Lifestyle newborn photography ~ Forzley Family Downers Grove

Lifestyle newborn photography has my heart, I get really excited about going into new parents’ homes and photographing the candid moments in their environment.

Today’s blog post features Christina, Matt, and their newborn baby, Hannah, in those kinds of lifestyle, real-world images. It was a gift that I got to photograph this family and their story… grab a box of tissues and read on.

The session took place at their gorgeous home located in north Downers Grove, and the day was truly memorable. 

Christina and Matt’s story begins back in 2015 when they made the decision to start their family through adoption. They opted to go through, The Cradle, an agency out of Evanston that has been around since 1924. When they started, they thought they knew what we were in for, but they said they truly had no idea. The first two years were all paperwork, interviews, tests, classes and home visits. On top of that, they had to put their “book” together. This is the book that the birth mom’s review and ultimately decide to pick you from – no pressure, right? Lots of people are able to complete this portion of the process quicker, but it took them quite a bit of time to get it just right.

On April 27th, 2017 Christina and Matt completed all of their requirements, submitted their final book and officially got themselves on the waiting list. Once you’re on the waiting list, the agency tells you that the call can come at any time – and while that may be true for some, it wasn’t for them. In fact, it was a full year, almost to the day, before they got their first profile call.

For those who don’t know what that is, request for profile is when a child comes into the agency that matches your criteria and you match the mothers. When this happens, the agency sends you everything they know about the baby and family (which could be nearly nothing) and you have a few days to make a decision if you want to move forward or not. If you do choose to move forward, you are placed in a pool of about 5 families and the birth mom picks from that pool based on your book. Yes, it’s as stressful as it sounds.

Anyways, over the 20 months they waited, they were presented with 9 profiles. Of those 9, they opted to move forward with 5 of them. The first 4 they weren’t selected – –

On December 17th, 2018, Hannah was our lucky number 5.

Don’t you just love their nursery for Hannah? And you know there was so much love there based off the pictures alone! You can practically feel it through the screen! 

“We could live to be 500 years old and never experience a day like December 17th, 2018 ever again. We got Hannah’s profile on Friday, December 14th. To be perfectly honest, after 20 months and a lot of rejections, it was hard to get overly excited when a new profile came in as we were afraid of more rejection – but this one felt different. After taking the weekend to review and look everything over, we made the decision to move forward. Now remember, moving forward and saying yes only meant that you got in the pool to be presented. So on Monday morning, we both went to work like normal.” Matt works in the city and Christina as a teacher in Downers Grove. Upon getting into the office, Matt emailed our case worker at 8:52 with the following message:

Good morning. Christina and I have discussed with the necessary people and we feel comfortable moving forward. We’re very excited. Please let us know what timing looks like with presentations and what not as we know this is meant to move quick.

Thank you

At 9 am, 8 minutes later, Matt received a call on his cell phone from an Evanston number, and it went like this:

MF: Hi Kathy, how are you? Did you get my email

Kathy (caseworker: I did, and that’s why I’m calling.

MF: (silence – with heart in throat)

Kathy: Baby’s mom had certain criteria that she wanted in a family, and you and Christina met all of it. We didn’t present this profile to anybody else, but we wanted you to come to the decision on your own. I’m so excited to say, Merry Christmas – you can come get your daughter today!

MF: (Tears)

Kathy: Matt, are you still there???

MF (through the tears) Yes. Thank you! Let me call Christina.

Once Matt was able to collect himself, he called Christina who was at school in a class – so she wasn’t picking up her cell phone, so he had to call the main line. When Matt finally connected with Christina, she was in total shock. In fact, her first reaction was to laugh and say “I’ve gotta call you back, I’m in class right now.” Hilarious, right?

After we both finally got to speak and we were a little more coherent, we decided to tell our immediate family only, until we actually had her in our arms. Of course they burst into tears immediately over the phone. It was one of the coolest moments of our life.

“The only word to describe the next 3 hours is chaos. We needed to work out our arrangements with work, as we were both about to be absent for a pretty extended period of time. Once we worked through that, Matt had to take an Uber home, since express trains were no longer running back to Downers Grove.

In the car on the way home, Matt got a text from the case worker asking what name we were going with, as she needed it for the paperwork. Well, over the years, we had always talked about different names and had ones we liked, but we never sat down and said – if it’s a girl we’re going with this or a boy will be that. So…now we’re on the phone, with Christina in her classroom and Matt in a cab finalizing the name of our daughter. We both agreed we had a favorite, and at the same time we both said, “Hannah!” So that’s how we decided on her name.”

OK, so now Matt’s home and he realizes that he needs to install the car seat. For all those who have installed car seats before, doing it with 9 months notice is hard. Now imagine trying to do it 2 hours after you’ve just been told you’re getting your daughter before dinner. Let’s just say, it’s impossible. So Matt had to knock on the neighbors door, tell him what’s going on, and ask him for help installing the seat. So thanks to the neighbors, Hannah was able to get home safe.

By 2 pm we were in Evanston at the agency. By 6 pm, Hannah was home.

“Our favorite part of our session with Summer is how we instantly felt 100% comfortable with her – as if we’ve been friends for years. Summer completely captured everything we had hoped for, and in a way that allowed us to be ourselves and just enjoy. Christina made a comment early in the day that we’ve waited for this photo shoot for almost 7 years and how much she was looking forward to it. It met and exceeded all of our hopes.” To everyone reading this, THIS is why I do and love what I do. These are the clients that make my heart smile and I look forward to spending many more days together not only as photographer/client but as friends for years. I look forward to this with the Forzley family and their beautiful new baby girl.

Congrats on your growing family, Christina and Matt!

XO, Summer