Monday, March 27, 2017

Once Upon A Little Brother!

Wren is excited to share the news.....


She is going to be a BIG SISTER!

Jesse and I are excited to be adding another child to our family. God led our hearts to foster to adopt a little boy currently in foster care. His name is Nile Bryson and we are already falling in love with him! Nile is 18 months old with beautiful blue eyes, long lashes, and brown hair. His personality has blossomed the more he had gotten to know us and he is a busy little man! He will transition into our home on March 28th (tomorrow!!) and we will foster him until we can adopt. We don't have a time line yet for that but we are pretty sure it will at least be 6 months before adoption can happen. As with most foster placements there is some risk that things would not work out for us to adopt Nile. We are trusting God and moving forward despite that knowing that all is in His control.

These last 5 months or so has been a whirlwind of calling DCS, filling out paper work, lots of discussion with the current foster family, waiting, and wondering how or if this whole thing would even work out. Here's the story of how God brought this little guy into our life.

Last fall Jesse and I began to pray about adopting another infant. During that time I was convicted through my Bible study that we were seeking approval for our own plans rather than asking God what His plan for us was. Jesse and I began to pray a little different, more that God would reveal his plan to us rather than just praying about when to adopt again. A few days later a resident of ours at Gateway, who is very fond of Nile, told me she thought we should adopt him. He was currently in foster care with another couple from Leo church so we knew him and had even babysat him before. When this resident said that to me God opened my heart and I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that we really did need to consider adopting this little boy. I had been told about this little boy possibly going to adoption, from our resident multiple times in the past, but it wasn't until that time that I felt God saying "yes, you need to consider this". Jesse and I began praying and trying to contact DCS to see if it was even possible to get a foster license while working at Gateway. For month's we prayed, made DCS calls, completed paperwork, and moved forward despite a lot of unknowns and uncertainties if we could get licensed. In January we learned that DCS would approved a foster license for us specifically for the purpose of adopting Nile! Then we began supervised visits in February and March to prove we have relationship and that the adoption would be in his best interest. Everything went so smooth and God put the right people on the case to advocate for the adoption. On March 6th Nile had court and the judge approved him moving to our home on March 28th! We have been doing visits every other day for a few weeks now to prepare for transition.

We still have a lot of unknowns and at times it seems surreal that we will be parents to another little one, but we have confidence this is God's work. We also take confidence in the story of the current foster family. They had been praying for someone to adopt Nile because they very clearly felt God was telling them their role was only to foster at this time. They have fostered him since birth and have provided a loving, safe, and nurturing environment the first 18 months of Nile's life and for that we will forever be grateful. They had asked several families if they would be interested in adopting Nile but nothing worked out. They had considered asking us as well but didn't know if they should or not since the foster dad is an employee of Gateway Woods. God jumped over that hurdle and brought Nile into our hearts without their prompting and we actually went to them asking about his case and if adoption would be his future. They are very peaceful and feel God has answered their prayers although they are hurting at the thought of letting go of the little boy they have loved for 18 months. Please keep them, Nile, and our family in your prayers. Lots of change and transition is about to take place but God has been faithful throughout the entire process and we know He will continue to work all things for good.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

2 Years!!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our sweet, bubbly little girl! Looking forward to many more birthdays!




Getting tired of being convinced to smile!




Wren and her best friend Ty. Without him I don't think I would have any pictures of her smiling!


DEVELOPMENT
At Wren's two year appointment she weighed 26 lbs. which puts her in the 41st percentile for weigh and she is 33.25 inches tall which puts her in the 43rd percentile for height.

Eating: Wren has definitely gotten more picky with her eating habits. She has foods she loves and foods she refuses. Currently some of her favorites are oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, cereal, bagels, hot dogs, mac n cheese, rice/Mexican food, and anything CHOCOLATE! If given the choice between chocolate or sugary candy WREN will 9 times out of 10 choose the chocolate :) Wren eats well though and has become quit independent when it comes to eating.

Health: Wren has been pretty healthy over the last 6 months. We did have one BIG scare in April. After having a fever for 5 days it was discovered that Wren had a UTI.  Our doctor prescribed an antibiotic for it and that was that. After three days of continued fever on the antibiotic and Wren looking miserable I called the doctor to tell them she wasn't getting any better and the fever was still there. The doctor said to give it another day to let the antibiotic work. Wren had slept for 16 hours straight and I had to wake her up. She was pale and her lips were a gray blue. Wren was very lethargic and just sat on my lap. She is usually so energetic and outgoing this was a big change. We decided to take her to the ER because she didn't look/act right and it had been over a week of fever and 3 days on antibiotic. At the ER she spiked a temp. of 103.9 and I think that got the ER techs attention. They quick got her a room and started fluids and took blood. A short time later they came to get more blood and we were told she would need a blood transfusion! It was a very scary time and the doctor told us he didn't know why but her hemoglobin was low and she needed blood. They also said she was septic which means her UTI infection had gotten into her blood stream. This can be very dangerous and even lead to organs shutting down and death if not treated promptly. Needless to say we were overwhelmed and scared. The doctor told us our doctor had prescribed a basic antibiotic for UTI's but it was having no effect on the infection. So the infection continued to get worse instead of better. They eventually got her admitted and started the right antibiotic as well as the blood transfusion. We were in the hospital for 3 day and we can't begin to explain the support and love we felt from our family and friends in Illinois as well as our new "family" and friends in Leo. Jeff Waibel, a minister from our Leo church, came the night she was admitted and prayed over Wren and just talked with us. It was such a blessing because we were overwhelmed and anxious due to no one knowing why Wren had low hemoglobin and everything happening so fast. Having someone to come sit and talk helped pass the time. The next day out parents and my brother and sister in law drove 4 hours to spend some time with us at the hospital. It was so appreciated and needed. Thankfully the transfusion went well and the new antibiotic began working promptly. Wren began getting color and energy back. They did have to do a kidney reflux test to see if when Wren peed she refluxed urine into her kidney causing a UTI. This would be treated with either ongoing antibiotics until she was older or surgery if it was bad enough. The nurses had a really tough time getting the catheter into Wren for the procedure. It was very traumatizing as Wren was screaming for about 15 minutes while they tried to get the cath in her. Eventually they got it in and were able to fill her bladder and then watch on a machine as she peed. Thankfully the test was negative! After three days and Wrens infection being gone she was released from the hospital. They still didn't have answers about the hemoglobin but our doctor rechecked her blood levels a month later and everything was still normal. The best they can figure is that her infection was so bad it made her hemoglobin drop. Wren is back to her normal energetic crazy self and we are very thankful!! This has been the only medical issue I can think of. NO ear infections!! YAY!

Sleeping: Unfortunately Wrens sleeping pattern got messed up when we took away her paci and moved to Lead houseparents and therefore moved houses in June. The changes were too much and ended in Wren coming to our bed every night when she would wake up and wanting to sleep with us. For the sake of a good nights sleep, which is very important to the Zimmerman family, Wren now sleeps with us every night. (This did lead to us getting a King size bed which I do recommend for anyone who co-sleeps with their kids!) We hope to get her back into her own room/bed at some point but for now we are enjoying her snuggles and a good nights sleep! Wren also refuses to go to sleep without us and our wacky schedule makes it so she sleep from about midnight to 9:30am. I talked with her doctor about this and she said it is totally fine for her to be on second shift schedule as long as we stay consistent and she is getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Wren has the most energy from about 9pm-12am. This is when she gets out all her toys and plays the best! This is also the best time to get our undivided attention as the residents are back int heir rooms for the night. Not the typical family time but if works for us :)

Potty Training: We have begun trying to potty train Wren! She goes pee on the toilet every time we put her on there and every now and then she will let us know she needs to go. She isn't very consistent with this and has a lot of accidents but we see some progress. She gets candy when she tells us she needs to go but sometimes this just isn't a big enough motivator and going in her pants must be more fun!  Pooping is a different story. Unless we catch her in the act she won't go on the toilet. She had pooped her underwear more times than I care to say. Hopefully we can make some progress in this area.

Talking: Wren talks a LOT! She is very smart and copies anything you say as well as expresses herself very well for a 2 year old. Some of her word can be hard to understand and we have to have her show us what she s trying to say but for the most part she speaks well and is easy to understand when she is trying to get a point across.

Preschool Beginners Class: We signed Wren up for Beginner's Preschool at the local Grabill Missionary Early Learning Center. Wren will go to a 2 year old beginners class two times a week for 2.5 hours in the morning. After learning that the 2 year old class did not have to be potty trained Jesse and I decided to go for it to give Wren a chance to learn more appropriate social skills, she can tend to be a bully, as well as give her a chance to have more structured play and learn since she seems to be ahead in her speech and development. Wren is excited about school although I don't think she really understands what we are talking about :) We got her school supplies the other day and she will have orientation on Tuesday September 13th with her first day being Thursday September 15th! I hope this will be a positive experience for her and she will enjoy the social part and all the activities!


PERSONALITY
Wren is still our spunky, outgoing, social, strong willed little girl. She loves to be independent and make messes! It's nice living on the Gateway Campus now where she can always have a little friend to play with. Gateway has an in ground trampoline right outside our house here and she loves to play with her best friend Ty on the trampoline. They are constantly at each others houses or running around the campus together. The other day after taking pictures Wren and Ty decided to go into the woods while I was talking to Ty's mom. After searching for about 15-20 min we were finally able to find them almost on the complete there side of the woods. Thankfully it isn't a huge woods behind Gateway! Needless to say she isn't scared of much and loves to take risks! Her and Ty are trouble when they are together but they have a blast and we are thankful she has a good friend to play with whenever she wants! Wren keeps us laughing and we can't imagine what it would be like to have a quiet/shy child. I have always dreamed of having an outgoing curly haired little girl and my wish came true! Sometimes we just look at Wren and wonder how we got so lucky to be her parents!


THINGS WREN LOVES!
-Minions! Hence the Minion Birthday Cake! She watches some part of this movie nearly every day.
-Ty
-Babies (she got the bitty baby twins for her birthday and we went to the American Girl doll factory in Chicago. She was in her glory! We got one white and one black baby to be like her and Ty! She named the bot baby Ty and we came up with baby Grace for the girl because it was a name she could say :))
-Snuggling
-Swinging
-Trampoline
-Wagon rides
-Monkeys
-Getting into TROUBLE!
-Jesus Loves Me
-Being goofy: Her new thing is to lick our faces and then she laughs and laughs! She also enjoys grabbing our noses or cheeks and says "guishy guishy!"
-Chocolate: We have a candy drawer in the closet in our Gateway office. Any time that closet is left open she darts in there and grabs a snack size candy bar! One time no one was watching her and we found her with about 5-6 candy wrappers around her and she was watching a movie on our phone enjoying candy from the candy drawer!


THINGS WREN HATES!
-Being told "no"
-Playing alone
-Sleeping alone
-Sharing: We are working on this one :)

Thankfully her likes list is a lot longer than her dislikes :)



What we have been up to the past 6 months!

MARCH:

We went to Illinois to spend time with our families for Easter. Wren got spoiled with all sorts of Easter goodies!

We spent some time at the local parks. Wren loves the slides :)

Sand box and trampoline fun!


Walking to the library to rent movies! Wren picked out the puppy movie.




APRIL:

Bubbles/side walk chalk and shopping :)

Being sick was tough for both Wren and mom and dad. We are thankful she made a quick recovery!



The toy room at the hospital. Getting a little love from Grandma!


I think this is when Wren became addicted to movies.

Playing doctor with her IV holders after her hospital stay.



These two :)


Gateway Friends!!

My mom, sister, and sister in-laws drove 4 hours to surprise me for lunch!!



MAY:

Let the potty training begin!


The gateway crew!

Helping the residents fish!

The day we turned her crib into a big girl bed! She was so excited! IF only the excited had lasted :)



We traveled to Illinois for Mothers/Fathers Day. Wren got to play with her cousins and stay the night with her cousin Emerson!

Loving those Monkeys :)

 A trip to the Zoo with her best friend Ty!!



JUNE:




Loving on her babies.









Some of our Illinois friends came to visit. We had 6 kids and 6 adults all in our tiny apartment for a few days :) (the two babies aren't in the pics)

Eating sand at the volleyball court.

On the left is the picture I got from Ty's mom with the caption "she's back!!" after Wren had been sent home from their house. Cant keep this girl away from Ty!

Major diaper sag :) This is what happens if you play in water with a diaper on!



JULY:

American Girl Doll Store for her Birthday!

Wren was a little upset when she found out she could take all the babies she had piled in the stroller with her out of the store.

Fun in Chicago

Eating at the Rainforest Cafe

And then on to Michigan City Indiana for a little getaway. Fun at the Zoo. Once again loving those Monkeys. She was a little unsure of the bears though!

Oinks ice cream! YUM!




Enjoying the beach in Michigan City.


Swimming with Ty. As you can see her cousin Stewart is in the background. My brother and his family moved to be houseparents in July! We are excited to have a family member close by :)


This was the night Ty's baby brother Zeb was born in Florida! We couldn't be happier for the newest addiction to the Strahm family :)

Gearing up for the Gateway Sale!


AUGUST:

Happy 2nd Birthday Wren Danielle!!



Wren and Ty with their babies! 


Birthday FUN!!

Playing with her barbie she picked out with grandma for her Birthday.

Wren is making some new friends as changes happen in our Cypress team. We said goodbye to Jon and Beth Ringger. They were our leads for our first year of House parenting and trained us well! They then became our alternates for the summer and taught us our new position as leads. At the end of August they said goodbye to House Parenting and we welcomed John and Teresa Hartter to our team! We are so excited to work with them as our alternates. Wren is pictures with their daughter Elyse. Elyse is only half a year younger than Wren but Wren still refers to her a baby Elyse :)


Went to the Zoo with Ty again!

Playing in the rain

Mmmmmm Brownies :)

She was caught with a Sharpie :(   There are times it tough to be a mom of a 2 year year old and houseparent to 7 teenagers at the same time!

She loves the goats at the Gateway barn. Bob is her favorite the little brown one. Before we left she grabbed his head and pulled it to her and gave Bob a kiss on the lips :)

Wren learned how to keep her head of with arm floaties on!

Thankful for another year we got to be parents to our sweet Wren Danielle. 
Thanks for reading :)