Unintentional Twinning

December 6, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, developmental delays, Developmental System, siblings, speech therapy, trauma 0 Comments

The terms virtual or artificial twinning are common terms in the adoption world for when a family brings a child home that is born in the same year as a child already in the home. But have you heard of unintentional twinning? It’s OK if you haven’t, because as far as I know I just …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

Doubly Blessed by PWS (Prader-Willi Syndrome)

November 12, 2017 complex medical, developmental delays, Family Stories, growth hormone deficiency, hip dysplasia, Nutrition, Prader-Willi syndrome 1 Comments

Hi, I’m Kallie. I am married to David, and we have two precious sons through adoption, Jahleel and Camden. Jahleel is five and a half years old and Camden is three and a half. Camden just came home from China this past spring. Both our boys have diagnoses of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), but they present …Read More

Hearts to Listen: Parenting a Non-Verbal Child

October 31, 2017 autism, cl/cp, Developmental System, non-verbal, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, older child adoption 4 Comments

I lie awake with a bewildered mind, but know the feeling that has been laid upon my face like I have been awake all day – I climb out of bed with the biggest smile looking up at me. She has been heard. The feeling on my face is from my non-verbal child that has …Read More

Preparing for Adoption: Wisdom From a Physical Therapist and a Speech Therapist

October 30, 2017 China trip, early intervention, October 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, packing list, physical therapy, prepping for China, speech delay, speech therapy, waiting to travel 1 Comments

You’ve dreamt for this day for months, years even. Planned for it, traveled halfway around the world for it and played it out in your mind a million times. And yet, the reality of becoming a family through adoption is undoubtedly different. What happens next depends much on how you, as the adoptive parent, process …Read More

From “What If” to “What Is”

October 29, 2017 apraxia of speech, developmental delays, Developmental System, non-verbal, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, siblings, speech delay, speech therapy 3 Comments

The doors open, and all of the 3 year old preschoolers come running out… “Mama, I painted today!” “Mama, we ate cookies at snack!” “Mama, I played on the slide outside!” “Mama, I had so much fun today!” My little girl also comes running out. Her mega-watt smile is turned on high. She hugs my …Read More

The Upside of Down Syndrome

October 28, 2017 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Education, homeschool, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 1 Comments

If you asked me three years ago what I expected life to be like after adopting a child with Down syndrome, I may have said something like, “Our lives will have to slow down a lot.. We’ll have to make time for lots of doctors appointments, therapies, etc.. and we’ll definitely have to have a …Read More

Revealing Hidden Treasures

October 26, 2017 adopting again, adopting two at once, Advocacy, Developmental System, Down syndrome, large families, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 1 Comments

I wasn’t one of those amazing people who aspires to adopt a child with Down syndrome from a young age. Neither did I ever imagine that I would become an advocate for children with Down syndrome waiting to be adopted. I, like most people, was fairly ignorant of what Down syndrome, or “Trisomy 21” actually …Read More

Worth It

October 25, 2017 ADHD, cl/cp, cognitive delay, Craniofacial, developmental delays, Developmental System, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding challenges, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay 0 Comments

Three years after coming home with our older daughter – whose special needs are unrepaired cleft palate and ear atresia and microtia – we were ready to adopt again. We were open to many things on the medical needs checklist, but not developmental delays. We had good insurance and several medical facilities nearby, so we …Read More

Worry Turned to Joy

October 24, 2017 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 1 Comments

One year ago, we chose a file of a little girl half way around the world we didn’t know. We knew her diagnosis, her given name, her age, and a little about her personality. What can you really know from a file, truly? With the months passing and preparing paperwork, my mind was racing. What …Read More

Just As You Are

October 24, 2017 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, homeschool, non-verbal, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, sign language, speech therapy 5 Comments

I left church early this past Sunday. For some reason the transition from Sunday school to big church has been difficult for our daughter for the last month or so. She is non-verbal and, although she is mine, cannot communicate to me what is making this transition so hard. Usually I can pull from my …Read More

Fighting to Slow Down

October 21, 2017 attachment challenges, developmental delays, Developmental System, discipline, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, IEP, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, refusing food, seizures, Sensory Processing Issues, sign language, speech delay, speech therapy 2 Comments

“Wow, you’re really quick!” It was one of the first thoughts I had about my daughter. We were standing in the provincial civil affairs office. The nanny from the orphanage had just placed her in my arms. I tried to hold her facing me and she spun around to face outward with a speed I’d …Read More

“A Little Bit Naughty”: Misunderstood Special Needs

October 19, 2017 ADHD, adopting a boy, age assignment, developmental delays, Developmental System, IEP, Newly Home, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, public school, Sensory Processing Issues 2 Comments

One and a half years ago my husband and I, seasoned parents with three pre-teen/teenage biological daughters, flew across the globe to China to meet our four-year-old son, Asher. He was in the Special Focus program and his special need was Developmental Delay. Being that DD is such a common and global term associated with …Read More

The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Our Family

October 16, 2017 adopting again, adopting later in life, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 2 Comments

A friend of mine, who happens to also have a daughter with Down syndrome, called me the other day. “Audrey! I was just realizing, not only are you about to get another child… (we currently have 7) but she is a toddler! Like – in diapers, not talking yet and she has Down syndrome!” We …Read More

What We Didn’t Know

October 14, 2017 developmental delays, Developmental System, early intervention, Education, failure to thrive, heart defect, medical needs checklist, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, sign language, speech delay, virtual twinning 0 Comments

Every child is different, and those differences make life a beautiful kaleidoscope. Our family was formed through adoption and through our most recent adoptions we have become familiar with various aspects of developmental delays. We adopted our sons domestically, and then we adopted our two two year old daughters from China one year apart. With …Read More

When Words Don’t Come

October 11, 2017 augmentative and alternative communication, cerebral palsy, dysarthria, non-verbal, speech delay 0 Comments

The ability to speak is commonly used as a litmus test for intelligence. After all, audible language equates with the ability to form thoughts. True? Not true. Oftentimes, non-verbal children have the same thoughts and feelings as typically developing peers but don’t have the skills or ability to use words to express themselves. We have …Read More

Say What?

October 9, 2017 attachment activities, Brandie, early intervention, Education, first weeks home, first year home, hearing aids, hearing loss, Newly Home, sign language, speech delay, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 0 Comments

“I don’t get it,” I said to my friend several years ago when she mentioned she was having her toddler evaluated by an early intervention team to assess his speech. “He’s not even two. He’s a late bloomer!” I assured her. I went on with anecdotes about our first born, now 15, who at two …Read More

In Celebration of Down Syndrome

October 2, 2017 adopting a boy, Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 4 Comments

Five years ago, on October 6th, we welcomed our daughter Wren into the world. With Wren being our second child, we felt pretty confident that we were prepared for all that adding another child into our little family would bring. What we were not prepared for was learning shortly after Wren’s birth that she has …Read More

Being a Mom to Special Kids

September 15, 2017 autism, cerebral palsy, Megan, Parenting Special Needs, siblings 1 Comments

All of our children our special, but some of us know just how hard it is having extra special kids. Anyone who has adopted, whether your child was listed as having special needs or not, knows what it’s like to parent an atypical and often difficult child. Sometimes it is just plain hard. Whether your …Read More

Attachment Q & A: Still Not Attached

August 18, 2017 Attachment, attachment challenges, Attachment Disorder, August 2017 Feature - Attachment Q & A, Jean, parent-to-child attachment, RAD, reactive attachment disorder, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments

Attachment. Not much more could not be packed into one single word, especially in the adoption world. We spent all of July focusing on this most-important topic and decided to continue into August – but with a bit of a twist. This month, we’re answering your attachment questions. Because we all have them – we …Read More

Walking His Road

July 21, 2017 adopting again, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, should we adopt?, speech delay, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

It was Memorial Day 2012 the first time my husband, Robert, told me he wanted to adopt. We lived in a delightful little suburb of Dallas and had spent the afternoon watching our three young boys play at the splash park. We were all hot and sticky as we drove home and he said, “I’d …Read More

Trusting My Instincts

July 19, 2017 ABA therapy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, autism, cocooning, developmental delays, Developmental System, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, IEP, indiscriminate affection, occupational therapy, speech delay, speech therapy 1 Comments

My husband Derrick and I had been married for almost eight years when, in the summer of 2015, our path to parenthood ultimately led us to adopt from the China Special Needs program. Up to that point, we had never considered what life would be like for our growing family outside of the “typical” narrative. …Read More

For Life: Unexptected Treasures

June 4, 2017 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, Developmental System, Lifelong needs, low muscle tone, May 2017 Feature - For Life, seizures, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

Adopting a child with special needs can be scary. And even scarier when that child has needs that just might require a lifetime of parental care. In our For Life series, we are hearing from those whose parenting journey has diverged from what most would think typical. They’re parenting children who require more than what …Read More

For Life: What Happened When We Killed Our Dreams

May 26, 2017 a father's perspective, ASD, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, feeding challenges, heart defect, May 2017 Feature - For Life, medical needs checklist, Randall, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Finish high school. Graduate from college. Get a job. Get married. Have a couple kids. Maybe even adopt one. Send them all to college. Celebrate their weddings. Spoil the grandkids. Retire. That’s the plan. Well… that was the plan. When I was getting ready to finish high school, I realized I had no idea what …Read More

Full of Surprises

May 17, 2017 Central Nervous System, Chiari 1 malformation, clubfoot, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, hydronephrosis, neurogenic bowel and bladder, spina bifida 2 Comments

When we started our adoption process we wanted a healthy child. That’s what everyone wants – adopted or biological – right? Our hearts changed when we had the privilege of working with special needs kids, and we saw so much life and strength in them that we changed our adoption papers to special needs. When …Read More

For Life: The Road God Had For Us

May 10, 2017 developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Lifelong needs, May 2017 Feature - For Life, medical needs checklist, waiting for referral 2 Comments

Adopting a child with special needs can be scary. And even scarier when that child has needs that just might require a lifetime of parental care. This month we are hearing from those whose parenting journey has diverged from what most would think typical. They’re parenting children who require more than what many would believe …Read More

Weathering Medical Surprises

May 9, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, Brandie, hearing aids, hearing loss, heart defect, oral aversion, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay, undiagnosed SN, VSD 2 Comments

At the first sign of a chilly night in the fall, my husband and daughter take tarps to their little garden to cover her cherished tomato plants, hoping to buy them a little more time before the cold winter claims them. Around the same time, my husband and son begin the preparation for winter. They …Read More

Tackling Feeding Challenges: Feeding Therapy and Finding the Right Fit

May 7, 2017 early intervention, feeding/swallowing therapy, Guest Series, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy, swallow study, Tackling Feeding Challenges 0 Comments

Feeding your child is one of the most basic ways you can bond, and yet can become the one most challenging aspects of parenting for many adoptive families. In this three-part series, Speech Therapist Melissa Pouncey will provide practical places to start working towards peaceful and healthy eating habits, along with more therapeutic information regarding …Read More

Conquering Oral Aversions

May 4, 2017 attachment activities, cleft lip, cleft palate, feeding/swallowing therapy, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy 0 Comments

Originally posted on Under the Sycamore When we arrived in China (almost 5 years ago), I thought she would try new foods pretty quickly. She didn’t. I thought once she was settled in at home, she’d be ready. She wasn’t. After several months of no progress, I joked that I was sure she’d eat a …Read More

Severe Feeding Challenges: The Hardest Part

April 23, 2017 developmental delays, Developmental System, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, food issues, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, orphanage behaviors, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN 8 Comments

We started the adoption process in 2005, right before the big slowdown. We didn’t end up traveling until 2007, so I spent every free moment reading adoption stories and joining every adoption-related yahoo group out there. I felt as well-educated as one could possibly be. Unfortunately, there were only the “ladybugs and unicorns” stories out …Read More

When My Non-Verbal Daughter Dreamed About a Butterfly

April 14, 2017 ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, developmental delays, Developmental System, low muscle tone, non-verbal, sign language 3 Comments

Talking is my strong suit. I love to talk. My grandmothers would both comment on my ability to talk, even at a very young age. I remember being at a Shoney’s (a restaurant) when I was around five or six years old. My grandmother shushed me several times. It was then I realized how much …Read More

The Real Worst Case Scenario

April 9, 2017 adopting as a single mom, adopting as first time parents, April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, Chiari 2 malformation, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, medical needs checklist, mobility issues, neurogenic bowel and bladder, spina bifida, waiting for referral, wheelchair user 1 Comments

When I began the adoption process, in the fall of 2013, I filled out my agency’s medical conditions checklist, or MCC. I was only open to a girl up to age 18 months, but being a special education teacher, I was familiar with and open to a wide variety of medical needs. At the time, …Read More

Nourish

April 4, 2017 feeding tube, Hillary, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Nutrition, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food 1 Comments

nour·ish ˈnəriSH/ 1. provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. This is what a mama does, right? We offer ourselves to nourish our children. Biologically, our bodies were made to do this. Emotionally, our hearts were made to do this, too. But a mama is finite. The whole …Read More

He Will Provide: Part Two

April 3, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, ESL, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I have needed regular reminders since we brought David and Daniel home to keep trusting that – because our adoption was God’s miracle – He will provide all that we need. God has been helping me to keep holding on to hope and to keep believing that His plans for our family are always good. …Read More

April Special Needs Focus (and Favorite Family Stories): Central Nervous System

April 1, 2017 April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Favorite Family Stories, hydrocephalus, microcephaly, moyamoya, spina bifida 0 Comments

The term special needs can sound scary. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Our goal at NHBO is to equip and inform parents – replacing fear with knowledge – as they navigate the beginning stages of special needs adoption. And then encourage and support those home with their special needs kiddos. We do …Read More

The Battle Inside: Parenting a Child with Feeding Challenges

March 31, 2017 failure to thrive, Family Stories, feeding challenges, feeding tube, feeding/swallowing therapy, first weeks home, food issues, H-Pylori, malnourishment, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Nutrition, oral aversion, refusing food 0 Comments

We began our adoption journey about three years ago and in that time we completed two separate adoptions. We first traveled to China in 2015 to bring home our son who was just a year old at the time and in 2016 we re-used our dossier bringing home our daughter who had just turned two. …Read More

He Will Provide: Part One

March 31, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, Developmental System, older child adoption, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I was acutely aware of my lack of motherly connection to Daniel, as I watched him lying there with vacant eyes on the hospital bed. “God, is it even possible for me to love this boy?” My husband Charly was working on his PhD at Lanzhou University when we learned about our sons David and …Read More

Tackling Feeding Challenges: Oral Motor Differences and Feeding

March 28, 2017 Education, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, food issues, Guest Series, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Newly Home, Nutrition, occupational therapy, oral aversion, physical therapy, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, Tackling Feeding Challenges 0 Comments

Feeding your child is one of the most basic ways you can bond, and yet can become the one most challenging aspects of parenting for many adoptive families. In this three-part series, Speech Therapist Melissa Pouncey will provide practical places to start working towards peaceful and healthy eating habits, along with more therapeutic information regarding …Read More

Feeding Challenges: “I’ve Got This” and Other Things I Once Believed

March 26, 2017 complex heart defect, developmental delays, early intervention, failure to thrive, feeding tube, feeding/swallowing therapy, malnourishment, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Nutrition, oral aversion, paralyzed vocal chords, refusing food, surgery 4 Comments

Major cardiac defects? That’s a little more intimidating than we initially signed up for but nothing a good surgeon can’t fix. Plus I’m a nurse, I can handle the hard. God prepared me for this. Poor oxygenation? That’ll correct itself once her heart is repaired. Severe developmental delays? Of course she’s delayed, but look at …Read More

Crying Over Cheerios: Overcoming Feeding Challenges

March 17, 2017 adopting a boy, Brandie, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, first weeks home, first year home, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Newly Home, oral-motor delays 2 Comments

Where I grew up, food was a love language. I learned at a very young age that food was the center of any worthwhile gathering. I remember once in the sweltering heat of a Mississippi summer, we attended a family reunion. It was a potluck, and table after table was overflowing with plates of styrofoam …Read More

Tackling Feeding Challenges: The Basics

March 14, 2017 Education, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, food issues, Guest Series, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Newly Home, occupational therapy, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy, Tackling Feeding Challenges 0 Comments

Feeding your child is one of the most basic ways you can bond, and yet can become the one most challenging aspects of parenting for many adoptive families. In this three-part series, Speech Therapist Melissa Pouncey will provide practical places to start working towards peaceful and healthy eating habits, along with more therapeutic information regarding …Read More

Putting the Pieces Together

March 11, 2017 brain injury, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, hemiplegia, older child adoption 3 Comments

One of the ways in which we fundraised to bring our daughter, Lulu, home last year was through a jigsaw puzzle fundraiser, suggested by a fellow adoptive Mama. Perhaps you’re familiar with it — we reached out to family and friends asking them to sponsor pieces of a puzzle to raise the $5,800 orphanage donation …Read More

Yes, I Did. I Asked For This.

February 17, 2017 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families 15 Comments

Someone finally said out loud what I assumed people might be thinking all along. I was asked, “How are you?” Careful not to ever come across as complaining about this beautiful mess God has called me to, I simply answered, “Good.” I never want to appear to have it all together (which isn’t hard); however, …Read More

Confessions of a Former China Director Turned Adoptive Mom

January 24, 2017 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, cognitive delay, complex medical, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, first weeks home, first year home, low muscle tone, Newly Home, should we adopt? 8 Comments

Alternately titled: What I wish I would have known, and what I would like to share with other adoptive families I first started out with adoption in 2004 when I was just 21 years old. It was the summer before my senior year of college when I got a job as an intern at All …Read More

Reluctant Spouses: Worth the Wait

January 21, 2017 adopting a boy, Down syndrome, January 2017 Feature - Reluctant Spouses, pre-adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other. This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when …Read More

Feeding Challenges, Attachment and Trust-Based Parenting

January 2, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, Newly Home, oral aversion, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, Trust Based Parenting 1 Comments

My introduction to the world of feeding challenges coincided with me becoming a mother. My firstborn son – a perfect, squishy newborn – refused to eat. He had no physical limitations or reasons for refusing food, he just didn’t see the need nor possess the desire to fulfill his hunger by eating. The first six …Read More

Mothering Zhou: Adopting a Child with Oral Aversion

December 24, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, feeding/swallowing therapy, occupational therapy, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

Five and a half years ago, my arms ached to hold my son, a world away in China… When I couldn’t sleep, and I had said everything to God I could think of, I would do three things: 1. visit Google maps to zoom in on a city that is as far away as it …Read More

Pictures, Songs, and God’s Goodness

November 25, 2016 complex medical, developmental delays, Developmental System, encephalocele, hypothyroidism, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now 1 Comments

After several adoptions, I’ve realized there is not a “standard” Then and Now story. We have a heart hero, a tiny miracle with the biggest and brightest joy, a precious daughter who struggles with significant PTSD, and a daughter with great needs who is a two steps forward, ten steps back – kind of girl. …Read More

Then and Now: Mila

November 18, 2016 Attachment, attachment challenges, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, parent-to-child attachment, siblings, Trust Based Parenting 4 Comments

November is Adoption Awareness Month. And our focus is Then and Now… glimpses into the lives of children – children who were once orphaned – who are now beloved family members. Daughters, sons, sisters and brothers who are now blossoming in the love of a forever family… ……….. We’ve all seen those glossy magazine ads …Read More

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