Cory and Vanessa are dear friends of mine. My husband and Cory have been best friends for 20 years. I went to college with them both and lived with Vanessa post college. Over 7 years ago they tried to start their family. After years of no results they moved on to in vitro. Over the course of several years they tried IVF three times with no results. At that point they looked toward adoption. Within months they were matched with a birth mom. They waited for their baby Maggie for 7 long months. You might remember seeing this post documenting a baby shower we threw for them back in November. In the end, the birth mom kept the baby. They never once saw her. Losing that baby was one of the most heart wrenching things I’ve ever witnessed. In those days and weeks following none of us could understand how that tragedy could ever be made right. The one thing they knew was that they wanted a family more than ever now. The adoption door was still open, but they were so cautious about trusting again. Surrogacy was now on the table. They were meeting with several adoption attorneys when an adoption of 3 siblings (2 boys ages 2 & 4 and a 15 month old girl) was brought to their attention. After much thought, prayer, and consultation they applied along with 7 other couples. They were selected without question. They had a nursery for a baby girl and a room with twin beds for the boys! Just 2 weeks after being chosen the kids came home and they are now a family of 5! These children have had a rough start at life and thankfully the younger two probably won’t remember any of that. Yes, Cory and Vanessa have their hands full (they’ve gone from zero to three kids overnight!), but their hearts are now overflowing. These kids will now have a happy, loving, safe, and blessed life. We are so, so happy for them!
Last weekend we visited them. The kids had been home for just 8 days. They had a small birthday party at the park for the middle child who was turning 3. He had never had a party or even a birthday cake before. He loved that cake. I knew that I wanted to get some pictures of the kids so that they could get some photos up on the wall (in their spare time :D), but I wanted to keep it fun. I took a candid approach and snapped some pictures at the park and then the next day in the backyard. Once they’re a little more settled we’ll do a real family shoot.
If their story intrigues you, you can follow them on their Facebook page: The Hodgerson 5. Cory posts nightly and you never know if you’re going to cry from laughing or from emotion.
If their story moves you and you find yourself asking what you can do to help, visit the donation website we set up for them.
Jonathon is the oldest and will soon turn 5.
Julian was the birthday boy turning 3.Brooklyn is the life of the party at 15 months.
Even though I know their story what you summarized of their journey still brought me tears. The pictures you took as well are very moving and truly captured their moment of overwhelming joy. I also believe it’s some of your best work. With that said, I now would like for you to capture Liam & Cam’s next birthday. It seems that you are booking well in advance these days. That’s awesome! I’ve followed your work and you’ve always had a gift of doing this well, but just when I think “wow, she can’t top this shoot!” you do. So, I’m planning to celebrate the boys’ birthday together this year. Liam’s birthday is September 18th and Cameron’s is August 9th. Do you have any weekends free around that time that you could come up and capture one of our family moments? Please let me know when you get a chance. We’ll plan around your schedule. Thank you!
Love n’ miss ya,