Before I jump into this birth story, I just wanted to vent for a second. While searching for "family" quotes, or "definition of family" phrases last night to couple with this slide show, I was beyond frustrated with the so called definitions. Most specifically the part that insist that a family must all be living under one roof, or must look a certain way, and be comprised of specific individuals. I'm sorry Webster, and every other inspirational meme I came across, that's not family. And it's definitely not this family.
So what IS family? I think it looks different for a lot of people. And for Leslie and Michael, they have adopted Jessara and now Jaylie. They have an open adoption with these girl's birth mother Caitlin. They are in California, and she is in Georgia. As far as I can tell that isn't everyone living under one roof. That isn't just one mother and one father. These kiddos happen to have two mother's that love them unconditionally. And a plethora of family and friends that love them between two oceans, dedicated to giving these girls the best.
Can you imagine the love Caitlin had to have to hope for a better life for her daughters?! Can you imagine the love Leslie and Michael have for these girls they have longed for? Love doesn't always look the same, but in both ways, these girls parents both biological and adoptive LOVE them. Unconditionally. Selflessly. Beautifully.
I was honored to shoot Jessara's birth in December of 2014, and beyond humbled to be asked back into these families lives to capture the birth of Jaylie this summer.
I choked back tears more times than I can count this day. As Leslie supported Caitlin through an unexpected c-section, while understandably being nervous herself. Tears again as both moms laid eyes on and held their daughter for the first time. Tears, as Leslie cried on the phone with Michael letting him know Jaylie was here and safe. Massive, take your breath away, time stands still kind of tears as Caitlin saw Jessara for the first time in nearly 18 months.
Inspired, by this kind of love would be an understatement. Grateful to witness the birth and growth of all families, no matter what that looks like!
Love in it's most perfectly, imperfect state.