What do photography and foster care have in common? Apparently a lot. Jennifer Loomis, a local photographer, and her husband were considering adopting a child. As part of their search, they went on-line and visited sites containing images of children up for adoption. But the photos didn’t really express the children. To Loomis’ artful eye, they appeared grainy and failed to give any sense of who the children truly were. Loomis then contacted Northwest Adoption Exchange and offered a free photo shoot to help willing children generate better pictures of themselves to present to adopting parents. The agency readily agreed.
One child who attended the photo shoot was Deon, a lonely child who had bounced around the foster system. With Loomis’ trampoline and balloon props, a new and more personable Deon was photographed. And viola! Prospective parents Joann Church and Sean Vaillancourt saw Deon’s new photo on the Exchange and were captivated by his sparkly, happy eyes. (They had previously glossed over his old photo.) Contact was made, he was brought into their home and they now plan to adopt him.
The match was a godsend to Deon. He had been in and out various foster homes since the age of 5, and was losing hope of ever finding a home. At age 16, he was also on the verge of “aging out” of the foster care system. At age 18, children no longer qualify for foster care and are essentially on their own. This is a daunting reality for any child turning 18, particularly one who has never benefited from the stability and resources of a conventional home.
Deon is now paired with a loving family because Jennifer Loomis simply took a better photo of him. She has transformed Deon’s life and those of his adoptive parents. To see the entire story as well as before and after photos of Deon, please go to http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/28/living/parents-adoption-older-kids-photo-shoot/index.html.