“Be the one, be the one,
To take my soul and make it undone,
Be the one, be the one,
To take me home and show me the sun,
I know, I know,
You can bring the fire, I can bring the bones,
I know, I know,
You’ll make the fire, my bones will make it grow”
Hometown // Twenty One Pilots
Hello from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!
I am currently here on a photojournalism assignment — documenting a “homeland” visit for the incredible Shubin family. They have an adopted son, Silas, + daughter, Zahra, and we are all exploring this gorgeous country + reconnecting with some of their roots. Yesterday, Silas “met” his grandmother, several aunts + family friends for the first time since being adopted eight years ago! It was such an intense, heartbreakingly raw + beautiful time + I was just blown away to be a part of it.
I wanted to take a few portraits of Silas outside his Grandmother’s home while we waiting for her…
“Silas, you were probably carried up + down this road when you were a baby!”
I was in tears when “Gramma” finally arrived + immediately embraced Erica, Silas’ mom.
<3 <3 <3
She kept looking at me during her coffee making process + asked if I was getting “good photos”. :
Even kids in Ethiopia are weary are getting their picture taken!
Lovely, beautiful women.
Erica created a photo album for Gramma so she could see all that Silas is up to in America. There on the right you can see little ol’ me surrounded by all five of the Shubin kiddos! I was so honored to be included!
During our visit, we found out that this hut was the actual birth place of Silas!
One of my favorite images I have ever photographed…
After all the goodbyes, Silas broke down in the car.
“I’m just so happy” he kept saying.
Today I began to understand a little more about who Silas is. And I also began to understand a little more of what adoption is…what adoption really is. That it is much bigger than leaving orphanages behind. That it is greater than being welcomed into a forever family. That is doesn’t end a few months after the homecoming when everyone is settled in + adjusted. It is a story that screams redemption + hope while a little boy stands in the mud hut he was born in held in the arms of a grandmother he hasn’t seen for eight years. It is a place where a biological family can look an adoptive family in the eyes + through tears, kisses + embraces say – from the bottom of their hearts, “Thank you, I love you”.
Adoption is so beautiful.
This day was so beautiful.
Jesus is so beautiful.
To learn more about Silas’ adoption, the Shubin family + our Ethiopian adventure, please stay tuned here, check out my instagram or visit Erica’s blog.
Here’s a small set of my personal work while in country. Enjoy!
Cheers, Jessica OH