Unselfish Love: Our Adoption Journey Part 5: The Photo Shoot

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Nikki was up early, enjoying her quiet time and thinking about Katie and her son Ryder. The past several weeks had been a whirlwind of incredible conversations, moments and lifelong connections. Nikki was amazed at how well all the children were getting along, especially Ryder and Michael. It was if Katie and Ryder had always been a part of their lives. Six more weeks until Katie’s due date and the excitement and anticipation was always present in the background of everyday life. Nikki and Adam prayed daily for Katie’s strength and for Shane’s health.They knew that God was in control of this journey and they would all go through it together.

Several week back, Nikki had reached out to a close friend who was a talented and successful photographer. Joe Dougoveto had taken portraits of their family throughout the years and his work was beautiful. Her idea was to have a photo session with themselves, Katie and the all the children. She wanted Shane to have these special pictures as he grew older and for him to be able to see how much Katie loved him AND how excited we were to welcome him to our family. Nikki also wanted Katie to have these photos and memories to look back on. She knew that grief could be difficult for a birth mom and that maybe these photos would ease some of Katie’s pain.

When Nikki had called Katie to ask her about the photo session, Katie was so excited she began looking immediately through Pintrest for creative ideas. Now the photographer, Doug was putting together the props and arranging the scenes so everyone was thrilled.

When the day arrived, the sun was shining and the breeze was gently blowing as if God knew today was picture day. Nikki and Katie had agreed that the color they would try to coordinate with was a light mint green which everyone was to wear at least a little of. As soon the kids saw each other they started to laugh and play. It was incredible how they connected and interacted so easily. Katie looked beautiful, her skin was glowing as her hair gently framed her face. She radiated youth and it was beautiful how she held her pregnancy. Nikki had wondered how the children would handle the photo session but they were naturals. Krista wanted to be in every picture and attached herself to Katie’s tummy as she rubbed it trying to feel Shane move. Nate played with Ryder and Michael but was not sure at all about touching Katie’s belly, which made everyone laugh. Michael and Ryder played as one year olds do, always active and busy, doing very little on command.

As the session continued, the pictures came together and there were scenes of Adam and Nikki with Katie, holding signs announcing their excitement for baby Shane and their love for Katie. The children got to play with finger paints and then leave their handprints on Katie’s tummy , which resulted in many candid shots and shared giggles and laughter. Katie and Nikki reading “God Found Us You“ under a tree and the entire group seated on a merry go round. It was like they had always known each other, and sharing this journey was destined.

They were family and these pictures would keep them connected through the years. Nikki and Adam planned to have a book made for Shane and for Katie, and a collage of these pictures already had a special spot to hang right over Shane’s changing table. Their hope was that every time he saw them, Shane would know how much he is loved.

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