A life fulfilled doesn’t always look the way you imagine it. For some, a life fulfilled looks like a traditional family in a house with a white picket fence. For others, it looks like fame and fortune. For many, a life fulfilled comes most unexpectedly — and to the outside world, it may even seem like you’re settling.
Sometimes the life you imagine for yourself isn’t always what you get; but sometimes, it’s even better. For Jourdan and Solomon, this was the case. A life fulfilled for them looks like meeting outside a club in Houston. It looks like moving in together earlier than expected. It looks like moving states only a couple of months after being married. It looks like accidentally becoming an influencer fitness couple. It looks like experiencing infertility and adopting earlier than planned. It looks like getting scammed during their first attempt adopting. It looks like finally getting the baby boy they’ve hoped for.
For Jourdan and Solomon, a life fulfilled is one they didn’t expect at all. This is their story.
Jourdan never expected to be a photographer. She originally hoped to be a photojournalist, and photography was merely a way to enhance her credibility in getting a job at a publication. It was only after she continued to dive into photography more she realized she really liked it.
As she pursued photography, she moved back to Houston to capture the nightlife scene. One fateful night in 2010 when Jourdan was acting as a designated driver for her sister and a co-worker, she stood outside of a club in Houston and saw her future husband for the first time.
“I was helping the girl find a bathroom, and I saw Solomon coming down the street, but he didn’t know I saw him first,” Jourdan remembers. “It was definitely something because I saw him and was like, ‘Yeah, I like that one.’”
After exchanging numbers that night, the two continued to date and were inseparable, seeing each other most days out of the week. However, when Jourdan’s mother got sick, Jourdan and her sister had to break their lease and planned to move in with their mother to help with rent. When Jourdan’s mother decided to move back to California instead, the apartment had already been rented out to someone else.
Solomon stepped in and invited Jourdan to move in with him for the time being. Reluctantly, Jourdan agreed, even though they had only been dating for a few months. After a month or so, they realized it made sense to continue living together.
“I wasn’t expecting things to go as well as they did once she moved in,” Solomon says.
“Everything was kind of seamless. We’re just a perfect fit.”
In May of 2015, the two got married and later ended up moving to Florida in November. Though this was a quick move post-wedding — only having been married for five months at this point — they continued to live by their saying, “As long as we’re together, we’ll figure it out.”
From the beginning of their relationship, the two have always been great at sharing their dreams and expectations for the future with each other. Even on their first date, they asked questions such as do you want to get married, do you want to have kids and how do you feel about stay-at-home moms?
Before they were engaged, they discussed the possibilities of infertility and what options they would be comfortable pursuing. Through these discussions, they concluded that they hoped to adopt an older child and potentially an elementary school-aged child once their other kids were in middle school. This was with the assumption that they were both healthy individuals, capable of having biological children as well.
“A year went by, nothing happened, and then we started doing infertility testing,” Jourdan says. “Then, we were on a cruise, and Solomon (said) if nothing happens this cycle, we’ll start looking at adoption agencies — by that point, it had already been almost three years that we had been trying.”
Realizing their infertility came as a shock to Jourdan as they were both still young, healthy and fit. Accepting that they were unable to have biological children was a process, and Jourdan often researched ways to increase her fertility through things like diets, yoga and crystals.
“It was rough because I would see pregnancy announcements and gender reveals,” Jourdan says. “I would cry myself to sleep a lot of nights after I started my period, so I ended up having to hide people from my timeline (on social media) because their pregnancy updates and all that stuff were just too much.”
Despite their frustrations, they endured and recognized that perhaps having biological children wasn’t a part of their destiny. They moved up their adoption timeline and started searching for opportunities to domestically adopt an infant. For six months, they researched agencies before they started reaching out to adopt.
At one point in the adoption process, they were scammed when they discovered that the mother with whom they were speaking was only using them for financial gain. From this experience, it was easy to be frustrated, but they eventually came to accept the truth that the baby wasn’t meant for them.
It wasn’t until a couple of months later that their caseworker called and told them there was a newborn baby boy for Jourdan and Solomon to meet. This boy would later become their son, Joseph.
Despite the rollercoaster it was to get to where they are now, Jourdan says getting Joseph was the perfect situation. After having him for around three years now, she still can’t believe he’s their son.
“I forget sometimes that we adopted him,” Jourdan says. “Some people ask me, ‘Where did you give birth?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh wait, I didn’t give birth. I wasn’t there.’”
As a father, Solomon’s experience of processing through a change in their family plans looked different, especially as men don’t physically carry the child.
“We become fathers once the baby is out and in our arms,” Solomon says. “So all the time, I forget Joseph is adopted because the connection that I have with him would be the same connection I would have with my biological child.”
Before Jourdan and Solomon even met, both of them were pursuing their fitness journeys individually. They both grew up playing basketball but Jourdan had never worked out in a weightlifting capacity.
On the other hand, Solomon started working out regularly during his senior year of high school and has kept it up since. By having an older brother who is a personal trainer and owns a gym, fitness has always been a large part of Solomon’s lifestyle.
Jourdan and Solomon had never worked out together until after a year into dating. Eventually, Jourdan started going to the gym with Solomon, who would go six days a week for a few hours each time.
“It became this thing where we were going together every day,” Jourdan says. “Then, we started our Instagram, and we just kept getting all these followers.”
Their rise to the status of fitness influencers happened back in 2011 when being an influencer on social media wasn’t a norm, and fit couples on social platforms were scarce. Today, they have around 4.5K followers on their Instagram account, @loveandfitness10.
Brands even started reaching out to them, asking to send some of their sponsored products for them to feature. Joseph even gets a fair share of products sent to him.
“He’s probably gotten the most stuff out of both of us,” Jourdan says. “It just gives me an excuse to take more pictures of him.”
Though their following isn’t as large as other fitness influencers, Jourdan says they’ve built a loyal following and have made a lot of friends through their social media.
“I feel like it brought us closer together because there’s a common interest of working out and just being healthy,” Jourdan says. “We just really enjoy doing it.”
Looking back on their lives, there were a handful of things they didn’t expect or plan for their story — some better than their imagined dreams and some they could’ve done without. Yet, they stick by the truth that it’s important to dream and pursue the possibilities despite not knowing if your reality will match your expectations, especially because you never know what the next thing could lead to.
“There’s so much life to live(…) and everyone has different interests and aspirations, but you never realize all the possibilities that are out there until you start looking toward something,” Jourdan says. “Just find something small and that, eventually, will lead to you finding your passion.”
Solomon recognizes that the dreams you have may not always be fulfilled but that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your passions. From a young age, he wanted to play basketball professionally and though that isn’t his career now, he doesn’t let that reality stop him from still playing basketball on the side to feed his passion.
Today, he lives contently knowing that he has a lot more than he asked for.
“I’m from the inner city of Houston, so it’s not the best area — to get where I am now is a good accomplishment,” Solomon says. “I feel like I’ve exceeded my own expectations with where I thought my life would be.”