About one month ago, a Charlottesville couple saw their dreams fulfilled. After years of struggles, paperwork, hopefulness, disappointments, waiting... more waiting..., good news and bad news, the Rockey's finally adopted their little girl and brought her to her new home and new family in America.

Photographing their arrival was one of the most compelling experiences in my career as a photographer, and even of my life. In those moments of anticipation waiting with the family at the arrival gates, emotions were packed and boiling like a storm cloud ready to burst. But when they first saw that new family of three turn the corner, tired eyes and suitcases in hand, the buzzing storm became a rainbow that breathed relief and beautiful beginnings.

New grandparents hugged their new grandchild. New parents navigated new needs. New surroundings welcomed new tiny feet. After years of expectancy and prayer for this moment, their arrival to Richmond on Valentines Day was the sweetest gift of love one could possibly receive.

You could tell 18month old Brielle was nervous and probably scared by all the 'new' around her. How could she not be? But the neatest part was that as the family stood around chatting and recounting stories about the trip and taking pictures and giving hugs... suddenly Brielle began to open up. By the time they left for baggage claim, she was playing coyly with her daddy and even sneaking a few toothy giggles.

A huge thank you goes out to Leah and Nate for trusting me to capture this incredible new beginning in their lives and be there to welcome Brielle to her new home. It was a true honor and I wish them all the very best of love and happiness as they enter into parenthood.

If you're interested in reading more about Leah & Nate Rockey's story through adoption, she has chronicled the steps all along the way on this blog. You can also see the full gallery of adoption arrival day photos at [this link] with the password: Welcome home

I am so excited about the ways my time in Charlottesville so far and the people I've met here have continually challenged me in my skills, boundaries, and connections. With every session I know I'm learning, growing, and becoming a better photographer. That feeling lights a fire in me. And that feeling... well, it's how you know you're not only doing something you love, but you'll do anything to keep the fire going.

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