Foster Care Awareness Month: Growing Families

Growing Families

For Foster Care Awareness Month in May 2018, Vic Klafter, who was an intern at the time and is now a community organizer for our Collective Impact Lincoln program, made a podcast about the state of foster care in Nebraska, specifically around the intersections of LGBTQ+ identities and foster care and the juvenile justice system and foster care. He had the opportunity to interview Taryn Retzlaff. Taryn, a high school teacher, and her wife Amber, a registered nurse, began fostering two children in 2015 who they then adopted in November of 2017. 

Building long-lasting relationships with our communities

At Nebraska Appleseed, we value the long-lasting relationships we build with folks who are impacted by the policy issues and solutions for which we advocate. Staying in touch and hearing about how life changes and evolves is one of the most meaningful parts of the way we seek to organize our communities. For Foster Care Awareness Month, we thought we’d share with our supporters a very exciting update from Taryn about the latest Retzlaff developments and to celebrate the incredible joy children bring to our lives whether fostered, adopted, or conceived via intrauterine insemination! 

Note: This is a guest blog from high school teacher and child welfare advocate, Taryn Retzlaff.

Exciting life update from the Retzlaff family

Taryn: A few years ago, Amber and I decided to work with a clinic in Omaha to fulfill a lifelong wish of hers — experience pregnancy and have a baby! With only half of one ovary left from a childhood oophorectomy, we were nervous but optimistic. The doctor’s we worked with were incredibly supportive and we fully made the plunge. But man — sperm, ultrasounds, and the overall intrauterine insemination (IUI) process were expensive to the tune of $3,500 a month! We gave up after three tries because we simply couldn’t afford to continue. Then, Eli and Raegan entered our lives via foster care and the next three years were a whirlwind of life and parenting! We felt blessed to have our kids in our lives and thought that’s all she wrote. But it wasn’t!  

Last Summer, after Amber and I returned from a trip to Greece and Italy with my Drama Club in July 2019, we started talking about pregnancy again. At 34 and 37 we weren’t getting any younger! We had both made several improvements in our lives and had decided to be more healthy overall. So back to our reproductive endocrinologist we went! We decided we would try it three times and if it didn’t happen, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be! It only took one time this go around. Amber had another IUI in September of 2019. Time inched by in the hellish two-week wait and then we were floored by the news — Amber was pregnant! This was confirmed by the ten or so pregnancy tests she took! I will forever smile when I think back to that moment. Her little half ovary that could, did! 

Sharing the big news with Eli and Rae

We waited until Thanksgiving to do a Thankfulness Wreath with Eli and Rae to announce the big news. We all put down things we were blessed and thankful for. At the very end, Amber wrote down, “Baby Retzlaff, Coming in June 2020!” The kids were floored! Eli started asking question after question and Raegan stood there with her mouth hanging open! It was awesome to see their expressions. We have worked together over the last several months to turn a bedroom into a nursery and do all the typical preparations. We are anxiously awaiting our son to make his appearance. 

Rae spends her time dancing, creating, drawing, and coloring. She is our extrovert and is an amazing teacher. She just finished Kindergarten and had a wonderful time and an excellent teacher. Eli wrapped up his 5th-grade year. He is our introvert and loves reading, creating, sports, and playing with Molly the Border Collie.  

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