South Bend Adoption: Braelyn & the Mayers!

This fall we had the privilege to photograph young Braelyn’s official adoption! Our information had been passed along to parents Michelle & Lloyd from who will soon be their Daughter-in-Law Bee! Bee & her fiance Jordan had met with us this summer to chat about their upcoming 2020 wedding and we all had so much of a blast getting to know each other that Bee thought it would be great if we could possibly photograph Jordan’s parents adopting his sister! We loved the idea happily started chatting with Jordan’s parents to make plans and a photography list of the family photos they wanted us to capture!

We met the Mayer family at the Juvenile Justice Center in downtown South Bend. It was a initially little intimidating for the two of us as we made our way through the metal detectors and into the courthouse with our cameras & gear that day and for the privacy of all the individuals in the courthouse we were told to not photograph anyone outside of our immediate group inside of the Juvenile Justice Center, so we made sure to be careful. We managed to get a few images of Braelyn looking adorable in the waiting room and receiving some gifts (including a handmade toy dog that Bee had stayed up to make her!) prior to the short case, so we were thrilled that we were able to capture some of the in-the-moment photos!

Upon arrival we were also shocked at the number of family members who showed up to support little Braelyn. It was absolutely amazing to see that level of support when many folks don’t even have a portion of that level of genuine support!

After a few minutes of waiting for their time in front of the judge, we were called into the courtroom for a brief hearing. The judge and family all expressed their intent and happiness at the adoption of this adorable little girl and before we knew it the formalities were taken care of and Braelyn was officially adopted after her over a year being fostered by the Mayers!

After we took a few photos of the family in the courtroom with the judge who had just helped to unite the family together we then moved outside of the courtroom to a spot we had scouted to capture family portraits in! We had visited the building the day prior and found a small field within walking distance that was perfect for photographing the family in a simple and clean, natural environment.

We began by taking a few images of the new family with the case workers from a local social services group called CASA. These women had been a great driving force to make sure the adoption worked out and so the family felt that a few pictures including them were necessary. We also captured Braelyn with her little half sister Katie and Katie’s adoptive mom who were a huge support throughout the process!

Following these few images, we moved the entire extended family into the area in order to take some images of the full family. As we said earlier, we were amazed at how many members of the family had showed up to take part in this event and they were just as enthusiastic to have their portraits taken.

We finished off the session by taking a few images of just mom, dad, and daughter together to show the love of their new lives officially together as a family. We even included some photos of them holding hands over the official adoption paperwork and little Braelyn got a lollypop for her good behavior!

Very shortly after capturing their Adoption Session, the Mayer family actually decided to foster another child, so during the chaotic time of transition we’ve waited to print their photos for them until they have more time to fully go through and choose those that come with their Session!

Congratulations again to the happy family! You are a beautifully unified family force and we are so thankful that you chose us to capture these images of this monumental day in your lives!

Unrelated: Tonight we head off to capture team and individual photos of the Christ the King middle school team that we coach: Colors Gold (our 7th & 8th graders)! This has been a tradition over the past few years because we have seen the COMPLETE decline of professional photography and printed photographs of children ESPECIALLY in the sports world. The girls told us that ONLY football gets photos like that (sexist- yay), so we’re happy that we will be capturing these Professionally a third year in a row tonight. It’s amazing looking back at the growth of the girls in strength and spirit and we hope that the photos are saved and looked back on with fondness remembering how they worked as a TEAM to build each other up and grow while winning game after game!

This work week (just 2.5 days in) we’ve sent out many packages of prints and albums that we’ve finished! We sent out a huge package just yesterday to Texas to one of our wedding couples that included a HUGE wedding album, a huge handmade Wedding Box of printed photos (hundreds), prints of their Engagement Session, etc. We also wrapped up 3 more of these Wedding Boxes and sent them out to 3 other couples and are finishing up designs on TWO more physical wedding albums for 2018 couples! We also this week just sent out some more printed family photos to one mother as well as printed Christmas Cards to another family that we designed and printed cards for-!

After the two more physical wedding albums to print by the end of this week we’re also hoping to print the last 450 photos for 3 couples AND design 3 or 4 more physical wedding albums as soon as these 4 couples choose their photos! We are SO looking forward to holding these final 6 physical wedding albums in our hands this December and packaging them up for our clients alongside the last 3 Wedding Print Boxes (ready to send, just waiting to be filled with the photo choices of a few remaining couples)!

We have another Christmas Portrait Session coming up in our studio in the next week as well, but following that we hope to get a WELL deserved break to finally finish creating our loved ones’ Christmas GIFTS! Once we hit the end of December/ start of January our AWAY message is going up on our email, so we are pushing hard to finish the work that we have now in order to sit back, clean our house, and BREATHE in our first week or two of not coaching and not frantically designing, printing, photographing, packaging, and delivering!