The Dream Village

I've been keeping a secret and I can't hold it in any longer. For you to fully understand, I have to take you back in time a bit...

When I was 14, my family adopted my brother, Trevor. I watched his birth mom make the selfless choice to give him a life she couldn't provide at the time. The emotions I witnessed on both sides of the story stuck with me. A few years later, my aunt and uncle adopted a baby boy. Then my parents welcomed a daughter from Haiti. After that, my aunt and uncle adopted a baby girl. And then my parents added another brother to the crew by adopting Titus from Haiti.

At this point, I was grown, married, and had 3 biological kids, but adoption had become a part of my DNA. I knew that I wanted to adopt one day and mentioned it to my midwife after the birth of my third child. Two years later, I had a voicemail from her: "Trisha, give me a call. I need to ask you something."

What she asked changed my life forever. "We have a young girl coming in the office. She's planning to give her baby up for adoption. Do you want him?"

The short version is that YES, we wanted him. Jayden's adoption was quick and very surreal. Within three months, I became mother to four little ones. From the moment he was born, Jayden was spunky and stubborn and ALL boy. I'll never forget the terrifying day I learned just how spunky he was. At three years old, he hid in the closet, struck a match, and started a fire that had covered my whole closet door by the time I got to him. Pulling him out of a burning closet with flames on both of us was the moment I KNEW unconditional love. That kid is just as much mine as my biological kids and the love I feel for him isn't any different. Adoption isn't a second-hand substitute for having biological kids. It's a divine, unexplainable calling that can't be denied. When you feel it, you KNOW.


Over the last several years, I've done everything I can to highlight adoptions. It's my purpose in this life. I've done photo shoots for adoptive families for free. I've traveled to do photos for Show Hope, an organization that gives grants to adoptive families. I've raised money to travel with adoptive families so I can document the moment when they meet their children for the first time. I've shared my story with anyone who wants to know what it's like to adopt.

But that isn't enough for me. I can do more. There's a better way... a way to create a movement that helps families fund their adoptions and provides a way for the documentation of more adoptions at NO COST to the families.

This is where my secret project, The Dream Village, was born. I've traveled extensively for the last 5-6 years and have been blessed to take photos at incredible places all over the world. When people started asking to buy my prints, I knew this was my solution. Not only will I sell my prints, but the profits will be used for GOOD.

When you buy a piece of art from The Dream Village you aren't just decorating your home or office. You're helping a family bring their child home. You're giving a family the gift of having the memories of their adoption documented forever. You're joining us in a movement where we encourage those in the adoption process, give hope to those who are waiting, and inspire those who feel the call but haven't made the commitment yet.

I've never sold my work this way before. I've made a living off of selling my service as a photographer and videographer. This idea came to me because I wanted a solution to a problem. I'm not trying to get rich off of this art. The profits from The Dream Village will go in two separate accounts... a travel account and a fundraising account. When purchases are made with a family's coupon code, 50% of the profit will go into the fundraising account to be paid to that family at the end of the month. The other 50% will go into the travel account. When there is enough money in the travel account, I'll choose a family from the applicants I've gotten and accompany them when they pick up their child. Maybe they aren't going overseas to adopt and just have a powerful adoption story they want documented. Wherever the story takes place, the travel account will be used to cover expenses associated with documenting adoption stories.

The Dream Village website will go live in just a few weeks and I need your help to share it. Post about it. Tag your friends. Comment and like! In the meantime, sign up here to be the first to know when the website goes live.

It takes a village to raise a child but it starts with ONE dream. This started as my dream. But now this is OUR dream--The Dream Village. Join the movement.

Bringing Vincent Home through Adoption

If adoption tugs at your heart, grab some tissues.

This adoption story will have you wiping your eyes. On May 8, 2017, the Hutchins Family boarded a bus with two other couples. There was a nervous excitement in the air. No one knew what to expect. The guide spoke on the bus ride while everyone listened intently.

"Sometimes the children attach to one parent. Sometimes it's the mom and sometimes it's the dad." Everyone on the bus hung onto every word Rita said. This was the day -- the day they would meet their children.

The expectant parents stepped off of the bus and into the waiting area. There was no way to know whose child would arrive first. Cody and Bree watched as 3 other children arrived and met their parents. Their anxious excitement was evident as they paced the room and tried to distract their minds by attending to Lucy and Landry.

And then, all of a sudden, he was there.

Vincent walked through the door rather timidly.

He was led by his orphanage director. The Hutchins family scrambled to get together.

"He's here! He's here!" Bree said excitedly to Landry. "Come on!"

They gathered around their quiet boy while the orphanage director showed him pictures in a book that had been sent to Vincent through another family a few months prior. She pointed to the photos of Cody and Bree and explained that they were his mom and dad. Then there was big brother and sister. Vincent looked up at them and no one was sure what his next move would be.

And then it happened.

Bree stretched out her arms for a hug and Vincent walked right into them. There was no fear -- just a little boy embracing the woman who would hold him forever... The woman he would call "Mom"... The woman who had waited for this day for entirely too long. Tears flowed as Vincent gave Cody a hug, too.

Vincent, an orphan for nearly four years, finally has a family to call his own.

You can watch the whole thing right here. If you like it, please share! There are 153 million orphans worldwide. If this video makes one person decide to adopt, it would make my heart SING!

Video shot by Trisha LaCoste and April Loyle. Edited by Trisha LaCoste.

I got to visit Vincent in Denver in August. He was so happy and always eating!


Photography Focus

I say work with what you've got. There are a lot of thing I'd like to buy... a few thousand dollars worth of lenses, a brand new computer with all the bells and whistles, some new stabilizers for videos. But what I've learned over the years is to make do with what I've got. You can have the best lens in the world but if you don't know how to use that camera, it won't make much difference to your work. Photography is more about the person behind the camera than the equipment in hand. I've been learning my equipment inside and out for the last few years. I've added a few reasonable things to my arsenal, but I keep getting better at using what I already have, too! Focus on your craft more than your equipment. Eventually, you'll be so good at what you do that you can charge whatever you want and buy all the things you've been dreaming about. Whatever you do, just keep shooting! :)


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Trisha LaCoste, China, Travel Photography, Travel, adoption

Vincent - An Adoption Story

Adoption has always been a part of my life... almost for as long as I can remember.

I have three adopted siblings, an adopted son, an adopted nephew, adopted cousins... the list is long. In 2014, April (my friend/business partner/sister from another mister) and I traveled to India to document an adoption and I made it a goal to travel as often as possible with families who are adopting. Adoption is so dear to my heart.

Let's rewind for a minute. I spent my first 9 years of life in a tiny town in northeast Ohio. Minerva was the home town of both my parents and it seemed like we were related to everyone! Bree was one of those relatives -- our grandparents were siblings. I moved off to Wisconsin and then later to Alabama so the last time I really remember seeing Bree we were somewhere around 8 or 9 years old. We may have crossed paths at some point after that but my memory is horrible.

Thank goodness for Facebook, right? Somewhere over the last 10 years, we became friends on Facebook. I watched from my corner of the world as she and her husband had a baby, adopted a daughter from China, moved to Denver, etc.

Then one day a little over a year ago, she messaged me. She and Cody were adopting from China again and she wondered about the possibility of me tagging along to document the day they would meet their son. Well... long story short... the details worked out and April and I went to China in May.

There is no way to describe the feelings involved in adoption.

It's something you just have to experience. Even if you're just a bystander, the emotions in the air are thick. It's heavy and happy all at the same time. An orphan is connecting to strangers he's never met. He's supposed to call them "Mom" and "Dad" but he's never even seen them in real life. He's about to leave everything he's known for a place he's never seen and every child responds differently. It was amazing to watch Vincent warm up so quickly.

Grab a tissue! Here is a glimpse of the days leading up to Vincent's "Gotcha Day" and the moments when Cody, Bree, Lucy, and Landry met Vincent for the first time.


*Tomorrow, I'll be posting a video of this emotional meeting. In the meantime, enjoy a quick trip through a Chinese adoption.

 George was our guide in Beijing.

 The Forbidden City    Lucy climbing The Great Wall          

After three days, we finally made it to the BIG DAY.


Photography Focus...

My go-to lenses are the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 and the Sigma 35mm ART 1.4, and I used them almost exclusively on this trip. I only pulled out my Canon 17-40mm 4.0 for a few landscape shots while climbing The Great Wall. When you take a trip like this you never know what kind of shooting conditions you'll face. Thankfully, years of photographing weddings in dark churches and reception halls has prepared me to think on my toes. The room where we waited for the children was bright and cheery with plenty of light so we had no lighting issues at all. Honestly, even if it was dark I would have chosen to shoot without flash and bump up my ISO. Sometimes shooting with flash ruins the mood of the photos. I'm a natural light photographer first and a "light creator" second.




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