“For the past 12 hours I’ve been reading, re-reading and staring at photos that have connected me to my birth mother. I am finally able to meet to her and put a face to an image I’ve had in my head for over 30 years. I had no expectations going into this and I am in utter shock and have indescribable emotions.”—Mimi Clark

This blog post has been running through my head since this summer and the event quoted above just sent me over the edge with an urgency to finally share. Mimi called my husband (her brother) at 10:45pm last night with a choked-up voice and shaky in her emotions. It takes quite a bit to rattle Mimi so I was afraid something was seriously wrong. Gerard put her on speaker in time for me to hear, "I finally know what she looks like. I have her eyes! The spacing, the cheekbones. . ."  

Mimi had found her birth mother in South Korea.

How would she know her family's history and to whom she can attribute her own body's traits if not for photos that her birth mother sent her via the adoption agency? The power of photos and existing in them (whether you have children or not) is paramount.  

Rewind a couple of months ago and I'll give you another example. A friend of mine had hired me to take her family reunion's photos. Her immediate family, spouses, kids and her parents would be in attendance before her sister moved out of state. Unfortunately, I had an emergency come up in my family that kept me from photographing them, but she persisted and found a friend to just grab a few shots to commemorate the whole family being together. 

Little did we know that her mom would pass away, unexpectedly, just a short time later. 

I was devastated when I heard the news because I was afraid the gathering had gone undocumented and they'd have nothing current. Thankfully, she let me know they had it covered and had great memories to share in print.

How are we to know what will be the last photo taken of us?

I've shared a little bit about how much Death has been our close neighbor in the past year and sadly he hasn't moved away just yet. Gerard's Uncle John has had cancer since I've known the family and we gathered two times in Nashville (Easter and 4th of July) thinking it might be the last time.  Each time, we took huge group photos and then each family unit had their time in front of my camera. Sadly, the 4th of July celebration was the last time most of us would see John alive and the photos that we have show exactly that: a CELEBRATION. Of Life, of Family, of Love, of Maintaining Relationships despite distance and disagreements, speaking volumes of the importance of not just getting together as a family, eating meals together and playing in the hotel pool (though those are fantastically fun and wildly important too), but it's documenting the stage of each family within the extended group.  Ultimately, a photo of a family is a shining example of Grace.

Lord knows it took patience and grace to get these hooligans all looking at the camera simultaneously.... ;) 

But seriously, we can look back and see Baby Peyton, Laidy + Kai pal-ing around, and Caden being the leader of the pack. How much more will our family grow and change as the cousins marry, have children etc? 

We are not meant to go through this life alone and relationships deserve to be documented. Photography is the conduit for preserving memories and proving those relationships existed to others. 

I'm not just touting this for the sake of my business, I'm pleading with you for the sake of your family and its sense of history.

For the adopted baby girl who's been loved from across the world, for the grieving family, for the celebrations of Life and Love, please, PLEASE #ExistInPhotos.