“It is in the shelter of each other that people live.” – Jars of Clay
I’ve watched my friend Jessica take in and foster parent these two sisters who were given a start on life that no one asks for. A life filled with fear and abuse from the get-go, a life not meant for children to thrive in.
I’ve been inspired by her limitless love for children she didn’t give birth to and her unending devotion for changing their future. Foster care parents (in the media at least) are given a bad rap and only the stories of those with cruel intentions are shared and blasted out over the airwaves. Jessica dreams of changing foster care perceptions and opening up a world of caring for the fatherless in ways that she couldn’t have even imagined for herself just a few short years ago. After seeing her take care of these two girls in just a little over a half of a year I don’t doubt for one minute she will accomplish this mission for herself and inspire others to do the same.
Fostering children who have been abused is a tough road. Gaining trust, slowly bringing them into your normal family routine and life and then getting them to blossom is a road that’s hard and a road that’s not paved for the faint of heart. Jessica continues to fight for them and plan a future for these two girls as part of her family, even though the reality is that the caseworker or the judge involved with this case could change their course at any moment and return them back to their first family. I admire Jessica so much for her strong will and her even stronger heart to fight for these two girls and give them the love that we’ve all been charged with for caring for the fatherless.
Personally, these sisters’ story is one that I didn’t know I would be truly effected by until I saw their phenomenal growth through my lens when I did a portrait session of them in August. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I knew Asia (the younger of the two) was recently diagnosed with being legally blind because of the head trauma and abuse she suffered as an infant. I didn’t know if she’d like my camera making all kinds of noises and all of us standing around her asking her to look at the camera without making her super fussy. I was afraid she wouldn’t give me any smiles and the session would be a bust.
But as we began our time together for the shoot I held back tears as I remembered the photos I saw on Facebook when Jessica first received them in her home, images of an almost 1 year old who couldn’t even crawl and her big sister, another toddler, shy and scared because of her own past. And it turned into one of my best, most fulfilling shoots I had ever done, even though it was only 30 minutes. The light-filled images were amazing because of the growth I saw in both of them, the love they felt for each other, the smiles that came from them being in the presence of each other and just loving on each other. And I instantly knew I’m here to photograph these moments, however they may come to me. Moments that matter, moments that tell the stories of those fighting for those less fortunate than we are and telling their story to the world. Through imagery, one story can be told and even more lives can be changed. The power of my camera to tell the story of CiCi and Asia fulfills me to my core. Maybe someone else will be inspired to foster and adopt. Maybe another will contribute financially to the thousands of organizations globally who fight for the fatherless children of the world. The potential of one click is amazing. After this session I didn’t have a doubt that love WILL find us all.
“If they stood shoulder to shoulder, the orphans of the world would form a line around the U.S., not once or twice, but four times.” (Lawrence Bergeron, Journey to the Fatherless)
If you’d like more information on adoption, visit Giving Hope Rescue Mission.
It seems you do more and more work for kids. Great cause. Get Jarvis to give you 5 min on CHase Jarvis Live again ;)
Those photos are so beautiful, marissa. Thank you for telling this story so well...in words and in images. What a gift!