From time to time I put out Model Calls so I can work on and perfect certain areas of my photography. It is a win/win for myself and the family that is chosen for the model call. I get to work on a certain skill set and the family gets a complimentary session and a few images!
The Kirkwood family responded to my post and let me know they were scheduled to be induced with their little girl on January 24th. Perfect! That is exactly the time frame I was looking for. I set a time to chat with Rachel to go over everything I was looking for to make sure she was on board and also to learn a little bit about her and family. As we spoke and she told me of the journey their family had been on over the last year I had literal goosebumps. After telling me about her family Rachel let's me know that she lives over an hour away. At that point I was so torn; I wanted so badly to work with this family after everything they had been through but an hour away was quite the haul for a model call session. I let Rachel know I would think about it and then did what most women would do, I consulted my husband. His immediate answer was "no, it's too far for a model call". Since that wasn't the answer I was hoping for I consulted my sisters!! Both sisters didn't think it was a bad idea so I texted Rachel to confirm everything. To be clear, I value my husbands opinion and take his advice often but needed more input for this one!
On February 3rd I made the trek to the Kirkwood family home and was so excited to meet everyone. As we went through their session they told me again about their story. Even hearing it the second time my mouth hung open with shock. You see, like most people their 2020 was not ideal in the least but for more reasons that just a pandemic. In mid January of 2020 the Kirkwoods learned at their 20 week exam that the baby Rachel was carrying had a birth defect called anencephaly. This was a defect that would not allow the baby to live more than a couple hours even if she made it full term and could also be life threatening to Rachel. After exploring all options with several doctors and for the safety of Rachel they made the heart wrenching decision to not proceed with the pregnancy . On January 24th, 2020 they welcomed and said goodbye to their little girl. As time moved along and they started to heal as a family, the Kirkwoods were dealt with another heartache; their family home caught on fire and a large majority of their belonging were lost.
Throughout the remainder of 2020, the family focused on rebuilding their home and preparing for the arrival of their newest addition. And if you think the dates I listed above are typos, they are not. Baby J shares a birthday with her big sister in Heaven!
The heartache their family went through is more than most could even fathom. Their positive attitude and openness to share their story with people is what drew me to this family and I am more than honored to help share their story and also celebrate their newest addition, Baby J!