Older Children and Incontinence, a Family Story

November 29, 2015 bowel management, Family Stories, imperforate anus, incontinence, lipomyelomeningocele, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, older child adoption, tethered cord, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

Our adoption journey started with two infant adoptions from South Korea, in 2008 and 2010. Our first was a healthy baby boy; our second, a daughter with limb differences. When we considered adding to our family again, we decided to adopt an older child and looked into the China special needs program. We pondered the …Read More

Looking Beyond the Label

November 28, 2015 anorectal malformation, bowel management, Family Stories, imperforate anus, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 0 Comments

Gastrointestinal Issues. These two words changed our world and lives forever on December 2, 2012. My husband and I had poured over the list of special needs provided by the Waiting Child Program at our adoption agency and chosen those we felt we could handle emotionally, physically, and financially. Gastrointestinal issues was a special need …Read More

She is our JOY: Adopting a Child with CAH

November 20, 2015 ambiguous genitalia, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Disorder of Sexual Development, Family Stories, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 1 Comments

When we began our adoption journey we had no idea where it would eventually lead. We were entirely new to the international adoption process yet seasoned parents of four children. Our placing agency encouraged us to begin our home study and fill out some essential paperwork. One form had us place a checkmark beside the …Read More

Waiting for a Family: Eugene and Lile

November 14, 2015 Advocacy, Family Stories 0 Comments

Andrea Olson is Executive Director of Little Hearts Medical and a five time adoptive mother. She traveled to Beijing recently to assist with Holt International Children’s Services’ Ambassador Program, where she was partnered with two beautiful boys born with complex CHD and in need of adoption. ………………. Hello everyone! I just recently returned from Beijing …Read More

Frequently Asked Questions about Complex/Persistent Cloaca

November 13, 2015 ambiguous genitalia, bowel management, cloaca, Family Stories, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

Instead of beginning this article with a list of questions and daunting answers, the first thing I want to include is our most frequent ANSWER… These little girls are beyond precious! Our cloaca child is the light of our lives! They need you to come for them and you will reap a million times more …Read More

Judah’s Perfect Puzzle

November 6, 2015 Family Stories, imperforate anus, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

The Lord’s idea of adventure and my idea of adventure are radically different. My adventure began with a dream of flying to China, bringing home a child, doting him with love, he’d love me in return and we’d skip down the Great Wall in fairytale fashion into our happy adoptive family life that would fit …Read More

And Our Family Tree Grew

November 1, 2015 bowel management, cloaca, Family Stories, imperforate anus, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 2 Comments

Once upon a time God planted a tiny seed in my heart. A seed for adoption. That fact that it grew at all is truly miraculous. You see, my son had just been born and was in the NICU where he was recovering from his first 2 of now 13 surgeries. He has Spina Bifida. …Read More

The Truth of Parenting a Child with Unknowns

October 16, 2015 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, low muscle tone, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, speech delay, undiagnosed SN 3 Comments

Our daughter’s special need wasn’t on a checklist. Even today, we still don’t know what her special need is. Her medical history is a complete mystery. With no birth story, we will never have all of the pieces to the puzzle. Yet, her puzzle will not always be incomplete. In fact, as we put these …Read More

Adopting a Child with Cancer: Easton’s Story

October 11, 2015 cancer, Family Stories, retinoblastoma, surgery 2 Comments

Cancer. I went over and over it in my mind when I felt that familiar tug on my heart. Dear Lord you cannot be serious. You’re kidding right?!? I watched my dad die from cancer and now I’m going to adopt a child that could be dying too? Yes. And not only yes, but urgently. …Read More

Saying Yes Was Scary, Being Her Mother Is Not

October 7, 2015 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, hearing loss, non-verbal, October 2015 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

When my husband and I began our adoption journey in January of 2013 we, like most pre-adoptive parents, had a profile of sorts for the child we were hoping to adopt. We knew we wanted to adopt from China. We were hoping to adopt a girl and we knew we wanted to adopt a child …Read More

Mercy: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 30, 2015 albinism, developmental delays, Family Stories, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 10 Comments

In 2011, my husband and I attended a banquet to benefit Ukrainian orphans. Our hearts were stirred for orphans that night. After praying for God’s direction, we chose All God’s Children International as our agency and began the process towards a special needs adoption from China. One afternoon I scrolled through the Rainbow Kids website, …Read More

Awesome.

September 19, 2015 Family Stories, heart defect, Heart System 0 Comments

In early July of 2013 my husband and I had the rare-to-us opportunity to grab a quick lunch together. It was unplanned and so fun to sneak down to our local Red Robin for a gluten free burger together in the middle of the day. We had no way of knowing that little lunch would change …Read More

My Life for Yours. Gladly

September 16, 2015 ADHD, autism, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, institutional autism 12 Comments

This is a story about expectations vs. reality. A story about HIS grace in the midst of my weakness, my fear, and my anxiety. This is our story. But I don’t want our story to just be for us. In the adoption community, our expectations are almost always at least slightly different than reality. I …Read More

Our Butterfly Child

September 15, 2015 epidermolysis bullosa, Family Stories, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 1 Comments

I grew up in a third world country where the exotic butterflies are exquisite! My favorite had wings like brilliant sapphires on thin blankets of black velvet. They would flit by in glorious beauty and no matter how many times I saw them, they still took my breath away. It is hard to describe something …Read More

Special Need Highlight: Daily Care for Ichthyosis

September 10, 2015 Family Stories, ichthyiosis, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 0 Comments

We had been waiting months for “The Call” from our adoption agency. Our homestudy was complete and our dossier sent to China. We were waiting, on edge, to be matched with our daughter. And when the call finally came, I missed it. My phone was in silent mode in my purse and by the time …Read More

Our Family’s HIV story

August 13, 2015 August 2015 Feature - Infectious, Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 2 Comments

I had read a few blogs of people who had adopted HIV children from Africa and thought, “Wow. I could never do that. That sounds too hard.” Our hearts were lead to adopt for the third time from China. HIV was not even remotely on our radar because we had never heard of an HIV …Read More

Our Daughter Has Latent Tuberculosis

August 7, 2015 August 2015 Feature - Infectious, Family Stories, Infectious, TB testing, tuberculosis 5 Comments

It took us a couple of weeks to get into the pediatrician after we got home from China. It wasn’t a big deal that we were waiting so long though. We’d already seen a nurse practitioner for the urgent medical issues, a specialist for her documented special needs, and the medical visit in China. We …Read More

Beauty in the Unknown

August 4, 2015 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories 5 Comments

The 30 seconds that it took for the doctor to pull up the images from the MRI seemed to take an eternity. It seemed as though time was at a standstill, which I might have thought was true if it wasn’t for the shrieking and laughing coming from our artificial twins by adoption, who were …Read More

“Easiest Special Need Ever”

August 1, 2015 August 2015 Feature - Infectious, Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 1 Comments

Continuing to spotlight different special needs each month, we just finished up a month of posts from moms parenting kids with craniofacial needs. This month we are focusing on infectious special needs: HIV, Hepatitis B, Syphilis and Tuberculosis. Grateful for each and every mom who shares so others might be encouraged to consider a special need that …Read More

Living into Hope

July 31, 2015 ADHD, autism, cl/cp, Developmental System, Family Stories, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, speech delay 0 Comments

Today’s post finishes out our feature this month on craniofacial needs. So grateful for all the moms who willingly shared about parenting a child with a craniofacial need – you can find all the posts in this series here. If you would like to share your family story, just complete this short form and we will be in touch …Read More

Waiting Child: Kim

July 28, 2015 Family Stories 0 Comments

Kim is a precious and beautiful girl who is 6 years old. She is designated special focus to Lifeline through an Orphanage Partnership. Her special need is listed as abnormal bone development. This little girl is absolutely precious! She is a polite and loves to greet others! She can walk unassisted, go up and down …Read More

Microtia. What?

July 23, 2015 BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, hemifacial microsomia, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, Sensory System, speech therapy, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 5 Comments

“My ear hurts mommy.” “Which ear honey? Do both ears hurt?” “No, silly. This one doesn’t hurt. It’s not open. It’s teeny tiny.” Olivia was 3 and this was the first time that I knew of that she noticed that her right ear didn’t match the left. We had never made a big deal out …Read More

Cleft Was Not on the List

July 18, 2015 adopting later in life, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial 0 Comments

“You must really like cleft,” my mother said to me after we accepted the referral of our second son with cleft. Like cleft? No one likes cleft. Cleft is a birth defect that causes facial deformation, creates the need for painful surgeries and can wreak havoc on eating, sleeping and breathing. No one likes cleft. …Read More

Two. Together.

July 17, 2015 adopting as first time parents, adopting two at once, cl/cp, Family Stories, heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot, virtual twinning 0 Comments

Two together. Twinning. First time parents. In the beginning, these were not words or phrases that I would have put together in any combination in regards to adoption and expect success. And yet, my husband and I did them all. (And you’re reading this on an adoption advocacy site, so you know know I am …Read More

The Sweetest of Blessings

July 13, 2015 coloboma, Family Stories, frontonasal dysplasia, hypertelorism, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial 0 Comments

We were a family of six. We had two girls and two boys. Life was good. We felt complete. In 2007 the Lord called us to adopt. What a sweet journey of trust and faith it has been! Our first adoption was of our now 9 year old daughter, Karleigh Mei, 6.5 years ago in …Read More

Her Journey.

July 7, 2015 Education, Family Stories, IEP, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, Nicole, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

I recently looked back at my blog archives and noticed that I hadn’t blogged about Sunshine’s cleft journey in over a year! Although that is representative of surgeries, it surely isn’t representative of all the work she’s been doing. My sweet girl has been putting forth so much effort in speech therapy. So although the …Read More

The Simplicity of Prosthesis

June 30, 2015 amputation, burns, contracture deformity, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, prosthetics 0 Comments

That would probably not have been our reaction if you would have told us seven years ago that we would have multiple pairs of prosthetic legs in our house. In early 2009, we were researching China’s special needs adoptions after adopting twice through the non-special needs program. Some of the special needs just looked too …Read More

God’s Plans are Always Best

June 26, 2015 amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, limb difference, Orthopedic 0 Comments

God’s plans are always best… even when we fight them. After years of dealing with infertility and finally placing our desire for children into the hands of our Father, He revealed that His plan A for us was adoption. When my husband and I first started our adoption process, we told our agency that we …Read More

Night and Day

June 25, 2015 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, mobility issues, walker user 0 Comments

In the mid 1980’s our family adopted two biological brothers from the USA’s foster care system. Both were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Fast forward to 2013 when we first adopted from China, cerebral palsy was a special need that was familiar to us and one we were confident in handling. According to CerebralPalsy.org, “Cerebral palsy …Read More

What You Don’t See

June 22, 2015 Central Nervous System, Family Stories, moyamoya 4 Comments

If you met my six-year-old daughter today, you would see right away is that she loves singing, dancing and all things girly. You would also see that she has the world’s best smile because she uses her whole face to show how happy she is. You would definitely see that she is one of the gentlest creatures …Read More

Perseverance Personified

June 20, 2015 arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic 1 Comments

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Olivia. I worked night shift then and would often stare at sweet faces when it was slow. There were so many. I often would get overwhelmed and quickly close the page because I couldn’t look at so many big brown, solemn eyes, without a feeling of loss.  A couple of …Read More

Life, Reconstructed

June 15, 2015 amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic 3 Comments

My daughter is working on cursive writing. She deftly picks up her pencil with her right hand, and carefully sets it between the fingers on the left. Pressing hard, she makes one swirl after another, using her pencil to sing the song of her love for me. She writes stories, she pens love letters, she …Read More

Bumps, Bubble Wrap, and Broken Bones.

June 9, 2015 adopting as a single mom, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, osteogenesis imperfecta, working mom 1 Comments

God has a sense of humor. Have you experienced it? He knows how to push and stretch us. I am learning not to say “never” because that is just about when He says, “Here you go! This is my plan!” I am blessed to be the mom of an amazing little girl from China (you …Read More

The Day-to-Day Life of a Child with Tetralogy of Fallot

June 7, 2015 complex heart defect, Family Stories, heart defect, Heart System, Tetralogy of Fallot 3 Comments

When I saw my son’s picture for the very first time, before I knew he was my son, before we had decided to make him ours, the overwhelming emotion I felt was fear. His diagnosis was just. plain. scary. to a regular old mom like me: Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF), cyanotic, not corrected till 16 …Read More

Daily Life with Burns | Not Defined

May 31, 2015 body scars, burns, contracture deformity, Family Stories, scoliosis, Skin Conditions 1 Comments

This is our family story or what the daily life of living with burns is like. I want to make sure you all know that each story is unique and the daily life for another child with burns and their family could be much different. There are many things to consider with burns; location on …Read More

“Now That You’ve Done it, What Do You Think About Adopting Two Kids at Once?”

May 27, 2015 adopting two at once, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories 4 Comments

Hi! I’m Erin and my husband and I just returned home from China on March 27th with our two newest daughters, Grace and Josie. They are both 5 years old and they both have Down syndrome. We already had four children at home, an 11 year old boy, an 8 year old girl, a 7 …Read More

The Hands of a Faithful God

May 22, 2015 disruption, Family Stories, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

Before this year, I really thought I was the one writing my story.  I knew that God was leading, but I was really the one planning where I wanted to go. In the course of ten years I had graduated college, married, quit my job teaching, and was a busy home-school mom of three little …Read More

Adopting a Child with Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome

May 20, 2015 birthmark, Family Stories, hemangioma, Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome, May 2015 Feature - Vascular, Vascular System 1 Comments

When I first read Abby’s file and read the diagnosis Hemangioma and Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome (or Phenomenon), I thought to myself, “How bad could it be?” She has a birthmark or as her file called it ‘a large hemangioma’ on her neck and chest, surely once we get her home we can ‘fix’ it! Then I did …Read More

One Wild and Precious Life: Adopting a Child with Albinism

May 19, 2015 albinism, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 7 Comments

Our adoption story began about four years prior to our actual adoption. I was sitting at work one regular day and just had a random thought to research international adoption. This was not something we had previously discussed and wasn’t something at all on our radar screen. We had – at that time – two …Read More

Corina’s Story: Adopting a Child with Sturge-Weber Syndrome

May 1, 2015 birthmark, Family Stories, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, May 2015 Feature - Vascular, port wine stain, Sturge Weber Syndrome 2 Comments

“You can’t direct the wind but you can adjust your sails.” – Unknown No truer words have I ever read that bring home the reality of our daughter’s diagnosis. Our adoption journey is a story in itself, and best for another time. We have had several wise friends point out that the complications of even …Read More

Adopting a Child with a Lipomyelomeningocele

April 20, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Family Stories, lipomyelomeningocele 1 Comments

We knew we felt called to adopt, and called to China, but when we found out we’d need to go through the special focus route, we were afraid… Special needs? Those words encompass a lot. Locally we had a friend who had a precious daughter from China with spina bifida. This friend had spent a …Read More

Adopting a Child with Tuberous Sclerosis

April 14, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, epilepsy, Family Stories, seizures, tuberous sclerosis 1 Comments

If you have ever adopted from China before, you remember sitting at the table staring at that dreaded form asking you what special needs you thought you and your family could handle. Filling it out seemed cruel. On the one hand most of them scared me to death and at the same time it filled …Read More

Adopting a Child with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

April 8, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, strabismus 2 Comments

There are the ‘facts,’ and then there’s the reality. The file says HIE, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, but what does it really mean? Brain damage that occurs when an infant’s brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen and blood, either immediately before, during or after birth, is commonly called HIE. But our Creator fashioned our brain in such …Read More

Adopting a Child with Hydrocephalus

April 1, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, myelomeningocele, spina bifida 1 Comments

I’ve had this conversation with prospective adoptive parents at least six times in six months, after they hear that my sweet two-year-old girl has Spina Bifida (but before they realize she has hydrocephalus). Me: Oh, so, you have Spina Bifida on your medical checklist? Them: Yep! Me:  Do you have hydrocephalus too? Them:  No…it’s scary. …Read More

Fighting for HIV+ Orphans

March 30, 2015 Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 0 Comments

I want to see HIV+ orphans adopted into forever families. I can’t say this was always a goal of mine, but God has a way of getting us to where He wants us to be. For my wife and I that journey started in January 2011, while we were living in Asia, and friends of …Read More

“Your Daughter Has Autism”

March 28, 2015 autism, cognitive delay, Developmental System, Family Stories 2 Comments

My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We met young, married quickly while in college, and had plans for our life together from the start. Our plans included chasing the American dream and one child. Years went by and we were doing fine! We had our one child, a few advanced degrees, stable jobs, …Read More

Adopting a Child with Vision Impairment: 8 Things to Consider

March 23, 2015 Family Found, Family Stories, retinoblastoma, Sensory System, vision issues, vision loss 6 Comments

December 11, 2011 in Fujian was cool, damp and grey. We were waiting in a conference room at the hotel with another couple from the US. This wasn’t the first time we’d done this. We had waited in similar rooms four times prior to this; however, this time was very different. Long after, we would …Read More

Ridiculous Faith

March 18, 2015 Family Found, Family Stories 10 Comments

How this all began. The story… we simply didn’t even begin to write. Dean and I went out for a date at Olive Garden. On this date I mentioned to Dean that I keep getting this strong impression about adopting an older girl. We talked. We laughed. We both agreed this would have to be …Read More

the sea in our blood

March 17, 2015 Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2015 Feature - Blood Conditions, thalassemia 1 Comments

When I was very young, I knew that I wanted to adopt a little girl from China. Stories of baby girls being abandoned because of the one-child policy made a strong impact on me. I grew up, got married to a wonderful man, and we spent 9 years having “the longest honeymoon ever,” rarely even …Read More

Jo Jo: adopting a child with undiagnosed urogenital defects

March 16, 2015 Family Stories, micropenis, undescended testicle, Urogenital System 1 Comments

My name is Lynn and I asked if I could share my family’s story. Our hope is that in sharing about a sensitive special need like our son has, a family out there that is thinking of adopting a child with it will be helped. We have five children. The first three are biological followed …Read More

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