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

Bringing Benjamin Home

July 22, 2017 adopting a boy, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, surgery 2 Comments

We are the Young Family. We live in a small town in North Carolina with our two biological daughters ages 16 and 11, and our adopted son Benjamin who is 4. Our story begins like may others. God’s call to expand our family through adoption, a reluctant spouse, no funds, paperwork, and the “What special …Read More

What You Might Not Know About Shriners in Cincinnati

July 6, 2017 cl/cp, cleft lip, cleft palate, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, hospital stays, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, Stefanie, surgery 0 Comments

With craniofacial needs as our focus this month, we thought it would be a perfect time to share a little about a resource for families with kiddos with cleft lip and palate: Shriners Hospital for Children — Cincinnati. We recently had the opportunity to speak with the wonderful folks at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital and pose …Read More

A Plan and a Purpose

June 17, 2017 adopting a boy, clubfoot, Orthopedic, physical therapy, surgery 0 Comments

The first time I saw him, he was ten months old, and we had gone to volunteer in the sweltering month of August. He was wearing not only a million-dollar smile, but double leg casts that stretched from his little hips to his tiny toes from a recent surgery. He was sweet, laid back, adorable. …Read More

Three Simple Essentials for Your Hospital Stay

March 29, 2017 a father's perspective, February 2017 Feature - Preparing Your Child for Medical Interventions, hospital stays, Randall, surgery 0 Comments

We live in a wonderful country. It doesn’t always feel wonderful, but when we realize how easily accessible basic healthcare is for us we are reminded that it truly is a privilege to call this place home. Many of the children in our adoption communities have been given a shot at a better life because …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

Preparing Your Adopted Child for Surgery

March 5, 2017 February 2017 Feature - Preparing Your Child for Medical Interventions, hospital stays, surgery 0 Comments

Adopting a child with special needs often means that the child will need procedures and/or surgery after adoption. Some of these procedures can wait until the child is more adjusted to life with their new family, speaks English and can voice their opinion. Other procedures are more time sensitive and must be done right away. …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

Medical Crisis: Being Your Child’s Best Advocate

February 25, 2017 cerebral palsy, complex medical, February 2017 Feature - Preparing Your Child for Medical Interventions, hospital stays, seizures, surgery 2 Comments

In the summer of 2016 we adopted our precious Sonnet. Her adoption was medically expedited due to her being profoundly malnourished. She was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy and overall global and cognitive delays. What we didn’t know about was the seizures. She was experiencing them the day we took custody of her, but the …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

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

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

Preparing Your Child for Medical Interventions: How to Pack for the Hospital

February 4, 2017 February 2017 Feature - Preparing Your Child for Medical Interventions, hospital stays, Medical Momma, Rebecca, surgery 4 Comments

Special needs don’t always equal medical needs. But sometimes they do. Many of our children require therapies, treatments, hospitalizations or surgical procedures. These can be potentially anxiety-producing for any child, but significantly more so for a child with trauma in their past. So, this month we are focusing on Medical Interventions and how you can …Read More

Uncommon Visible Difference

November 19, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, Family Stories, large families, lateral proboscis, referral, surgery, visible special need 6 Comments

There is an art to a successful adoption announcement when you are adopting a child with a visible difference. You learn to manage the situation, to set up the encounter in ways that you would never think about when you adopt a child who looks more typical. You mention your referral. Your friend expresses excitement …Read More

Preparing For Children’s Surgeries and Hospital Stays

October 15, 2016 hospital stays, Medical Momma, surgery 0 Comments

When you have children with medical needs, surgeries and overnight hospital stays become something of a given. The first time one of my kids had surgery, I packed a bag for the hospital and thought I’d gone prepared – that is until the next morning when I had to dry my face on hospital-grade paper …Read More

Knit Together

October 13, 2016 Amy, complex heart defect, Heart System, kyphosis, scoliosis, surgery, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula 5 Comments

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your eyes saw my unformed body when I was knit together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139 I can count on two hands the physical diagnoses our little Chinese warrior princess has in her medical history: tetralogy of Fallot (repaired) tracheoesophageal fistula (repaired) stricture of esophagus tracheomalacia chronic …Read More

Her First Smile

July 30, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, guest post, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, surgery 5 Comments

It was the morning before my daughter’s cleft lip repair. Alongside my husband and with my daughter in my arms, we walked into her surgeon’s office. We had intentionally waited four months after her adoption before scheduling the surgery. I wanted to give her time to begin to know and trust us. I also wanted …Read More

Dear Younger Me, Let Your Heart be Broken

July 28, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Andrea O., heart transplant, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, Little Hearts Medical, surgery 6 Comments

Hey there, shadow of myself. Yes, I’m talking to you, the woman who is spending countless hours picking out the perfect color for the walls of the nursery where, in a few months, you will rock your “healthy, as young as possible” baby girl from China. I’m smiling right now, thinking of the woman I …Read More

More Beautiful For Having Been Broken

March 23, 2016 Rebecca, surgery 3 Comments

Dear Daughter, As I stood watching you, little one, tears rolled down my cheeks. You stood before my mirror all dolled up in your pink plastic dress-up shoes, hot pink, sparkly tutu, mismatched head bands, some bracelets, as many necklaces as you could gather, and your big sister’s glittery lip gloss. With your hip popped …Read More

Be the Village

October 23, 2015 first weeks home, Medical Momma, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, Rebecca, supporting adoptive families, surgery 2 Comments

“Let me know what I can do.” 

We make the offer to newly home adoptive families and families facing medical challenges or hospital stays. We all say it, and mean it, but we know they won’t take us up on. Not a matter of gratitude, help offers are always appreciated. And support is likely needed, …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

Coming Home: Tips for Medical Needs Parents

September 23, 2015 first weeks home, first year home, Medical Momma, Rebecca, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, surgery 0 Comments

You are a newly home medical needs parent, and life might be feeling like triage. Your child needs to be catheterized, tube fed, dilated and medicated. They need therapy, glasses, wheelchairs, oxygen, blood transfusions, walkers, cochlear implants, casts, g-tubes and ostomy bags. They’ll need MRIs, IVs, ultrasounds, sleep studies, anesthesia, echocardiograms, X-rays, EEGs, CT scans, …Read More

Coming Home: With a Sick Child

September 11, 2015 Amy, Attachment, cocooning, Medical Momma, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, surgery 0 Comments

We all imagine what it will be like when finally the paperwork is complete and we can see the face of our new child and begin to prepare for him or her. Then, after referral (if that is the order for you, it was for us) we make plans, consult specialists, send photos or stuffed …Read More

God of My Children

June 27, 2015 hospital stays, Medical Momma, Rebecca, surgery 1 Comments

Ever learn something, quickly forget it, and need to be reminded again? During our daughter’s extensive surgery last November, God tapped into my medical momma’s fearful heart, comforting me with the revelation that I don’t have to be God of my children. It was a breakthrough parenting moment.  Little by little though, I again started mentally and …Read More

Lilah’s Journey: Ten Weeks Post Surgery

August 25, 2011 cl/cp, Lilah's Journey, surgery, tessier cleft 0 Comments

 Lilah’s mom, Paige, has chronicled her daughter’s journey to repair her Tessier Cleft. We have shared Lilah’s story here, as the treatment has progressed. Lilah’s final surgery was to repair her eye, complete a bone graft for her cleft and make some soft tissue changes. All the posts in this series can be found here. …Read More

Lilah’s Journey – Surgery

June 8, 2011 Lilah's Journey, surgery, tessier cleft 0 Comments

 Lilah’s mom, Paige, has chronicled her daughter’s journey to repair her Tessier Cleft. We have shared Lilah’s story here, as the treatment has progressed. Lilah’s final surgery was to repair her eye, complete a bone graft for her cleft and make some soft tissue changes. All the posts in this series can be found here. …Read More

Reflections from my first time in "the waiting chair"

April 11, 2010 congenital glaucoma, Kristi, port wine stain, surgery, vision issues 7 Comments

Welcome to Kristi, our newest contributing blogger. Kristi has three children adopted from China and her newest daughter, Darcy, joined their family in February. Kristi blogs about their family at Fireworks and Fireflies. Wednesday of this past week I joined a club. A club I never would have imagined myself in just a few short …Read More

The wanted one

October 6, 2009 cl/cp, Maia, surgery 10 Comments

Possibly the most unexpected revelation in the course of our special-needs adoption came when the three of us, my husband, our daughter and I, waltzed in to our first cleft clinic at the hospital we had chosen for our daughter’s surgeries, eager and full of anticipation. At the time, we had been home for just …Read More

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