Sometimes it’s easy for me to see beautiful homes online and assume that those spaces belong to people without longing, grief or sadness. The photos are perfect and thus, their lives must be too. Objectively, I know that’s not true of my own life and other lives of the D*S team — that a pretty home doesn’t equal an easy life — but sometimes, it feels true, doesn’t it? If you were to just look at the photos of Natalie and Dan’s home, you might be tempted by the bright colors, fun patterns and lovely artwork to think that the last four years of their lives were fairly commonplace for an emergency room physician (Dan) and a social worker (Natalie) in middle America. But life is just settling down and getting “normal” for the first time as a family of five.
After getting married and living in a 2-bedroom apartment in Midtown Indianapolis, IN, Natalie and Dan started the international adoption process. They were matched with twin baby boys from a country in Central Africa and were told Theo and Elliot would be in their home within the year — but shortly after, adoptions from the boys’ birth country were put on hold indefinitely. The baby boys grew into toddlers and then kids without ever having met Natalie and Dan in person. During this time, Natalie and Dan were contacted to adopt a newborn domestically. “We brought Milo home in February 2015. We moved to our current home in November 2015. We were here a few months when we were told that at long last, Theo and Elliot were approved to come to the United States and into our home… three-and-a-half years after we started the process,” Natalie shares. “They landed in Chicago in March 2016. It was one of the best days ever. We grew from a family of two to a family of five in 13 months!”
When it was still just the two of them, they started looking for a house in the Midtown neighborhood of Indianapolis. The neighborhood had been changing drastically as rundown houses were being purchased and rehabilitated by development companies. A single-story house that the Dan and Natalie had driven by several times was being turned into a 2-story home with completely new curb appeal. When they toured it, the inside was just as much of an improvement. “We saw it twice — once while still very much in progress and once when complete. We put an offer in immediately and bought our house before Dan officially had a job. As spiritual people, we had a strong and hopefully-not-too-foolish belief that God would provide. He did,” Natalie says. “Many of the homes in our area are either fully renovated like ours or in need of a lot of repairs. Most of the fully renovated homes were well outside of what we could afford. Though as dreamers, we loved the idea of renovating a house with good bones on a great lot, we knew as new parents to three kids we wouldn’t have the time. We wanted something already set up well, so we could devote ourselves to helping our little men feel secure and comfortable.”
Natalie and Dan and their three sons have turned what Natalie describes as “a little bit cookie-cutter” into a home full of life and interest. Natalie has decorated their space with color in furniture, rugs, art and textiles. Their home boasts a mix of bold colors and patterns while maintaining a modern and clutter-free feel. “We have been striving to minimize excess since before Milo joined our family. All the items that kids require can get to be chaotic, so we’ve pared down our own things a lot,” Natalie says. “We are big believers that fewer things can create a happier life. We’ve seen it affect our moods and the moods of our kids, too. We wanted to create a bright, light, simple, comfortable, colorful space enjoyable for us as adults and for our kids… the kind of space that can become a spaceship with alligators and superheroes during the day and a cozy retreat for reading and catching up on our favorite TV shows at night.” It’s a playful and peaceful space perfect for this new family of five to grow into. –Lauren