If you've had a session with me, you may have met one of my fabulous occasional assistants, Juanita, who has been helping me with sessions for a little while now. A while ago, I had a message in my inbox asking me if I was interested in mentoring someone. This had been the first time anyone had ever asked me to give them advice in a professional capacity (I hope to have a more official mentor program by the end of 2017) and I told her that I wasn't sure what good I would be, but that she would be welcome to come assist with sessions and ask questions and I would do my best to answer them. And just like that, we became friends. Juanita has been around for many maternity dress tosses and newborn sessions, herding and posing children and spotting babies and there is a good possibility you might get a chance to meet her!
Juanita is a fantastic assistant as well as being crazy busy! Not only does she work twelve hour shifts, but she’s also working on her Associates degree at Wake Tech. And, most importantly of all, she’s mom to three beautiful girls and one angel baby. Juanita is a photographer as well, and she particularly loves candid photography. You can find her on Facebook at Eagle Eye Photography (although she hasn’t updated in a while, hint, hint!). So when she asked me if I could photograph a family session, I was, of course, completely enthusiastic! And thus this beautiful session was born.
On top of all her amazingness, her middle child, Leilani, was born with microcephaly. This inspired her to create a website called Miracles Happ3n, a website devoted to generating awareness of microcephaly, as well as supporting and connecting parents with children born with microcephaly and other special needs. Microcephaly affects between 2-12 babies in 10,000 live births in the United States. Microcephaly occurs when a baby’s head is smaller than expected, sometimes due to restricted brain growth or brain damage. It can range from relatively mild to severe and can be linked to several medical delays and conditions. There is no singular cause for microcephaly, but it is linked to a number of various factors. Leilani is nothing short of a miracle, from her birth throughout her life, she’s broken down and surpassed every expectation that doctors have placed in her way. Leilani’s joy in life is palpable and meeting her will brighten anyone’s day!
So head on over to Miracles Happ3n to read more of Leilani’s story and connect with Juanita!