Zayra (10), her sister, Caira (9), lived on D.C.’s streets with their mother until November 2017, when they were placed in the US foster care system.
Well past midnight one morning in March of 2018, Matt and Annie Wilcoxen learned of their girls’ brother, Christopher (4), over a phone call. Within 90 minutes, the boy showed up at their doorstop to live with them. The following summer, his sisters joined him. The couple adopted the girls in April of 2020, at the start of the pandemic. And after much delay due to the pandemic, Christopher legally and permanently joined the family on the 18th of December 2020.

COVID restrictions and closures presented setbacks in adoption processes across America. Simultaneously, the need for safe homes and relationships, permanent care, and a sense of belonging amid the pandemic is more important than ever. Upwards of 100,000 children in the foster care system await adoption today. The future remains uncertain for many.

1985. Jessie is a Washington, D.C.-based multimedia journalist from Atlanta, Georgia. It was 2006 while photographing her mother’s fight against a brain tumor and the physical and mental handicaps that came with it, that she witnessed how images can usher viewers into the lives of people in a way that is not possible through text. That is why today, Jessie is particularly interested in documenting the stories of marginalized, displaced, and underrepresented communities, from refugees fleeing their homes in the Middle East to America’s ongoing fight against racial injustices. She sees multimedia journalism as a window that can give voice to the unheard or suffering and shape a better way forward, from the geopolitical to social structures.


In 2016 and 2017, Jessie lived in Iraqi Kurdistan as a freelance photojournalist and worked with an organization documenting aid to the region’s displaced. In partnership with the Overseas Development Institute in London, in the spring of 2018, she and journalist Katy Long drove from San Francisco to New York City on a three-month documentary project called American Journeys, stories of a nation of immigrants

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lenses Used Most:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens