. Some of it has been wonderful. Some of it has been a challenge. Through it all is the hand of God who has a heart that loves and redeems.

I was beyond excited to be documenting this day for them. I have a real interest in birth photography and might be able to do a little of that at some point down the road. This morning felt much like that kind of emotion and excitement...the birth of a new family.

I got to the courthouse just as they were arriving with their grandmother, as dad parked the car. Streaming through security were lots and lots of friends and family who were all so excited, far more animated than anyone else in the courthouse, I'd say. This family is so dearly loved by many and that courtroom was packed. The staff there was commenting on what a great crowd it was.

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There was lots of laughing, hugging and support going on in that room. It felt pretty full with love for this whole family.

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I was so very impressed by the judge, their lawyer, and Tricia's social worker, Danielle. They were so kind and supportive, exactly the kinds of people that you would hope to be advocates for children and their families. As everyone shared their thoughts and answered the judge's questions, I kept thinking that it was such a beautiful thing for Tricia to hear publicly how much she was cared for and wanted. She was beaming.

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There were a lot of tears and emotions. A lot of love.

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At the end, Tricia sang a beautiful song about being adopted and there were tissues being passed down the rows.

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This judge, what a kindhearted grandfather he was. As everyone was hugging and filing out, I heard him say, "I can't believe they PAY ME to do this!!!"

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We headed out to another office to sign more paperwork and this sweet girl was floating along.

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She was feeling the love.

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LOVE this one of her hugging Danielle, who has a heart a mile wide for these children she works with. She told me with great passion, "I just believe EVERY child should be loved!!"

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First official family portrait on the steps of the courthouse.

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We went back to their house when friends and family were happily congratulating them and celebrating.

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They kindly let me take just a few more family shots, even though it had been a very full and busy, emotion filled morning.

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Loved. I think the greatest beauty is in someone who knows, knows that they are loved.

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Jumping for joy. Yes, they are!

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I come from a long line of criers. My Opa on my dad's side used to stand on the porch with tears running down his face when the family left after Sunday dinner. My dad turns red and cries over any sort of family story (we've poked fun at him for years). Now I am finding myself crying all the time, especially over beautiful things. I was a mess all day yesterday, from the lump in my throat and tears welling up as I drove down to the courthouse to the end of the day. I am so grateful to have been a witness to what God has done for this family.

Welcome home, Tricia.

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