Tell Us About A Special Family

Welcome to our Blog. Rather than start our first entry with “here’s what we did last night,” we want to introduce you to someone and ask for your help.

Meet Jake.

Jake is a vibrant 2 year old. He loves to climb (anything), wrestle with his dad, and play with cars. Jake adores Sierra (their dog) but is even more adored by his mamma, one of my best friends, Danielle.

Jake is more than what his parents ever expected. Like all new parents, they were not expecting to feel such deep love, sleep so little, and endure so much for this tiny little baby. But their idea of what it meant to be parents had to change from what they expected in a different way as well. About 6 months ago, doctors determined that Jake is a child with autism. They weren’t expecting that.

The statistics have been front and center in the media these days. 1 in 150 children are diagnosed with this disorder. Yeah – that’s right – 1 in 150 children!!! But for me and Chris, it’s been much closer to home than that. Its our old high school friends. Its those that stood next to us the day we were wed. Its our own family members who have had the unexpected challenge of this diagnosis.

These parents are our heroes. They have all done whatever it took to bring to their children every available and necessary resource – be it battle insurance, fight for medical treatment, or keep the dream of potty training alive. I know from talking to Danielle that everyday is hard – and beautiful at the same time. And its those beautiful moments that let her come up for air – so she can go back under and fight again.

But what really broke my heart (call me shallow and superficial) was that getting professional portraits of Jake had been a nightmare. These were basically the first ones that really captured who he is – and those beautiful moments she craves. I can’t imagine.

So I’ve been thinking about what I can do to honor and support these families. And get ready for this… you guessed it! I want to take their pictures ☺ (You all saw that coming, though, didn’t you!) And then I thought – why don’t we use the kick off of our blog to do just that! So here’s the deal.

We want you to nominate a family with a special needs child (it doesn’t have to be autism) who would go bonkers over the opportunity to indulge their family with professional pictures. Pictures that, maybe, for the first time, would capture those beautiful moments. Then, on October 15 we’ll announce the winner. They’ll receive a free sitting with me and 30 images on a CD – something I never do for typical sittings but feel compelled to do for this special family!

I know you all know someone who deserves this. Just post a comment below letting me know who they are and why they deserve it. We can’t wait to hear their stories! And then be sure to subscribe to this blog and check back often so you can receive the updates on who has been selected! October 15 is just around the corner so post soon!!!

September 26, 2007 - 8:27 am

Tajalli - I would nominate my family, but they live in Madison! My half sister Maya has down syndrome.

September 27, 2007 - 10:15 pm

Christina - I would definately nominate my dearest friend Danielle Bell and her family. She has been a blessing to me and my son Jacob and am so thankful I have her in my life. If it wasn’t for our two beautiful son’s we would have never found eachother. I would also like to nominate my family. I to have an autistic child that happens to be a close friend of Jake. The pictures turned out so nice and would love to have some memories of my loving and unique Jake. There is no telling how difficult but how wonderful this journey has been with my beautiful son.

October 2, 2007 - 9:50 am

Danielle - I would like to nominate my amazing friend Christina and her adorable and spunky Jake! She has made all the difference in my life. Meeting her on this journey has been so fulfilling it makes me speechless. She so deserves to have some beautiful photos of her wonderful family. Christina works so hard in keeping everything together and in order. She is an amazing mother and Jake would not be where he is today without her guidance, love and devotion. I love you Christina and hope you win this wonderful contest that Sara has lovingly put out there to families like ours!

October 8, 2007 - 9:24 pm

S. Collier - My husband is a photographer (we think a very talented photographer) so we have a few beautiful photos of our autistic son. What we do not have is any photos of my husband with him. My husband is so much a huge part of his life and it makes me so sad that when our sweet boy is older and looking at photos he will not be able to SEE what a wonderful dad he had.

My husband has spent all of my sons life driving him to Physical Therapy and then Occupational Therapy and then Speech Therapy, not to mention the hours spent at Doctors offices. He does his therapy at home with him and still finds time to PLAY with him. When I see my son, I see his dad right next to him but, in our photo albums that picture does not exist.

I think this is such a wonderful thing that you are doing and even if you do not choose our little family, I want you to know that the whole family of Special Needs parents is thankful for people like you.

October 9, 2007 - 10:55 pm

Sara - Thank you all for sharing your amazing stories. We are inspired and touched – it’s going to be hard to pick a winner.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear more stories and see more nominations come through. Keep them coming – just a few days left.

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