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Faces:  Hannah Green

Places:  Mahomet, IL

Oh my!:  A senior portrait shoot and interview with lifelong friend

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I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite pictures.  But unfortunately, I can’t claim it as my own.  I can say, however, that I used to babysit each one of these lucky kids!  Today’s post will be featuring the lovely young lady on the top right hand corner, Hannah.  (The adorable boy is my studly brother, and the baby is Hannah’s darling sister.)

Hannah is my mom’s best friend’s daughter.  We grew up together, or as she explains, I “raised” her.  We spent many a day/ night together as a babysitting duo, and to this day we are friends.  This past December, Hannah graduated from high school as early as she possibly could and embarked on an adventure to England before starting her undergraduate studies at Parkland College.  As a very unique individual, we wanted to capture some senior photos that differed from the average cheesy-smiled, cross-armed portrait.  Of course, we had to have some traditionals to please the crowd like,

Hannah smiling:

Hannah looking pretty:

and Hannah with her favorite books:

But we were sure to capture some portraits that said something more than, “Look at what a cute high schooler I was!”  We wanted to tell more of a story of what Hannah’s life was like in high school.  So we added a few more–none of which we printed as wallets, but they’re fun for the record…

How Hannah felt about high school:

What Hannah did in her spare time (just kidding!):

How Indie-Awesome she was:

Aaaand what a dork she REALLY was (Hipster dork, that is):

I did a little interview with Hannah to find out more about what is behind that beautiful smile of hers, and we touched on all sorts of great topics like her time in England, her goals for the future, and what it was like being raised by adoptive parents. Read on for a sneak peak into Hannah’s life:

Q:  You recently went on a trip to England.  Tell me more about the trip.

A: I graduated early in hopes to make a difference in the lives of others.  But really, I was the one who changed; those around me helped me, rather than the other way around.

I was in Derby England, in a lower-income neighborhood with mostly Pakistani people and a few Roma Gypsies. I lived with the Adams family, friends of a family I am very close with. I did everything from working in a school, having weekly lunches with Pakistani people I met, to hanging out in a homeless shelter for teenagers.

Q:  How did living abroad for two months challenge your perspective?

A: As a religiously raised person, I was challenged, more so than anything, to take a step back from most of the things I had learned in church growing up.  I had to figure out what I believed, rather than what those teaching me believed.  During this time, my world view and religious views truly became my own. (Not that I have everything figured out by any means). I saw that the Muslims I met were some of the most dedicated, faith-filled people I had ever met, so it was such an inspiration and wake up call for me.

Q:  What things did you come to appreciate about the States after experiencing life in another country?

A: FOOD!  We have such good food in America; not that other places don’t, but in the States, you can pretty much get it all.  I also came to appreciate my close friends and family. I plan on seeing the world after college (and for the rest of my life), so two months away really made me realize that I need to appreciate every moment I get to spend with them.

Q:  Do you recommend international travel to people your age?

A: Yes!  And I recommend always keeping an open mind. Don’t ever think you have the right to judge other people’s cultures or ways of life; you are not doing things the “right” way, just a different way.

Q:  What are you studying in college?

A: I am studying Sociology, and I plan on using my degree in some sort of humanitarian, non-profit organization.

Q:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: In the next five years, I’d like to move out somewhere on the East coast. I assume I will go to grad school, but I may take a break in between college and grad school to teach English in another country. I’d like to have gone on many more adventures between now and then.  Hopefully, I’ll have some sort of organization in mind that I’d like to be working for–or even starting my own organization–who knows!?

Q:  In 10?

A: I’d like to have my graduate degree and be working for a non-profit, possibly doing something to prevent human trafficking. I plan to be traveling a lot, as I am sure my wanderlust will still be a huge part of my life.  Also, I’ll be 28, so hopefully an engagement ring, although, I have a feeling it will be a challenge finding someone who wants the same life as me; so we’ll see about that last one.

Q:  You were adopted as a baby by two very loving parents.  How do you feel growing up as an adopted child differs from those who are raised by their biological parents?

A: I feel that there aren’t too many differences.  Sometimes I even forget that I’m adopted, and then I’ll be like, “Oh, weird!”  But for the most part, my parents were the same as many other parents that I know.

Q:  What are some of the struggles or challenges you’ve faced as an adoptee?

A: Growing up was tough. For a long time, I had the idea in my head that if the two people who created me didn’t want me, who else would? Thinking that for so long really messed up my way of thinking, as well as my self-esteem.  It ruined many of my relationships because I thought that no one actually liked me and that I was a burden on everyone.

Also, in terms of Evangelical Christianity, the faith in which I was raised, hearing that sex is the worst sin a teenager could possibly commit really hurt me because it made me feel that my very birth was the result of “sin.”

Q:  What is the most important thing you have learned in your 18 years of life?

A: Oh man.  To just be myself.  That sounds so cliche, but really, I’m persistent and have a hard time taking no for an answer.  So if I’m myself, I get stuff done and provide opportunities for myself. It also makes my friendships more legitimate because I never pretend to be something that I am not.

Well, that’s it, folks, Hannah on traveling, her life, and adoption.  Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about my dear friend, and best wishes to all of your future endeavors, Hannah!

If you know Hannah and like her as much as I do, feel free to leave a comment or story about her.

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