Just on 1363 days ago, I met Kala and Gary for the first time as they were taking custody of their first son, Jae. It was my first ever adoption session, and my introduction to what would become such a big part of my life and work from then on. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, beautiful and painful at the same time. What a thing, to be asked to document one of a family’s most pivotal moments. Needless to say, when I received the message from Kala saying they would be back to adopt their second son, I did not get a lot of sleep.
Jae was going to be a big brother this time around, and he was certainly taking on the role with his whole being. The moment he saw Sam, his face lit up and he took him by the hand to give him a tour of the agency office. They were inseparable from that moment until the first meeting was called to an end. Somewhere in between blowing bubbles, taking turns on the slide, making drinks from a jar full of buttons, and giving everything in sight a quick run in a little plastic microwave, Gary and Kala were able to get a few words in and talk.
The family would meet again a couple of days later, and it would only get better, with Sam waving goodbye and saying “See you soon!” at their parting. A few, very long, weeks later I got the message saying that Kala, Gary, and Jae would be back in Seoul to take final custody of Sam. Their family of four took a joy-filled ride back to the hotel, and I had the opportunity to go with them and photograph the two brothers play together at home. The next day, we wound up their time in Seoul with a family session at Changgyeong Palace in Seoul.
Nothing had prepared me for seeing Jae again, or just how much he had grown. But watching him and his family together as the youngest joined them, I could see that these two would be best friends. All the best to the Sharp family. I hope to see you all again in Seoul soon!