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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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 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 4 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

Cardiac Transplant: part two

February 16, 2015 advanced heart failure, complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, Family Stories, February 2015 Feature, February 2015 Feature - Heart, heart defect, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease 0 Comments

This is the second half of a two-part post written by two mamas who have walked a similar – and yet very different – path. Both of their daughters, adopted from China with complex heart defects, required what most parents would consider a worst case scenario: a cardiac transplant. Each shares their experience below. Andrea, …Read More

My Warrior

February 11, 2015 Amy, heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheoesophagel fistula 0 Comments

“She is a fighter. It’s what kept her alive. We love it when our heart babies are fighters. Her body has adapted wonderfully for as long as she has lived without this surgery.” ~ Pediatric Cardiologist I knew Grace was a warrior before we even laid eyes on each other in person. I knew enough …Read More

Cardiac Transplant: Two Little Girls, Two New Lives

February 9, 2015 advanced heart failure, complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, Family Stories, February 2015 Feature, February 2015 Feature - Heart, heart defect, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease 0 Comments

February is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month, so this month we will be featuring several posts from moms parenting children with heart defects. Our goal is to inform and equip those considering or home with children with this special need by sharing the real-life experiences of those already parenting a child with a CHD. This …Read More

Little Girl Red

February 6, 2015 complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2015 Feature, February 2015 Feature - Heart, heart defect, PDA, VSD 0 Comments

Sometimes I put my head to her chest and listen. Lub, dub. Lub, dub. Oh the beauty of that sound. It sounds like life and hope, sadness and struggle. I think about her heart in the first months of her life. Her first breath in the world, a whoosh of air into her (most likely …Read More

No Boys?

September 15, 2014 gender as a special need, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 1 Comments

That’s what we were saying back in 2006. We had 4 biological sons and felt like that was a good number. We had one daughter and felt like the Lord had perfectly planned it… we needed more girls! I had always dreamed of a sister for Katie. Of course not one that was 20 years …Read More

Ready or Not…Kindergarten, Here I Come

September 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 2 Comments

I’m no novice when it comes to parenting. And I’m definitely not a novice when it comes to sending my kids off to Kindergarten. But this year, there was something different about the three times I’d done it previously. This time it was my China babies. Nothing could have fully prepared me for the first …Read More

Two Septembers

September 2, 2014 heart defect, Kam 1 Comments

He sauntered into the room While our hearts were beating fast, The papers had been signed No longer an orphan, a son at last. A grin stretched wide Across his adorable face, Straight to his daddy’s lap A picture of grace. We played, we laughed We shed a few tears, But he? He just giggled …Read More

“Cold Feet”

August 15, 2014 adopting again, heart defect, Jean, large families, older child adoption 6 Comments

After adopting 13 children you would think I have it all down to a science! But I don’t… Once again I have suffered from the feelings of “cold feet”… Am I sure that it will work out adding to this large crew that somehow seems to work well together? Was it just me that thought …Read More

To the Traumatized Family

August 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 9 Comments

A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and saw a comment on a link for a ministry to traumatized children that broke my heart. An adoptive parent was asking where the ministry was for families who have been traumatized by bringing a traumatized child into their home. This is something I …Read More

how we deal

August 4, 2014 heart defect, Kam, Urogenital System 7 Comments

I’m not gonna lie. My world has been spinning for a few months. And I try my best during the last week of each month to settle on a topic to write about here at NHBO. But y’all. It’s just been hard lately! I walk through a scenario with our boys and I think “BAM! …Read More

Somewhere to Run

July 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 9 Comments

In my adoptions circles, there is a little bit of a running joke about all the things that start going wrong once a paper chase and the commitment to adopt a child (or children) begins. Somewhere along the journey to China, an adoptive parent can guarantee that an appliance…or three…will break, the car will need …Read More

I like you be my mommy

June 11, 2014 heart defect, Kristi, Trust Based Parenting, vision issues 2 Comments

“I like you be my mommy.” Those six little words, spoken with a beaming smile no less, from my four year old nearly made me come undone recently. Her heartfelt statement spoke volumes about the positive change in our relationship over the nine months we’ve known one another…because on September 2 of last year, things …Read More

Then and Now

June 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 3 Comments

As an adoptive parent there is definitely one thing that I stress over more than anything else. One might think it would have something to do with doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, surgeries, or something else of that nature. But those things come easily to me. I’m usually sipping my cup of coffee and enjoying my …Read More

Never Say Never Again

May 29, 2014 dwarfism, heart defect, large families 4 Comments

My husband, Joe, and I never set out to be parents of this many kids. If there can be such a thing as accidental adoptions, we have experienced them. Now though, our adoptions are no longer accidental. This is the way we have chosen to live. The path that led us to this decision, at …Read More

adopting a child with congenital heart disease

May 25, 2014 advanced heart failure, Andrea O., ASD, complex heart defect, double outlet right ventricle, end stage cardiac disease, Family Stories, heart defect, Heart System, single ventricle heart disease, Tetralogy of Fallot, TGA, VSD 1 Comments

Four years ago, I could not describe the structure or mechanism of the human heart. Now, that magical and miraculous pump that provides the essence of life is something I think about every day. What an amazing odyssey it has been! This post is not enough to do justice to the complexity of the topic …Read More

The Best Mama

May 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

I’ll never forget the first time it happened. She threw her arms around me and exclaimed, “I love you, Mama! You’re the best mama I’ve ever had!!!” And every time it’s happened since then is carved on my heart as well. Every. Single. Time. The day I met my sweet Cora…just over a year-and-a-half ago…was …Read More


April 15, 2014 adoption realities, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 1 Comments

We just had our first grandchild! It is so exciting AND such an amazing feeling having her HERE! Our daughter talked to me every day (from Germany) before her delivery. The anticipation was riveting! When would she arrive, how would the delivery go, who would she look like? It was a happy moment when I …Read More

what time?

April 11, 2014 heart defect, Kristi, vision issues 0 Comments

Difficult conversations. They happen in every house from time to time. Sometimes they are easy to see coming, other times they can hit just about blindsided. And then there are the times you lay your own trap… Last year I turned 40. The morning of my birthday one of my kiddos came in to wake …Read More

Completely Natural

April 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 1 Comments

My virtual twins are thick as thieves. And they act like an old married couple. The bond they share is amazing to behold. They actually have the same type of relationship that biological twins do. The way God has grafted their two little hearts together is most amazing. With this relationship comes lots and lots …Read More

How To Find Your Child

March 15, 2014 cognitive delay, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 2 Comments

At least, this is how we found our children! We started with prayer. Prayers for strength, perseverance, guidance, grace and for the child that HE was leading us too. Once we felt God’s presence we proceeded. This is a good place to start! The NHBO site is filled with information on different special needs, parenting …Read More

the need is great

March 12, 2014 heart defect, Kristi, vision issues 2 Comments

This month I meant to share with you about a difficult conversation one of my kids and I have been dancing around for months now. And I will share that conversation at some point. But it won’t be today. Today my heart is broken, my thoughts are disjointed and my emotions are raw. I just …Read More

Timing is everything

March 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

There’s an old saying that “timing is everything.” And it’s true. The moment at which something enters our lives does make a difference in how it is received. For better or for worse. My “baby” just celebrated his fifth birthday, which is his fourth birthday with us. This one was bittersweet to me. After nearly …Read More

Urology Woes & Successes

March 1, 2014 heart defect, hypospadias, Kam, Urogenital System 1 Comments

So happy March, y’all! Are you as excited about spring coming to your neck of the woods as I am about it coming to mine? Whew. And I only live in the South. Can’t imagine how you folks in other parts of the country are still managing to maintain sanity right about now! But hold …Read More

wounded heart

February 11, 2014 heart defect, Kristi, vision issues 1 Comments

Character band-aids. They seemed to me like a colorful slice of a pacifier that we ever so gently stick on our children’s wounds…sometimes they even actually even cover blood. I have in the past had what you could call a ‘love/hate relationship’ with character band-aids. That is until a Mother’s Day tea in one of …Read More

Holidays and Celebrations

February 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 3 Comments

I’m not exactly what you’d call a “holiday” person. I know people who have decorations ranging from Christmas trees to pumpkins to shamrocks to pink and red hearts that they put up as the seasons rotate. Bu I’m not one of them. I’m a minimalist. The only holiday I decorate for is Christmas and that’s …Read More

One Giant Leap Forward

January 5, 2014 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 1 Comments

It’s been three years and one month since I stood in the Civil Affairs building in Zhengzhou and took the sweetest boy into my arms. It was the end of 13 long months of waiting, and the love I felt for my son during all those agonizing months was nothing compared to the explosion that …Read More

Her New Forever

December 5, 2013 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

One of the hardest things…for me, at least…about being an adoptive parent is knowing that I missed out on my child(ren)’s life in China. And I’ve found that the older the child is when they join our family, the harder it is to deal with that loss of knowledge about my child’s past. Our early …Read More

Sickness and Snuggles

November 5, 2013 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

There’s been some kind of virus floating through our house for the past week or so. And as I predicted it would, the illness is slowly making its rounds through the family. Last night we got hit with a “double whammy”. As my husband and I were tucking our sweet China babies into bed we …Read More

baby steps and giant leaps

November 1, 2013 heart defect, hypospadias, Kam, Urogenital System 3 Comments

I’m not sure if I’ve posted here before about the long and winding road we walk with our Joel in regards to education. In a nutshell, Joel came home to us at age 3 having spent his life in an orphanage. He was not speaking Thai at all and we were told by his pediatrician …Read More


October 5, 2013 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

I am the proud mama of four-year-old virtual twins, both adopted from China. And while they were adopted in two separate adoptions, 23 months apart, they are every bit as much of brother and sister as they can be. This has its benefits. The two of them always have a built-in playmate. As their mother, …Read More

Dealing With Grief

September 5, 2013 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 6 Comments

As pre-adoptive parents prepare to bring our children home, we go through hours upon hours of parent training. Not to mention meetings with our social worker, and any reading we may do on our own to help prepare for the day our new son or daughter joins their forever family. One of the topics that …Read More


September 2, 2013 heart defect, Kam 0 Comments

My mind has been doing the very same thing this week that it did three years ago. In 2010, our son, Joel {aka The Thai Tornado}, would be celebrating his first year home in the coming days and I couldn’t get the images, the smells and the memories out of my head. They came flooding …Read More

Are you ready?

August 11, 2013 heart defect, Kristi, vision issues 7 Comments

Our sweet Natalie. It’s been over two years now that we’ve prayed for her to find a family and nearly one year since we’ve been racing to make her part of ours. In pictures I’ve watched her go from a baby to a toddler to an adorable preschooler. While it seemed the wait would be …Read More

A Few of My Favorite Things

August 5, 2013 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 3 Comments

It all started nearly three years ago. As soon as we brought our first son home from China, I began scheduling appointments at our local children’s hospital to have specialists review the needs listed in his file. Initially there were four doctors we were working with…then three…and finally we were left only with two as …Read More

expect the unexpected

August 1, 2013 heart defect, Kam, Urogenital System 0 Comments

So the last time we chatted, our Gabe had a surgery looming. As we say in the South, a “big, honkin’ surgery.” We knew what we wanted to have happen…a graft to be taken from our Little Prince’s mouth {ouch} to build his urethra {as well as tubes placed in his ears for recurrent and …Read More

The One

July 6, 2013 heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 1 Comments

It’s hardly been a month since we finalized our son’s adoption. We’re still in the getting settled in and trying to discover our “new normal” phase. The jetlag has passed, we’ve had our first post placement visit with our social worker, and bonding through movies and board games is a key focus of mine. Our …Read More

Best friends

June 11, 2013 heart defect, Kristi, vision issues 0 Comments

This school year one of my closest friend’s daughters has helped keep Daniel and I company one day a week. Our Mondays together have included some preschool lessons, lunch time, rest time and of course plenty of play time. Two precious kiddos, born on different continents in 2008. These “built-in best friends” now live in …Read More

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