I have had such a hard time picking a deserving bride out of all of the amazing submissions I got! Today, I am so excited to announce I have finally picked one! She was nominated by two of her friends and I’ll post their letters below so you can read about her and will see why I picked her to receive wedding day coverage from me for free. I truly believe in karma and I hope that she feels like this is some good karma coming back to her for all the good she has done.
So without further ado…..meet Sarah.
From her friend Annie:
I’ve never formally met you but through the magic of social media I feel like I practically have! My maiden name was Van Komen, I know you live near many of my wonderful Van Komen cousins and family.
I loved your contest idea, donating your time and talent is such a wonderful act of service. A gracious gift like this will be remembered for 50+ years to come when the couple and family members look back on the photos. After reading your post the bride that came to my mind isn’t necessarily a close friend of mine and not someone I would be thinking about on a daily basis – your post immediately made me think of her and the last 10 years of her life.
Sarah Bills is the name of the bride. Sarah’s older brother Ed is one of my husbands best friends, Sarah’s sister-in-law is one of my close friends. Some friends tend to be as close as family. I have enjoyed getting to know Sarah over the past 18 years during her brothers wedding, family parties and her nieces and nephews milestone events. I met her when she was a teenager and now she is a grown woman getting married….makes me feel old haha!
The 3 of us, you, me and Sarah are all connected in a unique way, Adoption. I am an adoptee, you have beautiful daughter through adoption, and finally Sarah is a birth mother. About 9 years ago Sarah found out she was pregnant, unmarried and not in a strong enough relationship to raise a child. She could have decided to raise the baby on her own, she’s smart, has had a good job opportunities and has a nice family but still wanted more for the baby she was carrying. I never talked with her about her choice to choose adoption before she had the baby. Her daughter Sophia was born in Salt Lake City on February 17th 2011 and a lovely family from Idaho was blessed with a new little girl that same day. At first they had an open adoption and she was able to see Sophia a few times, over the last few years that has not been the case.
Adoption can be a very emotional and private event. I had never met a birth mother before and remember wanting to talk with Sarah about her experience but was worried I would make her hurt more or be intrusive. Over the years she has lovingly answered any question I had about her side of the adoption triangle.
Sarah has made a long lasting impact on so many lives by choosing adoption for her birth daughter. As an adoptee I honestly don’t think about the fact I was adopted very often – unless there is someone who truly understands the special circumstances surrounding adoption.. It wasn’t until after I had my first child (who was also the first blood relative I had ever laid eyes on) that I realized what all birth mothers give up and what adding a new family member via adoption or birth does not only for the parents but the siblings, grandparents, extended family down to neighbors and community. Placing a baby for adoption is an act that spreads some heartache but mostly love far and wide.
Your post made me think of Sarah and her birth daughter Sophia. I hope your inbox is filled with submissions. It would be a happy task to read emails filled with great stories about kindness and loving acts.”
From her friend Beth:
“Sarah is one of the most incredible, kind, sincere, compassionate, giving, loving, selfless individuals I have ever known. Sarah has been through 34 years full of amazing and sometimes extremely difficult adventures and obstacles in life, and yet, being around her and seeing her glimmering smiles, you would never know. She is constantly striving to help those around her live better lives. Whether it’s by her jobs helping challenged children, playing on her basketball team, working with her on a daily job, just being her friend, or even coaching youth basketball – she is constantly encouraging and challenging those children (or individuals) to be the very best they can be in the most crucial and influential times of their lives. Sarah is exemplar in service to her peers as fellow human beings. She would give you the shirt off her back, her car keys, and the moon if she could. I am convinced that Sarah truly shines at all times. After many years of going through the broken roads of bad relationships, placing her child for adoption (again very selfless to better that child’s life in giving her a family that could provide things Sarah, at the time couldn’t), health aliments…Sarah has finally found the man of her dreams. The man that completes her, supports her. For someone who gives her all to others and their happiness, Sarah, has finally found someone that can do the same for her. They are looking forward in officially uniting as a married couple this summer and I could not be more excited to see Sarah in the spotlight and shinning. After all, she is always allowing everyone else to shine around her. It is her turn.
When I saw this contest/submission opportunity, I could stop thinking – What a great opportunity for Sarah to feel special, like she makes others feel, and to have the most dreamy, beautiful day of her life. I hope you will take Sarah into consideration.”
Thank you to everyone who submitted to this contest! I wish I could have chosen all of you!!! I hope that this may inspire other photographers to give back in any way to their community and keep spreading that good karma around!!