Thank You is a Powerful Message

November 29, 2018 Attachment, discipline, homeschool, large families, Sharon, siblings 0 Comments

November is the month we all focus on being grateful and giving thanks. Everyone loves a thankful person. It can make or break our day. “God gave us a gift of 86,400 seconds in a day. Have you used one to say, ‘thank you’?” ~ William Ward As a mom of ten children, I need …Read More

Loving Our “Lifers”

November 1, 2018 developmental delays, large families, Lifelong needs, Linny, sibling perspective, siblings 5 Comments

Bringing these three home forever was hands down – three of the very best decisions we’ve ever made in our entire 40+ years of marriage! We affectionately refer to these three little girlies of ours as “our lifers” – because we get to keep them for the rest of our lives! I’m sure to some …Read More

The Beauty of Owning Their Own Story

October 7, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, discipline, embracing their story, homeschool, large families, questions from strangers, Sharon, siblings, telling their life story, vacation 1 Comments

Our family just enjoyed another week at the beach, and it was glorious. The gift of time since coming home for each of our children truly has made a difference in so many ways. We are able to help them feel safe in a vacation home and enjoy new experiences together. This particular trip gave …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

Love Over Obedience

April 7, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, cocooning, discipline, large families, parent-to-child attachment, Sharon, siblings 0 Comments

In case it hasn’t been said lately ~ adoption is hard, messy, ugly, and hurtful at times but so worth the fight. The fight for love. The fight for hearts. The fight for value. I had a messy situation not long ago, and I thought I’d share in hopes it might help someone in the …Read More

Siblings: Nurturing Bonds for Life

December 31, 2017 adopting again, adopting out of birth order, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, hospital stays, orphanage behaviors, physical therapy, siblings, virtual twinning, wheelchair user 0 Comments

My husband and I have four children, two who joined our family biologically and two who joined our family through adoption from China. As more children have joined our family, the sibling dynamics have only gotten more interesting, and are almost never what we expected. When we traveled to adopt Madeleine CaiQun in 2013, her …Read More

Since You Came Along: A Journey to Becoming Siblings

December 21, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, pre-adoption, should we adopt?, siblings 1 Comments

“I’m a brother.” I remember my oldest son telling me this, despite the fact that he was an only child. He was insistent. I heard him. My son is named after my grandpa — who had had 10 siblings after all! My son reminds me so much of my grandpa. Like my grandpa, he is …Read More

Adoption: From Siblings’ Perspectives

December 15, 2017 adopting again, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, sibling perspective, siblings 2 Comments

Recently, I asked three of my four kids to write “an essay that talks about how adoption has affected them: the good things about it and the things that have been hard.” I told them to be totally honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly, because it would help other families. Then, I …Read More

Two Butts Are Better Than One: A Story of Siblings

December 14, 2017 adopting again, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, Family Stories, siblings, virtual twins 1 Comments

“Old McDonald had a butt,” was the chorus coming from the back seat as we drove from Denver to St. Louis over Thanksgiving weekend. You pick your battles on a twelve hour road trip, and the four-year-old giggles resulting from my kids’ silly song were worth ignoring the potty humor for once. I found myself …Read More

Growing Together as Family

December 13, 2017 adopting out of birth order, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, Family Stories, siblings 3 Comments

Tom and I spent two weeks away from two of our children, Adele and Archer, while we traveled to China to adopt Haddie. For an entire year, our young children had waited for their new sister. They were familiar with her face, and by the time they met, they had giggled together on Facetime. Haddie, …Read More

Preparing for Adoption: Therapist Q and A Part One

December 12, 2017 Attachment, first weeks home, first year home, Kelly, marriage, Newly Home, October 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption from the Experts, pre-adoption, prepping for China, siblings, TBRI-based therapy, therapy 0 Comments

You’ve dreamt for this day for months, years even. You’ve planned for it, are going to travel halfway around the world for it, and have played it out in your mind a million times. And yet, the reality of becoming a family through adoption is undoubtedly different. As we have focused on Preparing for Adoption, …Read More

The Building of a Sisterhood

December 11, 2017 attachment challenges, cocooning, December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, indiscriminate affection, siblings 0 Comments

These sisters. One, tall and willowy with long, curly, golden hair. The other petite and athletic, with a glossy, black bob. People often ask me if they are real sisters, and of course, I say yes. Our older daughter, Tab, was well established as the princess of the family when we brought our younger daughter, …Read More

Siblings: Building the Bond

December 7, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, homeschool, Sharon, siblings 0 Comments

My sister just celebrated her 45th birthday and right after wishing her a happy birthday, I sent a text to my mom thanking her for one of the sweetest gifts she ever gave me… a sister, and two brothers for that matter. My sister was my first best friend and always will be! As our …Read More

Unintentional Twinning

December 6, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, developmental delays, Developmental System, siblings, speech therapy, trauma 0 Comments

The terms virtual or artificial twinning are common terms in the adoption world for when a family brings a child home that is born in the same year as a child already in the home. But have you heard of unintentional twinning? It’s OK if you haven’t, because as far as I know I just …Read More

De-stressing Out Over Christmas

December 5, 2017 Attachment, attachment challenges, holidays, hypervigilance, siblings, Whitney 0 Comments

The first Christmas we had our daughter home with us, we went into the season with high anticipation of the joy she would experience. Family time, cookie decorating, church, gifts, hot chocolate… just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Christmas season fun. Just kidding! It was terrible. Stressful. High anxiety. Lots of …Read More

Getting In the Groove: Transitioning As a Family through Adoption

December 4, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families, siblings 2 Comments

“Mommy, when Adeline go back to China? We say bye bye to her tomorrow?” His chubby little 4-year-old hands cupped my face as his big eyes looked intently and earnestly into mine. I had a feeling these questions were coming, but they still kind of caught me by surprise, and my heart ached for his …Read More

From “What If” to “What Is”

October 29, 2017 apraxia of speech, developmental delays, Developmental System, non-verbal, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, siblings, speech delay, speech therapy 4 Comments

The doors open, and all of the 3 year old preschoolers come running out… “Mama, I painted today!” “Mama, we ate cookies at snack!” “Mama, I played on the slide outside!” “Mama, I had so much fun today!” My little girl also comes running out. Her mega-watt smile is turned on high. She hugs my …Read More

A Priceless Adventure

October 13, 2017 China trip, Courtney, prepping for China, siblings, travel tips 1 Comments

The question I get asked the most about our upcoming trip to China is if we are planning on taking all three of our kids with us. We have one adopted daughter and two biological boys all ages nine and under so I think people are often surprised to hear me answer “yes!” When we …Read More

Being a Mom to Special Kids

September 15, 2017 autism, cerebral palsy, Megan, Parenting Special Needs, siblings 2 Comments

All of our children our special, but some of us know just how hard it is having extra special kids. Anyone who has adopted, whether your child was listed as having special needs or not, knows what it’s like to parent an atypical and often difficult child. Sometimes it is just plain hard. Whether your …Read More

Gotcha Day: A Teenage Sibling’s Observation

August 21, 2017 China trip, Gotcha Day, siblings 10 Comments

Recently I came across a very simple, yet thought-provoking question online… “What is the saddest thing you’ve ever seen?” I paused and thought for a moment. A few things came to mind that I had seen on the news, but one of the saddest things that I have seen first hand was a Gotcha Day …Read More

So Thankful: Thoughts From A Big Sister

May 8, 2017 adoption realities, sibling perspective, siblings 8 Comments

As I sit here thinking how much my life has changed over the past five years I am flooded with so many thoughts and emotions. As a fifteen year old there are many things I have experienced that so many never will. I have seen firsthand the amazing change in my three siblings from orphan …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

Then and Now: Mila

November 18, 2016 Attachment, attachment challenges, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, parent-to-child attachment, siblings, Trust Based Parenting 4 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’ve all seen those glossy magazine ads …Read More

Pondering the “What-Ifs”

July 21, 2016 coloboma, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, micropthalmia, prosthetic eye, Sensory System, siblings, vision loss 10 Comments

I remember reading all the recommended adoption books, watching all the training videos, stalking all the mom blogs, and talking to other adoptive moms during the time leading up to our own adoption. I got myself familiar with so many new terms and tried to educate myself on any possibility of trouble our future daughter …Read More

What I Didn’t Expect

July 17, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, siblings, virtual twins 0 Comments

Have you heard of that book, What To Expect When You’re Expecting for newly pregnant moms-to-be? Have you ever wondered why there isn’t a book written on what to expect when adopting? Hmmm…..I think it’s because the adoption process is about letting go of expectation and putting plans on hold….or embracing detours. It’s a wild …Read More

Do They Look Like Siblings?

May 27, 2016 adoption realities, limb difference, Mandy, siblings 4 Comments

Lots of people are curious about Lydia and Barrett’s relationship—a brother and sister relationship formed through adoption. “Do they look like siblings?” I never know if this means whether they resemble each other or what. “Are they real brother and sister?” Well, here is big sister Lydia encouraging little brother Barrett that he can climb …Read More

Siblings and Adoption: 30 Ways to Ease the Transistion

March 30, 2016 adopting again, attachment activities, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, older child adoption, siblings 0 Comments

We have seven kids, four bio and three adopted. Our three children whom we have adopted are older kiddos with special needs. We’ve been home for only three months with our newest child….. so we are pretty much hands on at the moment. I have compiled a list of different things we did to help …Read More

When {Older} Siblings Aren’t Supportive

February 29, 2016 adopting again, adopting later in life, Chris, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, sibling perspective, siblings 4 Comments

Wait. What? You’re not excited that we’re adopting again? But how could this be? Why? What’s the problem here? You were super excited when we adopted before… what’s so different this time? These were the questions we asked when we told our older children almost two years ago that we were growing our family through …Read More

A Second Chance to be a Big Brother

February 27, 2016 February 2016 Feature - Siblings, sibling perspective, siblings 0 Comments

Not many people get two chances to be a big brother. Let me explain. I’m the oldest of three siblings that turned into four, then five, then six. Nearly 20 years are present in the gap between kids three and four. This gap has rendered and blessed me with such an unique and amazing opportunity. …Read More

China Trip: When Brother and Sister Travel, Too

February 26, 2016 Andrea Y., China trip, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, siblings 6 Comments

It was the best decision we made concerning travel for our last adoption. It would double our travel cost — but as we prayed about it, we felt certain we should extend the offer if they were ready. We sat our seven year old daughter and eight year old son down and simply asked if …Read More

What God Has Taught Me Through My Sisters With Special Needs

February 25, 2016 February 2016 Feature - Siblings, sibling perspective, siblings 0 Comments

“How has adopting your sisters really affected your life?” I think the phrase, “If I had a dime for every time someone asked me that question,” is one I can relate to. Well-meaning strangers, social workers, family members, friends, church members, discussion panels, you name it and they’ve asked. It’s not a question I take …Read More

Parenting Birth Children in a Transracial Family

February 23, 2016 February 2016 Feature - Siblings, Rebecca, sibling perspective, siblings 1 Comments

“It’s kind of weird being the only kid born in the USA.” She stopped me in my tracks. I was a trained adoptive parent. I read the books, took our agency’s assigned courses on transracial families, and attended conferences. I’d also read about preparing my biological daughter for the adoption of siblings. We purchased Asian …Read More

Beauty from Ashes

February 19, 2016 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, Katie, parent-to-child attachment, siblings 0 Comments

“I was so angry for so long. I felt real hate, Mom!” A child in my home recently confessed in the privacy of our conversation. They were speaking about the time when adoption trauma made its way into our home. When siblings were physically injured by a new addition, when lying became a part of …Read More

Thoughts from a Big Sister: Life is a Gift to be Shared

February 17, 2016 Down syndrome, Family Stories, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, sibling perspective, siblings 13 Comments

Almost three years ago, a little stranger came into my life. And then six months ago, another one joined her: Pearl and Molly, our spicy Hunan girls. It’s so hard to think that they once were strangers to us, to our love, to our family. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without …Read More

On Siblings and Adoption: From the Oldest of 14

February 13, 2016 Family Stories, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, large families, sibling perspective, siblings 12 Comments

Upon learning that I am the oldest of fourteen children, six of whom are adopted from China, a typical response goes something along the lines of, “Bless your heart, that sounds crazy.” My answer is yes, it is crazy! Crazy in the most wonderful, beautiful, joyfully-chaotic way. Others might say, “Weren’t your parents busy enough? …Read More

Preparing Siblings for Adoption: Five Simple Guidelines

February 9, 2016 adopting again, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, guest post, referral, siblings, waiting to travel 4 Comments

If you are reading this, I am guessing you are close to saying YES to adoption or have already done so. There is a great chance you are somewhere in the middle of the paperwork race or nearing the finish line. You have countless hours under your belt thinking about how you will love, parent …Read More

When Grief Comes – Thoughts from a Mother’s Heart

January 17, 2016 Andrea Y., siblings, telling their life story 0 Comments

In four months, we will find ourselves at the hospital to bring home another baby. Baby #6. Oh I’m beside myself and can’t wait. I never thought we would have another biological baby at my age, but our sweet surprise and after 3 biological children and 2 adoptions has been quite buzz and brought much …Read More

A Letter From Us

September 13, 2015 Attachment, first weeks home, first year home, Rebecca, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, siblings 1 Comments

When newly home two years ago with three year old, Eli, and one year old, Evelyn, life felt turned upside down for such a very long time. A few months in, I found myself focusing more heavily on the changes I was feeling and experiencing than on how my two little ones, who had been …Read More

Coming Home: Helping Siblings Bond

September 5, 2015 first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, siblings 0 Comments

Lord, this humble house we’d keepSweet with play and calm with sleep.Help us so that we may give Beauty to the lives we live.Let Thy love and let Thy graceShine upon our dwelling place.– Edgar Guest I have that quote framed in our downstairs bathroom. I can’t tell you how many times a week I …Read More

It’s not about you

August 11, 2015 Amy, China trip, siblings 2 Comments

This month we are highlighting time in China and coincidently, dear friends of ours are in China right now as I write, hours away from traveling to their daughter’s province and seeing her face to face. By the time this posts, they will have her and will almost have finished their time in China. So, …Read More

Going to China: Taking Siblings Along

August 3, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Nicole, siblings 2 Comments

Continuing into August with our Going to China series, because one month just isn’t long enough to cover all things China-trip related! Today Nicole shares how she successfully traveled to China as a family of 6. Upcoming topics include orphanage behaviors, undisclosed special needs, different ways children react at placement, and how to cope with feeding and attachment issues …Read More

Post-Mother’s Day Blessings: Trusting Him in Adoption Details

May 17, 2015 Andrea Y., siblings 0 Comments

Two years ago this week, I was a basket case. We were anxiously awaiting for our travel approval for China — and unfortunately… we would miss it. He would have another birthday in his orphanage — apart from us. That was this week two years ago. I did what any reasonable waiting mom would do …Read More

Attaching as a Sister

May 13, 2015 Attachment, Hannah, siblings 0 Comments

Ten days before my 10th birthday, my little sister was born. But I didn’t know her. I didn’t know what she looked like or how long it would be until I would meet her for the first time. For those first, long, ten years of my life, I prayed for a sister. I begged for …Read More

Fresh Starts

September 17, 2012 attachment activities, attachment challenges, Kelley, siblings 2 Comments

There’s something about fall that renews my mind and soul. The crisp air that blows in at sunset, the comfort of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice lattes, the anticipation of new activities and routines. I was that dork in college who loved buying new school books at the beginning of the semester. Unmarked pages, un-battered notebooks, unused pens. It’s that …Read More

Older Child Adoption: The Overlooked Special Need

June 17, 2012 Kelley, older child adoption, siblings 5 Comments

The last twelve days have been filled with joy, awe, gratitude, and love as our family welcomed its sixth member, baby Maryn. We haven’t even reached a year since Caroline’s “Gotcha Day” and another little one has joined our family! Four kids in four years. A friend recently joked that it isn’t a requirement to …Read More

Not So Different

February 21, 2010 albinism, older child adoption, siblings, Skin Conditions, visible special need 15 Comments

At church Wednesday night, there was an argument between several girls and my older daughter. I was home sick with a migraine, and I heard about the problem Saturday morning while driving to a meeting with the pastor’s wife. Hearing about Sassy squabbling with an entire group of girls over rules to a game they’d …Read More

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