The Year of the Squish: Our Adoption Story Part 1

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Last night, a very tired and emotional toddler cried her way upstairs to bed after a long day of well…being a toddler. She’s a pretty typical 18 month old with dreams of endless snacks, chasing the dog, and running wild and free across the church gym. She’s our Squish, our Emmi Boo, our Princess Cupcake, our Baby Girl, our Emmaline Jane. Today we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of THE AWESOME PHONE CALL that brought the Squish into our lives. This date marks the beginning of our first Family-Versary celebration, so I thought it was a good time to fulfill my promise to actually sit down and write out the whole crazy story. Some things are left out-things that are for her to tell when or if she wants to. The conversation about how much of our story to tell has been ongoing for the past year. We have finally settled on this one truth: It is God who wrote this story for our family, and ultimately it is for his glory and for our good. We hope it is for your good as well, so here it is!

May 21, 2014

It was the day before the last day of school at the preschool where I taught 2 and 3 year olds. Teachers, you know….you just know. I was ready for school to be over, I loved my kids, and I was ready for summer. I also knew that a really important meeting happened the day before, and I was wondering if maybe we would get word sometime that week about whether we had been chosen or not. We had been waiting 3 years to adopt, and we were tired and discouraged and unsure if we were still on the right path. A couple weeks before, we had been sent a profile of a ridiculously cute baby girl with pages and pages of information about her rare medical condition. We told our case worker that yes, we wanted to be considered as her adoptive family….and also decided that if we were not matched, then we would quit for a while and regroup. (I don’t know how I feel about admitting that we were just DONE…but there it is.) This profile was different though, because unlike the other profiles that came across our screens, this one was really well-written, and ACTUALLY had a date on it telling us when the adoption placement committee was going to meet and choose the family they thought would be the best fit. Often, we would submit our interest, and then never hear word about the kids again. (Let me be clear, this is not the fault of our fantastic, amazing, superhero case worker. It’s just the byproduct of a huge system with lots of work to be done and not enough people to do it.) We were relieved to have a date and a promise that we would get word. It’s hard to explain how much power is in just knowing these kids through their profiles. You wonder if they are your sons and daughters, you read their (often) heartbreaking stories, and you worry about them and whether they are finally in a forever home. And so, this little squishy baby girl with her tongue hanging out and a gigantic goofy grin was on my heart that morning on the day before the last day of school.

I watched my director and friend Amy walk down the hallway with the school phone in her hand and a wide-eyed look. My heart basically jumped out of my chest when she handed it to me and told me that there was a call for me. This was actually kind of weird, because my case worker knew to call my on my cell…but for some reason that day she called the preschool phone instead. I knew it was our case worker before I even spoke to her. I felt the world changing around me already, as I put the phone to my ear and quickly asked Amy to go watch my class. I sat down in a chair, and I heard the voice of my case worker saying “Congratulations! You’ve been chosen!!”

AND THEN I DIED OF HAPPINESS

I have no idea what she said next, I just kept saying “I have to call Brian, I have to call Brian” and I did, and I choked out the words to him as best I could. I told the best guy in the world that we had been matched, FINALLY!

Then, I called my mom and my dad and my sister and brother and my best friend and I choked out the words that finally, FINALLY it was our time. I ran back down to my class and hugged my assistant Rosemary and Amy and told them I would be taking a year off because I had to be a mom. I love that these two special ladies were physically there to share in that moment with me! They are priceless, and they are still here as the best supporters and the biggest fans of the Squish. We told our assistant director Tanya, and then kept it a secret from the rest of the staff.

That. Was. So. Hard.

Sorry guys, I hope you still aren’t mad at me for that. ❤ 

Meanwhile, Brian was at work trying to process it all. (I kind of always dreamed that we would be together when we got the call. Boo.) He put down the phone in shock, turned around and looked at his assistant Leah, and said “That was it, that was the call! We’ve been matched!” He got to share the news with his two awesome coworkers, tried to work a bit, gave up, and then decided to just go home. He got on the phone and called all his family members and shared the news all the way home on his 45 minute commute.

We both got home later that afternoon and finally remembered to call our case worker back at some point! Oops. We got word that we would get to meet Baby Girl just two days later on Friday. TWO. DAYS.

And so we met our daughter two days later. Our daughter. Our Emmaline Jane.

(Stick around for Part 2!)

Catanzaro Kids//Wake Forest Family Photographer

I spent last weekend in Atlanta with my BFF and her ridiculously good looking family. We ate way too many cookies, went to the mall, stopped at Starbucks, went to the grocery store, stopped at Starbucks, watched Netflix, stopped at Starbucks….and oh yeah we did a family photo session! Sometimes you simply need to go around the corner to your favorite park and play and be goofy. Thankfully, we had a key to the tennis court! Unfortunately, JoJo and Elli are really really serious kids and they couldn’t really let loose in front of the camera…

Just kidding. Love them to pieces. ::smooch::

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I insisted that they are not allowed to grow up, but they both told me that I could still be THEIR baby…except I’m too big. I’m still not sure what that means, but they are adorable so I just laugh and give them candy. 🙂 Can’t wait to share more!

Bonnie B.

Audrey’s First Birthday

Ok full disclosure: this party happened in April of this year. I was going to blog Audrey’s 1 Year old portraits today (adorable stuff that is more recent…like July) but then I remembered that we had a ridiculously fun time at her birthday party. So there. It’s my blog and I get to do what I want.

I don’t know if you know this, but I kind of adore this family. Audrey is a part of this huge, loud, crazy, loving, crazy (did I say that twice? I meant to) family that lets me and Brian tag along and be a sister and brother, auntie and uncle, and (let’s be real) a daughter and son. (Richard, you know you love us) Jennah and Craig have been clients since before there was an Audrey, so not only do I get to go to a fun birthday party, I get to do photos too!

The food was delish, by the way.

Also, you may or may not spot me in a few photos. ❤

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Spring Mini Sessions

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Spring has been a looooooong time coming here in NC! Why not celebrate with a Bonnie B mini session?

Mini sessions are for families, couples, BFFs or even just the kids.

Come play in the sunshine and pick from my pile of random, but fantastic  props!

Don’t want props? Fine, but they are awesome!

Do you know a few superheroes? Bring them along too!

Want some photos with just you and your Grandma? I love grandmas! Bring her!

Need some BFF photos before you both go off to separate colleges? Yes, of course you do!

Did you forget to schedule your spring photo session and now you don’t have much free time? Here is your second chance!

Can I think of any more questions to ask? No…I think I’m done!

Seriously, I’d love to see you.

Email me with questions at BonnieBPhotographyNC@gmail.com

Bonnie B

Alison the Intern

I often have brilliant ideas, but I have to give myself a pat on the back for this particular one. Bonnie B Photography proudly presents to you…

Alison the Intern!!

I couldn’t be happier to have Alison join TEAM BONNIE B. This girl already has a passion for photography and a love for creativity, not to mention that we share a similar tendency to make huge messes while simultaneously longing to organize our lives so we can make more messes and create awesome projects.

For Alison’s first day on the job, we made a post office/Sonic run, organized millions of receipts for tax time, and then had some fun with my brand new chalkboard wall.

Alison and I can’t wait to start the Spring portrait session! We are done with winter, ready for some Spring weather, and ready to spend a golden North Carolina afternoon capturing your families, your senior year, your “We are Engaged” season, or just any good excuse for beautiful photos.

PS Alison is really really good at chasing screaming toddlers…just sayin’…it’s a special skill.

-Bonnie B
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Audrey: 6 Months

Eeeeep! Remember this Baby Love session? This fall I was thrilled to return with Craig, Jennah, and baby Audrey to Sweetpeas Antiques and Garden for Audrey’s 6 month portraits!  I’m just in love with this whole session, this is one of my absolute favorite locations. If you love browsing vintage, handmade items and antiques, you need to get over there!

So back to my adorable baby Audrey…

This little snuggly one makes my heart melt, and I love love love this sweet family!

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Audrey loves her Jillian!

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As always, I loved spending the afternoon with the Steelmans. Thanks for being both awesome friends and clients!

Bonnie B

The Parker Family: Superhero Session

Introducing the Parker family! This was one of the most hysterical, chaotic sessions I have ever done and I loved every minute of it! We persevered through dark, threatening skies and managed to work around a wedding, a reception, and the fact that everyone in Wake county decided to go to the park at the same time that evening! Special thanks to Superman, Batman, and the Hulk for making this session a memorable one.

There is a lot of love in this photo, one of my favorites!

Poor Mom just wanted a photo with her boys…

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Michael. Big brother, avid reader, kind of an XBox fan. =) I asked him to tell me a story to make him laugh, you should ask him what the story is sometime. Such a great kid!

Austin. Loves his iPad and shows love to his family in his own special ways. Austin has autism, and it was a pleasure to capture what his mom calls his “inner light.” He was so excited about seeing birds in the sky! 

Sweet portraits of Jeannine and Austin.

You can’t forget Mom and Dad! They have names: Eric and Jeannine. =)

We had some fun with Austin’s kite when the park cleared out a little bit. This kid loves his kite!

(Warning: little Clark Kent may just make you squeal a little bit.)

Luke. Almost 2 years old. Mild mannered reporter + Superhero. Ring Pops are his kryptonite. Not a fan of getting his photo taken. Makes his own rules, breaks them when he feels like it. 

Seriously, does it get any cuter? I couldn’t decide which photos to use so just bear with me. 

Oh my word, the hand on the chin.

Here’s where the superheroes start to lose their cool…

I love a family that can be silly together. One last photo as the light fades.

Parkers, you guys were so much fun! Thanks for letting me hang out with you and capture the fun, the chaos, and the silliness.

Bonnie B

The Little Finneys

Can I just say that I am loving summer right now? For the first time ever, I’m working full time as Bonnie B Photography! It’s only for the summer, but I thought it would be a good time to get a taste of what it would be like to work at home instead of juggling two jobs. It’s been interesting, and honestly it’s been great to have a break from teaching preschool. Love those kids, but a break is always nice and was very much needed. As tempting as it is to stay in my PJs for days on end and eat potato chips at my desk all day, I’ve been out and about and busy with other things too! Take these adorable redheads for instance…

Meet Harper, Ben, and Carson!

I babysit these cuties every now and then, and since I’m an honorary redhead I feel like I fit right in. I’ve been doing morning sessions more often this year, of course my favorite time of day is right before sunset, but that’s not always the best thing for the little ones. We did this session around 9:30 or 10:00am but we had some beautiful open shade to work with and since my backyard is surrounded by woods there was a ton of opportunities to let some soft sunshine filter in the background.

Oh yes. Ben and Carson are twins, and as much time as I spend with them…I had a bit of a hard time telling them apart on film! The boys are…shall we say…”not overly fond” of getting their photos taken. I’m ok with that, Mom is ok with that…it’s just part of who they are right now! We set out some toys to play with and I hung back a little and tried to catch them simply enjoying what they were doing.

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Harper is quite a different story, she LOOOOVES the camera and had all sorts of poses and faces all ready to go.

I got this look when I tried to coax a smile…

Boo!

Mom got creative with these car ramps she found in my backyard! Genius idea, and I’ve been wanting to use them and was just waiting for the right photo session!

Such a cutie!

More of my spring sessions coming soon!

Bonnie B

Baby Love: Craig + Jennah + Audrey

I’m super-excited to share these photos from my first Baby Love session of 2012! If you have hung around my Bonnie B Facebook page, these faces will look familiar to you not only from this session, but from a couple seasons ago. They are familiar to me because Jennah is my BFF’s sister and Craig and Jennah are uncle and auntie to two of my favorite kids in the whole wide world! Now they are having their own little one, and I can’t wait! Jennah contacted me a few weeks ago about not only doing this session, but also putting together a package for maternity through 1 year pics for little Audrey. Not only do I get to capture these last few weeks before they meet their daughter, but I’m also going to take Audrey’s very first portraits at the hospital and help them document the first year of her life. I’m so honored to be a part of the beginning of their little family.

This is a new location for me, and I am absolutely in love with it! Special thanks to my new friends at SweetPeas Antiques and Garden in Youngsville, NC.

When Jennah stepped out of the car in those fantastic red heels, I nearly had a heart attack. So sassy!

The book she is holding was Jennah’s when she was a little one. I also had the same book! It’s called The Goodnight Book.

These are two of my favorites, good job Craig. =)

Audrey is going to have some sassy shoes like her Mom!

I’m headed to Jennah’s baby shower today, it’s going to be a blast! I worked late into the night with BFF Elissa and Auntie Paige on some AH-mazing baby shower details and it’s going to be the cutest ever. Look for the photos over on my other blog at Calm Down Friends!

Bonnie B