On January 28th, 2012, Valerie and Dave Pike said "I do". They knew that they wanted to start a family and immediately started trying. After seeing no results for over a year, they had a conversation with a friend who suggested they become foster parents. To them, it just seemed right.
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After meeting all the requirements they became foster parents, and Xavier and Isaac were placed with them. These biological brothers needed parents, and Valerie and Dave were already in love with these two handsome little boys. They traveled full speed ahead into the adoption process, and after a lot of waiting, they received a court date of October 27th, 2014.
Valerie called me and asked if I would take pictures at the courthouse on adoption day, and of course I said yes! One of the best things about being a photographer is that you are invited into these amazing, intimate moments that no one else gets to experience, so I would have moved heaven and earth to be apart of such an important moment for this little family.
So I went. I honestly didn't think I would cry. As an adopted child myself, I already understood the gravity of the commitment they were making to these boys and what a difference it was going to make in their lives. Knowing it and seeing it happen in front of you, though, those are two completely different things. I don't think there was a dry eye as the Pike family went from two to four.
After almost exactly a year, Valerie received an unexpected phone call asking if they would foster a four month old baby girl, and just like that, Kelsey came into their lives. I remember around that time taking their family photos, and I could already tell they were in love with her. Valerie cautiously admitted that they would adopt her if the opportunity arose, but from her experience, she already knew that nothing is for sure. Only 4 days later, Kelsey was placed with her biological family again, only to be permanently returned to them on November 5th, 2015.
While going through the waiting game with Kelsey, they found out that Kelsey's biological sister would be born. They adamantly were not going to let these two sisters be separated, and on December 10th, 2016 at only 2 days old, Kelsey's biological sister came to stay.
Finally, on June 22nd, 2017, we met at Coles County courthouse. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and Kelsey was surrounded by people who loved her. She wasn't just adopted by Valerie and Dave, but also by all the extended family that showed up.
In the courtroom, Kelsey wandered around playing, and even climbed up in the witness stand while her mom was answering questions and choking back tears. Dave answered questions from he seat, because he had two little monkeys crawling in his lap. The judge, who also was the judge for Xavier and Isaac's adoption laughed and assured them it was okay.
Kelsey enjoys dancing and head banging to Metallica. She is funny a full of energy, and she's a total daddy's girl. Most importantly though... now, she's home. The family also hopes to make Kelsey's biological baby sister's adoption official by the end of the year!
If you've been on the fence about becoming a foster parent or adopting, don't hesitate! There are so many more reasons to do it than not to, and being a foster parent first even makes adoption more affordable. There are so many children in need of your love.
While I primarily photograph weddings, engagements, and boudoir sessions, adoption photography is close to my heart and I offer it at no cost as my schedule allows, as a service to these amazing people who open their homes, their hearts, and their wallets to provide a loving home to children who need them. I also provide complimentary profile photos for potential parents who are adopting through an agency.