Defining Your Family Unit

"What your grandfather didn't understand is that strength comes in different disguises. It does not always ride a mighty horse or wield a shiny sword. Sometimes we have to be like a riverbank, twisting and turning along with the earth, withstanding swells and currents. Enduring."
-Orhan's Inheritance

These days I most often photograph births or families with young kids. But it is not just those who have kids who are a family. When two people come together and decide to get married, they are also creating a new family unit for themselves. A family unit that has not yet been, and in that new family there are difficult decisions that have to be made. Decisions that people outside the family unit don't always understand or agree with. 

It can be tough to tell your extended family and friends that you have decided to move your family unit to another country, far away from them. Or that you won't be joining them for a holiday event because it is more important for your family unit to create their own new tradition together. Or that you are choosing to marry a spouse or adopt a child from a culture that is not your own. Or that you are choosing to give birth to your biological child in the comfort of your home instead of the medical environment of a hospital. Or perhaps that you don't want to have kids at all even though your parents always saw themselves becoming grandparents some day.

Being an adult and making decisions that are right for you, even if they seem wrong to those you love, always hurts and feels isolating. But to choose otherwise would be a lie and a betrayal to yourself. 

These two have had to walk through so much heartache in their young lives. But they keep choosing what is right for them, and in the meantime a beautiful bond between them grows stronger and stronger. Together they founded The Sakina Mission to tell the heartbreaking and life-altering stories of people across the world. As a team they are photographer and videographer, and both are true storytellers and artists at their core. If you go to their website you will immediately understand how deep their hearts go. 

You can also see their individual work as photographer and film maker here:
Kadi Tiede
Laura Nickel

I would love to hear from you in the comments: what hard choices have you made in order to define your family unit?