Last month my wife and stepsons stopped in at the Paradise Bakery for a "play-hookie-from-school-day-to-become-permanent U.S. Citizens-treat". I was at the coffee decoration-station, patiently stirring in my raw sugar when I glanced to my right.
There was this big-eyed, dark-skinned and STUNNING little girl in a bright pink dress staring at me. "At me" is hardly accurate. More "through me" was how it felt as I kept glancing, doing my best not to look like a questionable male looking at a little girl. (sad we have to think that way, but it does sort of take the fun out of being a beauty-loving photographer at times)
I went back to the table, convinced I wanted to photograph her, but certain that her mom would be put off by my asking. I sat with my family, my back to where they were seated. Finally, I thought - "life's too short..." as I fished out a business card to go ask. I looked over my shoulder to discover they had left. UGH! - Brian, you've got to seize your opportunities, I silently scolded myself in thought.
I became present to my family again, just as I saw her mom carrying her from the back of the restaurant. It turned out they'd just left for the restroom, so I stopped the mom on her way by.
My wife, thank goodness, backed me up by saying - "I've never seen him do this before" as she read the mom's understandably discerning look.
We had a nice chat, and the mother shared that Magdalyn had been recently adopted from Ethiopia. An act of love by some deserving parents got her to America with an amazingly accepting family with three other kids. I am just grateful that I overcame my timid behavior to capture these, and even more so, to hear about her incredible journey.
Appropriately named Magdalyn Grace, she has a Divine personality and fun to work with. It was a 90 minute drive from their home in the Columbia Gorge, and unlike her routine for sleeping on drives (and at that time) she decided to stay awake and test my skills at extracting some joy from a tired toddler.
It was not her typical mood we discovered, yet it was still fun to capture this amazing little girl who's life has fully evolved from fate-fueled circumstances. We hope to see you again Magdalyn, and thank you Cheri (and family) for investigating enough to know that I was not TOO weird, thus worthy of your trust.