Outdoor Family Portraits | The Evans Family

We met at a coffee shop. I was going to get my best friend a drink so she could push through exams. There with her dad (who was also the University Provost), Shannon was friendless and adorable. So I invited her to go on spring break with me. Funny how a simple invitation can forever alter the course of one's life. Little did I know that Shannon and I were destined to live the next two years of our lives practically in one anothers' laps. We became roommates and best friends. I became a fixture, along with my bedraggled out-of-state crew, at Shannon's family holidays. And Eric. Well, Eric. I do not recall the first time we met, but I forever am in his debt. He was the one who first introduced me to Sufjan Stevens. Sufjan is, if you didn't know, one of the great loves of my life. But all of that is hardly the real story here. 
The real story is of how this family came to be. In those early days, Eric loved Shannon. Like, I'm-laying-on-my-bed-heartsick-about-her love her. After he took Shannon out for the first time I recall standing in the secret stairwell at our house on the steps that were too large, hearing Shan tell another housemate, "eh, I don't think so." But Eric did not give up. Months went by and Shannon continued to feel nothing for this man that loved her so. Months became a year and that's when it got really hard. It was wretched, standing there in the kitchen at midnight and through the steam of the spaghetti having to tell Eric, "I am sorry. I do not know why she does not return your favor." Perhaps it is true, what they say, that absence makes the heart grow fonder. For one day, after Eric returned from Malaysia, in the fall, Shannon crawled in my bed and whispered, "I think I like Eric." If it had been possible to fall out of bed, I am certain I would have. 
And so they dated and were married on the beach in early August. Then it got hard. Eric and Shannon moved away. I helped them pack, we had our last dinner together, and then they moved to Indonesia. We did not see one another for two years. In that time, a deep stirring occurred in their hearts. It was time to start a family. After much consideration and prayer, Eric and Shan knew that adoption was how they were to build their family. The journey of adoption led them to Uganda and to their son. This is Alyosha, a name that means "defender of mankind", and this is the Evans family. They just returned state side in January and you can not imagine my joy. 
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