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

The Other Side of the Mountain: Surviving the Death of a Child

November 4, 2018 adopting again, adoption realities, Down syndrome, Family Stories, Lifelong needs, medical expedite, orphanage realities 3 Comments

It was a horrible stomach flu that took us down one by one. The kids were both sick. Ken and I were horribly sick. It was one of those “fend for yourself and hope to see you on the other side” type of illnesses. When the phone rang that morning, I had no strength 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

When Fear Turns To Joy

October 23, 2018 22qdeletion syndrome, adopting a boy, adopting again, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, IEP, older child adoption, speech delay, Tetralogy of Fallot 1 Comments

I remember sitting there staring. Staring at the notes that I had just scribbled down. My mind was racing and yet it was paralyzed. I had just gotten off the phone with the cardiologist who reviewed the file of a girl that my husband, Dan, and I had requested him to review. I was expecting …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

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

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

More Than I Could See: Adopting a Non-Verbal Child

September 22, 2018 Developmental System, Family Stories, hearing loss, non-verbal, older child adoption, profound deafness, Sensory System 1 Comments

It was sentiment we shared for 15 months: we were way in over our heads with this adoption. We had said “yes” to a seven and a half year old daughter who was deaf and had never received the gift of language. There were no schools available to teach her in her province. Consequently, she …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

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

The Dance

August 23, 2018 adopting out of birth order, Central Nervous System, clubfoot, Family Stories, mobility issues, older child adoption, Orthopedic, scoliosis, spina bifida, virtual twins, wheelchair user 5 Comments

I’ll never forget the morning I found my daughter Ava and son Daniel huddled around the family computer. The screen was blocked by their two heads… “Whatcha doin’?” I inquired. They both turned around to reveal a waiting child adoption site that they had been scrolling through. “Mom, look at this little girl… isn’t she …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

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

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

The Story of Alexis

June 23, 2018 amputation, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hip dysplasia, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, lipomyelomeningocele, missing arm/leg, Orthopedic, prosthetics 0 Comments

When we were matched with our sweet Alexis we were told that she had hip dysplasia. Once we were back in the U.S. and we were able to take her to see a specialist, we found out that she has a form of spina bifida called lipomyelomeningocele, which means a fatty mass had attached to …Read More

Joke’s on Me: Fibular Hemimelia

June 21, 2018 AFO, Family Stories, fibular hemimelia, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, leg length discrepancy, limb difference, medical trauma, Orthopedic, referral, should we adopt?, surgery, trauma, waiting for referral 12 Comments

If you have adopted, you know the overwhelming process of filling out the medical needs checklist (MCC). For those that haven’t, this is a piece of paper with a wide range list of medical needs, each having little boxes beside them, and your job is to check the ones you are open to within adoption. …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

Putting Your Best Foot (and Hip, Leg, and Toes) Forward

June 16, 2018 AFO, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hemiplegia, hip dysplasia, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic 0 Comments

As a parent, you never want to “choose” to go through painful procedures and surgeries. However, when parenting a child with special needs, one has to weigh pros and cons of various therapies, tests, procedures, surgeries, medications… the list goes on and on. And when your child is functioning well overall, the decisions can be …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

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

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

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

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

Meeting Our Girl With Special Eyes: Part 1

April 19, 2018 attachment activities, congenital blindness, Family Stories, Gotcha Day, micropthalmia, older child adoption, Sensory System, vision issues, vision loss 1 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 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

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 5 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

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