this is the story of how the welsteads became a family : a don’t give up story

it’s difficult to know how to fill this blank blog page space with words that adequately describe the welsteads. we have had the privilege of photographing ben and renee before, sharing the don’t give up project with them, and sharing life with them. so it made it all the more powerful and humbling when they invited us to tell the story of the day they became parents – the day they adopted cora and ruby.

there is far too much we could say about these 4 and how inspired we are by who they are, but we thought we would just show you instead, since images are how we communicate best. this is the story of how ben and renee adopted two little girls, and how those two little girls filled their home with more joy than they ever imagined. this is the story of 4 people becoming a family, and a house finally becoming a home. this is a story that even amidst life’s twists and turns, heartbreak, and abandonment – joy, unconditional love, and family can be born.

ben, renee, cora, and ruby,
we love you all.
thank you for giving us the honor of sharing in this story.
don’t give up.

Monica Calderin - 04/24/2013 - 8:05 am

I was introduced to your work by a fellow photographer. I am officially a fan:) You’re storytelling and the way you capture it just beyond words…literally. You make me want to be better. Thank you.

Neale James - 11/05/2012 - 12:23 am

Okay, I have officially become a fan. This is beautiful. “They’re staying. The end.” It sums this piece up. Masterfully emotive.

Holly - 08/08/2012 - 12:50 pm

wow – amazing. congrats to this beautiful family!

Foster Mamalion - 04/18/2012 - 10:01 pm

Love it! What a beautiful way to show this story! Love it felt all the way though it.

Christina - 03/02/2012 - 9:50 am

To hear the words from her beautiful voice “i’m so excited!” grabs my heart and stops the world around me. What a gift that has been captured and can be replayed again, and again. I’m so grateful to have come across this story today. So incredibly touching.

elsa - 02/07/2012 - 3:41 pm

This is so incredibly moving.

amy - 01/29/2012 - 12:01 pm

this is why we go on after darkness, this is why we try harder, believe in each other…people like this. the purity of this love is astounding and palpable. their story was captured with such care and grace, as to do it justice. huge respect and thanks for being who you are and for sharing it with the world.

Kirsty NI - 01/27/2012 - 8:08 pm

I never thought at the age of 22 and a few months away from getting married that I would be told that I won’t be able to have the family I always wanted, and to have babies with the love of my life, to me their was no point, a failure to everyone including myself, the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason’ truly is a religion of its own, ur video has ignited a light of hope deep within my heart, I will be a mother one day, my baby could be out their now, we just have to find each other,

Thank you for your story

Jessica - 01/26/2012 - 1:16 pm

That piece left me breathless and speechless but full of hope! Thanks!

dustin - 01/24/2012 - 11:42 pm

whenever I feel I have lost the reason for story telling you bring me back, thank you

Philip Westfall - 01/24/2012 - 4:57 pm

Of course I would watch this in the college computer lab trying not to go into a full cry. that is such a wonderful, powerful story.

Amanda - 01/23/2012 - 10:06 pm


Nicole Hill - 01/20/2012 - 4:29 pm

I am bawling. You guys are really lovely story tellers and I aspire to be able to capture life the way you do.

serena - 01/20/2012 - 1:47 pm

your stories move and inspire me. thank you for sharing your gift with so many others who aspire to be great storytellers too :)

Danielle - 01/18/2012 - 7:52 pm

such a beautiful story.

Faren - 01/18/2012 - 7:04 pm

I’m speechless…the beauty you both capture is PRICELESS.

nate - 01/18/2012 - 11:52 am

i can’t even take it guys, your talent and passion for storytelling is inspiring beyond words.

becca spears - 01/18/2012 - 11:49 am

Welsteads, you are another example of people living a life that gives hints of a redeemed world. Your life and the story of your family is *such* an inspiration to me. And Parsons, you have an incredible gift for storytelling that is so much more than information. By your intuition with how you arrange all of the elements that you use, you pull us into such a deep experience of feeling. Wow, what an inspiration you are to me as artists, communicators, and human beings. :)
love, becca

erin h. - 01/18/2012 - 8:21 am

I’m crying happy tears. You told a simple love story in such a powerful way. Thank you.

Lisa Guerra - 01/18/2012 - 7:49 am

this is so beautifully captured, it’s almost indescribable… you have to see it to feel it’s greatness. parsons, thank you. thank you for that. welsteads, thank you for having open hearts. your lives are an open door pouring out God’s love.

shannon leith - 01/18/2012 - 2:46 am

thank you for doing work that matters. work that is meaningful. work that lights up the world in a way that makes it more lovely and more deep and more liveable and more alive.

sami dowd - 01/18/2012 - 1:48 am

parsons, i’m constantly inspired by your talent and love..not only the beautiful images/memories you capture but the incredible way you tell stories through your work.

Hannah Nicole - 01/18/2012 - 12:09 am

chills. I can’t stop crying. this is something beautiful. you are doing something good, Parsons. God is blessing you both (and your whole family) like crazy.

Renee Welstead - 01/17/2012 - 11:44 pm

We’re proud of you as artists, thank you for what you have done for us.

Elizabeth Chaffee - 01/17/2012 - 7:32 pm

brave. beautiful. joyful.

michelle - 01/17/2012 - 7:08 pm

Beautiful family, beautiful story, beautiful Parsons photography! This is your amazing gift, Parsons. Thanks for sharing this story… made me want to be an adoption judge! Tears and joy! All the best to the amazing Welsteads!

Anna - 01/17/2012 - 6:16 pm

Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t even find the words to describe how much I love this. And you both. What a beautiful family, inside and out. Tears, tears, tears…

Rebecca - 01/17/2012 - 3:17 pm

Absolutely gorgeous and so moving. Congrats, Welsteads, on your beautiful family. We are so happy for all four of you.

Lyndzee Ellsworth - 01/17/2012 - 2:51 pm

So inspiring. Love you guys.

Jayme - 01/17/2012 - 1:58 pm

So beautiful! I captured an adoption one time and it was the most amazing thing I have witnessed. You did a beautiful job documenting this for them. Thank you for sharing!

Sarah Robertson - 01/17/2012 - 1:03 pm

Welsteads, that IS what your story is supposed to be! Parsons, I love love love what you are doing for adoption. it *needs* to be a DGU story! no matter what.

krystal - 01/17/2012 - 12:52 pm

this is gorgeous.

sally - 01/17/2012 - 12:24 pm

these stories that you document and share inspire me daily. thank you.

Taylor (Da Intern) - 01/17/2012 - 11:57 am

holy crap. hoooollly crap you guys are beautiful storytellers. thank you God for this family and your talent to tell their story.

Keaton - 01/17/2012 - 11:45 am

I can’t get over how much I love this video. :) Gaaah, such a beautiful story. Thank you.

Kelly - 01/17/2012 - 11:29 am

Beautiful story. There is so much power in reality. Thanks for proving that, once again.

Michelle - 01/17/2012 - 11:27 am

So beautiful. Thank you for capturing their story and thank you to the Welsteads for sharing it.

rah rah - 01/17/2012 - 11:01 am

“it happened because that’s the way it was supposed to be.”
powerful and moving and SO MANY TEARS IN MY EYES RIGHT NOW.
what a road.

Rosina - 01/17/2012 - 10:46 am


to ben, renee, cora & ruby: this is a beautiful story. wishing you joy, peace, happiness…above all, love. x’s

Heather - 01/17/2012 - 9:57 am

So beautiful and so beautifully captured.

Ruth - 01/17/2012 - 9:37 am

so blessed by you all. Yah for a beautiful story.

Jenae - 01/17/2012 - 9:03 am

Seriously!!! So Amazing! Love this journey. What a beautiful capture. Powerful.

Josh - 01/17/2012 - 12:20 am

“They’re happy tears.” wow. Powerful & beautiful.