The Silva’s are an amazing family. I struggle with just two kids, so I am just in awe of how easy they make it look to have seven children. Now photographing large families and groups is usually a struggle, as it is difficult to get everyone’s attention, get everyone situated where you want them, and so my tipis to do a pose, but then release some of them to play, and rotate them in and out of sitting in front of the camera. It also helped to be in a large, natural setting, so the kids could just play.
This is the first time the Silva’s have had a full family picture together. Not only do they have a large family, but their youngest son, Jack, has special needs. Jack has been struggling since he was 3 months old when he was just diagnosed with developmental delay. When he was just around 2 years old, he had not been feeling well. Something did not seem right, so around 8:00 in the morning his mom went up stairs to check on him, and he was completely unresponsive and covered in a cool sweat. She ran downstairs and called 911. After 2 weeks in the hospital and numerous tests, he was also diagnosed with a hormone defiency disorder and hypoglycemic. At the age of 3, he was officially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. They now have to give him daily injections of medicine and also pills to help regulate his system. He is followed closely by an endocrinologist to make sure all of his other organs are functioning properly due to the medicine. Jack struggles on a daily basis trying to do the everyday things that we can take for granted. He is now 5 years old and is still not walking, talking, potty trained or doing any self help skills on his own. He is also having severe behavioral problems which everyone believes is because of his lack of being able to communicate. This is where the daily struggle comes in with the whole family. It is very difficult to go out as a family due to his behavior. Jack is prone to pulling hair on anyone that gets close enough to him, He screams extremely loud when he is frustrated, which limits them being able to go to restaurants, movies, or other events that even involve the other kids activities. On a daily basis Jacks frustration is taken out mostly on his mom. In addition to therapy, they are also trying very hard to get him to be in more social situations, but unfortunately a lot of society does not seem to accept a child that is different. It is heartbreaking for his mother to hear remarks being made about him when we are out. It is also very hard on the rest of the kids. The parents never really go out because it is to hard to leave Jack with a sitter because of his behavior and also fear that he might have another non responsive episode. (He has since had 2 more since the first one when he was 2.)
As you can tell, the Silva family is a courageous, kind, and special family. I am honored to photograph such a family and thrilled that it was a good experience for everyone, including Jack, who didn’t scream at all during the session. I was also warned that I would have my hands full with their youngest daughter who actively hides from any and all cameras. LOL
But it was all worth it!
The above is my very favorite picture. I just love it. But the below is probably more representative of their real life:
And the couple who make it all possible: