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What Is Family?

This family. THIS FAMILY. I wish I could pour out how much these humans actually mean to me. But words will most certainly fail to describe the profound impact they have made on me. They made me stronger, they’ve enlightened me to social sensitives, they challenged me to live better, and they’ve helped me realize how I’ve been created for so much more. But more than anything, Chris and Nia have given me a reason to dislike the dreaded question “when are YOU having kids…”

I can’t stand this question to be frank. Over the past few years I’ve been touched by multiple nontraditional families. Families that are full and vibrant in their own ways! Families made capable in a lab, families who’ve suffered tremendous loss, families who are made up of different DNA. But at the end of the day they are still families. Regardless of how they came to be or how many there are. God writes the most magical stories for each of us. And I believe He knows my story and He goes before me in all things. He knows my past, my present, and my future. And for some peoples future a traditional “family” isn’t in that story, and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed. It doesn’t mean our lives will be any less full. It doesn’t mean that opportunities still won’t present themselves if we’re willing to pivot. I have a family and I’m happy. I don’t need a child to make me feel any more complete. I will not be defined but what I’m able to create or not create. If it is in His plan for us, then we will happily abide. But either way we should stop asking or assuming it’s what everyone wants and better yet, it’s even possible.

For Chris and Nia, they fought hard for their family. They mentally, emotionally, and physically FOUGHT for these two incredible lives. Heck I even helped administer an injection in their 1st go at IVF! But I believe this is God’s will for their family, because through their joy and pain they have touched so many lives. Nia has stepped out boldly to talk about things that are uncomfortable as a mother, as a daughter, and as a wife. She’s giving other mom’s, moms-to-be, and moms-who-want-to-be hope when they feel despair.

Making a family isn’t easy. Period. We’ve created a social culture that says if you can’t or don’t want a family, then you don’t fit the mold. Well I challenge this! (shocking right?) And I say: Those who feel called to single-hood, you do you, and embrace this calling. Those who feel called to married life, you do you, and give it all you got. And those who feel called to a life with kids, you do you, and do it well. All of you are a story and All of you have worth. Let’s be grateful for what we have in this life!

And sometimes what we have is a crazy friend with a camera who asks you to chase a sunset, in a sketch location, while wearing a beautiful red dress and floral crown. Nia, I treasure our friendship and our love of tasty booze. Never change. Motherhood looks radiant on you.

Want to know more about Chris and Nia’s IVF journey?

Check out Nia’s blog at

#JillCarenPhoto #KansasCityPhotographer #LifestyleSession #FamilyPhotographer

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