Our family is loud and proud. We are crazy and fun. When we first tried to start our family, we were told we would never have any kids. After two years of fertility treatments we were blessed with Eli. He came to us with a surprise extra chromosome and was just diagnosed with autism in the fall of 2017. Shortly after Eli was born, we adopted our daughter ruby who was diagnosed with autism in the spring of 2017. Wyatt was our surprise- 3 children aged 3 and under. We went from no children to a family of 5 in two years. Our arms are full but our hearts are bursting.
Sometimes God gives us just what we need - even when it doesn't look like what we want. THIS is exactly what I thought about as I spoke to Ashley for the first time and listened to the story of how her family blossomed from just a tiny mustard seed.
I admired how she so peacefully described her journey into motherhood and learning about the challenges her children would face. She spoke as if it were just part of God's plan - because it was. I could feel her faith through the phone.
The day we were finally able to meet, I immediately got a sense of exactly what Ashley had shared with me about her children's personalities and qualities and her family's experiences. I could feel the struggles, sacrifices and growth in the 13 year relationship she and her husband had pruned and pared in the midst of with .
This was where they were now and I was invited to capture it.
With my naked eyes and behind the camera - there was no denying it - I was looking at the heart outside of the body.
We love this bunch and our crazy is just normal to us. We value and cherish photos because my husband's family didn’t take many and my family lost every image of our childhood to mold. Documenting this wild season and my heart beating outside of my body is invaluable.
There was no performance.
There was nothing spectacular actually.
Just a boy and his favorite train accented by a heavy, bubbly laugh replacing his lack of words.
Another and his quiet space - exploring and delivering sweet kisses.
A girl and her twirly dress - nurturing, watching, loving.
We did a family session in our home. It was intimate and personal. The children were more at ease and felt no pressure to “perform” or smile on demand. Jacque came in like she was part of the family and immediately made everyone feel comfortable. My favorite part was how much love really came through in the images when we were just doing our every day life. I hope these memories will be a legacy to our children and a reminder of the joy in the every day little things. For us, this was home. This was family.
I witnessed gentle love,
kindness and compassion,
respect and peace,
genuine laughter and smiles,
A father and mother taking a seat next to their children and loving them where they are - dispensing grace,
and moments lived honestly.
Here's what I didn't see...
Insecurities or limits - boundaries or labels.
Though two of three children were "different," by society's standards. NO ONE WAS LESS.
Everyone was valued in their space. The spectrum of Newman Love was without walls.
Visible, audible and emanating💙.
I was introduced to the Newman family through a non-profit organization called Spectrum Inspired which "connects, supports and uplifts individuals and families touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders" around the world by way of photography. Their mission is incredible and I just had to become a part of it as not only a contributor but an ambassador.
I pray that you enjoy these moments in motion just as much as I did and can see that families who experience Autism on a daily basis live as loud and are represented just as broad and boldly as the "the rest of us." HIT play below👇🏾
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