• Jess

It's been a while. Do I start most of my blogs that way? I have de-ja vu.

Life has been crazy! I started a part time job (working for a great company) and I'm trying to find balance. Things are so very good, I am feeling blessed for the opportunity to work from home for a company that I believe in.

I am aiming to blog more, simply because I enjoy it. 2020 is coming in as the year of self-care and I have learned that self-care is not selfish. PREACH!

Thanks for being patient and continuing to follow along with me here! I'll see you in a few days! :)


With love, Jess

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  • Jess

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

I don't shoot weddings as often as I used to (AHEM four kids) but when I do, I fall in love with them all over again. There is great joy witnessing two people join their lives and families together. The Parrish wedding was one of those joy filled celebrations. What an honor it was to document it for them!

Here are just a few images of how their lovely day unfolded!


Thank you Adam and Brie for trusting me with your most special day!

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  • Jess

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

This blog is loooong overdue but here it is... our adoption story.

Let's start from the beginning...

In October of 2014, we were called to the hospital because my mom had been in an accident. Later to find out, she was hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street and, in God's mercy, died immediately at the scene. I was 9 weeks pregnant.

In April of 2015, we were blessed with our third child. All children come into this world miraculously, and Edison defied his odds and was born breathing. It was a difficult pregnancy, labor and delivery, and for medical reasons, we made the decision to end that season of child bearing. But God burned in my soul that our family was not complete.

Adoption was fairly regular for me. God had allowed me to grow up with two cousins that joined our family through adoption - one domestically and one internationally. I always assumed I would follow suit and once we celebrated Edison's first birthday, we began discussing it. Mervyn was not quite on board but I continued praying about it and I could see his heart softening. One day, while missing my mom and reading through her dog-eared devotional, I felt Him stir in my heart that the pain I was experiencing, being motherless, was a pain in the hearts of orphans. I knew, in that moment, that God would transform my deep pain into deep beauty. With tears, I shared with Mervyn what God had laid on my heart and we decided to move forward with our adoption.

On October 6, 2016, I came across a blog advocating for a waiting child in Haiti. Waiting children are classified as older children, a sibling set or a child with special needs. This particular child was one with severe medical needs. The instant I saw his face, my heart went "OH! THERE YOU ARE!" Merv and I decided to change our home study to reflect his diagnoses and step in faith that it would be for a purpose.

July 29, 2019 our adoption finalized and Elijah David Benette became Elijah Ranaan Salonga. During those three years, the process was a massive headache, full of hoops, fights, tears, prayers, miracles and decisions. This little boy came with so much trauma on top of his very demanding medical diagnoses. There have been and will continue to be days that we have to physically WALK in the decision to love him. Make the choice, second by second to love this child that was divinely placed in our family.

I’ve explained to others that adoption is like an arranged marriage. You are handed a human and told to care for them with every fiber of your being, to lay down your life for them, and to sacrificially love. Some days, that comes with less work than others but every day is effort and everyday requires a prayer of “not my will but Yours.”

Elijah Ranaan Salonga. Ranaan means redeemed and that is just what God has done. He has redeemed our little boy from certain death in Haiti. He has restored this heart of mine and He continues to deepen and pervade our Spirits with the truth of our redemption - we all inherit together.

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