A Sweet Story and A Cake Smash
“I’m just here for moral support.” That’s the first thing Kevin said to me as he helped Rachel take out all of the props they brought for Reina’s 1st birthday and cake smash photoshoot. Only a few minutes passed until he started suggesting locations in the park that might look nice and poses to try with Reina. Typical opinionated papa!
Rachel brought a variety of hand-made props along with a cake she made herself. She even wore a matching tutu so she could pose in a few photos with Reina. As I got to know Rachel and Kevin better, I asked if Reina was their firstborn, and that’s when they told me her story.
Rachel and Kevin are Reina’s foster parents (their children are already grown). I was surprised to hear this since the interaction I witnessed was that of first-time parents – such pride, joy, attention to detail, and pure love for this little girl.
Being a foster parent is not something they planned at first. Rachel and Kevin shared with me that it all started after talking to a friend who was fostering a baby. The child that their friend was fostering came from a special organization whose primary focus is to place newborns of incarcerated women into stable and loving homes until the time of the mother’s release. Whether the care is temporary or leads to adoption, the organization aims to offer babies the chance at a normal and happy home environment, rather than falling into the foster care system.
Rachel and Kevin were so touched by their friend’s story that they wanted to help these mothers too, and that is exactly what they did.
Rachel and Kevin brought home their first foster baby in August 2014, a one-day-old little boy who they had in their care for three-and-a-half months. As Rachel tells me, it is very difficult to let go of a foster child, especially knowing they could return to a life of uncertainty. However, the blessing of being able to provide these children with a safe and happy home at the very start of their lives makes it all worth it. “Yes, we feel sadness and a feeling of loss, but we trust the Lord is taking care of them when we can’t and that gives us comfort,” Rachel explained to me.
Reina’s mother was six-and-a-half months pregnant when she met Rachel and Kevin, and the couple has had Reina since the day she was born. It’s hard for them to remember life before Reina – they even helped pick her name.
As I took the cake smash photos of this precious baby girl, it was so clear to me the joy, laughter and excitement that this child brings to their lives. They have been there for Reina’s first steps, her first tooth and her first words. “She amazes us every day. Only God knows the future and that’s ok. We love every moment we have with this very special little girl.”
I myself have considered being a foster parent for about a year now. I know it takes a very strong and special person to commit to a child the way Rachel and Kevin have committed to Reina; you must be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions that come with such a responsibility. This year my husband and I fostered four kittens and I cried when one of them got adopted, so I can only imagine what someone’s heart goes through when fostering a child.
If it is something you truly desire, however, Rachel says “do it!” It goes without saying that there are many children in need of protection and love.
Every client I meet has a unique story of their own, but this one has truly touched my heart. I pray that Reina grows up in a warm and caring home, one with just as much love as where she is now.