Posts tagged family
Shoot and Share Contest

With over 500,000 photos entered from around the world, I never imaged that one of mine would make it to the final round!

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The contest is free to enter and the voting is done by viewers. You are allowed to enter up to 50 photos. Everyday you vote on thousands of photos, you could honestly sit and vote on photos for hours. The contest displays four photos all from the same category and you choose your favorite one. Instantly four more pop up on the screen, it’s easy to get caught up in the voting process.

Each photo is given multiple times to be voted on. I never saw any of my photos, the photos are displayed by random. You aren’t able to look up who took them until the contest is over. The contest last a month and then another two and half weeks to get all the results in. What a fun event!

Our journey with infertility, fostercare, and adoption. Part 1 of 2

Our adoption story actually starts with a unique infertility story. My husband and I were blessed with 2 healthy pregnancies, and then a miscarriage, and then we were diagnosed with what is called “secondary infertility”. Basically it means we once could produce children and now we can’t. And the really interesting thing… we BOTH got that diagnosis. Think God was making it clear to us? Yeah, we did too.

Despite it being clear, it was a long journey for me as a mom to come to grips with. But God used the pain of that journey to led us to a new one, the world of foster care! It started as way of filling my aching empty arms but by God's grace it grew into so much more! We not only got to love on the babies that came into our home but also their parents. We love that we get to build relationship with them too. These are stories of hope despite the sorrow.

Backing up to 2014, our first {adopted} son was such a surprise. Our youngest bio son was 4 years old when we got involved with Lancaster County Children and Youth, so we told them we’d be open to a 3 yr old or younger. We didn’t want to mess up birth order and it didn’t seem safe to bring older children into our home since we had 2 young sons. The surprise was that it took 3 months to get a placement call and then we got the call on the one year anniversary of our miscarriage and were asked to open our home to a 7 days old baby boy, still in the hospital! A newborn was a balm to my broken heart. He was God’s gift to me. And I began to heal. As my heart healed it also matured. God used the life of my son to open my hand of control. To be open handed to God’s plan and not tight-fisted to MY plans… it is a hard journey to get to that place of release. But I will say this, God was so gentle with me as he exposed me in my sin and grew me in my faith and love for Him. Two times our son was suppose to leave and reunite with his birth mom, both times it fell thru. Both times I wept at the idea of losing him and I wept at the idea of his birth mom not having him either. We love her and so it’s such a hard thing, to love “your” child that is actually her child and not want to give him up. There is SO much more I could say but you can read more about his story here.

By the summer of 2016 Joshua’s adoption date was scheduled for September so we felt that we were at a place to open our home up again, this time we said all placements must be under 1 year of age because Joshua was just 2.5. July 2016, I got a call asking if we’d take a 6-month-old baby GIRL. A Girl?! I was ecstatic! We met the birth mom and from the beginning we were able to form a good relationship with her. Four kids was a BIG adjustment for us! Anyways, about 2 months into Layla living with us, the court ordered for Layla to move to her relatives home.

{Below: cell phone photos of our first week with Layla. Bring out all the PINK please.}

We understand why this happens. If WE had a relative in foster care WE would want to have them live with us, not some strangers. But it’s hard on your heart to see a child you opened your heart to leave. {This is foster care, it’s about them, not you. You do it for the child, not for you.}

After another month of court visits and all the details getting put into place we packed her little pink duffel bag and dropped her off at the agency, it was terrible. I cried off and on for weeks but it was a time of soul searching and hearing from God. That is the beauty of hard times, we seek the face of our Lord and He is right there to comfort us.

December came and we enjoyed having Layla for a weekend visit. We talked to the relatives and were glad to hear everything was going really well. But man, it felt so right having her back in our home. Needless to say, after the weekend was over and we dropped her off, I cried the entire way home and for the next week. Love really hurts sometimes, but it’s a good kind of hurt. It’s a hurt that is about more then just you.

{Below: cell phone photos of our December weekend visit.}

Christmas came and we reflected on our year. Here we were,back to just us and our 3 boys. This is the way of foster care. Your family grows and decreases. It’s not your job to decide if it’s fair or the right thing. It’s your job to love the kids and love their parents and love God even more then the rest. Because the kids and the parents might come and go, but God is there forever. He is the one to put your trust in and He is the one who gives strength to love and release. You trust that you planted seeds of love and trust into those broken little people and then you commit the child into God’s hands to do the rest.

2016 ALMOST ended on a quiet note, but this is where the story gets really …unique. It will be another 10 paragraphs to write out what all happened next so I think I’ll stop here and finish the story in the next post. Thanks for reading, I invite you along for the next part of this story.

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I can't help myself, I do it for the moms!
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2019 was going to be my big year of change! It is, just not in the ways I expected. I rebranded and decided to pursue senior photography as well as newborn. I thought reaching out into the world of seniors would really help boost my business and expand my niche.

And then I had a one on one coaching session with my business coach, Rhonda, from Inspire Business Community. One question she asked was, why do I love offering photography to people. Imagine my surprise when I found myself instantly coming to life as I explained to her how passionate I am about moms having photos where they are interacting and laughing with their babes. I love offering lifestyle photos of moms and their kids looking at each other and enjoying one another. Those are the photos that I love to have in my home. I told her too often at the end of the day we moms struggle with mom guilt, its a blessing to have photos of you laughing and loving on your kids in those moments. You remember that you DO have good times with your kids. (I do believe the guilt needs to be explored. Is there something that needs to change? Or is it the enemy trying to bring defeat. That’s a blog for a different day.)

I went on to tell her that I value the experience just at much as the photo quality. I want my moms to remember that it was fun and not stressful. I want to offer a type of photo session that leaves parents with good memories. When the toddler starts crying, we take a break. We move on to pictures that don’t involve the toddler. And then a little later we try again. We don’t force the experience, we flow with it.

When I stopped talking I suddenly realized that my passion behind my photography business is for the moms. I hadn’t realized it until that moment. It really surprised me. So I have been rolling this discovering around in my mind for the last 2 months. And I’ve decided that it’s got to be the moms that I do this for. That is my passion! I still will offer senior photography because really, I love any photography that involves people. But I’m also realizing that I am changing course, and that’s okay. I plan to move forward with this new found realization and focus on babies and family photography here in Lancaster and Hershey, Pa. So if you just had a baby or have a young family, I would love to meet you!

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