This family is beyond special to me. Kristi is a fellow photographer (kristi burton photography ) from Utah that I connected with a few years ago on Facebook. We shared our struggle with infertility together and quickly bonded. Last week I got message from Kristi saying she was in Springdale adopting her daughter and wanted to know how far away that was from where we lived! When I told her 10 minutes we immediately began planning! I couldn’t believe it! This is a woman I A) Never thought I would meet in person – ever and B) never thought I would have the honor of photographing her journey into motherhood! I still cannot believe it! It still amazes me that I got the opportunity to meet her and photograph her. We actually did this session two days before her court date and the adoption was finalized. It was truly one of the most amazing experiences I have had as a photographer getting to work with her and finally meet her in person. Congratulations Kristi and Drew!
“A few years ago I had what I thought was one of my best epiphanies. It might be something that people figure out a lot faster than I did, but I’m just glad it came to me when it did and that it came at all. My epiphany was that one of the most important reasons for our existence is to learn how to love. Even more, that there are different stages of love that we go through to become who we are meant to be and do what we are meant to do in this life… From the very beginning as a newborn with eyes flickering half open, we look up to see the face of a parent and the first stage of love happens as we feel love for our caregiver. Then, if there are siblings, we learn to love them as well, in spite of the occasional smack or hair-pull (I definitely had the hair-pull down with my brothers). Sibling love helps prepare us for the love we experience with friends outside of family. Each love stage builds upon the other… As we get older, the friend kind of love might develop into romantic love. To me, this kind of love means you feel so strongly for that other person and their well-being that you want to connect yourself to them body and soul forever. So you get married, or maybe you don’t but you commit to that person and then often the natural desire for the next stage of love begins to stretch out your heart. You know, like the song we used to sing as grade school kids when we discovered the girl and boy kissing under the slide, “First comes love, then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”
But for some, that next stage of love doesn’t come very easily and for others perhaps not at all. And backing up, maybe some of those other stages of love have holes in them too. Maybe the friend type of love didn’t work so well or the romantic love…or maybe one was never taught well to love at all from the very beginning which to me is the greatest tragedy… But I believe that if someone really desires love, whatever kind, that they will acquire it one day. I believe that there is a merciful God who is the source of all love and who we can turn to and trust completely. He has worked wonders on this pockmarked heart of mine and only He could have been the one to do it.
Six years ago, soon after my husband and I blissfully married, we decided to start trying for kids. I had wanted to be a mom my whole life. My mom is amazing and and my faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints focuses a lot on families..I really wanted to have this most important and beautiful role of being a mom. My husband and I thought it wouldn’t take very long; We had no idea the many challenges we would face. Year after year, no matter what we tried, the blessing of parenthood just wasn’t happening. We hit so many obstacles that by the fifth year we almost felt like we should give up. Giving birth wasn’t working. Adoption wasn’t working… I hated the idea of giving up. I had always felt strongly that God wanted me to be a mom but with so many obstacles maybe it wasn’t meant to be…
Then, at the beginning of this year, the magic started. A special woman about a month away from giving birth, wanted to give the baby the best life possible. We were both honored and terrified when she chose us. We had been so used to things going wrong that we wondered if this really could be it…It was amazing how everything fell into place. Miracle after miracle happened for Claire to come to our open arms. Blessing after blessing. Sign after sign that she was meant to be ours. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude and we know that God meant for this beautiful little one to be in our family.
A major thank you to Kala for photographing this special moment of our lives. We are so happy that we were able to cross paths and know that it wasn’t a coincidence.
Love to all,
Kristi (and Drew) Burton”