Fotolanthropy: Real Stories. Real People. Real Inspiration.

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Fotolanthropy is a movement of photographers and filmmakers across the country that donates portraits and short films to inspiring people who are overcoming adversity.

Fotocrew Members: Katie Norris and Kirk Slawek with Gear Seven Creative

This is the beautifully inspiring and touching adoption story of Wynne and Stephen Elder. Their story begins in 2010 when Wynne and Stephen had been married a couple of years and began to think about starting their own family. They began to try for a baby, however month after month for about a year came with no promise of a baby.

In the summer of 2010, Wynne was talking with her friend Katie about trying to begin a family and Katie stopped and asked Wynne, “Have you ever thought about adoption?” This question stopped Wynne in her tracks as it sank in. Up to this point in her life she or even Stephen had never considered adaption. As Wynne puts it, “Adoption was never on my radar. Adoption & missions were for “those people”. Radicals. People who always had a “heart for the nations”. That wasn’t me. So adoption wasn’t for me. Or so I thought.”

What began with this simple question quickly moved into a heartfelt movement and mission on Wynne and Stephen’s hearts. Instead of focusing their attention on thinking about fertility options, they began to pour into researching adoption, agencies, getting approved, and beginning the paper work! In 2011, Wynne and Stephen went on their first trip to Africa and they say they were forever “gloriously ruined.” They committed to adoption from Ethiopia, Africa.

When they were filling out the paper work they put down that they wanted a little boy, however they decided to put down that they would accept two children if that’s what the Lord had in store for them. Once the paper work was complete and they were approved, all there was to do was wait for that call from the adoption agency.

At the end of January of 2012, Wynne and Stephen got a call to accept a referral of a little boy. With how long they had waited and how they had heard about this little boy through numerous people at their adoption agency, they felt like this was the boy for them to accept! Ultimately, a little while after accepting his information they got a call from their adoption agency that they would no longer be receiving this little boy as a relative had claimed him. The heartbreak they felt was devastating.

While the devastation was still sinking in over the news that they had just lost this sweet little boy, just a couple of hours later Wynne and Stephen got the call that changed their lives forever. Their adoption agency called offering them two referrals of a boy and a girl! Wynne and Stephen took another step of faith and accepted both referrals.

In October of 2012, Wynne and Stephen flew to Ethiopia to accept and bring 9-month-old Camp and 8-month-old Asher back home to Midland, TX. Wynne recalls feeling like it’s your wedding day while they were getting ready to meet Camp and Asher for the first time. The moment the nanny’s brought Asher, and then Camp, into the room for Wynne and Stephen to meet and hold they say was the most surreal moment of their lives. Wynne writes on her blog, “Our lives look totally different. We are changed. And it’s all because we committed to pray about growing our family through adoption. I can’t imagine where we’d be if God would have said YES to my prayer before I could say YES to His much greater plan. It’s an adventure. Will you join us?”

This is an inspiring story of patience and trust. Wynne and Stephen decided to say YES to the call to adopt. As a personal friend to Wynne since college, it was truly an emotional journey and celebration to interview her and Stephen and create this Fotolanthropy film on their adoption journey. It was so inspiring to watch Wynne and Stephen go through this journey and to finally see them come together as a family with these two children that were handpicked for them. I am thankful to have gotten to work with this family as my eyes have been open to the world of adoption and I have a new respect for those who passionately support and have decided to adopt!

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