December 25, 2011

A Very Blessed Event

It's that time of year when we celebrate many blessed events: the miracle of gratitude and abundance at Thanksgiving, the Festival of Lights at Hanukkah, the promise and hope of a brand new year, and the birth of baby Jesus, who grew up to teach us beautiful lessons about compassion, tolerance, and love.

I'd like to share a story about another blessed event that I recently learned about.

Two and a half years ago I was contacted by a young woman still in high school. She wanted to commission a Mother's Day portrait of her two "moms" with two of their cats, Squishy Carson and Xyla. She wondered if she might also be included in the painting. Here is the portrait of Camilla, Danielle and Shannon:

At that point in time, Camilla and Shannon were Danielle's legal guardians. It seems that back in Danielle's freshman year in high school, life at home with her birth mother and her mother's boyfriend had become unbearable and Danielle and her older sister needed to find new living situations.

Danielle tells us, "Shannon and Camilla, family of our neighbor, offered me a home. (my sister who is two years older than me went to live with Shannon's brother and his wife). They had legal guardianship of me all throughout high school and technically into college." Shannon and Camilla have been together in a domestic partnership since May of 2001, became Danielle's legal guardians in May of 2005, and were legally married in October of 2008.

Camilla and Shannon are animal lovers, and share their lives with a large menagerie of pets that includes both felines and canines in a wide range of sizes and ages. You can see the whole kit and caboodle here in their pet family album. Camilla is responsible for the fun and creative names; Shannon is responsible for the photography (she is a professional photographer AND dog trainer!). You can see her work at these links:

A few weeks ago Danielle, now a college student, contacted me and wanted to surprise her moms at Christmas with a special portrait that would commemorate a very special blessed event. Danielle explains that this past year
"We started talking and decided before I turned 21 (on November 11, 2011) they should adopt me."

So they did--on October 21, 2011.

Congratulation to this "modern family" and thank you Danielle, Camilla, and Shannon for a great holiday story that so beautifully teaches us about compassion, tolerance, and most of all -- love!


Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

What a great Christmas morning present to read this inspiring and loving story! Thank you for sharing this with us and I love love love all your artwork of this sweet family! merry Merry Christmas!

Chrissykat said...

What a WONDERFUL story! Thank you for sharing! Merry Merry!!!

Camilla and Shannon said...

Oh, Susan, we LOVED reading “A Very Blessed Event.” And the portrait is beautiful! It perfectly captures that very special day! I cannot wait to get it framed and hung. We’ve never been so touched by a Christmas gift! You - and that little girl of ours – are amazing! We are so grateful to you both! The world would be a better place if there were more people like you in it. From our hearts to yours – thank you.

Wishing you peace and love in the New Year.

Shannon and Camilla

Unknown said...

Thank you Camilla and Shannon, for being such beautiful examples of motherhood! It was a pleasure working with your darling daughter and I'm so honored to play a part in commemorating such a special event! All the best, Susan

Marilia said...

I hope your Christmas was wonderful.
A big and warm hug.
Marilia & Bavarescats

debbie said...

Awesome. I know how proud and happy Shannon has been by this happy event in all three of their lives. I am happy for you all.
Shannon's coworker