God’s Calling…A Foster to Adopt Story

You know that moment when you first meet someone, and you just know that they are “extra” special?  There is something about them; the way they carry themselves, their personality, that special way they love on others the moment you meet them?  The “light” that radiates from them?

This was how I felt when I first met the Hempen family.  I was greeted with a warm hug from Tracy; amazing mother of nine incredible kids, but one that has touched the lives of many more than that.  Love just bursts from her and the entire family that she and her husband Kenny have created.  The foundation of faith and love that they have built in their relationship is the very heart of the loving and sweet family they are raising.

As I began spending time with them, playing with the little ones and capturing their relationships with one another, my heart was melting with each and every click of the shutter!  I was giddy with excitement and realized again how thankful I am that God gifted me the incredible opportunity to tell people’s stories in photographs.

Kenny and Tracy had moved on from the baby and toddler season with their kiddos, into the busy world of middle and high school activities when they felt the calling to foster other kiddos in need of a loving and nurturing home.   I have such a love and respect for families that open their doors to love on others and step up and help people, especially children, in such desperate need of care and love.  I believe it is one of the most selfless acts of love one can do.  It may be one of the most rewarding gifts, but it oftentimes comes with much heartache, and requires an immense amount of strength, courage and an unimaginable amount of endurance to raise a foster child. God uses special people to do amazing things, and He is doing this right now in the lives of the Hempen family.  Through the process of fostering, they have grown and are continuing to grow their sweet and loving family through adoption.   So amazing!!

This incredible couple and their family are such an inspiration. I told Tracy she needs to write a book, and I want to buy their first copy!  I think between Kenny and Tracy, they contain a plethora of knowledge when it comes to parenting and creating a home full of unconditional love and support.  I believe it is no coincidence that at their very foundation lies their faith in God.  When I photograph weddings, I see and feel that same bright light of faith in some of my couples.

You know the couples I’m talking about, the ones that are grounded by their faith at the very root of their marriage?  The ones that after the honeymoon wears off and the real work begins, actually roll up their sleeves and cultivate beautiful work in their marriage?   These are the couples that I just knew were going to make it through the trials and storms ahead because they had placed God at their very foundation, letting him guide their path.  I haven’t had the pleasure of knowing the Hempens for this long, but I’m guessing their faith is where they began building their family, and just look at what God has done and is continuing to do in their lives! He has blessed them with amazing children that adore each other and share that same faith in their own families they are creating.  And he is using them and giving them the ability to care for others, specifically children, and raising them up to know Him and instilling a deep faith in their hearts as they grow and experience life for themselves.  Does it get any sweeter than this?!

I hope that as you look at these images, you see and feel the love within this incredible family!  Photographs are the reflection of the life and love that God has created, and it just warms my heart when I get to witness his amazing works and retell it to the world through portraits.   GOD IS SO GOOD!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Much love and hugs to you and your family, Tracy!! You are AMAZING.


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