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, 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 1 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 3 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

The Little Girl No One Believed In

April 17, 2017 April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy 2 Comments

I didn’t set out on this journey to become the parent of multiple children with special needs. It’s a funny thing, though, to see a dream evolve. As a young girl, I learned of the gender disparity in China and the preference for sons. In that moment, the seeds were planted in my heart and …Read More

Love Stories: Rewritten

April 16, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, Family Stories, foster care, mobility issues, wheelchair user 2 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

Love Stories: More Than I Hoped For

April 13, 2017 adopting a boy, April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, Family Stories, foster care, large families, orphanage visit 0 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

What’s in a Word

April 11, 2017 amputation, congenital femoral deficiency, Family Stories, limb difference, missing arm/leg, Orthopedic, prosthetics, proximal femoral focal deficiency, rotationplasty 2 Comments

Driving in the car recently, I was listening to my girls’ conversation with each other and was struck by the words that came out of their mouths. Almost perfectly pronounced, and discussed quite nonchalantly, words like: prosthetic leg, surgery, backwards foot. It sort of hit me that these are words that not everyone (especially little …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

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

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

An Unfinished Family Portrait

March 25, 2017 a father's perspective, adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, Dads, Family Stories, hemophilia, hemophilia A, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 2 Comments

Looking up from a pile of leaves, a young, beautiful blonde-haired college girl smiles while being kissed on the cheek by a “somewhat handsome” college-aged boy. That young, twenty-year old girl, now even more beautiful than ever, is my wife, Amber. That college kid, who has not graced the twenty years since quite as well, …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

Ten Frequently Asked Questions About Adopting a Child With Thalassemia

March 15, 2017 beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, thalassemia 2 Comments

Kate, Chelsea, and Alissa are three friends who have brought home five girls with beta thalassemia within the last two years. They live in rural Montana – four hours from the nearest children’s hospital. All five of their girls are thriving with thalassemia and are truly living up to their name as the “Thal Thugs …Read More

Three Simple Words

March 12, 2017 adopting a boy, adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cocooning, Family Stories, older child adoption, rejects mom 0 Comments

We often hear the term “leap of faith”. Three simple words. Saying these three simple words is easy, but truly living them out is a different story. My husband and I always joke with each other saying that nothing in our lives comes easy or goes as planned. We are okay with this, because what …Read More

What I Didn’t Know: Adopting a Child with Severe Hemophilia

March 9, 2017 adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, hemophilia, hemophilia A, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, should we adopt?, undiagnosed SN 2 Comments

Adoption for us was not something we thought about for years. It was something that God spoke to us in one day. On March 25, 2013 my husband casually mentioned he had been thinking about adoption. At the time, our daughters were seven, four, and two. I was overwhelmed and had no interest in adoption. …Read More

Our Iron Man: Adopting a Child with Thalassemia

March 7, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, medical expedite, older child adoption, thalassemia 3 Comments

Fluffing up his pillows around him on his hospital bed, I did my best to make him smile. We had learned together that love, smiles, silliness and laughter cross any language barrier. Though he was tired, he did manage a slight smirk that didn’t quite reach his usual smiley, almond eyes. This dance was still …Read More

One Year.

March 2, 2017 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Family Stories, first year home, Megan, Newly Home, orphanage behaviors, parent-to-child attachment 9 Comments

We have been home one year as of January 10, 2017, and I can finally say that I love him. I can’t tell you when exactly it happened. There was not a lightening bolt moment. Nor was there an instant bond or attachment from the moment we met. I spent the better part of our …Read More

Strength for the Journey: Adopting a Child with Complex Heart Defects

February 26, 2017 atrioventricular canal defect, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, heterotaxy, hospital stays, pulmonary atresia, single ventricle heart disease, VSD 0 Comments

I was just able to sit down with a cup of hot tea on a cold and lazy Saturday afternoon, relishing in the quiet and calm. Also know as, daddy is home so he is dodging toddlers and taking care of farm animals while I hide in his office to write this article. With six …Read More

Choosing Happiness Daily: Adopting a Child with an Unfixable Heart

February 19, 2017 adopting a boy, complex heart defect, double inlet left ventricle, Eisenmenger’s Syndrome, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, heart defect, Heart System, older child adoption, pulmonary hypertension, terminal diagnosis, TGV 3 Comments

One evening less than two months after bringing home our second son from China, I told my husband that I wished we could adopt an older child someday too. In both of our travel groups, there were older children who were adopted. These had made such an impact on my heart! They understood the idea …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

After the Honeymoon: Adopting a Child with Complex CHD

February 14, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as first time parents, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, first year home, Heart System, heterotaxy, medical needs checklist, Morning Star Foster Home, pulmonary atresia, should we adopt?, surgery, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Prologue: In our son’s room, we have a picture that reads: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We chose this verse for him, but in reality it applies more to us. My husband, Derek, and …Read More

He Is A Gift

February 9, 2017 adopting a boy, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, HLHS, older child adoption, pulmonary stenosis, single atrium heart disease, single ventricle heart disease, TGA 7 Comments

Our son, Matthew, is eight years old. He came home last year in May 2016. Throughout the adoption process and shortly after arriving home, God reminded us that Matthew is a gift. My husband and I would hear “He is a gift” over and over again. God had to remind us. He had to because …Read More

Fighting for Her Heart

February 5, 2017 Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, heart defect, Heart System, hospital stays, surgery, Tetralogy of Fallot 15 Comments

Just over four years ago, I was waiting in a cold government office in Zhengzhou, China to meet my second daughter. I had hesitantly said yes to adopting a child with a heart condition. In saying yes, I had armed myself with knowledge and facts and learned everything I could about my daughter’s medical diagnosis. …Read More

Straight into the Fire: Our Road to Rosie

February 1, 2017 complex heart defect, complex medical, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, medical expedite, Tetralogy of Fallot 3 Comments

February is the month of hearts. And here at NHBO, we are all about hearts this month, too. This February, we will be sharing stories of children with congenital heart defects – from minor to complex – and how their families found them. pursued them, and brought them home. ……… After adopting our first daughter …Read More

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