Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guest Post; Preemie Prints Offers Families with Preemies Hope

We are an organization sharing hope and supporting tiny lives. Preemie Prints began 3 years ago with an idea. A spark, actually, from the Holy Spirit! After many prayers a decision was made to start an organization in Bryan College Station to offer support to families who had babies born prematurely or critically ill.
 With trust in the Lord and a passion to support families traveling this difficult road, we began our journey, hosting support group meetings and giving no-charge photo sessions for families in the NICU. About a year later we added sewing meetings and started donating needed items to our local NICUS. At first the only photographer was myself. Three years later we have over 75 photographers nationwide and have gifted close to 300 sessions to families. It's a beautiful thing!
 Our local support group meetings continue in Bryan College Station, and we continue to donate positioning devices for premature infants, colorful giraffes to bring joy to families, and much more on a monthly basis. I want to focus on our photography and prayer outreach with you today. We have an amazing community praying for preemies and babies born critically ill every day. We are always here to pray for those walking in these shoes. On our website you will find a prayer request form and anyone can email me directly anytime at amber@preemieprints.org to submit prayer requests. 
Why NICU Photography? For me personally photographs in the NICU gave me something tangible to hold and look at every day I was at home without my babies. Photographs helped me cope with the experience and helped me to heal afterwards. To this day I treasure those photos of my girls in the NICU, because it brings back an incredible part of my life. One filled with unexplainable faith in the Lord's plan, hope, and the ultimate love - the love you have for your children. 
I was blessed to bring my girls home. Their NICU pictures hang in their room to this day. They know how they fought to be here. Many families will face a different ending one in which they do not bring their child home and in this situation photographs are all the more sacred. I've had so many NICU families, each with their own individual journey, thank us for this gift. 
Through our volunteers, now over 75, we give a family at no cost, a professional photography session and a disk with a minimum of 25 photos that the family is free to print from (however many at whatever size). Our sessions are generally lifestyle sessions in the NICU. Photographing the babies, their surrounding, and the mom and dad naturally interacting with their little one. Some of our volunteers do offer more of portrait style session for graduates. In addition to our NICU photography we offer NICU graduate photography up to a baby's 1st Birthday.
 It is the family's choice weather they would like photographs in the NICU or once their baby is home. In more critical cases we always recommend inside the NICU. No family will know how their journey will end and in many cases in never truly does. We are here at any point between a baby's birth and their 1st birthday to provide a Preemie Prints Photo Session at no charge, it is our gift. It is our way of capturing proof of a miracle and letting families know they are not alone. It is our way to help a family always remember the strength they had together in overcoming a crisis. It is our way to celebrate God's gift of life. 

I continue to put this organization in the Lord's hands. He created it and He will lead us to families. We are only hands doing His work. I'm personally reaching out to other friends in the community to try and spread the word about our organization and ministry, so that we can reach more NICU families. A Family can visit www.preemieprints.org and click on "Program Service Areas". There they will find a map searchable by zip code and city. The request form can also be found on our site, along with inspiration and more online support. We also have a Facebook page with lots of information and inspiration that can be found here https://www.facebook.com/preemieprints
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