Meeting Our Girl With Special Eyes: Part 1

April 19, 2018 attachment activities, congenital blindness, Family Stories, Gotcha Day, older child adoption, Sensory System, vision issues, vision loss 0 Comments

Lydia is our first adopted child. She is our first girl, and we had never before parented a seven year old. We didn’t have any experience working with visually impaired or even special needs children. We never dreamed we would have a child who was blind. But our hearts changed after learning about this precious, …Read More

Just What We Needed: Parenting a Child with Hypotonia

April 11, 2018 April 2018 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hypotonia, low muscle tone, occupational therapy, periventricular leukomalacia, physical therapy, Uncategorized 0 Comments

When we were matched with Hailey, she was 6 months old, and we were blessed to call her our daughter! We waited over 18 months to see this sweet girl’s face, and could not believe the day was finally here. With her referral information, we were given the results of a CT scan, which showed …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

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

HIV: The Undeserved Stigma

March 15, 2018 Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 3 Comments

Adopting a child with HIV was never on our family radar. In fact, it was so far “off” our radar when I first approached the subject with my very open-minded husband the reaction was an immediate absolutely not. Like so many other people that grew up in the 80s and 90s and learned about HIV …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 16 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

Joy in Broken Hearts

February 13, 2018 cleft palate, complex heart defect, developmental delays, Family Stories, February 2018 Feature - Heart, feeding tube, Heart System, hospital stays, mitral valve regurgitation 0 Comments

I first saw my daughter’s face on my thirty-first birthday. There she was. Staring out at us from a computer screen. Her diagnosis was cleft palate, congenital heart disease, and delayed development. We sought out expert advice from an international adoption specialist and then took the leap of love and said Yes. But as 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

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

The “Other Side” of Adoption… and Beyond

November 29, 2017 adopting again, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, older child adoption 0 Comments

We are nobody. No one special. What I mean is, we are not celebrities, we are not “beautiful” people, not snappy dressers, we wouldn’t stand out in a crowd, and certainly not wealthy. We are completely ordinary…. except for one thing. Trailing in our wake are six children, two of the homegrown variety and four …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 2 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

We Needed Him

November 10, 2017 adopting a boy, Adopting Scenarios, Family Stories, first year home, Gotcha Day, Newly Home 3 Comments

One year. I still can’t believe it’s been an entire year since Brooks became ours… One year since a tiny, pale, very sick little boy reached for two strangers in a musty Chinese conference room. One year as a family of five. One year of learning and adapting and fighting for a little boy born …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

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

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

Seeing Things Differently

September 9, 2017 BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, limb difference, microtia, Orthopedic, Sensory System, September 2017 Feature - Visible Special Needs, visible special need 0 Comments

Recently someone reached out to ask what I would tell a group of Boy Scouts if I could speak to them as a special needs mom. This friend, who works everyday as a speech therapist, had been invited to speak to a local Boy Scout troop about interacting with children with special needs. Upon reading …Read More

More Than the Girl with the White Hair

September 4, 2017 albinism, Family Stories, IEP, public school, September 2017 Feature - Skin Conditions, September 2017 Feature - Visible Special Needs, Skin Conditions, TVI, visible special need 2 Comments

Emily loves dolls, dress-up, panda bears, ballet, singing while playing her brother’s ukulele upside down, blowing bubbles, Disney World, soccer, and “preaching” to us from her children’s Bible. She has a quick wit and makes us laugh every day. And, she was born with a condition called albinism. And that’s really it. Albinism is just …Read More

One Year Home: A First-Time Mom’s Thoughts on “Gotcha Day”

July 27, 2017 adopting as first time parents, China trip, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, first year home, Gotcha Day, infertility, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, Newly Home, referral, toddler adoption, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 3 Comments

We’re finally here, we’re already here. The road to this day, the first anniversary of Willa’s “Gotcha Day,” has been slow, and yet in other ways, I feel like I blinked, and here we are. I’m not exactly sure what meeting your adopted child feels like for many moms, the ones with a gaggle of …Read More

Please Don’t Poke the Bear

July 23, 2017 adopting as first time parents, BAHA, Craniofacial, declining a referral, Family Stories, hearing loss, hemifacial microsomia, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, microtia, referral, speech therapy, waiting for referral 1 Comments

I call my daughter baby bear. For my first Mother’s Day, my husband presented us with matching mama bear/baby bear bracelets. SJ saw them and exclaimed: “SJ. Mama. Same!” Though I’ve never considered myself a shrinking violet by any means, this process, this crazy-beautiful, seemingly impossible way of becoming parents, has seemed to draw out …Read More

Bringing Benjamin Home

July 22, 2017 adopting a boy, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, surgery 2 Comments

We are the Young Family. We live in a small town in North Carolina with our two biological daughters ages 16 and 11, and our adopted son Benjamin who is 4. Our story begins like may others. God’s call to expand our family through adoption, a reluctant spouse, no funds, paperwork, and the “What special …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

Cool Hats and Shaggy Haircuts: Adopting a Child with Microtia

July 18, 2017 adopting a boy, BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, microtia, Sensory System, visible special need 2 Comments

(Let me start by saying I are so far from an expert on the topic of microtia and atresia. Just know that I am a loving mother with a son who happens to have this special bonus feature, not an ENT doctor.) When my husband and I filled out a medical checklist in February of …Read More

Unexpected Beauty

July 15, 2017 cleft palate, Craniofacial, declining a referral, Family Stories, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, malnourishment, referral, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

I sat in my Thursday morning Bible study, sharing my confusion and fears with my prayer partner, Shawna. My husband and I were certain that God had called our family to adoption shortly after our biological daughter, Campbell, was born in 2011. By the time she was 15 months old, we had submitted our dossier …Read More

Celebrating Her Differences

July 11, 2017 amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic, referral, visible special need 0 Comments

Our adoption journey began many years before the first paper was signed and sent off to our agency. My husband and I spent the summer after our junior year in college in China studying language and culture. We actually began dating at the end of our time in China and that summer holds a very …Read More

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Our Cleft Story

July 10, 2017 cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, either gender, Family Stories, fistula, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, referral, speech therapy, waiting for referral 2 Comments

Adoption had been on our heart for years. And in August of 2014, after lots of prayer, we accepted God’s call to adopt. We completed our home study, filled out the medical checklist, put together lots of paperwork, prepared our home for another child, and waited to see our child’s face for the first time. …Read More

When They Don’t Choose You

July 7, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, bottle feeding, cocooning, Family Stories, first weeks home, July 2017 Feature - All About Attachment, Newly Home, rejects mom, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments

God planted the seed of adoption in my heart when I was still in elementary school. There was a single woman who did foster care and her children were in my brother’s t-ball league. The idea that children didn’t have families blew me away, and I begged my parents to adopt. That was not God’s …Read More

I Can’t is Not in Our Vocabulary

July 4, 2017 Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, limb difference, Orthopedic, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 0 Comments

I can’t. Such a short phrase can carry so much defeat behind it. It’s a phrase that I was sure we would hear often when my husband and I were called to adopt a child with a limb difference. So many questions and emotions ran through my mind the day that I stared at our …Read More

Her Extra Wide Smile

July 3, 2017 bilateral cleft, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial 3 Comments

Here is the story of how we came to have the privilege of getting to be the parents of our beautiful daughter with an extra wide smile. Adoption was placed on my heart in early 2012. God spoke to me so clearly that I found myself sobbing with the weight of it all. He was …Read More

July Special Needs Focus (and Favorite Family Stories): Craniofacial

July 1, 2017 cl/cp, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, Family Stories, Favorite Family Stories, hemifacial microsomia, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, tessier cleft 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

“I Can Do Anything You Can Do”

June 28, 2017 Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, Poland syndrome 0 Comments

It’s funny how you remember the exact moment certain things happen in your life; a phone call about your first job, winning a special award, the first time you fell in love. Moments like these seem to be forever captured in a certain part of your brain, a place that can be retrieved and played …Read More

How Adoption Changed Our Definition of Perfect

June 27, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting out of birth order, arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, mobility issues, older child adoption, Orthopedic, should we adopt?, wheelchair user 4 Comments

My husband and I met in middle school. We didn’t date until right after high school, but were close friends from early in our relationship. We dated through college and got married right after my graduation. We met a family who had children through adoption, and that was when the seed was planted. We knew …Read More

Our Favorite Feet

June 26, 2017 clubfoot, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, Nancy, Orthopedic 0 Comments

Jude is amazing. He’s taken everything in stride, and I think he even has a bit of pride about his scars, that sense of I did this and not only am I okay, but I’m better and I love who I am! And, of course, I can’t disagree with him. He is awesome and a …Read More

Nothing to Fear: Seeing Beyond the Check Box

June 20, 2017 adopting again, arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, medical needs checklist, older child adoption, Orthopedic 2 Comments

She loves bubbles and baby dolls. Her favorite color is yellow. She is a quick learner and a compassionate friend. She has the most joyful laugh, and an infectious smile. And we wouldn’t have known any of these aspects of our daughter had we been scared off by one single word… Arthrogryposis. Her story began …Read More

Thoughts from The Dad: Worth It

June 16, 2017 a father's perspective, Dads, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Thoughts From The Dad, Perspectives, should we adopt? 0 Comments

Welcome June! And, in honor of Father’s Day later this month, June is all about Dads. During our Thoughts from the Dad series, we’ll feature stories written by fathers sharing their unique perspective on the journey of adoption. ……… What is my perspective, as a dad, on adoption? Since perspective is defined as an attitude …Read More

A Leap of Faith: Adopting a Child with Osteogenesis Imperfecta

June 7, 2017 adopting again, aqua therapy, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, osteogenesis imperfecta, physical therapy 1 Comments

My husband and I knew – 2016 was going to be the year we embarked upon another adoption journey. We’d given birth to our first child, a daughter, in 2010. In February 2013 we adopted a precious little girl from China, and we knew then that we’d adopt again. First, though, we felt like God …Read More

Thankful We Didn’t Know

May 23, 2017 adopting again, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, heart defect, May 2017 Feature - Vascular, Takayasu’s arteritis‎, undiagnosed SN, Vascular System, Von Willebrand 1 Comments

Almost four years ago, my husband finally said yes. Again. We had talked, I had prayed. I’d promised not to nag, prayed some more, and waited for that yes. When he agreed to begin our second adoption, he had limits. He had the idea to draw some lines in the sand of what special needs …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

Trusting God To Number Our Days

May 12, 2017 complex heart defect, Family Stories, pulmonary stenosis, TGA, VSD 4 Comments

I remember looking at pictures of children and wondering if they were mine. I knew God wanted us to adopt a child. I knew He had a specific child for us. Every time I would look at a picture of a waiting child, I would ask myself, “Are you mine?” God, how will I know …Read More

From Inconvenient to Eternal

May 6, 2017 AFO, April 2017 Feature - CNS, bowel management, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, incontinence, medical needs checklist, referral, spina bifida, waiting for referral, wheelchair user 2 Comments

We had the same picture as so many others at the start: we envisioned a perfect, beautiful, raven-haired little girl from China. When we started exploring adoption and saw that the face of adoption had really changed to be all about special needs, we shifted our thinking. Minor, correctable needs, we thought. Our perfect, beautiful, …Read More

This Is Why We Adopt

May 5, 2017 adopting out of birth order, aging out expedite, Family Stories, older child adoption, should we adopt? 6 Comments

Terrified, I sat on our bed staring at a 13 year old little girl’s picture. The Lord stopped me in my tracks as I read the brief description about her. Father, surely she is meant for another family… I am hearing your voice wrong, right? People will think we are irresponsible… they will think we …Read More

Elijah’s Story: You Don’t Have to Hide

May 2, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, aging out expedite, Family Stories, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, May 2017 Feature - Vascular, older child adoption, should we adopt?, Vascular System 7 Comments

We had no clue what was about to happen. We have many folks in our circle of friends and family who have fostered and adopted, both domestically and internationally. We have loved supporting them, praying for them, and wearing the t-shirts. Shared stories and advocacy posts were a regular occurrence on our news feeds, but …Read More

All She Needed Was A Family

April 26, 2017 cancer, Family Stories, glioma, mobility issues, older child adoption, wheelchair user 0 Comments

I saw a serious and sad little girl when I looked at her referral picture for the first time. My experience with referral photos told me that she had been through a lot in her short time here on earth. Her eyes reminded me of an old person who had known loneliness and sorrow. Her …Read More

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