Masthead header

Daniel, Ann & Ruthie- one family’s story of adoption

The longer I’ve been in business, the more I’ve come to realize that it’s not necessarily what I’m photographing, but the stories behind who and what I’m pointing my camera at that often determine how connected I am. For anyone who’s ever asked me about family sessions, my standard answer is that I don’t photograph them. Like EVER. I just don’t have that gift required to photograph kids, so I choose to leave families to photographers who are really passionate about family photography!

But then I receive an email from Ann. An email explaining that she and her husband were in the process of adopting a little girl from China, Ruthie, and that Ruthie also happened to have Down Syndrome. Because of China’s “one child” policy, baby girls are often left at orphanages due to a preference for baby boys in order to carry on the family name. My parents were planning to take our family to China to be missionaries, and so I knew how great the need is families looking to adopting Chinese girls, especially Chinese girls with special needs.

I stumbled upon Daniel & Ann’s blog documenting their journey to finding Ruthie, and after reading their story, I knew this was a portrait session I had to shoot. God’s love shines SO clearly through this family’s journey! A couple with a burden for the orphaned, the fatherless, the ones in need of a home, and thousands of miles away, a precious Chinese girl with special needs in need of a family who would love her for the treasure that she is. And she is SUCH a jewel- this little one’s zeal for life, her insatiable desire to explore, her joy at learning something new. She is such a source of joy! Ruthie’s only been in the US for about two months now, but it’s so clear that she knows she’s home now.

Daniel, Ann & Ruthie- how can I ever thank you for such an amazing afternoon? Your family is so, so sweet, and it was my honor and privilege to document you all together. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. A week later and I’m still floating from my time with your darling daughter!

Maryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace PhotographyMaryland family adoption session- Abby Grace Photography

 

Heather - November 19, 2014 - 12:47 pm

I know it’s not just pregnancy hormones that had me tearing up at this story. I absolutely love this story SO much!!

Sarah Bradshaw - November 19, 2014 - 10:01 am

Abby, this SESSION!!! I love it!!

Caili - November 19, 2014 - 9:51 am

!!!! Ruthie is BEAUTIFUL! This post brought so much joy to my day.

Nicole - November 19, 2014 - 9:42 am

These are just bursting with joy and love – one of my favorite sessions of all time of yours. Truly amazing!

ashley mitchell - November 19, 2014 - 9:36 am

She is a DOLL – this is such a great session I love how infectious her smile is! :)

Allison - November 19, 2014 - 9:08 am

Abby you did such a wonderful job capturing this family! Their joy and happiness just radiates through the pictures!

Caity - November 19, 2014 - 8:43 am

Oh my goodness <3 You did such a wonderful job capturing the joy and love of this family. So beyond beautiful, and love their story. Amazing work!

Nicolette - November 19, 2014 - 8:10 am

Beautiful story, beautiful family!

Currie - November 19, 2014 - 7:54 am

Beautiful on a million levels Abby!

Sarah Beth Tapanes - November 19, 2014 - 7:54 am

Abby- these are SO full of joy. Truly life-giving. What a sweet sweet family.

Bethany - November 19, 2014 - 7:54 am

Such a beautiful family! & Abby – you absolutely have a gift for capturing special moments.

Melissa - November 19, 2014 - 7:51 am

Such a beautiful family and an even more beautiful story!

Ryan & Claire- a chic Georgetown engagement session

He was her first and only online date. At the urging of her girlfriends, she agreed to give it a chance- ONE chance- and it just so happened that Ryan was the one she was matched up with for that one and only date. It turns out that one date was all he needed to get her attention- she was hooked. And if you could see them together, you’d understand completely- she melts when he looks at her, and the way he smiles in her direction is sweetly endearing. Slow dancing in the middle of a quiet Georgetown street at dawn, I was utterly enchanted by these two.

Ryan & Claire, I can’t imagine a BETTER way to start my day than by spending the morning with you! Thank you so much for the way you love one another- it was inspiring to behold, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the rest of the day. I can’t WAIT for your wedding in June!!

Chic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace Photography

Chic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace Photography

Chic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace PhotographyChic Georgetown engagement session with tulle skirt- Abby Grace Photography

 

Jean - November 18, 2014 - 9:35 pm

these are absolutely gorgeous photos!

Lindsay - November 18, 2014 - 11:36 am

Absolutely magical!!! I’m SO glad you’re their photographer!!

Tiffany McClure - November 18, 2014 - 9:50 am

Ahhhh! You’re amazing! You’re work is inspiring..I want to go out and shoot right now! If only we had an awesome bridge or a place with canoe’s like that. You would think Florida does! :) And I love both of her outfits, super cute!

Monday Mash-Up

As a dog owner, here’s nothing that makes me feel worse than dropping Lily at the vet or kennel. She starts shaking once she figures out where we’re going, and when I finally hand the leash over to whoever will be taking her back, she gives me this pleading look, like “you’re leaving me here?? I thought you loved me!” Oy. I imagine this is just a taste of what it feels like to leave kids at daycare.

So! Let’s talk about the fact that Winter decided to descend upon us here in Virginia last week. One of my favorite scents in the world is the way my parents’ house smells when the heater comes on for the first time in the fall. It reminds me of Christmas, cozy socks, snow, hot chocolate, everything! But now that we’re in our new home and it’s heated with gas instead of electricity, no more first-heat-of-the-season smell. Maybe Yankee makes a candle in that particular aroma?

As always, lessons learned/events that transpired over the past week:

  • Apparently, I got the lyrics wrong in Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space.” I thought it was “…gotta love this Starbucks lover…” but in fact, the line is as such: “…gotta long list of ex-lovers…” Oops.
  • YOU GUYSSSS! We finally have a return address stamp!! I’ve been wanting one since we got married almost four years ago, but because we were moving every year it never made sense to buy one. Now that we own a home, I ordered an address stamp from Paper-Source. Kind of makes me want to send out mail just for the sake of using it.
  • If you’re looking for a new show on Netflix, check out The 100. It’s sort of like Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies.
  • One of my all-time favorite bands, Anberlin, is on their last tour, and my brother Seth & I went to see them in Philly last week. It was AMAZING! And so dang depressing. But absolutely worth the six hours in the car!
  • Woe betide the tour group that gets in my way whilst shooting bridal party portraits at the Lincoln Memorial. I have a permit for this very purpose and I am NOT afraid to wield it!
  • If you need to laugh, just go watch this video. That should do the trick!

Lou & Yvonne’s DC wedding this past weekend was a stunner for SURE. Y’all are going to love this one!

Classic Washington DC wedding photographer- Abby Grace

Karen Field aka Mom - November 18, 2014 - 1:06 am

Poor Lily! She just loves you guys so much. Take comfort from that. The video was hilarious!

Lindsay - November 17, 2014 - 3:39 pm

I thought it was Starbucks Lover too!!

Alicia Lacey - November 17, 2014 - 1:54 pm

Aww sweet Lily, I totally feel ya on that!! If are ever gone for a short trip, Granger loves play weekends… :)

Caroline - November 17, 2014 - 1:47 pm

WAIT. I totally thought she said “Starbucks” too! hahah

Jean - November 17, 2014 - 1:25 pm

That video was a hoot! Yes, I laughed out loud! Love the photo. I’m sure Lilly is not as traumatized by being left at the kennel as you would think and children usually look forward to daycare after they get used to the routine and seeing their friends there.

Terri Baskin - November 17, 2014 - 12:44 pm

Gorgeous shot!!!! And yes, I understand your pain with leaving Lily at the kennel. My dog is there more often than I’d like to admit. I need reward points or something for his many stays.

Chris, Leah & Crosby- a sweet, autumn-y first anniversary session

Not everyone gets as lucky as I did with my first corporate job. I was fortunate enough to work with a team of incredible people, people who were passionate about what they do, but also passionate about living LIFE to the fullest. Leah was my manager and office neighbor for my two years at NG, and I remember when I told her I’d be leaving to pursue photography, she told me she might just be calling me when it was her turn to walk down the aisle. Sure enough, six months later, “the boy” (as she lovingly referred to him around the office) asked her to be his wife, and I had the honor of photographing their wedding!

You get used to seeing people in an environment, and sometimes it’s slightly difficult to switch gears from work life to personal life. But both Chris & Leah love with such freeing abandon that it wasn’t difficult at all- this man is absolutely crazy about his wife. And Leah, I’ve never seen her so happy as she is in Chris’s arms. So when they announced they were pregnant, I knew that this little one would be loved so, so fiercely. Their son Crosby came to hang out for a bit of their first anniversary session and I was absolutely in love! He’s such a happy little guy, and watching Leah & Chris take joy in their son- it was perfect.

Chris, Leah & Crosby- it was such an honor to capture these memories for you! Chris & Leah, thank you for allowing me in during such precious times of your lives together- watching you both delight in each other, and then in your son, it’s the kind of joy that fuels me.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace PhotographyLancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace Photography
Lancaster, Pennsylvania anniversary session- Abby Grace Photography

 

Sami Orndorff - November 15, 2014 - 12:46 pm

LOVE this session!!! The lighting in that third image down — ooooh my goodness! :)

Leah, Chris and Crosby - November 13, 2014 - 8:57 am

Abby … We love these beyond words! As always, it was SO MUCH FUN taking these pictures. I mean, Crosby absolutely loved it. We will cherish these and all of the photos you’ve taken for years to come, and you should expect to book another session in 5 years. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Scott & Chelsea- a chic DC fine art Anniversary Experience Session

The more Anniversary Experience sessions I shoot, the more significant they become to me. And most of the time, it’s not due to some deep revelation I have on my own, but because of the interactions with my couples- the things they say about one another, the ways they describe their marriage, their unique love stories. They resonate with me in a way I can’t describe.

After sending Scott & Chelsea’s PASS gallery, Chelsea responded with an email that rocked me to my core and hit right at the heart of the WHY behind the Anniversary Experience-

“I feel like, as I look at the people in the photographs, they look so young and excited and have so much life ahead of them. I pray that we’ll be able to cherish these photographs, remembering our excitement for one another even a year into marriage and lift one another up when a darker day comes…I feel like anniversary pictures (and wedding pictures) are much like the altars that the Israelites built when they had an encounter with the Lord Almighty in the Old Testament. Whenever he delivered them, or that had an experience with Him – they built an altar so that they’d always remember. I feel like these photographs (and our weddings ones) are the altars that we have to remember when it seems like happiness is far off in marriage. So, thank you for that.”

Scott & Chelsea, thank you. Thank you so much for trusting me to help you all craft an altar commemorating one year of bliss- here’s to fifty, sixty, seventy more years of learning to love with even more abandon.

Washington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby GraceWashington DC fine art anniversary photographer- Abby Grace

Urška Majer - November 17, 2014 - 7:48 am

Truly gorgeous! Love her beautiful green dress :)

Kathryn Grace - November 12, 2014 - 1:48 pm

These are so, so beautiful. One of my favorites for sure!

terry - November 11, 2014 - 1:19 pm

they’re a stunning couple!

Kelly Frere - November 11, 2014 - 12:27 pm

Beautiful Abby! Loved her note to you. What an amazing comparison.

Lindsay - November 11, 2014 - 11:00 am

Absolutely gorgeous!!! Chelsea you look RADIANT! Amazing work as always Abby!

Terri Baskin - November 11, 2014 - 9:37 am

These photos are absolutely breathtaking!!!!!! And wow, what a wonderful way to describe the Anniverary Experience!

Maria - November 11, 2014 - 9:36 am

Chelsea is gorgeous, inside and out! And Scott…I guess you’re ok, too ;) Love this session!

Jean - November 11, 2014 - 8:29 am

oh my goodness! These are gorgeous photos!