KAYSVILLE — There's one Utah couple that would love nothing more than to find a magic formula for conception.
The two say they've tried just about everything. And now, they've turned to the only magic they know is real — the magic of taking their minds off their troubles and focusing on helping others.
Tyler and Jill Kirkham have written and illustrated the children's book "The Family Troll." In a roundabout way, the story tells of the magic that can be fostered when a family adopts a child.
"A lot of times, when couples take their minds off of getting pregnant, it happens," Tyler Kirkham said.
The Kirkhams want to share their creation by donating their work to children in foster care, in adoption and in other difficult circumstances that take them away from their families.
"Our vision is a foster kid or an adopted kid getting a bedtime story read to them," Tyler Kirkham said.
The two are raising money to self-publish their brainchild. The project is listed on kickstarter.com.
And so far, the two have been pleasantly surprised to learn that people who have seen their book on the site have been impressed enough to pledge.
"It all depends on how much people are into it," Tyler Kirkham said.
If the Kirkhams raise enough money, they're considering a sequel in which the troll grows to be full size and, as a "big, big brother," goes on an adventure with the couple's natural child.
The Kirkhams came up with their idea while sitting in their backyard one night. They were tired from their latest failed attempt at conceiving.
"We felt inspired to do this story," Tyler Kirkham said.
They admit they have had difficulty telling their story of disappointment.
"Why is something that should be so easy and so natural be so hard?" Jill Kirkham said.
"We're part of that small percentage where everything on paper is fine, so the doctors don't know why," Tyler Kirkham said.
But the benefits of talking about their story have far outweighed the embarrassment.
"The more you talk about it, the more you meet people who have struggled," Tyler Kirkham said. "You don't feel so alone in your dark, little, childless world."
Tyler Kirkham, who is an established professional illustrator for clients including Marvel comics, has drawn the pictures in the book to look like himself and his wife.
"It was fun to collaborate," Jill Kirkham said. "We figured out what we wanted the pictures to be and then put the words with it."
"I guess it's kind of backward," Tyler Kirkham said.
But they also admit the story, about a troll who magically transforms a couple, making them a family, also is a bit backward.
"He's not a human," Tyler Kirkham said.
"He's not a pet, either."
He hopes he can help children who may feel out of place feel better about their situations.
"The story has a double purpose," Jill said. "They do end up having a child, and they end up keeping the troll, too."
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