I have been photographing weddings for the past 7 years and I’ve seen a lot of couples at their worst and best moments.  I sit back and watch a day full of friends and family, small details, and big moments, flowers, make-up, pretty things, groomsmen making fools of themselves.  But my eye is always drawn inevitably back to the couple – are they happy?  Do they look each other in the eye or are they more concerned with how the centerpieces are coming along?  Do they make a good fit, are they kind to each other, do her eyes beam with excitement when she’s alone with her bridesmaids, do his groomen share in his joy for his bride-to-be?  If I’m really honest,  There are times when I wonder if these two people are a “good match” for each other and if they really are deeply and perfectly in love.  I have been guilty of having an idealized version of what a perfect and lasting couple should look like, and  I don’t leave every wedding with complete confidence in the outcome of the marriage in the long run.  After so many weddings year after year, I have grown critical of love.

This year, I had a small epiphany.  Our love is broken.  No matter how much I want to believe in the idea that true love is reserved for the a fairy tale story of bride and groom, the perfect couple, I have to admit  that each one of the imperfect couples I witnessed pledge those binding vows of marriage were expressing their love;  and however broken and imperfect it was, they were just crazy in love enough to take that unknown step into a future of marriage – and that is worth celebrating.

So as it is with love, we can also tend to have an idealized view of adoption.  From the outside we might think of it as saving a child from a life of poverty, or giving a mom too young to care for her child a second chance.  We might think of it as an act of kindness, compassion, offering a better life to those in need.  In a way, it can be all of these things, but there is so, so much more.  Adoption is broken, it is humbling, it is uncomfortable, it is crazy, it is heart wrenching and it is a leap of faith.  It is not for the weak at heart or the uncommitted.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because when you wonder what it’s like to wait three years for your son, travel 36 hours to a third world country and hold him in your arms for the first time, my answer might include a bit more brokeness than just, ‘it was the most wonderful feeling in the world’.

Still, just as it is with the broken love we give, I am privileged to see the reflection of God’s goodness and grace in this difficult path of adoption.  I am overwhelmed by the opportunity to bring this beautiful baby boy into our lives and raise him as our own.  I am blessed to have been asked  on this difficult journey of adoption.  This has already been such a rich story and I would not have it any other way.


….. Here are some of our first moments with Tegan …..

( I’ll write more on Ethiopia and share photos of Tegan from the week we spent over there very soon! )

Autumn - May 22, 2013 - 11:37 am

What a beautiful story. Love the picturesofx Tegan with you both. Thank you hot sharing this journey with us

Dianna Lubeck - May 22, 2013 - 6:41 pm

So, Ellie, this is beautiful. It is beautiful in its honesty and beautiful in its brokenness. Your story is His (Jesus’) story. So beautiful, so honest, so raw. Redemptive, heart-wrenching, uncomfortable, crazy love. You have His heart – brave and true.

Jenny - May 22, 2013 - 6:44 pm

This brought me to tears. My heart is so happy for you guys.

bandofbrothers - May 22, 2013 - 7:17 pm

such a good post! i need more! keep writing!

Erin B. - May 23, 2013 - 4:31 pm

Oh Tegan, God has seriously blessed you with some pretty stinkin’ amazing parents who love the Lord and truly desire to see His will be done. (Love you Ellie!)

Tasha - May 28, 2013 - 9:38 pm

I’ve know for years that you were an amazing writer. I think I still have the story you wrote of you and Eddie meeting somewhere in my closet with a stash of other letters from high school. This is refreshing because it is you speaking from the heart. Thank you for taking the time to write. It is a blessing to read.

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