Photography by Donna French Photography
Meet Harper. She is Beauty Revived.
Hailey (now Harper) and Hunter (now Grayson), were removed from their biological parents on 1/30/13 and placed with their grandparents. They had seven addresses before Hailey was three and a half, and three of those were motels. On 3/26/14, they were removed from their grandparent’s home due to issues preventing them from properly caring for the children, and were placed in our home. Previous exposure to domestic violence made Hailey very timid and scared of her environment. She did not always speak when spoken to, would often act out, had night terrors, etc. Hailey was VERY scared of men when she first arrived, and would panic if a male tried to talk or joke with her. As time went on, she became confident, relaxed, learned to trust and love others, and could see how a healthy family interacted.
Hailey worked with her counselor and CASA worker (Court Appointed Special Advocate), to find her voice and learn to speak up for herself and her special needs brother. Hunter had delays due to in-utero drug use and neglect, and lacked the ability to communicate what was going on in the home. Hailey was also exposed to the neglect that Hunter suffered, and had to be taught how to reconnect with him. Through her counselor, DCS and CASA workers, and the bond she formed with us, Hailey was able to share details about her previous life. She shared about the drug-use she witnessed, the neglect Hunter suffered, and other incidents and concerns she had during the court-ordered, supervised visits with her biological parents. These visits started in jail due to both parents being incarcerated for dealing heroin. Visits were very hard on her and brought back negative emotions from the past.
Hailey’s biological mom was released, she moved into a halfway/drug rehab house and the visits continued there but were still supervised. The biological mom rarely, if ever, remained employed and Hailey was learning that this was one of the keys to a stable environment and maintaining a household. Eventually, Hailey began to fear they might be returned to their mom because she and her brother were told they would soon be living there. Hailey began to panic and asked to speak with her CASA worker.
The CASA worker came to our home and Hailey asked if SHE could talk to the judge herself. She wanted to tell the judge that they could not go back because nothing would change. Hailey was told she could write a letter to the judge and the CASA worker would be sure to get it to him. Here is an excerpt from her letter…
“Dear judge cody, my name is Hailey. I am six years old…I want to live with Cara becase here
it is calmb…I have a good family and I feel safe heare…no one yells and I don’t have to wary
or be scared…I have good grades at school I sleep good at night…pleas don’t mack me
Hailey was also an amazing advocate for Hunter during visits. Because of his delays, behavioral issues, and lack of communication skills, she was able to let us know if he was being treated well, and if his needs were being taken care of during visits. A few times, she advocated for both of them by asking for the visits to end early due to concerns or fears she had.
When Hailey came to us, she was not prepared for kindergarten. We decided to go ahead and send her, worst case scenario we might have had to let her take kindergarten twice. By second semester of kindergarten she was making remarkable gains and had fallen in love with school. She found that school was a safe place for her, a place where she could thrive and could control how well she did for the most part. She began to beg me to help her study spelling words and reading every night. This continued until she was she caught up and making straight A’s. Later we met with Hailey’s 1st grade teacher, who was instrumental in encouraging Hailey to speak to her class about adoption, and to inform the class she would be changing her name from Hailey to Harper. Finally, after 1469 days in foster care, Harper and Grayson became ours on 2/8/17. Without a doubt, it was Harper’s courage, voice, and advocacy that helped them find their forever home with us. We couldn’t be more proud of this little girl and how much she has grown. This past year (2nd grade) she just qualified for the high-ability/gifted program. This child’s determination never ceases to amaze me, her future is bright and the sky is the limit!
About the Photographer
I am a part-time photographer and full-time nurse. I have been married to my best friend for 21 years, we have two amazing children and two beautiful doxies. I love being in the great outdoors and exploring all that God has given us. Recently it has been on my heart to tell the stories of people who are suffering. I love documenting children who have been adopted, and my goal is to document those who have suffered at the hands of sex-trafficking or who suffer from mental illness. I want to glorify God by using the gifts he has given me and tell the stories of those He loves.