Adventure seekers   //  15 years of marriage
5 kids  //  2 businesses  //  We like living life to the fullest


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Adoption, Personal

Team Fowler | Adoption

This posts makes no sense unless you know that we recently adopted our 3 year old son, Zane, from Eastern Europe.  We’ve had him 3 weeks now, and 1 of those weeks was overseas.  He has esophageal atresia, which means his esophagus doesn’t connect to his stomach (he’ll have surgery to correct that) and is on a feeding tube.  Our daughter, Hazel, is 5 years old.


Last night before bed Hazel and I were coloring and she said, “I have some ideas for what our team can do tomorrow.  We can color together!  And we can go to the park…”

As she rambled on I stopped to take those words in.  Our team.  She considers our family her team.  A friend told her that teamwork makes the dream work and it’s really stuck with her. Hazel brought that up in Bulgaria, too, while Josh and I were tossing syringes back and forth, changing diapers and multiple gauze changes around various parts of Zane’s body.

“Mom!  You guys are doing teamwork!  Heffer says that teamwork makes the dream work!  You’re making the dream work!!”

Talk about being a puddle on the ground.  My five year old recognized that we work together as a family… as a team.  She’s proud and excited to be on this team, and she does more than her expected share of teamwork

It just takes my breath away.  We’ve all grown a lot over the last three weeks since Gotcha Day, but I never expected her to grow this much.

We’ve also enjoyed the break.  It’s naturally our slow season, and we are thankful for this break.  Last year we intentionally worked tons of extra hours.  We knew that we wanted to slow down in 2017 with our new family member, and so every hour we worked extra in 2016 meant one less hour we had to work in 2017.  It was hard, but the best decision ever!  And it makes this time together as a family so much sweeter.  I’ve been able to keep my work hours to less than 10 hours per week in February!  And I hope to continue that through March as well before wedding season ramps up April 1st!

It’s magical, though. Having a kid with extra needs like Zane’s forces us to work together even more.  I know… we live and work together almost 24/7… how can we possibly work together more??  Well, it’s possible.  

What does a day with Zane look like?  His diaper gets changed 7 times.  His neck dressing gets changed 4 times.  His g-tube dressing gets changed 2-3 times, and he goes through at least 6 shirts a day.  Oh, and we feed him 7 times a day!  This is consolidated from our previous 10 times a day.  🙂  We also make all his food from scratch each week, counting literally every calorie and keeping a food journal so we know the exact nutritional content of his food intake every single day.  In the 2 weeks he’s been home we’ve been to the doctor 6 times, and have 5 more appointments this week.

It sounds exhausting when I write it out like that, but honestly, it’s not bad.  We have waited and prayed a year for him and now he is here.  We don’t have to pray each night hoping he’s safe– we just peek in the next room and see for ourselves.  We don’t have to wonder how he will connect with our family or if he will bond and love us.  We know… and we work on it every day!  We can finally move forward in life with our family!  And Zane can move forward in his life!  It’s amazing.  It’s an absolute miracle.

We’ve missed a lot of firsts over the years.  His first steps, first words, first tooth– we’ve missed all of that.  And many we don’t know if he’s had them or not.  We went to a playground and he had no clue what to do with the slide.  It absolutely amazes him.  Was it his first time ever on a slide?  We don’t know.  But we do know that he had most likely never been to a beach until last week!  So we took the camera and headed out.  We got there super late– it was actually after sunset!  But thankfully my camera is a ninja in the darkness so we still got some sweet photos of his first beach trip.  He loved the water, but wasn’t about to take his shoes off!  We have since gotten him water shoes.  🙂