Sunday, June 29, 2014


A beautiful mom. Beautiful girls. Lovely, soft, early evening light.

I couldn't really ask for anything more. Thanks, Lynn, for the privilege of taking photos of you and your girls.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Orlando Maternity Photo Shoot

These images take my breath away. Nicole is simply stunning as she gets close to the time to deliver her third child. 

This may just be my favorite type of photography. I think that expectant moms are really gorgeous, and it was so fun to capture these moments with Nicole, while she and her family were visiting her parents in Orlando.

So, so sweet. I think these guys may be professional kissers. I blushed a little when I asked them if they'd like to kiss, but they rocked the kissing shots. 

Here are the two big sisters in waiting.

Nicole's purple maxi dress stole the show. No wait.  That was Nicole and her baby bump. . . or maybe those two mischievous big sisters. . . or her husband who was so gentle and kind with Nicole and their two little girls. Oh never mind. Let's just say that it all came together beautifully.

I was able to sneak in a few casual shots of the girls. They are little beauties and oh, so fun!

Thanks Nicole, for the honor of capturing these moments for you in photos. Looking forward to news of your little one. It won't be long now.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Best Thing About My Dad Is. . .

I asked all the kids to complete this sentence. The best thing about my dad is. . .

Here are their answers.

Katherine: "He's very patient with us if we are not cooperating." (Can't help but think she might be contrasting him with another parent she knows. Hmm.)

Wenxin: "He's funny."

Julia: "He's extremely caring."

Nathan: "He listens to me and is always helpful."

Friday, June 13, 2014


Maybe I've found my niche. Toad photography! And who needs a busy summer schedule of theme parks and summer camps when you have a backyard full of toads.

Have I mentioned the snake eggs that everyone is watching - waiting to see them hatch? I'm going to need a long telephoto lens for that one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

3 Reasons I've Stopped Blogging About Adoption

OK, I haven't totally stopped blogging about adoption. But my older child adoption posts have become few and far between. I want to share 3 reasons why:

1. There's not that much to say anymore. Isn't that good news! In the beginning, we were all learning so much, and adjusting so much, and struggling so much. There were so many adoption related decisions to be made. Now, almost 4 years in, everything isn't about adoption anymore. There's no magic timeline, and it will almost always take much longer than other people think it should, but like us, most adoptive families eventually find their new normal

2. Wenxin's privacy is important to me. He's eleven years old now, and I don't know any child approaching the teen years who wants his every struggle broadcast across the Internet. From time to time, I may still blog about things I'm learning as a mom - my story, my struggles - but I want to let Wenxin decide in the future how much of his story he wants to share with the world. It's hard, of course, because our stories overlap, and I think that new adoptive parents need to learn from experienced adoptive parents. It's a tricky balance, but if I have to err, in the future I choose to err on the side of protecting Wenxin's privacy. My first loyalty is to him.

3. These days, I'm funneling most of my creative efforts into photography. I've discovered a new passion and am working hard on developing my skills and building my portfolio. Can you believe it? My older child adoption has reached the point where I can even develop a new hobby! That should encourage everyone. These days, my creative efforts are more likely to go into shooting and editing a new photo than writing a new blog post. For now, I'll keep posting my photos here at Death by Great Wall, but I have a new photography blog in the works for later this year.

I'm pretty proud of the resource we've built here for other adoptive parents and hope you'll continue to share it. And keep your comments coming. I read every single one!

Monday, June 9, 2014

365 Days to Better Photos

I took the challenge: Shoot and edit a photo a day for 365 days. I joined a group where we cheer each other on. I'm having so much fun!

It's a great opportunity to try those "trick" shots that will probably never see the inside of a frame, but are oh so much fun. Even over-photographed kids volunteer for shots like these.

It's helping me notice the beautiful light and shadows that spill into my home in 
the late afternoon.

And how perfectly photogenic my neighborhood becomes when you blur the 
background just right!

A lot of great shots require no posing at all.

And beauty can be found in the ordinary - shadows, shapes, lines.

This one makes me smile every time. And creeps me out a little.

All Boy!

This week's photo challenge over at I Heart Faces is called "All Boy." The minute I saw it, I knew I'd just taken a photo that fit the theme perfectly. Click here for more critter pics.

Photo Challenge Submission