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

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: 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

The Sparkle Jar: A Simple Way to Build Connection

July 7, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, discipline, homeschool, large families, parent-to-child attachment, Sharon 3 Comments

I recently read a quote from Here We Read that said, “Give children more experiences, not things.” It got me thinking about our Sparkle Jar. I really hadn’t stop to ponder the what, why, when, where, or how because it’s something I have done in the past in my classroom and now in our home. …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 2 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

His Story to Tell: Living Life with a Prosthetic

July 1, 2018 adopting a boy, amniotic band syndrome, amputation, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, missing arm/leg, Orthopedic, prosthetics, visible special need 0 Comments

We always thought adoption would be a part of our family’s story. After attempting a domestic adoption in between our two biological daughters, we read a story that pulled our hearts toward China. After a lot of prayer, we took a leap of faith. Just a few months later, we were matched with our sweet …Read More

Magic Mirror Gate: My First Half Year as a Dad

June 30, 2018 a father's perspective, adopting as first time parents, albinism, Dads, first year home, June 2018 Feature - Celebrating Dads, Newly Home, Perspectives, toddler adoption 1 Comments

Since I was super smart about being a parent before I was one, I would often compare it to bowling with bumpers. You put up boundaries, and those boundaries keep your kids in line. BAM – parenting. Done. Where’s my book deal? But so far, six months in, it feels more like I’m attempting olympic …Read More

A Dad’s Heart on Adoption

June 17, 2018 a father's perspective, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Celebrating Dads, large families, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 0 Comments

Almost 15 months ago we brought home one of the biggest blessings of my life. Our daughter, Willow, has changed me forever and has made me a better man, father, husband and drawn me closer to our Heavenly Father. Her unconditional grace, love and pure joy for life are a daily reminder of how true …Read More

When There is No Word

June 13, 2018 adopting again, CCCWA denial, Family Stories, large families, May 2018 Feature - Now What? Life After China Program Changes, no longer eligible 4 Comments

There is a beauty in language when precisely the right word is found to convey your thoughts. When you can convey a complex feeling or idea in a perfect word or phrase, people nod with understanding and experiences can be shared, relationships can be built. Yet, I cannot find the appropriate words to describe The-Boy-I-Thought-Would-Be-My-Son. …Read More

One Day At A Time

June 11, 2018 a father's perspective, Dads, June 2018 Feature - Celebrating Dads, large families, Lifelong needs 1 Comments

Throughout my years in elementary school and high school, I always knew what I wanted to be… a professional actor. I don’t know why my hand went up, but in second grade, I volunteered to play Jesus in a skit, and then went on to land the lead roles in two high school plays. Later, …Read More

Unstoppable: Our Club Foot Warrior

June 9, 2018 adopting as first time parents, clubfoot, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, medical needs checklist, Orthopedic, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Preslie’s story began in November of 2013. She was born to parents in China who I’m sure loved her so much but chose to give her up so that so that she could get the medical help that she so desperately needed. My husband and I also started the adoption process in November of 2013. …Read More

Suntans, Shells, and Stories: 10 Tips for a Happier Vacation

June 7, 2018 adopting again, adopting later in life, holidays, homeschool, large families, Sharon, vacation 3 Comments

Are you going on vacation this summer? I’m sitting on the beach gazing out over the ocean relaxing in the sun as I write this. Well… actually I’m constantly counting 7 kids or helping someone find a shovel or looking at the 1000th shell they’ve found. And… I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the …Read More

Limb Different – But Beautiful

June 3, 2018 adopting a boy, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, medical needs checklist, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic, should we adopt?, symbrachydactyly, visible special need 2 Comments

It was early 2015 when our journey toward our son Noah began. Unlike so many families that adopt, it was not a lifelong dream of mine that was finally going to become a reality. No, it was a rather quick process that began one night as I laid in bed watching the evening news. Images …Read More

Older Child Adoption: Teaching My Child What a Parent Is

May 19, 2018 Attachment, attachment challenges, discipline, Family Stories, older child adoption 2 Comments

It was just about a year ago when our family needed to seek out respite. Our teenage son had been home a year, and emotions were at an all time high – for everyone. On many occasions, we’d reached out to those who could help us or him, but it was time to really take …Read More

A Particularly Bad Day

May 17, 2018 adoption realities, attachment challenges, complex heart defect, food issues, hoarding, hypervigilance, Megan V., older child adoption, orphanage behaviors, trauma 1 Comments

There is a constant editing process that goes on when your adoption isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It is a dance between saying enough and not saying too much. Between protecting his privacy and helping others by sharing our experiences. We’ve just celebrated Abe’s three year Family Day this week and it’s triggered stuff in …Read More

When No Means No

May 12, 2018 CCCWA denial, large families, May 2018 Feature - Now What? Life After China Program Changes 1 Comments

July 6, 2017 will be forever imprinted on my heart. But let me take you back to August 2003… I was minding my own business, listening to a radio broadcast, which had been my habit since becoming a Christian just two years earlier. Little did I know that day would mark a change in the …Read More

Carrying Hope High

May 10, 2018 Family Stories, fundraisers, May 2018 Feature - Now What? Life After China Program Changes, other ways to care for the orphan, Stefanie, terminal diagnosis 3 Comments

I recently reached out to my friend Emily to ask if she’d be willing share her story here on NHBO. Hers is a story that we – as the adoption community – need to hear… especially during this time of such significant and devastating changes in the China program. We need to cling to hope, …Read More

China Adoption: A Season of Change

May 9, 2018 Adopting Scenarios, adoption community, Brandie, CCCWA denial, May 2018 Feature - Now What? Life After China Program Changes, no longer eligible 0 Comments

We started the process for our first China adoption in May of 2013. It’s crazy to me to think that five years have passed since we made our initial application to an agency for their China adoption program. We did hit some speed bumps and detours throughout our process: a move to another state, an …Read More

Meeting Our Girl With Special Eyes: Part 2

May 3, 2018 attachment activities, China trip, congenital blindness, Family Stories, Gotcha Day, micropthalmia, older child adoption, Sensory System, sign language, vision issues, vision loss 5 Comments

In July of 2017, my husband and I adopted a 7 year old girl with micropthalmia. She was born blind. In Part 1 of this series, I talked about what it was like to meet Lydia as well as some of the activities we discovered to help with early bonding. Here is more of our …Read More

“Will Adoption Be Good For My Kids?”

April 15, 2018 complex heart defect, double outlet right ventricle, Heart System, heart transplant, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, large families, Lifelong needs, Megan V., older child adoption, siblings 1 Comments

As I type, I’m sitting still in a sun puddle, watching my 12 year old take Abe’s blood pressure because we are at nearly 10,000 feet elevation on a ski vacation and his heart is faltering as it is, even without the elevation change putting undue stress on his valves. And this is a monitoring …Read More

Love Over Obedience

April 7, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, cocooning, discipline, large families, parent-to-child attachment, Sharon, siblings 0 Comments

In case it hasn’t been said lately ~ adoption is hard, messy, ugly, and hurtful at times but so worth the fight. The fight for love. The fight for hearts. The fight for value. I had a messy situation not long ago, and I thought I’d share in hopes it might help someone in the …Read More

The Surprise Adoption

April 2, 2018 adopting again, Family Stories, older child adoption, pre-adoption, should we adopt?, virtual twins 4 Comments

Me: Surprise, we are adopting again! My friend: I’m shocked! Me: So are we!!! Friend: How does this happen? The short answer is God! I want to document the longer answer so that I don’t forgot but also as a testimony to each of you about God’s goodness and His attention to detail. Just when …Read More

Our Journey to Spina Bifida

April 1, 2018 adopting again, April 2018 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, hip dysplasia, hydrocephalus, leg length discrepancy, older child adoption, reluctant husband, spina bifida 3 Comments

Our journey to spina bifida started with a book — Knowing God by J.I. Packer. I was reading the book for an online book/Bible study. It was a meaty book, and I struggled to get through many parts of it. But then I read these words: “Nor is it the spirit of those Christians – …Read More

Beauty in the Unknown

March 25, 2018 adopting a boy, alpha thalassemia, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2018 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, thalassemia 0 Comments

I remember the long days of waiting to be matched with our son. I remember every time the shared list would come out in China, and every time our amazing social worker would tell us we did not have a match yet, and the battle between grief and trust. Trusting that God had this. He …Read More

Gaining Independence: Living with Hemophilia

March 23, 2018 adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, Faith, hemophilia, hemophilia A, March 2018 Feature - Blood Conditions, Medical Momma 0 Comments

It’s hard to believe that our oldest son has been home for almost two and a half years. Before we adopted him, my biggest worry was his medical condition. He has Severe Hemophilia, a genetic bleeding disorder. In a nutshell, this means that his blood is missing one of the proteins that help it to …Read More

An Answered Prayer

March 21, 2018 adopting a boy, beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2018 Feature - Blood Conditions, pre-adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt?, thalassemia 1 Comments

Our adoption story began three years ago when God first planted the seed of adoption in my heart. I remember it so clearly, it was during the 2015 IF:Gathering live simulcast. I had watched the entire conference alone in my living room, soaking in all of the content from the amazing speakers. At the very …Read More

A New Song

March 13, 2018 adopting again, medical needs checklist, parent restrictions, should we adopt?, switching to another country 3 Comments

“Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” – Isaiah 43:19 When Robert and I were on our way home with our son, Howie, we started talking about going back. When we found out Howie’s special need was nonexistent, we knew we would have the energy, room, …Read More

Lessons Learned in Adoption

March 7, 2018 adopting again, Attachment, homeschool, large families, Sharon, virtual twinning 1 Comments

“For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 March 2018 marks 13 years of our adoption journey, and our first adopted daughter is about to be a teenager. Where have 13 years …Read More

The Club I Never Wanted to Join

March 1, 2018 advanced heart failure, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2018 Feature - Heart, Heart System, terminal diagnosis 2 Comments

I’d been part of the adoption community for over 10 years and the heart moms always seemed so special to me. They were so brave and so strong, way stronger than I could ever be; moms who were willing to take this giant leap out onto the ledge of life and death for their children. …Read More

Everyone Has A Plan

February 26, 2018 a father's perspective, adopting as first time parents, adoption realities, albinism, China trip, Dads, Family Stories, Gotcha Day, Skin Conditions 17 Comments

Elsie and I had very different ways of preparing for our China adoption. She spent the better part of a year setting up a nursery in our home, buying clothes, and watching other “family day” videos on Youtube. She is an optimist and a planner, which makes her the perfect counterpart to a cynical procrastinator. …Read More

The Birth Day Surprise

February 17, 2018 bilateral cleft, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, sibling perspective, virtual twins 16 Comments

As the doctor performed an emergency C-section and delivered our sub-four pound premie son, I heard her whisper to the nurse, “Did they know he would have a bi-lateral cleft lip and palate?” Without pausing to let that birthday surprise sink in, I responded, “That’s ok! So does my three year old sister!” “So this …Read More

A Season of No

February 9, 2018 adopting again, Brandie, large families, virtual twins, working mom 0 Comments

If you are old enough to have grown up during the Reagan administration, then these three words are something you will remember. They were the anti-drug and alcohol mantra that law enforcement, teachers, parents, and Nancy Reagan told us over and over again: “Just say no.” Just. Say. No. So simple, powerful, and memorable. But …Read More

Questions from Strangers: How in the World?

February 7, 2018 adopting again, adopting later in life, homeschool, large families, questions from strangers, Sharon 1 Comments

People ask all the time, “How in the world do you do what you do?” Psalm 105:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.” This verse sums up exactly my response every time I’m confronted with this question. “It’s not me, It’s God!” …Read More

Four Little Heartbeats

February 6, 2018 adopting again, amniotic band syndrome, complex heart defects, developmental delays, February 2018 Feature - Heart, Heart System, Orthopedic, profound deafness, Sensory System, toddler adoption, virtual twins 5 Comments

I’m a mama to four heart babies. And this is our story of becoming a family… our story of going from no children to four children in 15 months. This is our crazy, wonderful life. It was a big day. It was the day my husband messaged me at work and told me that he …Read More

Nothing Wasted: Life After Post-Adoption Depression

January 15, 2018 adopting two at once, Attachment, attachment challenges, January 2018 Feature - The Uninvited Guest: Post-Adoption Depression, Newly Home, post-adoption depression, rejects mom 1 Comments

The story I’m about to share is my battle with depression and anxiety that intensified after our first two adopted children came into our lives. I could share so many funny and sweet tales of our family and our precious kiddos, and I hope to have the opportunity to do so in the future. I …Read More

Crossing the Line

January 9, 2018 adopting again, Brandie, pre-adoption, should we adopt? 2 Comments

36.9990° N, 109.0452° W is the only place in the United States where one can stand in four states at the same time. This was not always the case in US history. The boundaries of western territories shifted over the years, morphing into different shapes. Lines were crossed, crossed out, and redrawn as people fought …Read More

Siblings: Nurturing Bonds for Life

December 31, 2017 adopting again, adopting out of birth order, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, hospital stays, orphanage behaviors, physical therapy, siblings, virtual twinning, wheelchair user 0 Comments

My husband and I have four children, two who joined our family biologically and two who joined our family through adoption from China. As more children have joined our family, the sibling dynamics have only gotten more interesting, and are almost never what we expected. When we traveled to adopt Madeleine CaiQun in 2013, her …Read More

I Commit Myself to Thee

December 27, 2017 Andrea O., complex heart defect, complex medical, disruption, November 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, prepping for China, terminal diagnosis, undiagnosed SN 23 Comments

I commit myself to thee. After the adoption of our youngest child and her immediate hospitalization from end-stage heart failure, I began to receive emails and messages via social media from some of the dozens of families who had reviewed her file. One of the families wrote something that shook my soul and has remained …Read More

Preparing for Adoption: Therapist Q and A Part Two

December 19, 2017 Attachment, attachment challenges, Childcare scenarios, China trip, cocooning, daycare, disruption, Gotcha Day, October 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption from the Experts, parent-to-child attachment, working mom 0 Comments

You’ve dreamt for this day for months, years even. You’ve planned for it, are going to travel halfway around the world for it, and have played it out in your mind a million times. And yet, the reality of becoming a family through adoption is undoubtedly different. As we have focused on Preparing for Adoption, …Read More

Adoption: From Siblings’ Perspectives

December 15, 2017 adopting again, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, sibling perspective, siblings 2 Comments

Recently, I asked three of my four kids to write “an essay that talks about how adoption has affected them: the good things about it and the things that have been hard.” I told them to be totally honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly, because it would help other families. Then, I …Read More

Two Butts Are Better Than One: A Story of Siblings

December 14, 2017 adopting again, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, Family Stories, siblings, virtual twins 1 Comments

“Old McDonald had a butt,” was the chorus coming from the back seat as we drove from Denver to St. Louis over Thanksgiving weekend. You pick your battles on a twelve hour road trip, and the four-year-old giggles resulting from my kids’ silly song were worth ignoring the potty humor for once. I found myself …Read More

Growing Together as Family

December 13, 2017 adopting out of birth order, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, Family Stories, siblings 3 Comments

Tom and I spent two weeks away from two of our children, Adele and Archer, while we traveled to China to adopt Haddie. For an entire year, our young children had waited for their new sister. They were familiar with her face, and by the time they met, they had giggled together on Facetime. Haddie, …Read More

Getting In the Groove: Transitioning As a Family through Adoption

December 4, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families, siblings 2 Comments

“Mommy, when Adeline go back to China? We say bye bye to her tomorrow?” His chubby little 4-year-old hands cupped my face as his big eyes looked intently and earnestly into mine. I had a feeling these questions were coming, but they still kind of caught me by surprise, and my heart ached for his …Read More

Adopting a Deaf Child: What We’ve Learned So Far

December 2, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, ASL, cochlear implants, cued speech, December 2017 Feature - Sensory, hearing aids, hearing loss, profound deafness, Sensory System 4 Comments

We entered the deaf/hoh (hard of hearing) world three years ago when we adopted our first son. He was five years old with severe to profound hearing loss. His file stated that he was hard of hearing but could hear and talk with hearing aids. No big deal, we thought! If he can hear and …Read More

Our Leap of Faith: Adopting Our Son With Bilateral Microtia and Atresia

December 1, 2017 adopting a boy, ASL, BAHA, December 2017 Feature - Sensory, early intervention, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, microtia, Ponto, Sensory System, sign language, speech therapy 0 Comments

About five years ago, my husband and I began considering international adoption. We had two biological daughters, yet we both started feeling like our family wasn’t complete. During that time we researched many countries and decided China’s program would be the best fit for our family. However, the process was daunting and there was still …Read More

Elsie Larson on the Paperchase, Special Needs and Adoption

November 30, 2017 adopting as first time parents, albinism, medical needs checklist, paperchase, Stefanie, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 0 Comments

I found Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess on Instagram (@elsielarson) on #worldadoptionday and subsequently spent an inordinate amount of time reading about all the cool stuff she does… including growing their family through adoption. When, a week or so later, I listened to her podcast (in which she shares her thoughts on special needs …Read More

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