Children

Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.”  Princess Diana

A personal project that I have been thinking about for a very long time started yesterday — and what a fantastic start it was!   As a young adult, I didn’t know if I would have children.  I wasn’t even sure if I ever wanted to have them. But meeting my husband and finding peace and security in our love, allowed me to embrace the thought (and path) of parenting.  My children changed me.  Forever.  Not just because I am forever worried (about everything), but also because I felt my heart break open with compassion for so many others in the world.  It was like I realized that everyone, EVERYONE, was a child at one time.  It connects us all.  It connects the world.  Love connects everything.

The thought of helping children has been on my mind for quite some time and I wasn’t sure what to do about it.  I researched fostering, adoption, children’s homes, children’s hospitals.  How could I make a difference?  After attending a very inspirational conference in the Fall (Plywood Presents) and hearing the founders of Krochet Kids, Good Spread, BeLoved Atlanta, and Plywood People talk about “doing what they can with what they have”, it all started to become clear to me.  What I have is the skill of Photography.  And what I can do is share that skill with others.  But how?

After doing some research, it became clear that the kids right here in Atlanta needed some better photography on the adoption listings.  So I made some phone calls and emails and volunteered my services.  My first venture was to photograph two sibling pairs during the filming of Wednesday’s Child.  This is a joint effort with Fox 5 Atlanta, The Dave Thomas Foundation, and DFCS to help get exposure for these kids and raise awareness to the need for good homes.

From the moment I arrived at Chick-fil-A for the event, I was absolutely blown away by the attention to detail, the gracious hospitality, and genuine kindness of every.single.person.  Hundreds of staff members volunteered their time to greet these five children and treat them like the special people that they are.  There was a red carpet arrival, a full cheering section, a full-service lunch with made-to-order milkshakes, a grand tour of the whole building (including Truett Cathy‘s office), and even a serenade from Bubba Cathy himself!  I watched these kids start out shy and quiet, but as they felt the love and energy they just blossomed into fun-loving, bright, enthusiastic kids.  Just your normal, everyday, awesome kids.

But these kids don’t have a home.  They don’t have FOREVER parents that will hug them and tell them everything is going to be okay.

The hardest part is accepting that I can’t save every child I meet during this journey.  But I CAN do something.  This was the first step.  And I’m sharing this because EVERYONE can do SOMETHING.  If we all “do what we can with what we have,” I know we can accomplish so much.  And help so many little hearts.

Just look at all these beautiful people.  Thank you Chick-fil-A for showing these kids how special they are.

The red carpet arrival:

And Cow.  Yes, they just call him “Cow” (not ‘the’ cow).  He has some serious personality, and stayed with us for most of the day.  The kids adored him.

The lemonade squeezing contest!

There is a person in the staff cafe that JUST makes milkshakes.  Yes, I know, I’m jealous too.

The “good” rule ruler.

I could just feel the love and enthusiasm in the room.  What an inspiration he must be to the employees.

The beautiful faces of a very real, and very close to home problem.  They need forever families.  They need love, support, guidance, fun……home.

These siblings don’t even get to live together in Foster Care.  They need forever families so they can be together.

Some of the fantastic team that made it all happen!!

The heart-wrenching, but so inspiring farewell.  Staff from the entire building lined the floors and waved, cheered, and clapped for these kids.  Beautiful.

He started out shy, but after just a few hours he had the confidence to look up, to wave, to accept all the love.  And this is only one wall of people cheering – the building has goes all around (three sides) with people cheering.  It was really, really cool!

 

My goal is to show these children how beautiful they are, inside and out.  Through photography, I hope to capture each child’s personality and show it to the world.  All it takes is one person to make a difference.

National Sibling day is April 10th.  These children will be featured on Fox 5 Atlanta’s Wednesday’s Child segment on April 9th.  I hope you’ll watch and see how wonderful these kids are.

Click here to view a listing of previous Wednesday’s Child Fox 5 Videos.

And HERE is the segment we did at CFA.

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by Crystal

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Amber - WOW! I love this and look forward to watching where this journey takes you!

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