Life Changes || BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

I have wanted to share this news for a LONG time, but have also felt incredibly protective over this announcement because it is life altering for us and deeply personal. I have debated with myself on WHEN to share our announcement and story... Even now, as I prepare to press "PUBLISH" my heart is pounding. But... I just can't hold it in anymore!

We are extremely excited! It's been a LOOOOOOOOONG time coming. But here we are!

Over the last 4 years we have gone back and forth with the idea of adoption. Should we? Shouldn't we? Maybe? I don't know? I'm game, but he's not. He's game, and I'm not... Until October 2016. That's when everything changed. But let me back up a little because there's a WHOLE lot more to this story, so I hope you'll bear with me, because the details are just as important to our decision.

Prior to October 2016 I had been following my friend's adoption journey of their little guy they brought home a year ago from China. Every time they made an announcement, I had a tug on my heart. And I firmly believe that God was pricking it. Then another friend announced her foster-to-adopt plans and God tugged on my heart again. Over and over this would occur in conversations with friends or adoption journeys that would take place. That constant tugging...

Last summer was a season of wrestling for me. It was extremely busy. Too busy. Our calendar never seemed to slow down and I felt like something was getting ready to change. But didn't know what. We had finished our first year of homeschooling, which went great and I was planning and prepping for our second year as well as trying to balance a crazy busy summer season for my business. I literally entered fall completely fried and needing something to give. I had no clue what was about the happen. Or maybe subconsciously I did but didn't want to admit it, because that still small Voice kept bugging me, "Hey, remember that idea? Yeah, that one." Because honestly, I was good with my one. I was content (or so I thought I was) and we were moving along in life...

Then at the end of September we were at church and I looked to my left and there was my friend, the one who had just recently adopted their little guy from China. And man did the stirring happen even more. Meeting Knox, seeing his little face. It hit me harder. And it's not like we aren't around friends who have adopted. There are SO many families at our church who are living out James 1:27 and have adopted or who sponsor children or go on missions trips and help orphanages... Our Pastor has adopted two brothers from S. Korea. Our close friends have adopted... It's not like we aren't aware of the need. Because, there is a HUGE need for good families to open up their opens and welcome these little ones in. Jerry and I have sponsored 5 children for over 12 years. We know there's a need. But could we really do it? Did I really WANT to?

A few weeks later my friend Janay and her amazing 4 kiddos came over and she told me they were in the process of adopting their second from China. I asked her a TON of questions about the process, of which she graciously answered them all. (And please know, you can ask me any good-intentioned question! I am an open book on this process.) She told me about the orphanages and all of the little ones still waiting. STILL WAITING. Especially those with special needs... My heart basically shredded. I held in tears and listened as she told me about her own God-designed adoption journey.

That night, I posed the question to my husband again... "What do you think about adoption? I don't want to go through this life thinking 'Why didn't we try?' I think we should fill out the application to at least get more information on the process. What do you think?" And in good male fashion, Jerry responded. "Okay." :) He's a man of many words. LOL

So that night, on October 6, 2016, we filled out the initial application and haven't stopped running since. 

I'm sure y'all have a TON of questions, so I am going to try and answer as many as I can with the Q&A below from questions I have already received. But if you have any other, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments!

Why did you choose China? Honestly, God directed us to China. For the longest time I always thought that if I ever adopted, it would be from Africa, since that is where I lived as a child. But God pointed us to China, of which the reasons have become more clear as we've been on this journey. But International or Domestic, there are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of children who need GOOD homes. And my child happens to be in China.

Why are you adopting? Could you not have another one? Extremely personal question, but people want to know and I honestly don't mind answering. No and Maybe?? I don't know and it really doesn't matter. When Brooklynn turned 2 we started trying again to have another baby. We tried off and on for 3 years and when she turned 5, I got rid of the crib, which was closure for me on us having another one biologically. But I truly believe it was because God was preparing us for this moment in our lives right here, for which I am grateful for!

Will it be a newborn? NOPE!!! I love photographing newborns!!! But our age range is between 10 months - 3 years of age. In China, newborns are not adoptable. When a Child is abandoned, they spend 9 months trying to locate family members or the parents to claim the child, no matter what age they are placed in the orphanage.

Will it be a boy or a girl? We are open to either. But the majority of children who are waiting to be adopted from China are boys. (And everyone says, WHAT?! But I thought...) Yes, in the early 1990's when the One Child Policy began, there were a LOT of girls being adopted, and still are. Many favor girls for various reasons, leaving boys as the "undesirable children" for adoption. Especially children with special needs. It's heart breaking.

Special Needs?: Our child will also most likely have some form of minor to moderate special need, of which we go over lists and lists and openly discuss with our adoption agency what we feel comfortable taking on.

How long does the process take? Our agency says anywhere from 15-18 months depending on various things. I personally feel like we've flown through the process except for a little hiccup during our Home Study process. We are currently (as of May 6th) 7 months into the process.

Where are you at in the process? We have completed all of the MAJOR paperwork, our Dossier, which is now being processed and on its way to China. Below is a little map of where we are currently at:

Have you been matched with a child yet? Not yet, but I am praying that we will be matched by the time our documents have received their "Logged in Date" in China. This meaning, China has received our paperwork and we've been logged in to their system. I currently don't remember how long this next part can take... But at least a few months. This is where the waiting gets hard.

Will you still run your business? Yes. However, once we have our travel date and head to meet our child, I will be taking a "sabbatical" for a period of time for us to connect and bond as a family of FOUR and adjust to our new way of life. I will share more of these changes soon as I will also be taking on a limited number of clients post-adoption. 

So here we are!

We are really excited about this life change and KNOW it will not be easy. We have studied, watched MANY documentaries, read SO many books and are so grateful to be surrounded by families and friends who have gone before us in this journey...

We covet your prayers throughout this process and will share another update once we have been matched with our child!

I CAN'T WAIT!

Sienna Turns ONE! || Pacific Northwest Portrait Photographer

I can't believe it has been almost a year since Sienna's newborn portraits and now she is almost ONE!!! Wow! Does time fly by FAST!! She is such a fun spunky baby with an awesome little personality!!! Not to mention, she knew how to pose for my camera! ;) Such a sweet baby!

Happy Almost Birthday Sweet Sienna!

Pacific Northwest Baby Photography by Michelle Newell

all images and content copyright protected and the property of michelle newell photography
please do not copy || save || alter ima
ges from blog

Born From The Heart || Pacific Northwest Newborn Photographer

I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.

For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn’t give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.

--- Unknown

all images and content copyright protected and the property of michelle newell photography please do not copy || save || alter images from blog

all images and content copyright protected and the property of michelle newell photography
please do not copy || save || alter ima
ges from blog

Meeting baby Daniel was incredible. He met his forever family on his birthday, the day he was welcomed into this world. He was welcomed into the most loving of arms who have been waiting and praying for him for years. Hearing the journey his parents have been on brought me to tears as we talked during his session. He tugged on my heartstrings even just at 10 days old. 

This little man is a world changer. You just wait and see. 

Spring Beauty || Pacific Northwest Maternity Photographer

Last week the rain would not let up. It was dark and moody outside. But that didn't stop us from heading outside for some beautiful maternity portraits!

I have known Selome for quite a few years. I have had the privilege of capturing her 3 beautiful children and now this beautiful moment as she prepares to welcome her 4th. I could not be more thrilled for her and her family!

I absolutely loved that she brought this amazing dress which her sister had just brought back from Ethiopia, where her family is from. The content of Africa has a special place in my heart. Especially after living there when I was a child and going back after I graduated college... 

Can you believe she is only one week away from her due date in this picture?! She looks AMAZING and I can't wait to meet her newest addition!

all images and content copyright protected and the property of michelle newell photography
please do not copy || save || alter images from blog