Every day I scroll my Instagram feed and I see gorgeous storytelling. I am starting a new series here on Everyday Eyecandy, where every month, I talk to one of my favorite Instagram storytellers about who they are, how they got started and learn about the stories that they are trying to tell. Because I see AMAZING, beautiful, heartbreaking stories as I scroll through Instagram everyday. And I want you to meet them.
I'm not exactly sure how I came across @Fostermoms account. I just know that one day, I saw this photo:
And I had to stop and go through their entire feed. I admit to being a fan girl. Not only because of the beautiful photos, but also because of the beautiful heartfelt words and stories that come with the photos.
So today, I am honored that they agreed to take the time and answer a few questions for my very first post in this series: Instagram Storytellers.
All photos in this post courtesy of @Fostermoms
Tell us about yourself!
We are a two-mom family in our late 30s. We combine the clinical with the creative and blog anonymously from the perspective of same-sex, transracial, foster-adopt parents as ‘Therapist mom’ and ‘Artist Mom’. She is a complex trauma therapist, social worker and professor. She also trains internationally at various agencies seeking to provide trauma informed practice in their day-to-day work. I bring the creative, curious-about-the-world, fun into our home. Previous to building websites, I was a social worker and art therapist. I co-founded a non-profit featuring a mobile art program for kids in congregate care. Art and creativity has always been my vehicle to something much bigger.
How did you get into photography?
I inherited my grandmother’s 35mm camera two decades ago and have very fond memories of pulling all-nighters in the darkroom, developing my own negatives and printing my own contact sheets and images. That's where it all began for me and I was slow to embrace the digital.
Tell us about your Instagram journey….
I knew when we first got together that we would eventually raise a family in a loving home. While we knew our family would one day grow from foster care, we initially had plans to get pregnant. We didn’t have models for how to build a family, and so I think its natural to cling to some variation of the traditional route until an alternative possibility arises. Carrying a child was important to both of us and still is, but its no longer our Plan A.
It took us 2 years to be licensed as foster parents. Bureaucracies are slow to get moving and slow to react to change and slow to make things happen. When we were finally certified and began welcoming children into our home, we really believed we were a shoe-in for foster parents of the year given our rich history working with families in crisis. We've learned a lot and could not have anticipated the ways we would need to flex and breathe and evolve in order to maintain a semblance of balance and normalcy in our house as pop-up parents with 2 dogs and full-time careers. As a creative person I needed a creative outlet. As a couple, we needed an excuse to join together around something. We also needed to feel less isolated as new parents, gay parents, and foster parents. I whipped up a website & started taking anonymous photos & together we started captioning our every day life on Instagram.
What is the story you hope your Instagram tells?
What began as a need for creative outlet and anonymous storytelling became a call to build community & share knowledge. We were feeling pretty isolated & largely misunderstood by our family, and on a different path than most of our friends. Our Instagram journey has been a powerful, personal one.
We offer an intimate glimpse of nontraditional normal family life. The story we're aiming to tell varies. Sometimes it's about our experiences interfacing with the foster care system & the way those exchanges have shaped our boys & our family. Other times, we're telling the story of our ordinary, day-to-day lives as white moms raising black sons. Almost always, we are a combination of real talk interlaced with hope and compassion. When people visit our feed, I hope they are struck by the composition of each image & then impacted by the words that complement that moment. We're going for impact here & we're looking to inspire – creatively & clinically. We’re also hopeful that by talking about foster care, other families will be inspired to start that journey as well.
What was one of the photos you took recently that was a favorite and why?
It's funny, as we inch closer toward adoption day, I find myself drawn more to the pictures I took of our boys and our family from a year and a half ago or two years ago when “Tiny” was a newborn and “Mr. Toddler” was actually a toddler. I feel less drawn to the now and find myself reflecting on where we were then and the world of experience that’s contributed to our evolution now. That said, however, one of my recent favorite photos isn't one that I took, but a snap my partner grabbed while we were on vacation. The kids and I are framed in the lower right corner, they're adorable & carrying on like usual. We were blissfully/chaotically traversing the streets of one of our favorite beach towns & I'm covered in tattoos, carrying prepackaged, cold brew coffee in our Tula toddler carrier, all of us sun-kissed, full of greasy summer food and just happy. It really highlighted how normal we are but how unique we probably look. I used that photo in conjunction with a situation I wanted to microblog about on a day several weeks removed. It remains our most popular & engaged photo to date.
Who or what inspires you?
I'm always amazed at the people, parents, moms who manage to curate these stunning Instagram feeds, coupled with finding the time to blog and write about things that are important to them, which in turn have hugely positive impact on people & families.
It's been a struggle to find inspiration in many places simply due to the speed of our lives these days. More and more, we are inspired by everyday heroes. The slightest interactions between people that are the smallest gestures with unanticipated, far-reaching impact. I'm inspired by your Birdseye view photos, I find them so beautiful and calming and simple. I'm inspired by @Nicole_Blades‘ tenacity as an author, her ongoing humor and drive to be a good woman and mom and friend and creative talent in the world. @Addyeb_art for her unapologetic sharing and open-face dialogue on women's mental health & the creative process. Collectively we're inspired by @KristenHowerton and the work that she does around transracial families, the dialogues she pushes forward. Georgia @GregariousPeach (formerly @DocumentingDelight) who just portrays the humility and beauty and sacredness of parenting through both beautiful and painful times while running a business. Were inspired by the creativity & love between Grace (@designsponge) & Julia (@turshen), both of whom have also recently published books and who are an adorable lesbian couple who send us good food & lots of love.
What is your favorite thing to photograph?
Our kids in those soft moments that should be celebrated. I also really love documenting the city. I’m firing up my own account to get creative where I can point, click, shoot, make, create etc. just to get it all out.
Black and white or color?
Me: Black and white
Favorite App to edit with?
What do you shoot with?
Mostly iPhone 6 – out of convenience. But when I manage to remember to charge the batteries and make room on my memory card – my canon T2i rebel. I could up my game here. 😉
Where Else Can we Find you?
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us guys! To see more of these guys and their beautiful family, make sure you follow them on Instagram at @fostermoms