The Unlikeliest Gift

December 22, 2018 adopting again, cleft palate, Craniofacial, December 2018 Feature - The Gift of Adoption, developmental delays, Family Stories, Heart System, VSD 0 Comments

As I sit down and reflect on all the gifts that my Lord has bestowed upon my family and I, there are too many to count. Yet I know that, on so many days, I forget. My mind soars in other directions and I lose sight of these gifts. Or perhaps… as I have realized …Read More

Adopting a Deaf Child: The Special Need That Took a New Shape

December 11, 2018 ASL, cochlear implants, December 2018 Feature - Sensory, hearing loss, profound deafness, Sensory System, speech delay 2 Comments

Our story begins when I was in middle school and took a basic sign language class. I loved this manual language, and it’s amazing how the signs stuck with me for the next 25 years. But my husband was the first one of the two of us who had a heart for adoption. Between us, …Read More

The Unexpected Gift of Struggling

December 7, 2018 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, December 2018 Feature - The Gift of Adoption, developmental delays, Developmental System, epilepsy, IEP, Lifelong needs, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, “Adoption is a gift”. People respond with a smile and a nod of their heads. Sometimes I get to go a little deeper and share details of our story and how we came to be the parents of a child with significant physical and …Read More

How Grateful Are We: The Gift of Adoption

December 2, 2018 arthrogryposis, clubfoot, December 2018 Feature - The Gift of Adoption, Family Stories, limb difference, Orthopedic 1 Comments

This morning at 8 AM…. My little girl and I… together rocking in a chair. Her tiny little body cozy against mine, her head confidently against my chest, her breath in the same rhythm as mine, both enjoying this very precious moment. Mother and daughter…. united in a harmony that I couldn’t imagine before. Life …Read More

Lessons Learned from an Internal Processor

November 23, 2018 a father's perspective, Dads, developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Lifelong needs, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, Perspectives, Randall, should we adopt? 0 Comments

Down syndrome is scary. I said that to myself five years ago. It took me awhile to admit it. But I was pretty opposed to all lifelong diagnoses. I had very little information about Down syndrome back then. And the information gaps gave my imagination plenty of space to run freely. I saw the shadows …Read More

Hypo-What?

November 16, 2018 adopting a boy, adopting again, ambiguous genitalia, Disorder of Sexual Development, Family Stories, hypospadias, November 2018 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 4 Comments

Two years after our first adoption, a three-year old waiting boy from China, I began searching the lists for the little girl that would complete our family. In my mind, she would be two or three years old, with a similar need to our son, as we already had trusted specialists in place. In the …Read More

Living in the Unknown

November 12, 2018 ambiguous genitalia, Disorder of Sexual Development, Family Stories, hypospadias, micropenis, November 2018 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 0 Comments

“Sensitive special need. Hypospadias.” That was the listed special need on the precious child when my husband and I first saw the advocacy post. We had different special needs at the forefront of our minds, but something made us pause. Hypospadias was something we knew and understood. Our first son received a surprise diagnosis of …Read More

A Million Times Yes

November 10, 2018 Family Stories, hypospadias, intersex, medical needs checklist, November 2018 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System, waiting for referral 2 Comments

“That is a need I could never handle, Lord.” It all began with a checklist. You know, the dreaded medical needs checklist we all fill out in the beginning of the China adoption process that kickstarts the journey to our child. The very checklist we dwell over, pour research over, stress over, and pray over. …Read More

Our Simple Yes: Adopting a Son with Hypospadias

November 8, 2018 Family Stories, hypospadias, November 2018 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 2 Comments

At the beginning of our adoption process we connected with a PA friend of ours to help us walk through our openness form. When it came to hypospadias, she explained that it’s generally a simple fix with a few minor exceptions. We felt confident with its simplicity so we checked yes. In February 2016 all …Read More

Hand-Picked By God

November 6, 2018 ABA therapy, autism, developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Education, Family Stories, global developmental delays, institutional autism, non-verbal, occupational therapy, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, physical therapy 0 Comments

The moment I saw our daughter being carried into the Civil Affairs office where we waited, I knew something wasn’t right. She was 19 months old and couldn’t even hold her head up. We knew she had Down syndrome but, according to her file, she was able to sit up, play with toys, and even …Read More

Six Guiding Principles for Celebrating this Season

October 30, 2018 Attachment, attachment challenges, holidays, October 2018 Feature - Trauma and the Holidays, Trust Based Parenting, vacation 0 Comments

Holidays can be beautiful times of family togetherness, traditions, and celebrations – but they can also be times of disrupted routines, sensory overload, and expectations that don’t quite line up with reality. As parents, we need to prepare ourselves to walk our children through these times – and the first step in doing so is …Read More

Life Isn’t Fair: Parenting Children with Multiple Special Needs

October 29, 2018 adopting later in life, adopting two at once, autism, cochlear implants, developmental delays, Developmental System, epilepsy, hearing loss, large families, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, Sensory Processing Issues, Sensory System, undiagnosed SN, virtual twins 6 Comments

I don’t remember the exact moment when adoption was put on my heart and in my mind. But, I do remember it was all consuming. I tried to get away from it. But, I couldn’t. It was there and it wouldn’t go away. It was 2015. By early 2016 I finally worked the nerve up …Read More

Trauma and the Holidays: The Opposite of Indiscriminate Affection

October 27, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, cocooning, October 2018 Feature - Trauma and the Holidays 3 Comments

We met our daughter in a hotel room in July 2017. She was 20 months old. She clung to the orphanage ayi as she said hello to her new Mama and Baba in the meekest voice we’d ever heard. She waved and smiled and appeared happy to see us but, when her ayi tried to …Read More

Please Just Be My Sunshine Today: Down Syndrome Adoption and the Attachment Dance

October 25, 2018 Attachment, attachment challenges, congenital blindness, developmental delays, Developmental System, disruption, Down syndrome, Family Stories, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, parent-to-child attachment, profound deafness, rejects mom, TBRI-based therapy, therapy, Trust Based Parenting, undiagnosed SN 2 Comments

The first photo I ever saw of Winnie was so ridiculously cute. She is dressed from head to toe in a hot pink puffy coat with matching pants and black boots. Her edibly adorable face was framed by such a tragically terrible haircut that made me laugh and cry at the same time. She and …Read More

Busy, Busy, Boy: Adopting a Child with SPD

October 19, 2018 developmental delays, Developmental System, Education, occupational therapy, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, physical therapy, pre-school, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy 0 Comments

Imagine looking at your beautiful, happy, healthy child. Then imagine the first time that you held him he was two and you were strangers from different continents. This is adoption. It is a serious leap of faith into the unknown. It is loving and fiercely protecting someone you have never even met. It is praying …Read More

Finding A Place For Her: Parenting A Child With Delays

October 18, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, cocooning, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Education, Family Stories, homeschool, IEP, non-verbal, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, public school, SPED class, speech delay, speech therapy, trauma 1 Comments

When we brought our daughter home in the fall of of 2013 we knew she likely had significant, lifelong developmental delays. A mystery girl is how she was described to us. And still, almost five years later, she is a mystery. No real clear cut diagnoses except developmental delays and an MRI thats shows a …Read More

Trauma and the Holidays: Tips for Navigating the Holidays Well

October 15, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, cocooning, first year home, holidays, Newly Home, October 2018 Feature - Trauma and the Holidays, parent-to-child attachment, Realities, trauma 1 Comments

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, right? But with a child who has experienced trauma, the holidays can be everything except wonderful. This month we are focusing on the impact of trauma and how it can be exacerbated by the chaos and busyness of the holiday season. It is our hope …Read More

Fully Known, Completely Loved

October 13, 2018 Attachment, cocooning, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, oral aversion, refusing food, speech delay 1 Comments

“I’m fully known and loved by You You won’t let go no matter what I do And it’s not one or the other It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace To be known fully known and loved by You I’m fully known and loved by You” Known by Tauern Wells /// There’s a popular song that’s …Read More

Saying Yes to God

October 11, 2018 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, orphanage realities 1 Comments

As he walked into our post delivery recovery room, he closed the door behind him. He walked over to my bedside to give us an update on the birth of our preemie twin girls. They had been born 6 weeks early and delivery was tough for Isabelle, twin two. The evening before was spent holding …Read More

A Violet Covering

October 9, 2018 adoption community, adoption realities, Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, trauma 0 Comments

Everyone wears a hat in life. No matter your age, race, socioeconomic status, or place you live. Some people wear their hat with pride, some wish their hat was invisible, and some of us wear hat that seems more like a sombrero and everyone can see it. There are times we have the opportunity to …Read More

Nonsense That Makes Sense

October 5, 2018 epidermolysis bullosa, September 2018 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, Whitney 1 Comments

Epidermolysis bullosa. It’s a bit of a mouthful, and that’s just the start. Beyond the general diagnosis lie various types and subtypes that add multi-syllabic words to an already difficult to pronounce condition. Epidermolysis bullosa is the condition our daughter was born with. It causes her skin to be extremely fragile – shearing off and …Read More

Trauma and the Holidays: Have No Expectations

October 3, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, first year home, holidays, Newly Home, October 2018 Feature - Trauma and the Holidays, Realities, trauma 3 Comments

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, right? But with a child who has experienced trauma, the holidays can be everything except wonderful. This month we are focusing on the impact of trauma and how it can be exacerbated by the chaos and busyness of the holiday season. It is our hope …Read More

Our Best Yes

October 1, 2018 Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2018 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

It’s funny how someone will come along in your life, and change everything for you. Every idea of what is important, how you live, what you celebrate in life is just taken and completely transformed. That’s what happened in February 2011 when our family welcomed our third child into the world. Ollie Faith was born …Read More

How Adoption Shaped My Life: An Adoptee Speaks

September 30, 2018 adoptee perspective, adult adoptee, embracing their story, older child adoption, orphanage, Post-Adoption contact, September 2018 Feature - Hearing From Adult Adoptees, spina bifida, telling their life story 4 Comments

I was 10 years old when I was adopted. I had spent all my life in an orphanage. I had no idea it was even possible to be adopted, let alone by American families – I thought I had everything I needed. Going to school I knew I was different. I didn’t have pretty clothes, …Read More

Chosen and Loved: An Adoptee’s Perspective

September 29, 2018 adoptee perspective, adult adoptee, arthrogryposis, heritage trip, orphanage, orphanage visit, Post-Adoption contact, September 2018 Feature - Hearing From Adult Adoptees, telling their life story 3 Comments

I was adopted at two years so I don’t really have memories before coming to America. But I have always had a memory of being in a bathtub surrounded by colorful plastic balls. I also remember laying in a crib with a purple blanket draped over the top like a tent watching my mom on …Read More

My Best Decision Ever: Parenting a Child with EB

September 27, 2018 adopting as first time parents, adoption community, epidermolysis bullosa, Family Stories, September 2018 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 0 Comments

According to the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association (DEBRA), a U.S. based nonprofit organization that supports the Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) community, Epidermolysis Bullosa (or EB) is a rare, genetic connective skin condition in which not enough protein is produced to allow skin to adhere to itself. In the U.S., one of every 20,000 births are …Read More

O Father, Where Art Thou?

September 13, 2018 adoptee perspective, adult adoptee, birth family, Perspectives, September 2018 Feature - Hearing From Adult Adoptees, Uncategorized 0 Comments

My husband and I had the privilege of studying abroad in the country of Austria when we were students in college. We were dating at the time and visiting the quaint little town of Pochlarn. As we walked through the streets we talked about my adoption story, specifically my birth mother and my desire to …Read More

Special is in the Eye of the Beholder

September 11, 2018 adopting as first time parents, Adopting Scenarios, albinism, Family Stories, September 2018 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, switching to another country 2 Comments

It was only a couple of months after we were married that my husband and I started researching adoption. We both wanted a family, and with me being over 40 and having a history of endometriosis, conception without major fertility treatments seemed nearly impossible. We decided, for us, it was more important to parent a …Read More

A Kaleidoscope of Color and Culture

September 9, 2018 a father's perspective, adoptee perspective, adult adoptee, fundraisers, fundraising for adoption, other ways to care for the orphan, September 2018 Feature - Hearing From Adult Adoptees 3 Comments

Over many years, long before Erin and I were even married, God was weaving together a beautiful story, made possible through adoption. I was unexpectedly adopted from the Congo at just a few months old, as my biological mother died in child-birth with me. In the tribe I was born into, the cultural practice, if …Read More

The Syndrome We Never Suspected

September 5, 2018 adopting again, birthmark, developmental delays, Family Stories, linear sebaceous nevus, older child adoption, September 2018 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, speech delay, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

In 2011, we received the file of a little girl, age 3. Her file read “delayed mental development” and it included a very low DQ score. We were able to ask questions and receive a video of her reading flashcards and reciting the names of the items on the flashcards. “Okay,” we thought. “Yes, she’s …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: Just an “Ordinary” Family

September 3, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, baby-wearing, bottle feeding, cocooning 1 Comments

It’s been four and a half years since we first met our son in China. Sometimes that feels like a split-second ago. I freshly recall the nervous, excited electricity passing between four interlocked sets of hands. Silently waiting, reminding ourselves to breathe as we filed into an unremarkable government building amid a foreign grid of …Read More

When Attachment Is Not What You Expected

August 30, 2018 Andrea Y., Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, July 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, parent-to-child attachment 5 Comments

Send. I remember exhaling after I completed his five year home post-placement report and sent it to our adoption agency. Five years — and the last of seven post adoption reports – was done. Barely in time… because you know how life gets. You get the reminder it is due and suddenly you find yourself …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: 7 Years Home

August 29, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Contributor Q and A, July 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, Nicole, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

Attachment. It’s a word that, at some point of the adoption journey, will bring every parent to their knees – either in frustration over all that seems to be lacking or gratitude for heart-shaped milestones reached. This month we are focusing on attachment over the long(er) term… not weeks or months home. But years down …Read More

The Beautiful Hard Work of Bonding

August 27, 2018 adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, baby-wearing, large families, Lifelong needs, Linny, older child adoption, rejects mom 2 Comments

Growing up in the 1960s the only adoptions I had heard of were people who attempted to “match” their own ethnicity with that of a potential adoptive child. I knew of no one who had adopted internationally. Yet for some reason the only desire in my little-girl-go-against-the-flow heart was to one day adopt from both …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: Choosing to Love

August 21, 2018 adopting again, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, parent-to-child attachment 0 Comments

In the middle of August in West Virginia the weather is hot, steamy, and muggy. The mosquitoes have been bad this year, but stepping outside in the heat reminds me of Guangzhou. This beautiful, tropical city is the third largest in China. It was China’s capital three previous times and today is a strategic port …Read More

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

August 19, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, Megan V., parent-to-child attachment 0 Comments

I thought bonding would be so natural. When I became a mom, they laid that freshly born boy in my arms and it was magic. The love had been growing for nine months. As sinews and tendons were knitted together to become our son, my heart was expanding to make room for the love that …Read More

A Grand Canyon Kind Of Beauty

August 11, 2018 attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, first year home, indiscriminate affection, Newly Home, Whitney 0 Comments

My family road-tripped last summer and one of the places we stopped off at was the Grand Canyon. Visiting this place has been on my bucket list for basically my whole life, and to finally see it in person was stunning. Words fail to describe the depth, the colors, the beauty or the sheer big-ness …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: Unique For All

August 9, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, parent-to-child attachment 4 Comments

Attachment and parenting go hand in hand. Right? When we consider parents and their children, we assume there is an attachment. In reality, attachment looks and develops differently for all. And attachment in adoption can be an entirely different notion. I have three biological children and I would be lying if I told you I …Read More

Healing in the Everyday

August 7, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, homeschool, July 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, large families, life books, parent-to-child attachment, Sharon, telling their life story 0 Comments

“The days are long, but the years are short.” Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: What I Wish I Had Known

August 5, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, first year home, Newly Home, parent-to-child attachment 6 Comments

No one said this would be easy… and it isn’t. For our family, attachment has happened, is happening and will continue to happen. The Lord is showing us how to love without expectation, regardless of feelings and it is not easy. It is blessed but it is not easy. However, in the fluidity of attachment, …Read More

Overlooking the Checklist: Saying Yes to OI

August 3, 2018 Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, large families, medical needs checklist, Orthopedic, osteogenesis imperfecta, pre-adoption, wheelchair user 2 Comments

Very quickly after beginning of our adoption process we were asked to fill out a Medical Needs Checklist… a checklist of medical conditions commonly seen in China’s orphans. You must go down the checklist and check “yes”, “no” or “willing to discuss” about adopting a child with the listed condition. Nothing makes you feel more …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: Embracing the Adventure

August 1, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, August 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years 1 Comments

The dining hall was buzzing with campers, counselors, and parents. At first, I couldn’t locate my daughter in the crowd, but I continued moving toward the spot in which I expected to find her. I was feeling hopeful, since everyone I had encountered since parking my van in the camp parking lot had recognized my …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: 4 Years Home

July 29, 2018 adopting two at once, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, July 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, Medical Momma, Newly Home, Rebecca 2 Comments

Attachment. It’s a word that, at some point of the adoption journey, will bring every parent to their knees – either in frustration over all that seems to be lacking or gratitude for heart-shaped milestones reached. This month we are focusing on attachment over the long(er) term… not weeks or months home. But years down …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: 2 Years Home

July 25, 2018 adopting a boy, adopting again, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Brandie, cocooning, July 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, large families, rejects mom 0 Comments

Attachment. It’s a word that, at some point of the adoption journey, will bring every parent to their knees – either in frustration over all that seems to be lacking or gratitude for heart-shaped milestones reached. This month we are focusing on attachment over the long(er) term… not weeks or months home. But years down …Read More

Ten Fingers. Five Toes.

July 21, 2018 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, amniotic band syndrome, amputation, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, limb difference, missing arm/leg, Orthopedic, prosthetics 6 Comments

It’s summer, and time to celebrate one of my very favorite days… my “youngest little’s” birthday! I am the mama to four amazing, yet very different boys, and I relish celebrating everything about these sweet souls. Especially this little guy – Johnny. This is Johnny-Cake’s second birthday home, and I am forever humbled that God …Read More

Attachment Through the Years: 5 Years Home

July 19, 2018 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Contributor Q and A, July 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, Kelley B. 4 Comments

Attachment. It’s a word that, at some point of the adoption journey, will bring every parent to their knees – either in frustration over all that seems to be lacking or gratitude for heart-shaped milestones reached. This month we are focusing on attachment over the long(er) term… not weeks or months home. But years down …Read More

Nothing Is Impossible

July 17, 2018 apraxia of speech, cl/cp, Craniofacial, developmental delays, Family Stories, July 2018 Feature - Craniofacial, non-verbal, speech delay 3 Comments

We had been home with our Laura Cate for 12 months, when a family member made a statement that took my breath away: “Your adopted daughter just doesn’t have the same potential. She will never be able to do all the things your biological daughter can do.” /// We adopted Laura in October 2015, when …Read More

Her Words Will Come

July 15, 2018 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2018 Feature - Craniofacial, speech delay, speech therapy 8 Comments

A few weeks ago my husband and I and our four kids were at Legoland for a day of fun in the California sun. My four kids are all what you may call opinionated, independent, and vocal. Our youngest may be the sassiest of them all, but she also has a profound expressive speech delay. …Read More

The Word that Shattered my White-Picket-Fence World

July 5, 2018 achondroplasia, adopting again, Developmental System, dwarfism, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic 6 Comments

“We believe your baby has something called Achondroplasia.” “Achondro what?” my husband asked. I was six months pregnant at the time with our second child. Achondroplasia – it’s a word that changed our lives forever. I knew what that word was. It was a word that meant my son wouldn’t be the captain of the …Read More

Winning the Lottie-ry: Adopting a Child with Pseudoarthrosis

July 3, 2018 adopting again, amputation, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, missing hand/foot, neurofibromatosis, Orthopedic, prosthetics, pseudoarthrosis, Uncategorized 4 Comments

Newly home from China, we were settling in as a family of five. So when we realized we were going back to China for child number four, we felt quite surprised. A fellow adoptive mom uses the hilariously appropriate term “unprotected paperwork.” Uh-huh. We are happily nodding our heads over here in agreement. It all …Read More

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