Over the 4 years and nearly 100 families I have worked through photographing adoptions in Seoul, the single common thread for each and every session is an outpouring of love from the family in an attempt to bond as quickly as possible. It has been beautiful to watch, and this session with Chandler was such a perfect example of how love develops in such a short period of time.
Going in, we knew Chandler would be nervous. His foster mother had stressed that he was not always open around people the first time he met them. Our first few minutes were exactly as we had expected them to be. But, Tara and Brandon have four other children at home. So, they are no strangers to what it sometimes takes to win children over. Their patience and determination was beautiful to watch.
Starting with toys and snacks, Tara gradually tried to gain his interest, and Brandon was gently offering to play at every turn. The social worker’s nerves were visible on her face as she faced the certainty that Chandler would not open up to his parents in this meeting. But perseverance and a few rounds of peek-a-boo later, Chandler was looking out from his foster mother’s arms with what we would soon recognise as his cheeky grin.
Soon enough, Chandler was out of her arms and playing on the floor with his new toys and his parents. But it wasn’t until he discovered the joy of tossing a ball of playdough around the room with everyone that he truly let himself embrace the situation. Not long after this, he was hugging Brandon, and then Tara. At this point, we quickly grabbed a family portrait and then it was time to go.
With a wave and a “see you next time,” Chandler was out the door and the adults in the room could finally breathe a collective sigh of joy. Things had gone so well, and could only get better from here. It was such a whirlwind of a session, even from the camera’s perspective. I’m glad to have been a part of it, and look forward to sharing our next session with you, as well.