There are two parts of my life for which I am endlessly grateful—my photography and my family. I know that I am so lucky to have a career doing what I love and that I have been doubly lucky to have had the chance to become a mother through adoption.
It seemed inevitable that I would find a way to combine these two things and, long story short, this Adoption Stories project was the result. I knew photographing adoptive families in an honest, candid, documentary way would hold layer upon layer of meaning for me, for the families and for the larger adoption community. What I didn’t expect was the creative inspiration it would spark. It’s hard for me to convey that spark in words but, hopefully, it comes through in the images below. I am following my heart as I embark on this project and it feels like I’m on the brink of something quite remarkable.
Last month, I drove out to Yucaipa for my inaugural Adoption Stories shoot with the Langheinrich Family. Corissa and Kris adopted both of their daughters, Greta (5) and Hazel (2), from birth and are about to make a big move to St. Louis. I arrived at their home just as they were making breakfast and getting ready for their day. We kept the photos almost completely documentary with very minimal direction from me. I loved seeing their natural connections and being a fly on the wall for all the fun they have as a family. I’ve included some of Corissa’s words about her family throughout the images below.
Can you tell me a little bit about your family’s story?
Our family, I feel, is like any other family even though are children came to us through untraditional means. Both of our girls were adopted and we have had each of them since their birth. They are the sweetest girls and we absolutely adore them.
What does “family” mean to you?
Family to me means anyone around you that is a part of your life. Obviously my children, husband, parents, etc are my family but we also now have birth families that have become part of our family. I think family can represent a number of different relationships that aren’t typically traditional. It’s those around you that love you and care for you and you for them.
How did adoption change your life?
It changed absolutely everything. It made us parents for the first time! It completely changed our whole life. Through both our adoptions, God was also clearly evident so our faith was strengthened as well. It was just a beautiful process and totally changed everything about our lives for the better.
What don’t you want to forget about your kid(s) at this age?
I don’t want to forget anything! This time is amazing right now since my two girls are just starting to play together. It has been so fun to watch them interact and love on each other and it makes us so happy! They are both hilarious girls with big personalities so there is never a dull moment around here.
Are there any misconceptions about adoption you wish you could dispell?
I feel like a huge misconception is the understanding of an open adoption. It’s still a rather new concept in terms of adoption and people are still getting used to the idea. Part of the problem is that every open adoption is different and looks different for different people. For some, it’s letters and pictures once a year and for others it’s visits, holidays, birthdays etc. It is really hard to explain to people unless they are in it themselves. I wish more people understood how beautiful open adoption can be. I realize it’s not always ideal for everyone but when it can be, it’s amazing.
If you or someone you know have adopted children and would like to be a part of this project, please email me using my contact form. I’m so excited to see where this whole thing goes!