Welcome Home, Gia!

 

A very special homecoming! 

I met Rachel + Michael nearly 2 years ago, when they adopted their little bundle of energy, Jack, from China in April of 2015. I was there to capture the moment that the couple's two other children, Lucca and Ella, got to meet their new brother, and it was one of the most wonderful, magical, and meaningful things I've ever had the honor of photographing. I thought such an event was a once in a lifetime thing, but happily for this family (and for me), I was wrong! 

Rachel reached out several weeks ago to let me know that they were adopting another child from China, a little girl named Gia (short for Gianna), and would I be available to photograph Gia's homecoming to meet her three new siblings, Lucca, Ella, and Jack. Heck yes I would be available! (I seriously can think of maybe like two things I wouldn't have rescheduled to be able to photograph another homecoming like this, one being my own son's birthday, and the other being a wedding!) 

When I arrived, the children's Grandma was there with them, happily awaiting the arrival of Mom, Dad, and Gia! Jack grabbed my hand and took me on a tour of the house, starting with Gia's room, that she'll share with her new big sister, Ella. Finally, everyone heard the garage door open, and Michael came in to let the kids know that Gia hadn't slept much on the plane, and would need a minute as she had just been woken up from a nap in the car, and was none too happy to be awake. As Rachel comforted Gia in another room before the official introductions, the kids all got to hug Michael for the first time since he and Rachel left to pick up Gia at the end of February. 

In a few, short minutes, Rachel walked out with a calmed Gia, who was nervously munching on a snack they had given her, as she took in her new surroundings. The other kiddos could barely contain themselves, and as soon as all of the children were introduced, they each in turn began running to grab toys they thought Gia might like, and returning to show off their treasures to a slightly overwhelmed new sister. 

We snapped a few family photos by the fireplace (after all, it's a tradition now!) and I was even lucky enough to get to see Gia smile! One of my favorite moments (besides everything) was when Gia was holding hands with Ella, and then the whole family joined in. I don't know Rachel + Michael well, but the picture seemed so symbolic of what I do know about them, which is that they, and their family, already loved, accepted, and embraced Gia with all of their hearts, and that Gia was meant to be a part of this family. 

What a great honor to get to witness a family being built in such a wonderful way, not once, but twice! Thanks to Rachel + Michael for inviting me to share those moments with your family, and, of course, welcome home, Gia! 

--Sam 

p.s. If you'd also like to see Jack's coming home pictures, click here