Our Story

Even though we both grew up in Bountiful, Utah and went to Bountiful High School (Karina graduated in 2014, Ryan graduated in 2013), we didn’t meet each other until June of 2016.  Our younger siblings claim that they put in motion the plan that ultimately led us to meeting for the first time, but we credit our mothers with doing the “dirty work”.  The dirty work, in this case, was the phone number exchange, leading to Ryan sending Karina a text that shaped both our destinies.

Our first date was on a warm summer night, June 25th to be exact, to get frozen yogurt.  From the first moment we met, things just clicked.  Ryan was charming and easy to talk to, Karina was beautiful, happy, and fun to spend time with.  We talked for at least an hour after getting froyo and enjoyed every second.  Karina’s trip to an Argentine zoo to pet lions and tigers was a definite highlight of our conversation, and something that stands out to this day.

When Monday came around, we decided to go out a second time, this time to play mini golf.  From there on out, we spent time together as much as possible. Going on walks, going out for shaved ice, hanging out with family – it was an awesome summer.

Karina then left in the fall to attend Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, while Ryan remained in Bountiful to start college at BYU’s Salt Lake campus.  We talked everyday and spent time together on the weekends, ultimately deciding to get married in May of 2017.  Ryan officially proposed on March 2nd, 2017, at one of our favorite places – the park.

The 11th of May seemed to come slower than molasses moving up a hill, making our wedding day even more special and highly anticipated.  We were married in the Salt Lake Temple, a day that neither of us will ever forget.

Since then, we’ve graduated from Snow College, moved from Ephraim to Orem, and are now working while finishing school (for Ryan, a degree in digital marketing from UVU; for Karina, an education degree from WGU).  Being active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been a source of peace, comfort, and stability during the various challenges and trials we’ve faced.  We’re grateful to God everyday for the blessings He’s given and trust Him to lead us through the obstacles we’ll face in the future.

We both feel incredibly blessed to have met each other.  Marriage isn’t without its challenges but we wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Knowing we have the opportunity to adopt children and expand our family of two is both humbling and exciting.

What We Love to Do

We enjoy watching movies and TV shows (we especially enjoy going to the movie theater), playing card games (Karina wins these games) and strategy board games (Ryan wins these ones), going for drives and walks, cooking and baking, reading, and just spending time together.

We also love to travel and sightsee, though we don’t get to do this as much as we’d like. One goal of ours is to visit every state in the USA, take a trip to Europe, and visit Argentina where Karina served her mission.

Why Adoption

We have known that adoption would be the path to having a family of our own since early on in our relationship.  The primary reason for this is a health issue that prevents Karina from being able to have children.  This trial has been incredibly challenging for the both of us but has brought us closer together and deepened our desire to have a family.

Another reason we want to adopt is simple: we love children and want to have a family.  It’s something both of us have always wanted.  Though we are focused on adopting our first right now, we have plans to adopt other children in the future and grow our family.

About Karina (by Ryan)

Karina is the most genuine, caring, truly kind person I know.

She’s the oldest of 4 children and has gone through her fair share of adversity.  At only the age of 4, she had open heart surgery to repair holes in her heart. When she was 7, her youngest and only brother Kazen passed away.  And then at the age of 12, she was diagnosed with a health issue that would prevent her from having children of her own.

Karina has persevered through these challenges with determination, optimism, and a passion for life that simply amazes me.  To this day, Karina faces challenges with a level of grit that inspires me to work harder and be better.  No bout of depression or anxiety seems to hold her back for long.

If it were up to Karina, she would spend each and every day snuggled up under a blanket, reading a book or watching her favorite TV shows and movies.  Her dream in life is to be a mom and a teacher; I think she’ll be incredible at both.

Karina’s passion for life can translate to stubbornness that matches my own.  She’s not the fighting type and usually lets silence be the sign that something isn’t right.  At the end of the day, she’s a willing listener, a kind-hearted forgiver, and a loyal partner.

A few other things you might want to know about Karina:

  • Her favorite ice cream is none other than Farr’s mint chocolate chip.
  • We have four, 6’ bookshelves in our apartment; 85% of the books on those shelves are hers.
  • She served an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She’s a huge fan of all things Argentina, and can’t wait to visit again.

About Ryan (by Karina)

Ryan is my handsome superhero.  He does so much for the two of us to make getting out the door for work easy, putting food on the table (literally and figuratively-he’s the better cook), and he definitely makes life entertaining.  He makes me laugh everyday by being himself and purposely trying to make me laugh.

He loves to keep busy.  He works very hard at his job and still enjoys coming home to create and design things just for fun.  He loves to watch basketball and football. He loves to take walks and also go for runs.  He is stubborn, just like me, it’s a wonder we ever move forward with decisions.  He has a sweet tooth and loves candy.

Our Families

We thought it would be fun to share more about our families.

Ryan has 4 brothers – two older, two younger.  His parents were divorced when he was three years old, and he primarily grew up with his dad and stepmom in Bountiful, Utah.  His dad and stepmom currently live in Alaska while his dad works as a cardiologist for the Alaska Heart Institute; his mom and stepdad, who he is also very close with, live in Bluffdale, Utah.  He’s close with each of his 4 brothers and enjoys spending time with them whenever he can.

Karina has 3 siblings – two younger sisters and one younger brother.  She grew up down the street from her grandma and grandpa, who have also played a significant role in her life.  Her younger brother Kazen passed away in 2003 at the age of 2.  Her younger sister and brother-in-law recently had a baby boy, who Karina (and the whole family) adore beyond belief.  Her parents live in Bountiful, Utah.

Closing Thoughts

Simply put, we’re incredibly excited to adopt.  Though we’re nervous about being first-time parents (who isn’t), we can’t wait to bring a child into our lives and give them the best life we possibly can.  We’re fortunate to have incredibly supportive family, friends, and neighbors and know our child will be loved beyond comprehension.

To learn more about Karina and Ryan contact CSS at tara@cssutah.org
or call/text 801-656-8527.