Meet Nell Brown – Seoul Photographer – Part 1

There are few things that remind me that what I do as a photographer is important more than people’s reaction to the photographs I give them, to the story I have told for them. Mary Leigh reminded me of that time and time again, even before we met here in Seoul. I first worked with some good friends of hers, Lori and Steve, back in January of this year. Before Lori and Steve had even left Korea, Mary Leigh had been in contact with me and organised to order them a canvas of one of my prints for their home. She then proceeded to put my name at the top of her adoption ‘to do list’, above booking flights and a hotel. Nothing makes you realise the value in what you do more than small things like this. It’s a responsibility and an honour to work with a family, and when the time came for the Brown family to visit Seoul and meet Nell, it wasn’t just them who were nervous!

We were all early, very early. The Brown’s had been waiting a long time for this, longer than most families. Mary Leigh and Nick were keeping themselves busy and making sure everything they had prepared was ready so they could focus entirely on meeting number three. Yep, this was their third adoption! Bates and Brodie could not have been happier to be meeting their sister. Bates was calm and obviously thinking it through, while Brodie was darting about with his camera and whatever toys he could find. Nell arrived a little later than some of the other children, so we occupied ourselves with a stand-off until she arrived.

When Nell did arrive, she was a little nervous and reserved. She spent quite a bit of time in the comfort of her foster mother’s arms, preferring to interact from a safe place. Her loves were quickly shown though. She loved to look at photographs of herself, nibble on snacks, and hold on to jewelery. Hello Kitty stickers were also a hit. They ended up everywhere except the sticker book. All of these things helped Nell to feel safe with her new family, and she even let her big brother Bates hold her hand and lead her around. Oblivious of all the other families in the room, the play time continued with Nell singing a song, feeding her family, and giving dad a drink when the boys got to be too much for him. But, this meeting was over too quickly. The family was just starting to bond and I was just starting to capture those interactions. Time was up, and Nell waved goodbye.

Pouring over the photos when I got them home, I realised that I was telling a different story from the one I had expected. This was a more subtle, slower developing story. It was two young boys deciding what to make of the idea of having a sister. It was too parents yearning for their forever family day. It was a young girl meeting people she’d only seen in photos. But most of all, it was a story of a lot of personalities finding a common point to bond. Another couple of days and we would be back to do it all again. But for today, this is Nell’s story.

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Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Photographer - Nell

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer - Nell

Nell - Seoul Family Photographer

Nell's Family - Seoul Photographer

Lawson’s Adoption – Seoul Family Photographer

Lawson appeared on my Facebook page last month as a silhouette. It was difficult to resist the urge to share this adoption story right away, but rules will be rules! He is now safely home with his family in the United States, and I can finally share their joy with you.

Josh and Elizabeth had been in the process of adopting for a long time, jumping through the various hurdles required for the process. They were finally matched with Lawson on their 5th wedding anniversary. Imagine their joy when that call came in. Fast forward two years and we were having a cup of coffee on the ground here in Seoul, getting ready for their first meeting with their son.

We had been told that Lawson could be a little shy around strangers, and the moment he recognised Josh and Elizabeth, he hid in his foster mother’s arms. It took quite a bit of coaxing, and Josh’s drawing skills from his experience as an animator, but Lawson came out of his foster mother’s arms to make a game of erasing his father’s pictures and join in the illustrations.

Lawson’s sweet and playful nature came out as he joined another girl on the glockenspiel, followed by opening and closing his water bottle repeatedly with both of his parents and instigating a game of hide and seek with his father.

The meeting was over too soon, but the wait was not too long. “We’re coming next week,” said the next email I got. We organised to meet at Deoksugung and capture a few moments of this family together in Seoul before they headed back home to the US.

Seoul Family Photographer - Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

 

 

Ezra Sihu Anderson’s Adoption Story

My time with the Andersons started back in June when they first came to Korea to meet their son, Ezra Sihu. He would be their first adoption; their first child. As with most adoptions recently, the wait had been long and Dan and Ester were ready to take their little boy home. As we would come to see, he was ready for them as well.

Over lunch, they played, hugged and fed each other. Ezra drove his toys through his mother’s drinks, and played hide-and-seek from under the table while all erupted in laughter. This was going to be a happy family. Ester even managed to squeeze in a selfie with her son!

Selfie! - Ezra's Adoption

Car in Cup - Ezra's Adoption

Eating Together - Ezra's Story

We then headed outside to play in the grass, search for ants and leap off bench after bench. The light in everyone’s eyes during this play time showed the love that was forming for this new family. And the sweat we were all pouring out was indicative of times to come with this energetic little fellow!

Flowers - Ezra's Family Photography

Flowers for Dad - Ezra's Family Photos

Adventure - Ezra's Story

The Leap - Ezra's Day Out

ezra-adoption-story-05

Playing with Dad - Ezra's Adoption

 

Over the coming weeks, they would get to know their son more. When the final custody papers were signed, Ezra walked out of the building hand-in-hand with his mother, and smiled all the way to their hotel. And then he would give us all another round of exercise as he helped move their bags into a new room between games of hide-and-seek (clearly his favourite!).

Custody Arrival - Seoul Adoption

Foster Family - Ezra

Kissing the Angel

Mother and Son - Seoul Adoption

Putting on Shoes

Up to the Room - Ezra's Adoption

You Can't See Me - Seoul Adoption

Helping Mum - Seoul Family Photography

Helping Dad- Seoul Family Photography

Toys! - Ezra's Family Story

Toys! - Ezra's Adoption Story

Toys! - Ezra's Adoption Story

Toys! - Ezra's Adoption Story

More Hide and Seek

Even More Hide and Seek

Happy Family - Seoul Adoption

 

Tobin’s Family Day – Adoption in Seoul

Here we are, back with Tobin and his family. Just around a month had passed when Anna-Marie and Brian got back in touch with me. A lot of exclamation marks and capital letters surrounded the important information that their travel call had been received, and this time they would be bringing their first son, Knox, to help take his little brother home.

Knox had nothing but sparkles in his eyes when he shook my hand the morning of the meeting, and it was wonderful to see his parents again. We exchanged greetings as though it was just yesterday that we’d met Tobin for the first time, and that nothing special was happening this day. Some catching up followed, and Knox tried to learn a little about my camera while we waited. The atmosphere was so quiet, you would not have known what was about to happen. Until Tobin was carried in by his foster mother that was, and then this beautiful story unfolded before my eyes.

Tobin's Adoption
Tobin's Adoption in Seoul
Tobin's Adoption
Tobin's Adoption in Seoul
Tobin's Adoption
Tobin's Korea Adoption
Tobin's Korea Adoption
Tobin's Korea Adoption
Tobin's Adoption in Seoul
Tobin's Korea Adoption
Tobin's Korea Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption
Tobin's Seoul Adoption

It is days like this that make photography the best job in the world. Being able to be a part of these moments in a family’s life is humbling and beautiful. I cannot thank this family enough for allowing me to share this time with them. Stay tuned for the final chapter in my time with Anna-Marie, Brian, Knox and Tobin.

Tobin’s Adoption – Korea Photographer

I met Anna-Marie and Brian just a few hours after they landed in Seoul, the birth country of their first son (who I did not get to meet this time around). This time, they were in Korea to meet their second son, Tobin, for the first time. That meeting was less than 14 hours away, and  I was honored to meet this wonderful couple and welcome them to Korea. We talked over a bossam dinner, and I learned of the 18 month process that had brought them to finally meeting the little boy who they would soon add to their family.

We met again the following morning, and it wasn’t long before a little boy in suspenders with snowmen on them rounded the corner and lit up the room. Busy with a lollipop, he ran from person to person, playing with each and everyone in turn. Bubbles brought out his beautiful smile, while a car on the floor calmed him and made him concentrate. Clearly a loving little man, it didn’t take him long to give his dad a big kiss on the cheek, get swept up in hugs, or share a drink with his mother. For the next hour, Tobin scooted between the other playing children, stopping to study a toy here and there, threw out a quick smile to one of his parents before bolting in the other direction, and kept us all sweating without respite.

No sooner had we started playing, it seemed, than the meeting was called to an end. But Tobin’s loving foster mother took everyone, including myself (who she reasoned had been chasing three people all over, and must be in need of a good feed), for a barbecue lunch. The first meeting was over in a heartbeat, but the memory of it was etched in my mind. This was going to be a great family! Stay tuned for the forming of a family and a friendship! Plenty more to come in this amazing story.

Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photography
Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Elias’ Adoption in Photos – Seoul, Korea

The email came in at precisely 2:03am. Why I checked my phone, I couldn’t tell you. But I was thrilled at what I saw. Amanda had seen some adoption photos I’d done recently of a little boy named Davis, and was coming to meet her own son Elias in a couple of weeks. She poured her heart out in that first email, telling me all about her son and the time they had been waiting. She asked if I would be available to cover their meeting time, and I was thrilled again to cover the making of another family in Seoul.

We met a little early, and were quickly informed by the Holt staff that due to renovations, we would need to move to another building for the meetings. We moved into a much smaller room, where we only had around 2 square-meters of space for ourselves. That wasn’t going to stop these loving parents, and active young man from having the time of their lives, though.

The first thing we discovered about Elias that day was his love for food and drink, and for sharing it with everyone around him. He would bring snacks to everyone in our circle, and even peeled a tangerine for his foster father. Although he loved his food, he would respect his foster mother’s words each and every time if she asked him not to touch it. The pinnacle of this was when his she granted him a bag of crisps. The happy dance that ensued was greeted with guffaws of laughter.

That was the next thing we discovered about Elias, he loves to dance. When the songs stopped, he would run over to the smart phone playing them, hit play again, and begin his routine. Everyone was filled with joy at his capers. He loved the attention and elicited it with skill from his parents Amanda and Reid, and everyone else around. When he discovered that notes were being made about him on a piece of paper, he found a pen and added his own. When he was caught, he handed the pen straight over and went on playing with his parents.

All too soon, the time was over. Elias obediently donned his jacket and scarf, and proceeded to call the elevator. That was it, he was on his way. Thank you again, Amanda and Reid, for allowing me to document your day. All the best with the lovely young man you have taken into your family.

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea