Remember when I put in my goals to blog more personally? Welp this is about as personal as it gets–it’s long and it’s a doozy, but it’s also the biggest thing to happen in our life since we got married. So if you’re not into that, I suggest closing this window now.
So probably the quickest thing you’ll learn about me–aside from being a giant of course–is that I love babies. Like looooooove them. Like swooning at every little chub I see being carried up the communion line at church, getting misty-eyed at every Facebook birth announcement, smiling at every toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the mall kind of love. I have dreamed of being a mom since I could remember. I’ve always wanted to have a bunch of kids and luckily I married a man who felt the same. So it wasn’t long after we got married that we decided we wanted to start our family. Now when you’re young and thinking of having kids in the future, or when you’re just married and you decide you’re ready, you just assume you’ll be able to get pregnant as soon as you want to. And when you come from huge families like ours where babies get popped out faster than a pez dispenser, it’s more of a foregone conclusion–I’ll get pregnant. So we started trying. Four months went by with no luck–which I know is not very long, but you should know by now that I am a control freak and patience is a virtue that I am sorely lacking in. So in my typical Mrs. Fix-It attitude, I started reading fertility books and started tracking my cycle. Four months later I could see a clear problem and (after more research) knew it would need some medical attention to be remedied. So I found a doctor, got her first available appointment six weeks out, had to cancel that appointment because we moved, broke down crying to the nurse on the phone when she said the next appointment was eight weeks out, and bless her heart she found one three weeks away.
Now in the five years Liam and I have been together talking about our future, the word infertility never crossed our minds before this. But in the weeks and even months before this appointment it was absolutely burned into my brain. I n f e r t i l i t y. It’s such a daunting, ugly, demoralizing word. It gives way to fears you never knew before, and trust me I felt every one. I’d go from hoping it’d be an easy fix, to being sure we were in the worst case Monica-and-Chandler type of scenario in the span of a day. So I went into this appointment with waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too many expectations. She was going to go through my charts and see exactly what I was seeing and give me my next step. She was going to do some blood work or take an ultrasound to at least calm my fears of being barren. She was going to do something. Instead I got a 20 minute appointment where she glanced at my first chart for 3.5 seconds, and kept telling me how young I was and how it can take up to a year of trying to get pregnant and I should come back in a few months. Now in the absolutely perfect words of my incredible rock of a cousin “I mean yea the average woman tries for a year with no success and then gets tested. But women in our family get pregnant if you whisper sex in their ear. So if it’s not happening it’s not happening for a reason!” (Seriously, we are like a shared mind with stuff like this and this crazy year would have been so much harder without her to be my sounding board.) So disappointed doesn’t even cover my emotions leaving that office. I was frustrated, let down, pissed off, and exhausted. I needed a break and Liam agreed. So I stopped charting, and I turned to God more than I had in a long time. I asked him to guide us. I asked him to show me a sign for where he was planning to take us next. And, of course, he did.
One night in December I got a random friend request from a girl I’ve never met. Obviously in our usual intrusive Facebook assisted ways I looked over her profile and ended up on her blog. Turns out she is a photographer in the area too and she does absolutely gorgeous work (we’ll get to that later). But even more important than that she is beautifully, brilliantly, candidly devoted to God. Her words inspired me in an instant, then my eyes drifted over to the left (admittedly caught by the words “Jennifer Lawrence”–at this point I know this girl is pretty cool) and then I see that she is NINETEEN YEARS OLD. MIND. BLOWN. I wish I had been so put together and self-aware when I was 19. I wish I had been as confident and vocal about my faith as she is at that age. Heck I wish I were as confident and vocal about my faith now, and I turn 24 today. I stayed up till 2 am reading her blog, completely enthralled in her story about spending her summer in Guatemala working with infants and toddlers at an orphanage, and it was honestly revelation after revelation. And suddenly, boom the words pop into my head–foster care. We talked about it while we were dating in a “wouldn’t that be a cool thing to do” kind of way. Then we talked about it again shortly after moving up here and thought “Man, this is something we really have to do once we have our own kids.” (See there’s that assumption that we’d be totally fine.) I went up to bed that night, kissed Liam goodnight–obviously the old fart was already asleep–and told him I knew where we were headed. The next day at church I told him I wanted to become foster parents. His reply: “Okay.” I then knelt down and thanked God for this man.
Now this is not to say we will not continue trying to have a biological child. Obviously I need to find a doctor who I am more comfortable with and we need to have further testing done. But right now, this is the road we feel God has put us down, and we are thrilled to be walking faithfully down it. It just seems like the doors have been opened for us. Our friends and family have been so supportive. We squeezed into an earlier training session that wasn’t full yet thanks to a snowstorm (that’s about the only thing I have to thank the snow for lately), so we finished that up last week. It was awful at times but awesome more often, and we finished even more enthusiastic about the process than we had started. And today we met with our social worker to go over the paperwork and home study process. She is absolutely wonderful, as is every person we have met so far. I could not have picked a better way to start off my birthday. This is the year we become parents. This is the year I become a mom.
Now the girl whose blog I read: she posted in January looking for newlyweds to take pictures of. I volunteered us and told her my crazy story and we became fast friends. The day before our first foster care meeting we met her at a park and she took some of my absolute favorite pictures…like ever…like right up there with my wedding photos. And I’m so glad we have them because this is the day before our life changed, when we went from newlyweds to starting our family. It’s not the typical announcement. There is no ultrasound, no due date. But it’s us. It’s our story. So without further ado I give you Ellie Be Photography.
Now before you go thinking that this was a completely personal post that had nothing to do with Taryn Marie Photography, let me tell you it has e v e r y t h i n g to do with it. I have been led in this wonderful new direction and I’m taking my business with me. The details of that however are for another post at another time. For now, I am off to continue this wonderful week of birthday celebrations! Until next time!