I just did a portrait session for my neighbor Liz at Monument Valley Park. Liz is a senior at Palmer High School and also a great baby sitter to our children. Inspiring stories make for inspired photographs and Liz has one incredible life story. Liz was born with a complete, unilateral cleft lip and cleft palate and is from a village called Birobidzhan located in the far east of Russia. When she was 13-months-old she was adopted and her parents brought her to the United States. Since then Liz has undergone eight surgical procedures to correct her cleft lip and cleft palate. It’s been a long journey for her and for her parents. But it hasn’t stopped her from doing what she sets her sights on like playing lacrosse, her favorite sport. And when I asked her folks if they knew what to expect 17 years ago, Mom’s answer was immediate and unequivocal, “Yes, we knew.” If that isn’t enough to inspire, Liz is the oldest of four sisters, all of them adopted from different countries; Mexico, India and Sikkin. As you might imagine, my schedule for the next few years involves more inspiring senior pictures. There’s still plenty of babysitting left to do too:) — Sean


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