Adoption has always been a part of my life… almost for as long as I can remember.

I have three adopted siblings, an adopted son, an adopted nephew, adopted cousins… the list is long. In 2014, April (my friend/business partner/sister from another mister) and I traveled to India to document an adoption and I made it a goal to travel as often as possible with families who are adopting. Adoption is so dear to my heart.

Let’s rewind for a minute. I spent my first 9 years of life in a tiny town in northeast Ohio. Minerva was the home town of both my parents and it seemed like we were related to everyone! Bree was one of those relatives — our grandparents were siblings. I moved off to Wisconsin and then later to Alabama so the last time I really remember seeing Bree we were somewhere around 8 or 9 years old. We may have crossed paths at some point after that but my memory is horrible.

Thank goodness for Facebook, right? Somewhere over the last 10 years, we became friends on Facebook. I watched from my corner of the world as she and her husband had a baby, adopted a daughter from China, moved to Denver, etc.

Then one day a little over a year ago, she messaged me. She and Cody were adopting from China again and she wondered about the possibility of me tagging along to document the day they would meet their son. Well… long story short… the details worked out and April and I went to China in May.

There is no way to describe the feelings involved in adoption.

It’s something you just have to experience. Even if you’re just a bystander, the emotions in the air are thick. It’s heavy and happy all at the same time. An orphan is connecting to strangers he’s never met. He’s supposed to call them “Mom” and “Dad” but he’s never even seen them in real life. He’s about to leave everything he’s known for a place he’s never seen and every child responds differently. It was amazing to watch Vincent warm up so quickly.

Grab a tissue! Here is a glimpse of the days leading up to Vincent’s “Gotcha Day” and the moments when Cody, Bree, Lucy, and Landry met Vincent for the first time.