Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love is what makes a family

I'm always a bit hesitant to write about hot-button issues, but what the heck. I saw this video today. It's the son of a same-sex couple speaking about his upbringing. He seems well-adjusted to me. Why should anyone outside his family be deciding if what he describes is a proper family?

In my part-time job as a newborn photographer, I'm around new parents all day at work. I've encountered some lesbian couples who were new parents. I'll never forget the first couple that I met. I was getting ready for the photo shoot and the two women were both very involved in taking care of the baby. At first I thought nothing of it. Lots of times, there's a sister, a friend, a mother or an aunt in the room helping mom. As I collected information, I was told there was no father to list on the paperwork and as she went on I finally figured out that there were two mothers. I took some beautiful pictures of the little boy and of the couple with the child. The little boy also had an older sister being raised by the couple. There were two parents who obviously both wanted this baby very much.

The situation was a huge contrast to many of the other parents I'd dealt with. A lot of them were single teenage mothers. Sometimes there was a father in the picture, but it was definitely not an ideal family situation. Here I was in a room with two loving parents that just happened to both be women. I figured this baby had a future that looked much more promising than that of some of the other babies that were conceived the traditional way. This baby was loved and wanted by a family. It might not be everyone's definition of family, but it was a family. At the end of the photo session, they both thanked me for treating them so nicely. They said that some of the hospital staff wasn't so nice and had expressed disapproval at their situation. They even asked if I had a photo studio where they could bring the baby and his big sister to get more photos taken.

I felt privileged to be able to take photos of their family and be part of their first few hours with their new child as I do with every parent I work with. I photograph so many babies that so many just blur together, but this is one I'll remember. I have no doubt that this little boy will grow up being loved as the young man in this video has been.

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