A Particularly Bad Day

May 17, 2018 adoption realities, attachment challenges, complex heart defect, food issues, hoarding, hypervigilance, Megan V., older child adoption, orphanage behaviors, trauma 1 Comments

There is a constant editing process that goes on when your adoption isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It is a dance between saying enough and not saying too much. Between protecting his privacy and helping others by sharing our experiences. We’ve just celebrated Abe’s three year Family Day this week and it’s triggered stuff in …Read More

“Will Adoption Be Good For My Kids?”

April 15, 2018 complex heart defect, double outlet right ventricle, Heart System, heart transplant, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, large families, Lifelong needs, Megan V., older child adoption, siblings 1 Comments

As I type, I’m sitting still in a sun puddle, watching my 12 year old take Abe’s blood pressure because we are at nearly 10,000 feet elevation on a ski vacation and his heart is faltering as it is, even without the elevation change putting undue stress on his valves. And this is a monitoring …Read More

Be Strong + Courageous

March 19, 2018 complex heart defect, double outlet right ventricle, heart defect, Heart System, heterotaxy, March 2018 Feature - Sunshine in the Grey, pulmonary stenosis, surgery 0 Comments

Mary Katherine is our walking miracle. She was born with heterotaxy syndrome and a rare, God-designed, complex heart that we like to say is “imperfectly perfect”. Every imperfection (and there are many) was created in such a way that her heart was perfectly balanced. For four years she defied odds and was full of life, …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

Doctor Friends

February 27, 2018 complex heart defect, endocardial cushion defect, February 2018 Feature - Heart, Heart System, heterotaxy, pulmonary hypertension, single atrium heart disease 0 Comments

When my husband and I first were matched with our son, Jet, we didn’t know a whole lot about the world of pediatric cardiology and congenital heart defects. Our son was born with heterotaxy (complete abdominal situs inversus) with left atrial isomerism, functional polysplenia, interrupted inferior vena cava, partial endocardial cushion defect, tricuspid and mitral …Read More

Dear Could-Be Heart Mama…

February 14, 2018 complex heart defect, February 2018 Feature - Heart, Heart System, heterotaxy, major aorto-pulmonary collateral arteries, medical needs checklist, Morning Star Foster Home, pulmonary hypertension, referral, single atrium heart disease, single ventricle heart disease 1 Comments

Dear Could-Be Heart Mama, thinking of bringing home your own little Broken-Hearted Brave, It’s the morning here, on this Celebration of Hearts, and I wake up to a house full of little hearts — brave and broken ones, that is. We like to call ourselves this “Little House of Brave” — like a warrior rally …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

The Cost: Adopting a Child with Complex Heart Defects

February 10, 2018 double inlet left ventricle, single ventricle heart disease, Uncategorized 1 Comments

On my daughter’s third birthday I reflected on her life. I reflected on the first moment I saw her picture on a waiting child list. I remember the words of a well respected cardiologist, “Do not adopt her, she will be a financial hardship to your family. She will not survive.” These words are engrained …Read More

Four Little Heartbeats

February 6, 2018 adopting again, amniotic band syndrome, complex heart defects, developmental delays, February 2018 Feature - Heart, Heart System, Orthopedic, profound deafness, Sensory System, toddler adoption, virtual twins 5 Comments

I’m a mama to four heart babies. And this is our story of becoming a family… our story of going from no children to four children in 15 months. This is our crazy, wonderful life. It was a big day. It was the day my husband messaged me at work and told me that he …Read More

The Checklist

January 19, 2018 aortic stenosis, complex heart defect, double outlet right ventricle, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Lifelong needs, medical needs checklist, Megan V., pulmonary stenosis, TGA 0 Comments

There is a checklist. It is several pages long and includes medical jargon I don’t know and hope I never have to understand. Every person who has adopted has been faced with this list. What are you willing to weather? I agonized over that list, checking and unchecking things depending how I felt in that …Read More

I Commit Myself to Thee

December 27, 2017 Andrea O., complex heart defect, complex medical, disruption, November 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, prepping for China, terminal diagnosis, undiagnosed SN 23 Comments

I commit myself to thee. After the adoption of our youngest child and her immediate hospitalization from end-stage heart failure, I began to receive emails and messages via social media from some of the dozens of families who had reviewed her file. One of the families wrote something that shook my soul and has remained …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 17 and an Epilogue

November 13, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, Heart System, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 4 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

When Battles Turn Brave

November 7, 2017 Attachment, heart defect, Heart System, keloid scarring, Sharon, surgery 2 Comments

I remember the first time I lifted her shirt to bathe her in China. And I shuttered to think how much she had endured without a mother to hold her close, to soothe her tears, or sing away her fears. As we reviewed her file, the photos were horrendous and I suspect a big reason …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 16

November 5, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 2 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 15

October 27, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease 2 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 14

October 15, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

What We Didn’t Know

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

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

A Life Donated: Part 13

October 8, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 12

September 27, 2017 A Life Donated, Andrea O., end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 11

September 16, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 2 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 10

September 5, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 3 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 9

August 28, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 8

August 20, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, hospital stays, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 7

August 15, 2017 A Life Donated, advanced heart failure, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 6

August 3, 2017 A Life Donated, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 5

July 27, 2017 A Life Donated, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 4

July 11, 2017 A Life Donated, Andrea O., complex heart defects, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 3

June 27, 2017 A Life Donated, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 0 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 2

June 8, 2017 A Life Donated, Andrea O., complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 2 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

A Life Donated: Part 1

May 27, 2017 A Life Donated, Andrea O., end stage cardiac disease, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease, terminal diagnosis 2 Comments

Rini, our youngest of six children, was adopted in August of 2013 at end stage heart failure stemming from complex, single ventricle congenital heart disease. She was admitted to the hospital immediately upon arrival home and within two weeks it was determined that she was inoperable, her only hope would come through cardiac transplant. She …Read More

For Life: What Happened When We Killed Our Dreams

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

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

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

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

Weathering Medical Surprises

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously Blessed

March 4, 2017 adopting again, adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, complex heart defect, complex medical, large families, medical needs checklist, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, older child adoption, should we adopt? 9 Comments

In 2011, our family looked like this. We were considered a large family by our friends and family. Dan and I had been married for 27 years at this point. We had been through a great deal during those 27 years. Our twin boys were born prematurely, three months before their due date. Our son …Read More

Wisdom for Enduring Extended Hospital Stays

February 27, 2017 advanced heart failure, Andrea O., complex heart defect, February 2017 Feature - Preparing Your Child for Medical Interventions, heart transplant, hospital stays, Little Hearts Medical, Medical Momma, surgery 0 Comments

When we arrived home with our youngest daughter and fourth CHD child, Rini, in August of 2013, my definition of a long hospital stay was three weeks. When my husband dropped us off at the entrance of the children’s hospital’s Emergency Department straight from the airport, little did I know that my definition of an …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

Meant for This: Parenting Children with Complex Heart Defects

February 20, 2017 adopting again, adopting as first time parents, ASD, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, infertility, surgery, TGA, toddler adoption, VSD 0 Comments

I want to start by saying that our miracle children astound me. We love them personally and uniquely. Their birthparents are revered in our home; we thank God they had the courage, strength, and compassion to have them and keep them safe. I married my college sweetheart. Kyle is way more incredible than me; I …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 4 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

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

Joy! Faith! Hope!

February 11, 2017 adopting again, atrioventricular canal defect, complex heart defect, double outlet right ventricle, February 2017 Feature - Heart, heart defect, Heart System, pulmonary atresia, Tetralogy of Fallot 1 Comments

These three little words. God planted a seed of love in our hearts, and this is the fruit that grew through the adoption of three little girls. Our story began in 2011 when our biological children were 14, 12, and 10. Our heavenly Father was teaching my husband, David, and I and our family so …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

February Special Needs Focus (and Favorite Family Stories): The Month of Hearts

February 6, 2017 advanced heart failure, ASD, complex heart defect, double outlet right ventricle, Favorite Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, heart defect, Heart System, HLHS, PDA, single atrium heart disease, Tetralogy of Fallot, TGA, TGV, VSD 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

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

The Road To Compassion

January 27, 2017 Andrea O., complex heart defect, should we adopt?, siblings 0 Comments

When contemplating the adoption of a child with complex medical needs, particularly those needs that may very well result in a shortened lifespan, families are often confronted by well-meaning friends and relatives with a variation of this question: “How will this adoption affect this children already in your home? How will this affect your marriage?” …Read More

Saying Yes to a Child with a Terminal Diagnosis

November 28, 2016 complex heart defect, Heart System, terminal diagnosis, TGA 10 Comments

When we felt God’s pull on our hearts to adopt, it was the year 2012 and we had three biological children, ages 11, 8 and 6. We had never thought we would adopt, but God had created a yearning so strong in our hearts that we couldn’t say no. Adoption in and of itself was …Read More

The Ledge

November 27, 2016 advanced heart failure, Andrea O., complex heart defect, complex heart defects, Heart System, heart transplant 3 Comments

On November 11, 2013, our 24 month old daughter was in the Cardiac ICU, on the national transplant waiting list, and on ECMO life support due to end stage heart failure. The following day, we would learn that she would receive the gift of life through cardiac transplant. During that tumultuous time, I had many …Read More

Then and Now: Abby and Evie

November 23, 2016 adopting again, adopting out of birth order, Family Stories, food issues, Heart System, homeschool, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, older child adoption, orphanage behaviors, port wine stain, spina bifida, VSD 0 Comments

November is Adoption Awareness Month. And our focus is Then and Now… glimpses into the lives of children – children who were once orphaned – who are now beloved family members. Daughters, sons, sisters and brothers who are now blossoming in the love of a forever family… ……….. We have been blessed with two beautiful …Read More

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