The Making of An American Family

The photos below are from a day with my sister and her newly expanded family.  Having started their family early, my sister and brother-in-law had four boys in quick succession.  When they were nearly grown, my sister discovered that life had delivered a twist.  There would be no early empty nest - God had brought another child to them, twelve years after the youngest of the original four boys.  It was like starting over again with a brand new family.  Not wanting the now-youngest boy to grow up essentially as an only child, they started thinking about adoption.  Well at least my sister did.  After many months of research and discussion, they decided to adopt another child as a sibling for Micah.  They looked at both local and foreign adoptions and adopting from overseas ended up being the route they chose.  In the process, they found a sibling group in Ethiopia waiting for a "forever home" as it is sometimes called.  Four of them to be exact, all under the age of 6.  If you have told them the year prior that they would adopt four children from Ethiopia they would have laughed.  But that is exactly what happened.

 

On my sister's birthday in October ofo 2012, they finally came home, closing out a long, tiring, often difficult journey full of new legeal and cultural experiences and world travels.  Time for the work to begin in earnest.  It wasn't easy, and still isn't.  Adopting children means adopting all of the trauma they have experienced to that point.  It means trying to meld different languages and cultures and adjusting your whole way of life, your work, your expectations, the dreams you had before adding new ones to your life, and your own fragility, fears, and inexperience to the mix.  But it also means being witness to a special and poignant beauty emerging from the melding of two family streams into one bigger river of family life.  

 

For centuries, America has been the beginning of new hopes and dreams for literally miillions of people from every place on the face of the planet.  And this century is no different.  Now, the lives of these four have been added to that melting pot and their stories are just being written.  This one day in their life is a tiny slice, a small memorial, to that great adventure and to the idea that no matter what race, nationality or place of origin we come from, it is possible to not only live in harmony, but live as family if we put aside our preconceptions and fears and love one another with open arms.  

 

This family is like many others in leading the way by  example to a place that is more beautiful for all of us - a place of sacrificial love, healing, and hope.  Like my nephews dressing up as Spider Man, this is a demonstration of true super heros.  I'm humbled to know them!

 

(CLICK PHOTOSO TO ENLARGE)

© 2016 Photography by Vince Wallace