Today I had the incredible honor to be with my sweet friends Katie and Russ as they officially welcomed Des into their family (by law because I think they “officially” welcomed him the same second Katie first laid eyes on him!). To say I was nervous was an understatement because while I’ve photographed a lot of different things, never an adoption! And this wasn’t just any adoption! It was Des. And Katie. And Russ+Elliot. The first family I ever photographed and definitely the family I’ve photographed the most! But Katie, who is quickly becoming such an important part of my life as a friend and as a part of Fresh Art… I wanted to make sure I did a good job for her. She was putting a lot of trust in me!

Looking at the images there are a few thoughts.

1. They are G.R.A.I.N.Y. Oh man. It was dim and dark and dingy in there.

2. I wasn’t able to photograph the actual adoption process. Once the judge began I was supposed to turn my camera off. I certainly won’t admit that I might have ACCIDENTALLY flipped my video camera on and recorded the part where Des was named a MOHR officially. I DID NOT accidentally break any laws today. And Emily, who was sitting next to me, certainly DID NOT tell me that HER adoptions were allowed to be photographed completely to make me feel better. AND Katie certainly didn’t smile HUGE when I mentioned, QUIETLY, that I just might have had the video camera rolling… man it’s a good thing I’m a good girl and never do anything wrong!

3. It went fast. We were there for less than an hour. Most of it was waiting. So while there wasn’t a lot of action to photograph it surprised me how much LOVE you see in these images. The LOVE on adoption day, GOTCHA DAY, is palpable. For so many families. Walking out of the court room everyone clapped. Everyone, being all the other families waiting to adopt that day I’m guessing. It was awesome.

4. Grain or not I love that this is just what it was. Could I have tried to smooth out the grain or edit them better? Probably. But I love how photojournalistic these are. For the photogs out there these were all shot at ISO3200 and a lot of the shots were at f-stop 1.8 just to let the light in.

KATIE RUSS ELLIOT AND DES… I hope you know how happy I am for you and how incredible it’s been to be able to capture little parts of your journey over the years! You are such a blessing in my life! CONGRATS FRIENDS!

Don’t you love how bored Elliot looks? HA!

The last shot I sneaked in before it was CAMERA OFF time. Before, you know, the video camera randomly popped on! Huh.

The judge was SO sweet with Elliot and had 6 adopted brothers and sisters herself! SO cool!

One more seat on their couch is filled. And that makes my heart so incredibly happy!