Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cynicism Can Suck It: A week for the holidays

It's been a tough year. We've lost some amazing people in our newsroom to layoffs. We've seen storms and fires and today, yes, the end of one war whose effects will persist far into our future. But in the face of all of this, I am still deeply appreciative that I have a job as a newspaper photographer. My work day sometimes involves building relationships with people I never would have met otherwise. I'm never sure how long this dream will last-- that worry follows all of us these days-- but while it does, I'm going to love it.

I haven't been blogging in a while, but for the best reason; I'm in the middle of a story about a family in Park Place, Norfolk with a matriarch who is the same age as I am (31) with 6 children, and a newly adopted baby. The story has at its heart a Cynicism Can Suck It premise, though I'm working to be as thorough as I can be in my reporting, and not make it all about blind optimism.

I'll bring you a new photograph from this series for the rest of the week. It's ongoing, and I'll be working on it as long as I can.

The story: A few years ago, Portia Hyman moved her family back in to the house that she grew up in the Park Place neighborhood of Norfolk, and set about creating a home for her children. Recently, the family welcomed a new member: Daquan Collins who is now nearly five months old and was given up by his mother, a family friend suffering from addiction, right after he was born. He fits seamlessly into this family of six, surrounded by the love and attention of his extended family.

Portia dotes on Daquan. “I’m just showing this young man much love,” she says. “I’m giving him all the attention he needs, and he is just full of joy.

"When he's old enough, he deserves to know. His mother is sick. He'll understand. I'll raise him to be a good man. I took him because I knew he didn't have anybody. He just wants some love, that's all he asks for. His mother hasn't seen him since he was born. I look at him every night and think 'who wouldn’t want to be with him?' But I don’t judge. People take different paths, and I’m proud of the way I live my life. It was meant for me to move here. If I wasn’t here, didn’t have this home, he’d be in the system.

This is my life’s purpose: to raise my kids the right way. It’s not about me anymore. I have to make sure they go the right way.”


Sheila Johnson said...

what an amazing story! looking forward to seeing more.

Guy said...

he certainly does look happy and loved.

::: Eddie QuiƱones ::: said...

What an amazing woman.