Ellie’s Homecoming! Growing family through adoption, Photographer, Charleston SC

Welcome to the USA Ellie! You were loved in both China and America, even before you were born! Ellie is now officially an American, the daughter of Mary & Tom, sister to Graham and Charlie, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend to many.

I love hearing Mary’s stories of how Ellie’s sweet nannies call her “Little Rose” and praise how smart she is. It’s wonderful to know she was so well cared for and cherished during her first year. It’s something you have to wonder about during the months and years leading up to being able to bring a child home.


It’s amazing to think that what feels like the end of a very long journey is just the beginning of a brand new one! Mary and her family have been on a Journey to be a Family of 5 for quite a while now. If you’d like to read from the beginning, here is a link to their family blog, Journey to Harris Five.


It was super hard to get a picture of Charlie and his sign, he mostly wanted to destroy it even though he loves his sister.

He’s just barely 1 years old and Ellie is only 2 months older, hello insta-twins!adoption-photographer-charleston-scFirst sighting of the plane!adoption-photographer-charleston-scCan you read Graham’s shirt and see how excited he is to wave his American flags?

“I can’t wait to meet my new little sister!”Big-Brother-to-adopted-sisterThe TSA agents wouldn’t let any of us past a certain point, but they gave Graham and Charlie permission to run to their parents and Ellie when we finally saw them coming. Charlie got a little bit of a head start and had to be pulled back!adoption-photographer-charleston-scson running to mom at airportadopted-cousins-siblings-adoption-homecomingFirst time holding her new “twins”!!!adoption-photographer-charleston-scThese two made fast friends.adoption-photographer-charleston-scadopted-cousins-siblings-adoption-homecomingFirst Harris Family of 5 picture!adopted siblings meeting for the first timeadoption-photographer-charleston-sc“A child born to another woman calls me mom.

The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me.” – Jody Landersadopted-cousins-siblings-adoption-homecoming

This was the one and only time Ellie cried. It may seem bizarre at first to invite everyone to the airport to greet a brand new family member. But when you take into account that this child has already been through the trauma of leaving her home behind, trusting new strangers for everything, learning new foods, hearing a different language, changing time zones, and having her first airplane ride last for 16 hours, what’s a few more friendly faces at the airport?

This way the cocooning can start at home, she’ll know her home is a safe quiet place (as quiet as it can be with 2 other toddlers) and begin bonding with her immediate family. Well, right up until Hurricane Irma forces you to reunite with your cousins.


So much love from big brother Graham! He’s been talking about Ellie in China for quite awhile.adopted-cousins-siblings-adoption-homecomingadoption-photographer-charleston-sc

Charlie loved Granddad’s hat!adopted-cousins-siblings-adoption-homecomingThe whole gang who came to the airport!adopted-cousins-siblings-adoption-homecomingMary’s side of the family, and then Tom’s.adopted-cousins-siblings-adoption-homecomingadoption-photographer-charleston-scAll the cousins in one place!adoption-photographer-charleston-scWelcome home Ellie, you are one loved little girl!

Babies Abound! Charleston Family Photographer, Isle of Palms

I love this family, they bring me a new baby every year!

This year, I tried something new, we stopped at the beautiful oak trees right outside their front door.


The first year we met, we spent a lot of time chasing “baby” FordCharleston-Sullivans-Island-Family-Vacation-PhotosNot much has changed, except this year Ezra is on the move too! Last year was the first year baby Ezra joined us. Charleston-Sullivans-Island-Family-Vacation-PhotosFamily Beach Reunion Vacation Charleston SC photosbrothers on the beach“My favorite people call me aunt.”Isle-of-palms-family-charleston-sc-beach-photographerParenting is nice, aunting is divine. Isle-of-palms-family-charleston-sc-beach-photographerNow we have baby Robert in the mix! I can’t wait until they are all running together!Isle-of-palms-family-charleston-sc-beach-photographerSometimes you have to change positions so your little brother can’t punch you in the face. He took it well though.Charleston-Sullivans-Island-Family-Vacation-PhotosIsle-of-palms-family-charleston-sc-beach-photographerSee you guys next year! Bring me a fresh baby!Charleston-Sullivans-Island-Family-Vacation-PhotosThe End!

Family Beach Photographer-Isle of Palms, Laura Stribling

My philosophy for family portraits is “kids rule”. As long as everyone is happy and having fun, I can get good pictures. Once a child is bossed around and forced to smile it just doesn’t work. If I feel like a pose isn’t working, I just keep moving. I let the kids dictate what happens. They aren’t in charge, I just like for them to feel like they are.

This picture is a perfect example of how to get everyone in the same picture, yet keep the smiles natural and not forced and it’s a great way to show relationships and ages.Family-Photographer-isle-of-Palms-South-Carolina Please note, everyone in the air is not necessarily a child, love the energy.Family-on-the-beach-photos-orange-navy-blue-charleston-scFamily-Photographer-isle-of-Palms-South-Carolina I had one kid, repeatedly outsmart me. He was having the wiggles and I asked him if he would like to go upside down? I meant have a silly picture with someone holding him upside down. He very obediently followed directions.Candid-family-photos-charleston-sc-beach-photographerWe finally got the picture I wanted and then I told the kids they would get to run in the next picture, same guy, obediently following directions. Family-on-the-beach-photos-orange-navy-blue-charleston-scFamily-on-the-beach-photos-orange-navy-blue-charleston-scFamily-Photographer-isle-of-Palms-South-Carolina Family-on-the-beach-photos-orange-navy-blue-charleston-scFamily-on-the-beach-photos-orange-navy-blue-charleston-sc

What a fun day! I hope everyone had a great vacation!

Cathy - August 28, 2017 - 6:40 pm

Thanks Laura, for truly capturing our family spirit! Recall how the thunder and lightening were all around us, but we never felt a drop of rain. This was one of the best memories of my life!

admin - August 29, 2017 - 2:42 pm

Hi Cathy,
What a high compliment! I had such a good time with your family. I’m glad you love them! Thanks, Laura

Beach Bum Baby Announcement! Isle of Palms Family Photographer

This cute family was full of fun surprises, including a new family member on the way!Pregnancy-announcement-on-beach-photographerThe kids had some cute surprises of their own. Thanks Granddad!Granddad-granddaughter-family-picturesGrandmom’s pretty funny too.Isle-of-Palms-Sullivans-Island-Charleston-Beach-PhotographerWe finally got a few smiles. Do you see a red hair trend?Beach-Family-Photos-Charleston-SCBeach-Family-Photos-Charleston-SCIsle-of-Palms-Sullivans-Island-Charleston-Beach-PhotographerIsle-of-Palms-Sullivans-Island-Charleston-Beach-PhotographerIsle-of-Palms-Sullivans-Island-Charleston-Beach-PhotographerGrandmom offered to sit on Granddad’s shoulders, I kinda wanted to see it happen.Isle-of-Palms-Sullivans-Island-Charleston-Beach-PhotographerBeach-Family-Photos-Charleston-SCSweet cousins!Isle-of-Palms-Sullivans-Island-Charleston-Beach-PhotographerCatch ya later!

The Barn at Walnut Hill Wedding, Johns Island Charleston, SC Photographer

Aimee & Bill are married! I met Aimee and Bill at the same time, they kindly invited me out to lunch, 3 months later, we were sitting down with yummy tropical drinks to discuss the details of their wedding!

Bill & Aimee have known each other much much longer, childhood in fact!
bride-getting-ready-flower-wreathWe talked about how much Aimee wanted this to just be a fun day for everyone. She’d thought of everything, music, handmade dream catchers, a teepee and coloring station for the kids, a strawberry crepe wedding cake, a get-away VW bus named Terra, complete with a driver named Snoopy, all taking place in front of an outdoor Charleston brick fireplace under live oak trees and Spanish moss.

It doesn’t get much better or sweeter.hippie-boho-charleston-sc-island-weddingWell, add in a two piece lace bridal gown with flower wreath, and it gets a little bit more amazing!the-barn-at-walnut-hill-wedding-charleston-johns-island-scthe-barn-at-walnut-hill-wedding-charleston-johns-island-scI love mix-matched bridesmaid dresses, everyone is different and looks like they belong together, and most importantly everyone looks like they are comfortable and in love with their dress!bridesmaids-praying-over-brideoutdoor-charleston-wedding-venue-johns-islandThe Barn at Walnut Hill provided an amazing backdrop for the ceremony. I had no idea this gem of a location existed on Johns Island. Every direction you looked was unique and beautiful!the-barn-at-walnut-hill-wedding-charleston-johns-island-scDefinitely a favorite moment for everyone involved… Aimee whispered to the officiant, Pastor Wendy, that the ring she was about to receive from her husband was in fact, first her grandmother’s.outdoor-charleston-wedding-venue-johns-islandA little out of order, but I wanted to include a picture of Aimee’s grandmother that she is so sweetly glancing at during the ceremony. outdoor-charleston-wedding-venue-johns-islandboho-bride-casual-wedding-outdoors-two-piece-lace-dressI love that I get to walk around anywhere I want during outdoor weddings, being able to capture their expressions during the ceremony is priceless to me!outdoor-charleston-wedding-venue-johns-islandboho-bride-casual-wedding-outdoors-two-piece-lace-dressthe-barn-at-walnut-hill-wedding-charleston-johns-island-scThese are the absolute best 5 minutes of every wedding for me, watching the bride and groom have their first few minutes alone to just enjoy being MARRIED! It’s just too precious not to watch, and I know it’s my secret privilege that I’m often the only one who gets to witness the magic. outdoor-charleston-wedding-venue-johns-islandboho-bride-casual-wedding-outdoors-two-piece-lace-dressthe-barn-at-walnut-hill-wedding-charleston-johns-island-scgroom-gray-suit-weddingthe-barn-at-walnut-hill-wedding-charleston-johns-island-scbanjo-wedding-player-charleston-scwedding-get-away-car-black-model-t-charleston-scWedding-family-portrait-(I believe Aimee’s favorite accessory was a tie between her red gun holster garter belt and her new arm candy husband.)I can’t believe how dreamy a location the Barn at Walnut Hill was in every direction! Ivy climbing trees in a forest next to a dirt road covered in live oaks? Charleston you are too much, but thank you.romantic-charleston-outdoor-wedding-pictures

All the heart eyes for these two! Congratulations, I wish you two all the best!

Charleston Wedding Vendors:

Venue: The Barn at Walnut Hill 

Florist: Aimee’s talented mother 

Caterer: Swig & Swine

Cake Artist: Jack Byrne, Charleston Crepe Company 

Band: Garage Cuban Band

Hair Stylist: Meredith Claiborne, owner of Luxe Salon on James Island

Photography: Laura Stribling, Gallery by Laura Photography

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