I live across the street from this wonderful family, but we only just met right after little Miss Olivia was born a year ago. When I popped across the street to offer my congratulations, I was met with two people who hadn’t slept in a while, but were as sweet and kind as could be. Olivia celebrated her first birthday a few weeks ago just after recovering from one of many major surgeries that she braved in her first year of life. This little fighter was born with a cleft lip and palate and on the day of our session, we celebrated her palate repair surgery and many new firsts that she was able to experience. Now, I love my sessions like I love my kids – they’re all unique in their own way and I love them equally – but this one was really special. Watching Olivia enjoy solid foods, something that had been entirely off limits until a few weeks ago, was incredible. Watching her drink from a cup after only being able to drink and eat through a syringe for weeks following her surgery was awesome. I was floored by the strength and love that this amazing family has. Beautiful mom, Stacy, speaks with such warmth, kindness, and enthusiasm about everything – especially her darling daughter. And dad, Ben, is one of the most profoundly proud fathers I have ever met. We ventured to the park where Olivia had her first swing ride ever – which was met with equal parts confusion and excitement. And also her first time down a slide, which was met with about 90% confusion and 10% “No way, man!” I am so unbelievably happy to have captured this time for you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
**There are millions of children in impoverished areas throughout the world that suffer from cleft lip and palate whose families cannot afford the corrective procedure. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help, please visit freetosmile.org.