Hatcher & Ngauamo Family — Tacoma Family Lifestyle Photographer

Last year, Gina found my post advertising for Modern School Portraits when she was working at a local preschool and looking for a new photographer. I’ve been their Picture Day photographer for two years and the school is now my biggest client. I’m so grateful that we connected!

Then earlier this year I sent out a model call looking for diverse Tacoma families to add to my portfolio and she responded with an exciting request. She and her husband, Moses, wanted to surprise their 6-year-old with some news. They had already told their daughter, Kayden, that they were expecting a baby in September… but what they didn’t tell her is how many babies! See if you can guess…

Gina brought the ultrasound pictures in an envelope and had Kayden open it during our session. Her reaction was priceless! I’m so glad I was there to document it!


She facepalmed when she found out all three are BOYS!

 

 

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.”

 

 

Tree Farm Mini-Sessions Day 2 – PNW Family Photographer

Day 2 of the Tree Farm Mini-Session was just as great as Day 1! These sweet families braved the frosty air and celebrated each other with love. May you all have a joyous holiday season and a wonderful New Year! 💖💖💖

Thank you for spending your day with me and my camera!

DuCharme Maternity Session (new baby package, pt 1) – Tacoma Maternity Photographer

Katie and Keith hired me for their maternity portraits and newborn session. I’ve been interested in birth photography and I’ve never shot one before so I asked them if they would let me photograph the labor and birth as well. Katie emphatically said yes! I was thrilled when they agreed to let me practice and to use the images in my portfolio. This maternity session is part one in a three part series of the DuCharmes and their new baby.


I know so many strong, smart, beautiful women. And these women, when they are pregnant, their power is magnified. Katie proves that.

I’ve known Katie since high school and we’ve reconnected on Facebook, as you do these days, right? She is a certified nurse midwife at Madigan Hospital. Her husband Keith is a UW electrical engineering student. When we had our session last June, we were hoping for sunshine, but Washington weather gave us rain instead. Not only did Katie and Keith stand out in the rain with me, they were willing to dip their feet in the cold creek! I love it when my families are up for adventure!

 

Rachelle & Lee Maternity – Seattle Family & Maternity Photographer

There is a single word to describe this family: STRONG. They are strong in their love, faith, friendship, passion, and bodies.

Rachelle was about 30 weeks pregnant when we had our shoot. With TWINS! I took her, Lee and their daughter Averie all over Discovery Park in Seattle. Our plan was to hike down to the lighthouse but I underestimated the difficulty of the hike and how long it would take to get there. Despite missing the lighthouse, I appreciated how enthusiastic and spirited they were about our 3-and-a-half hour session! Averie especially. She happily filled up on the gummy bears I brought.

Rachelle is my nearly-cousin. My uncle and her mother were long-time sweethearts whose paths kept crossing at various times in their lives but never at the right time. They still very much love each other… which means I have a few girl cousins!

This lovely family now has two more beautiful, healthy babies: boy Waylon & girl Charlie. Congratulations to their family!

 

Coutsouridis Family – Tacoma Family Photographer

One early morning in September, I met with the Coutsouridis family at the Point Defiance Park and Pagoda. Chris’ parents were in town from Connecticut on their annual visit to see their 3-year-old grandson. We had a lovely session and perfect weather. I was grateful that the smoke from the wildfires of British Columbia had dissipated by then. Although it did create some interesting light, being outside made it difficult to breathe.

Before our session, little George found two treasures near the Pagoda: a purple crayon and a gray crayon. He held them tight the whole hour and they nearly stole the show! They had names and everything. I love little imaginations. They bring even the smallest ideas to life and cause us as adults to slow down. Lately, I’ve opted to take the passenger seat during my sessions (not backseat, because I still navigate!). This helps give the children a little bit of control and allows us to have a more relaxed, easy session.

I hope the grandma and grandpa Coutsouridis are able to visit again soon!