Mittleider Newborn Documentary Session & Adoption Story – Seattle Family Photographer

Families created by adoption have a special place in my heart. I am adopted myself so I feel connected to these stories of children being united with their new parents. I love seeing the joy of families who were meant to be.

However, the steps parents must go through to adopt a child are lengthy onerous, terrifying and confusing. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, paperwork, money, interviews, more paperwork, background checks, FBI checks, home studies, autobiographies, finding the right match, and traveling. At the end of it all, a new chapter of parenthood begins when the baby or child comes home.

The Mittleiders went through all of that and finally, after a tedious 9 months, they were able to hold their baby in their arms.

Kathleen and Tyler went “live” as approved adoptive parents in April of 2017. Tyler has been a program manager for Microsoft for 10 years. Kathleen started as an Amazon program manager in July of 2017. Their employers were very understanding. They knew that the Mittleiders could get a phone call for a baby at any time and would have to take time off. The Mittleiders expected to wait between 18-24 months to be able to bring their baby home. The call came 9 months later.

“Nothing about adoption is easy,” Kathleen said. “If anyone tells you it is, they’re lying. The paperwork alone to go live is a herculean effort. It’s sort of a hurry up and wait process. You hurry to get all of your paperwork in and then you just…..wait. We had just started the process of renewing our homestudy when we got ‘the call’.”

Kathleen saw her phone ring at 3:30pm on Friday, January 5th but didn’t recognize the number so she let it go to voicemail. It was from the city where their adoption agency was located. She quickly put two and two together but by that time Tyler was getting the same phone call. He also didn’t answer the unknown number. Kathleen called the number back and was told that they were placed with a family wanting to give their child over for adoption and that the baby was due in just 3 days. But the agency told them not to travel until the mother was in labor so they spent that weekend shopping and filling their nursery with all the things they needed for a new baby. They had already decorated the baby’s room and had only a few essentials. Then they waited. One long week after the initial phone call they bought their plane tickets and traveled to Arizona where the birth family was living. They got to meet the birth mother and father and had dinner with them that night. The next day the mother was induced and the Mittleider’s daughter Piper was born.

They were able to hold their new baby daughter less than an hour after her birth. But the adoption process doesn’t end there. The birth parents have 72 hours to sign over their parental rights or they can keep the baby.

“Between birth and the 72 hours when they signed over their parental rights, they could have changed their minds,” Kathleen said. “And we had Piper at that point, we had her from when she was 40 minutes old. The thought that we could lose her was absolutely terrifying. I don’t think either of us slept. We knew her birth parents were confident in their decision to place Piper, but that didn’t take away our fear.”

Kathleen got the text from Piper’s birth father on the 16th at 7:46pm. It read, “We signed the consent forms, it’s official.”

“Both Tyler and I broke down into ugly tears. We could finally breathe, we could finally tell people. We could share her, and that was huge. We finally slept that night. We were a family.”

Once the birth parents signed the papers, the two states involved – Washington and Arizona – must agree to let the Mittleiders return to home. On January 19th, six days after Piper was born, Arizona approved Piper to go home, but Washington was still not ready for them.

They decided to drive to avoid flying during peak flu season and also to give Washington enough time to approve them crossing the state line. Finally, on January 23rd at 11:00am, they were able to leave Oregon and go home. The next challenge? Introducing this new human to their two Boston Terriers.

George and Winnie have differing opinions on the new baby. George adores his littlest sister with all of his little heart. Winnie is confused that there’s a new baby girl in the house and is frustrated that it isn’t her. The Mittleiders hope the girls will get along when Piper and Winnie are able to play together.

We had our session in their home about two weeks after Piper was born and just a few days after they all came home. Everyone was settling into their new roles and learning what it’s like to be a family of 5.

“As we approach her 1st birthday I think every day what it was like last year. How we told our friends and family – and how we truly believed it would take upwards of two years to become parents. And how different our actual story was,” Kathleen said. “It’s incredible to me. Piper’s birth mom became pregnant in April of 2017; the month we went active with our agency. It was just meant to be.”



Pet Portraits – Tacoma Photographer

Well, I’m back! Though it has taken me 2 years and 4 months to post, I can assure you I haven’t just been sitting around. Since my last post I got married, adopted a dog, bought a house, had a baby (in that order) and celebrated that baby’s 1st birthday! All while fitting in portraits and weddings here and there. Though I have to admit that I’ve wanted to give you so many posts but every time I sat down at my computer to blog, I’ve had bloggers block… either that or distractions. But I’m happy to say that I will be making more posts in the coming months just to show you what I’ve been up to!

So what a better way to return to the blogosphere than with a post about pets! I’ve had the joy meeting so many people when I take their family portraits and it thrills me when they include their pets. Some are no longer with us either because of the shortness of their lives or they have found company of another family.

I’ll start by introducing you to Murphy, our dog. We adopted him from the Tacoma Humane Society in November 2011. He is a border collie/lab/husky mix which means a strong, herding, energetic retriever. He has heterochromia giving him one brown eye and one blue eye. Everyone always asks if he’s blind, but as far as we know he can see just fine. He loves long walks on the beach, tennis balls, peanut butter cookies and chasing cats. If he was a human, he would be like that guy from The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” – he tries to be cool, but he’s not quite hip. When he got Murphy, he could sit, stay, lay down and shake. Now he can roll over, high 5 and back up. Joey (my husband) even taught him to recycle plastic bottles and cardboard!


Introducing baby Scout, our daughter! Murphy and Scout are such good buddies already.






















This post is dedicated to Jessi and her dog Kip. Kip passed away a few months ago at the age of 7-years-old. Never have I seen such a bond between a person and their dog than with these two. We won’t understand the shortness of their lives all we can do is to take comfort when they are with us and treat them with as much respect as they are loyal to us.