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The Wood Family

My nephew James is turning ONE! I love documenting my brother’s little family life so much.

My FAVORITE way to photograph a child is in their own environment. I love real life pictures & real life stories. At this stage in James’ life he is into EVERYTHING. You will see what I mean:)

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This little guy doesn’t lack personality;)

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To view more of their life through my lens, click here… MaternityBirthNewborn

 

Chaffin + Heath

How did y’all meet? “We met at a JMA football game about 5 years ago. We reconnected about a year after that at a friend get together. We started talking while he was living in Atlanta for school. We dated for 3 and a half years before we got married!”

What is your favorite thing about your bride? “Her dedication and commitment to live by biblical principles, and her always wanting to do the right thing.”

What is your favorite thing about your groom? “He always makes me want to do better, and he likes my cooking.”

 What was the most memorable moment of the wedding day? “Our awkward kiss that everyone makes fun of us for ha!”

If you could do it all over again, would you change anything? “I wouldn’t have spent so much money.”

Do you have any advice to other brides & grooms? “Don’t stress on the big day!”

Wedding Party Introduction Song: When You Say Nothing at All – by Alison Krauss

Bride & Groom introduction song: You Make My Dreams Come True – by Hall and Oates

First dance song: You Are the Best Thing – by Ray LaMontagne

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Ceremony Venue: Lakepoint Community Church

Reception Venue: Crooked Pines Farm

Caterer: Celebrations by Alexa

Hair & Makeup: Erin Hunt

Florist: Ellen Kirkland

Cake: Donna Dunnam

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Heath is a Georgia Tech graduate so we had fun handing him this when it started raining;)

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Who cares if it starts raining on your wedding day. It’s freaking romantic!

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Chaffin is my awesome cousin so of course my family was at the wedding too! This is my nephew dancing and I couldn’t get enough of it, obviously!

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Congrats cousin! Love y’all!

A Beautiful Story of Adoption – The Weaver Family

We got the call from Department of Family and Child Services (DFCS) on November 7, 2012. Newborn premature twins, drug exposed, a boy and a girl. “Talk about it and let me know,” she said. When we called back to say yes we heard, “Before you agree, there’s also a one year old sister.” And that’s how this crazy journey began.

Well, technically it started a few months before that, when Amy and I decided to take the Impact classes offered by the DFCS to become certified as foster parents. We’d been down the road of miscarriage way too many times and were ready for something new. We wanted children in our home, and we wanted to meet needs in our community too. We had no idea what the future held in store.

We decided we could handle a sibling group of up to four, any race, ages five and under. And just as we were becoming certified as foster parents, we got the call about this group of three in need of a home. The boy-girl twins, Myles and Jade were newborns. Rayne was almost two. The case was Foster only, and although we were hoping for Foster-to-Adopt, we welcomed them in with open arms.

It was a mad scramble to get two of everything for the twins and another set of girl things for our little toddler girl. Luckily we had friends and family jumping to give us stuff. Going from a household with only a dog and a cat to three children in a few weeks is no short order. But we managed. Everything we needed, the Lord provided.

We figured out how to be parents. How to feed and change and care for two preemies and get them sleeping through the night. How to get to know a little girl who had lost everything some stability for the first time in her life. We didn’t have a clue when we started but we learned exactly what to do over time. Having these three children in our home these past 26 months has been the greatest blessing of our lifetime. To see their smiling faces every day and teach and grow with them has brought incalculable joy to us. At home, everything is pretty much always great (I say “pretty much” because we do have three toddlers in our home, after all – things can and do get crazy here). We as foster parents, and now forever parents, have given everything we can to make sure Myles and Jade and Rayne are surrounded by love and a stable home. With fostering, the children are the easy part. It is the turbulent world of visitations, court dates, tears, pain, loss, and anguish in dealing with everything else that become the struggle.

Our Journey

It’s been a long road, these 26 months. As always, people that care ask along the way if there is any news in our case. I feel like I’ve been a broken record giving seemingly the same status updates all along. The first phase was the “case plan” phase – the birth parents had their chances to get their acts together and make improvements in accordance with a court-ordered case plan. DFCS allowed the children to be brought to a visitation center once per week where the birth parents would meet with the children and play and have snacks. Sometimes the parents would show up, sometimes they wouldn’t. Sometimes they seemed like they were making progress on their case plans, and other times it was clear they were not. For both parents there were stretches of incarceration. Overall this phase lasted from November 2012 through about February 2014.

This phase was riddled with contradictory feelings. It wasn’t right to want the birth parents to fail at their case plan; but then again I felt like the best thing for the children was to remain in my care. How do I pray for the restoration of the birth parents and for the children to also remain with me? By this point I had heard all of the nasty accounts that led up to the children being taken away from the birth parents. My natural daddy instinct is to try to protect the children from any continued harm. But then again, if I was in their shoes, I would want every chance in the world to try to get better and keep my children. So much conflict; so much pain. I had to remind myself that I am an adult, and I am equipped to deal with these things so that the children don’t have to.

Then we went to court. Many, many times. DFCS felt like it had built a substantial case against the birth parents and was ready to terminate their rights as parents. From February through October 2014, we were along for this arduous and downright wasteful time period of hearings, court dates, continuations, evidence, testimony, more continuations, and finally the judge made a ruling. But the ruling sat in his office for another few months before he was ready to sign it. Then the appeal window, the motion for a new trial, the decision to withdraw the motion, and finally the children are officially out of control of the birth parents and wards of the state.

 Again, an emotional roller coaster ride, this time with the full gravity of the situation that the fate of the children is in the hands of the judge. The unfounded idea that I might lose the children after all this reverberated in my head. The ups and downs of this legal battle were tumultuous. And as a foster parent – I hardly had a dog in the fight. This was between DFCS and the birth parents. The only thing I could do was smile at the judge and let him know when my name was called that the children were as happy as can be.

After the court phase was over, it took two more months to fill out the adoption paperwork, file it, get a date on another judge’s calendar, and finally seal the deal of the adoption process on December 29, 2014. Whew.

 Why We Did It

Fostering and adoption has its deepest roots in the gospel of Christ. He calls us specifically to love the fatherless, the broken hearted, orphans. Adoption has touched us because we understand that God chose us even though we didn’t deserve it in the slightest. He adopted us as sons and daughters, into his family, to sit at his table, to be heirs to the lavish inheritance that is beyond any earthly imagination. We are here to adopt into our family because he adopted us into his.

David Platt said it best: We adopt not because we are rescuers, but because we are the rescued.

Why You Should Consider It

There is a very real need for (good) foster and adoptive parents in our area.

 You don’t need to worry about getting attached. You will get attached. If you withhold love from a child because you’re afraid of getting attached, you’re depriving that child of something he or she desperately needs.

We’re not special – we’re just ordinary people who struggle with the same things everyone else does: selfishness, personal dreams, ambitions. But we saw a need in our community. It was something we knew we could do; we knew it wouldn’t be easy, and didn’t know how hard it could be. But foster care and adopting isn’t about parents; birth or foster; its about the children. They didn’t choose their birth family. They need a secure loving home, for one night, a few weeks or months, or forever.

For more information on adopting go to: www.adoptuskids.org

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  • February 10, 2015 - 8:33 pm

    Sara Williams - What a wonderful calling. God bless these parents. :)

  • February 10, 2015 - 10:01 pm

    Hollie Gorsh Jackson - Awesome!!! Praise the Lord. This encourages my heart so much!

  • February 10, 2015 - 10:04 pm

    Ann Johnson Bowes - What a wonderful story told so beautifully. I am so blessed to have had the privilege to pray during these visitation and court sessions. We rejoice and pray for you all in the days ahead.

  • February 11, 2015 - 12:44 am

    Nancy Baker Faulk - Such a beautiful family. The children are blessed to have two awesome parents who love them unconditionally.

  • February 11, 2015 - 1:37 am

    Elizabeth Riordon Johnson - LOVE this, the story, the photos, the honesty. Congrats y’all so amazing <3

  • February 11, 2015 - 1:50 am

    Kathy Smith Hawkins - What a miracle!!
    Beautiful children
    Beautiful parents

  • February 11, 2015 - 3:20 am

    Joni Weaver - I am so happy for you. The story you told was incredible. Had tears running. God bless you and your family.

  • February 11, 2015 - 11:58 am

    Patti Watson - Beautiful story… Beautiful family… Beautiful photos!

  • February 11, 2015 - 1:22 pm

    Sharon Weeks - What a beautiful love story of this family. God bless each of you.

  • February 11, 2015 - 1:52 pm

    Chrystal Watson - I worked in Child Protective Services in my previous life. I have a good idea of the mountains you climbed for your children! God bless you all!

  • February 11, 2015 - 11:32 pm

    JoEllen Dattilo - You h have done something amazing….God had this plan…..much joy to you all