Kari Rae

Fostering is Too Heartbreaking, Jesus Loves Me, and Other Things that Drive Me Wild

I was reading an article and came across this comment. The woman said, "Me and my husband cannot have children. I would gladly take someone's unwanted baby. Adoption, however, is 15,000-20,000+ (dollars). And fostering is too heartbreaking."

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What's truly heartbreaking to me is her mindset, and how it likely represents innumerable others (including me at times).

Yes, being a foster parent can be really hard on one's heart. REALLY hard. But ultimately, it's not about me or my feelings or my broken heart. There are thousands of "unwanted babies" out there who just need their basic needs met. They need us to love them, feed them, keep them safe, give them a home. They need this way more than we need an perfectly whole heart.

Her words are so interesting, and so telling. Saying we would gladly take someone's unwanted baby and then immediately giving two excuses about why we WON'T gladly take them in.

When I hear these words that frustrate me, I'm reminded to examine my own heart. I know I tend to get most frustrated with others about things that I can relate to...things I could have said or done myself. And this comment could so easily be me!
I'm terribly selfish. My feelings matter to me. I don't want to do something hard. (And other whiny things...)

But again, it's not. about. me.
And my favorite fact; no matter how much I'm into myself, Jesus is into me even more. He is crazy in love with me! (and with you, too.) And just like anybody in love, He wants to take care of me and provide for me and be with me and promise me beautiful things. And since He's perfect and He has never failed, He actually DOES these things!

Along the way, He asks me, "Do you love me?" And I say yes, so much! And He replies, "Feed my sheep."
And I say no, that's hard! But okay, maybe.... Well fine, I'll think about it, and see if it's God's plan for my life. Oh wait, you are God. And you just told me what to do. And you really love me and want to take care of me and be with me. And You've always been good. Like, really good. You've seriously never left me.

And you didn't just suggest that I feed Your sheep one time. You also said, "True and perfect religion is to care for the orphans." And You love me. And You want to be with me. And You LOVE ME.


Precious Jesus, keep us from ignoring You! Direct our eyes back to Yours as You gaze right into our hearts and whisper "I love you" over & over & over again. And then help us not to look away as You turn to the orphan and the unwanted, and then look back at us and say, "I love them too! Please feed my sheep."

Friends, we are insanely, out-of-control, beautifully, passionately, fully, completely, unconditionally loved by a God who promises big things and never breaks His promises.

So let's stop making excuses.
You won't be doing that big, scary, crazy hard thing alone.
The God of the Universe is on your side.

Logan & Rikki's Washington Sunflower Estate Wedding | Kari Rae Photography, Portland Wedding Photographer

Logan & Rikki.

Oh, what a delight it's been to have these two join my life! My handsome husband and I had the distinct honor of freezing some of the most romantic moments in time at this wedding. Their gorgeous, fog-filled engagement session was a treat. But their sunny summer sunflower surrounded wedding was the perfect representation of the emotions all throughout the day.

L & R did not look away from each other all day (okay, maybe once. Twice tops!). All they could do was adore the other and laugh (Logan) or squeal (Rikki) or cry (both) with delight at the fact that they were finally here on their wedding day. Seriously the cutest. 


Enjoy :)

So You're Looking for a Wedding Photographer; 4 Tips for Getting the Best

Congratulations, you newly engaged lover! You are now ready to start planning what is sure to be one of the most fun, most beautiful days of your life.

But the process of planning such a day can be completely overwhelming, which is why you need to gather your "Dream Team."


When my husband and I were engaged, we set out to build the best team of people who could make the day happen with the most smiles given and the most love shared. Our Dream Team made a world of difference on our wedding day and we owe them a million thank-yous! 


As wedding photographers, we are in the business of storytelling. You have a story that has led you to your fiance, there is a story that will take you to the vow exchange...a story will unfold on the day of your wedding, and a story begins as you drive off together in your getaway car. We have the joy & responsibility of capturing and telling these stories; and we take it seriously (but have a lot of fun doing it!).

Here are some pointers so that you can choose the best wedding photographer for your love story:

0.5. (because this is a great preface) Make this a priority.

A bride's advice: "Make this a priority. Don't settle for a photographer that you're just okay with. Find one that shares and can interpret and enhance your vision. Don't be afraid to get exactly what you're looking for! You are hiring them to capture one of the biggest and greatest days of your life. After all, 50 years from now, it is only your love and your photos that will have lasted."  -Danielle, married 08/12

1. Know your style - then go find it.
There are likely hundreds of photographers in your area. Know (or decide on) your style. Think things like: romantic, fun, genuine, quirky, traditional, eclectic, light & airy, emotion-oriented, detail-oriented, colorful, moody, silly, dramatic, etc.Who are you as a couple and what kind of images will best convey that?
Then... Research is your friend! Go find some artists whose work you adore.

I recently received an e-mail that read, ""Wow, I really love your work. It's my style! Lots of giggles, smiles and laughter. Intimate, romantic, FUN, creative, candids...you seem to capture the best moments!! :)"

When you come across a photographer's work and automatically picture yourself in it, you've found a great match. Knowing your style will help that!

If you talk with some photographers and they don't feel right, don't be afraid to be specific & ask for recommendations. Wedding photographers want clients who "get us" just as much as you want a photographer who gets you - we are happy to recommend another photographer to fit your style!

A bride's advice: "Look for a photographer that does something timeless. Basically something you know you'll look back on 50 years from now and still love it! And of course make sure their work is your absolute favorite because you only get married once!"  -Amanda, married 05/13


2. Go on dates.
And take your fiancé with you ;) Whether you are meeting for coffee, happy hour, a steak dinner, or even just a Skype date, I can't tell you how good and important it is to meet with your potential photographer before booking them!

As a photographer, I want to hear your story, your heart for each other, and your wedding dreams. And as a couple, you'll really want to know who you'll be working with and how/why they do what they do.

     Funny fact: It's very likely that you will spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than anybody else. 

Make sure you like him/her and their way of doing things. :)

A bride's advice :) - "Make sure you feel comfortable with the photographer you meet. If you can't act natural while they're photographing you, then I think that will reflect in your pictures. It's about a feeling more than anything else :-) "  - Andrea, married 09/13

Another bride's advice: "I think it's important to find a photographer that really loves and has a passion for what they do. Of those who are in the business of making a paycheck, find the person who actually loves their job and has an absolute love for people in love!" -Sasha, to be married 07/14


3. Decide how much you value it.

You will get what you invest in.

On Facebook, I asked to hear from married people who were bummed with their wedding photos. The most common response from these disappointed folks was that, "I wish I had hired a professional." or a sentiment about how their hired professional didn't act very professional (i.e. showing up late, never getting their images back, or getting yucky images altogether). I'll say it again folks, you will get what you invest in. Your wedding is not a "let's see if this works" type of event. The documentation of it probably shouldn't be either. ;)

Great wedding photography is expensive. These are going to be some of the most emotional, powerful, and important ones of your life. What happens on your wedding day sets the foundation for your family and generations to come. You can hear more of my thoughts on this here, where I explain how my wedding blessed my foster boys.

If you can't afford the photographer you are dreaming of quite yet, ask about payment plans!
Save up, budget, and prioritize accordingly.
These images will be telling one of the most beautiful stories in your life.

A bride's advice: "Price is always manageable, so don't just hear a dollar amount and be turned off - in the end you will make it happen! :)"  - Sasha, to be married 07/14


4. Take your time, enjoy the ride, and get excited!

You are about to bind your heart and your life with someone you happen to be madly in love with. What a joy! And it's going to be PHOTOGRAPHED, to look back on and remember forever! How exciting!

Take your time finding the best photographer for you, who matches your style and matches your heart toward this glorious union.

Enjoy the process and getting to know a photographer or two; there are some really cool people out there who love telling photographic stories for a living. Have fun meeting them!


I'd love to hear from you. Is there anything you would like to add to this list?  Let's hear it in the comments below! Was it helpful? If so, share it using the buttons at the bottom. :) Happy Planning!


Oregon Wedding at Cedar Springs Country Estate | Kari Rae Photography, Portland Wedding Photographer

I was probably a little sweaty when I first met Amanda. In the middle of one of our hottest weddings last summer, she stood by her dear friend Jessica as a bridesmaid. This year, their roles were switched and I got to be there again! But not so sweaty this time, which is always nice. 

Amanda & Camron are so much fun, as was their wedding day. Thank you guys for having me be a part of your story; it's truly an honor. :)  Enjoy!

Thoughts on my 2nd Anniversary - We're just a big Piñata.

She turned out the lights that Sunday morning and walked down the hall to head home for the day. She caught me right before she headed downstairs and blurted out, "I just have to ask. Are you happy you did it?"

With a 2-year old on my hip, I stood outside the little boys' room and waited for our 4-year old to answer the call of nature. Our conversation was brief and interrupted... "Mooooommmy!!!" he yelled out from the bathroom stall. "My brudder can come in here, okay?!"

"It's alright, dude. I've got him. And I'm talking with somebody right now; so you just do what you need to do!" 

But as you know, that's not the conversation that was interrupted.  

Apologizing and turning back to her, I was honest.  

"Absolutely." I told her. I went on to explain that it's been reeaaaallllyyyy (deserving of all those extra letters) hard, but I'm happy we did it. Zach and I knew that it's what Jesus was calling us to, and knowing that we are living in obedience to the One True King makes it all worth it.


If you don't actually know what I'm talking about... my husband Zach and I took in two precious souls 8 months ago. You can read more about what led us to that point here, and hear some FAQs here. We "opened our hearts and our home" to love two brothers who desperately needed it.

As it turns out, I needed it too.  

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When the little misters came to live with us, we had been married for 1 year and 4 months. I had just passed my 23rd birthday, and Zach was 27. Our lives, as you might imagine, were flipped upside down, turned inside out, and shaken up like a good fresh orange juice right before you pour yourself a glass. It happened instantly. On March 1st, 2013 at 5:00pm.

We were "pregnant" with them for 5 days, as we were asked on Monday if we could take them, and on Friday we picked them up and moved them into our house....

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Flashback: The blindfold was over my eyes and the bat was in my hand. It was my turn to impress all my older brother's cute 2nd grade friends. This was my chance to be the hero of the birthday party, breaking open the greatest treasure any child could imagine. It was me against the piñata. And the piñata was going down.
Honestly, I don't remember what happened next. I probably didn't break it open, but I probably did get too much candy; and all was right in my world again.

Sometimes I think Zach and I are a whole lot more like a piñata than we are like an overly excited kid with a blindfold on. We look pretty good on the outside (thank you very much), but everyone knows, like it or not, that the outside is not going to last long. I think life might actually be more about our candy filling than our paper mache houses.

We've taken a lot of hits over the last 8 months; some from sleep deprivation, some from our full-time jobs, some from our busy schedules, some from our decreased time for friends, and some hits, quite literally, from little boys.

I'm starting to learn that my candy filling is where Jesus lives. And the more hits we take to break down our silly paper mache comfort zones, the more our candy comes out. And the more Jesus-y yumminess we can give to the world, the better. Right? 

Maybe, just maybe, that candy bursting out is His goal. Maybe that's why He chooses to let me have a scratched face from 4 year old fingernails, or a spinning head from trying to console a terribly inconsolable 2 year old, or a broken heart for a little man begging me to never let him go anywhere else; asking to stay with our family forever.

Here you go, sweet boys... take my heart's candy!
Please, dear ones... hold on to it tightly.

And know that when the world tries to break open your piñata, something is going to come out. I pray that you allow it to be Jesus' perfect and beautiful candy filling.

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Today, November 11, 2013, is Zach's and my second anniversary.  I whipped out our incredible wedding video (which you can watch too, right here)  to show our boys. They asked to watch it again. And again. And again. And then again; this time, complete with crazy kid dance moves.

While it played one more time, I went to the kitchen but overheard our 4 year old singing along and dancing. Then he yelled out, "THAT'S MY MOM AND DAD! THAT'S MY MOM AND DAD!" 

And it was clear to me. This little man, who has been part of our piñata-hitting team as well as our candy eating party, is proud of us. I asked him what he thought about us in the video, and he said "Good. That you feel good about each other, and you are happy." I asked him if he thought we were in love, "Yep. I just know."

Am I happy I did it? I think she was asking about my decision to become a foster mommy. I answered "Absolutely," and was talking about my decision to marry Zach. Two years ago, we committed  to love each other forever, for better & for worse. And because of that day, and every day since, these sweet boys who had never seen or known true, committed love....now know it fully. Between 'Mama Kari & Daddy Zach' and through our precious Savior, straight to their hearts. Praise the Lord for candy filling!

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