Notes from the doctor’s office

There I was, at another doctor appointment with Bella.

As Bella gets older I feel she’s understanding more and more what’s going on with her health. Sitting in these confined rooms, waiting for the doctors and surgeons to come in has become so stressful.

I try my best to distract and entertain her to the best of my ability. Finally, I hear a knock on the door and four specialists come in.

My heart sinks because I think oh God what now!?!? My sweet Bella proceeds to greet all of them with a big ol’ Hiiiiii!!! 

As each one takes their turn explaining to me why she needs a mandibular distraction, I think to myself NOT AGAIN. When Bella was two, she has this same surgery done. She was kept in an induced coma for almost two weeks. Things went wrong and I thought I had lost my baby.

It took every bit of me to keep my strength intact and not break down. I realized, in that moment, that the trauma of that chapter in my life has not been healed.

Moms need time to heal from past trauma.

Bella will be having her 10th surgery in a couple months and I’d be lying if I told you I’m not scared.

What I do know is this:
My faith in God is so strong that all I can do is hand it over to Him. I truly believe with all my heart if I tried to handle this any differently it just wouldn’t work.

Making this decision as a mother is hard, but it’s also best for Bella’s future.

To all my mamas out there who have kids with special needs – Stay cool, be strong, and keep the faith! 

With Love,
Nadia Gastelum
Bella’s mom, 
Founder of BHOH

Bella and Nadia, founder of Bella's House of Hope - a nonprofit dedicated to helping parents with kids with special needs
Bella and Nadia at the hospital




Fashion show to benefit single moms and their kids with special needs

SAN DIEGO — Bella’s House of Hope will host Fashion Show for Hope, a fundraiser at Bloomingdale’s in Fashion Valley, on November 17. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and feature a cocktail hour, opportunity drawing, and holiday fashion by Bloomingdale’s designers.  

Moms raising children with special needs will be featured as special guest models, and will walk with their kids in the fashion show.

Bella’s House of Hope is an organization that supports moms with children with special needs. The organization was founded by Nadia Gastelum, inspired by the experiences she and her daughter Bella have gone through together.

“You don’t get a handbook when you have a child, much less when you have a child with special needs,” Gastelum said. “One of the major challenges I had was not knowing where to go, or how to go about this.”

The aim of Bella’s House of Hope is to provide social support and a safe haven for single parents with children who have long term intellectual, developmental, and medical disabilities.

“Donations at the event will help purchase the future home for Bella’s House of Hope, which will host a resource center for moms with special needs kids, and house up to two families in crisis or extreme need,” Gastelum said.

Gastelum has overcome many hardships raising her daughter, and feels that it is her duty to help others with similar situations.

“If you don’t have guidance or know where to start, Bella’s House of Hope is going to provide that for you,” Gastelum said.

Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for an opportunity drawing. One of the opportunity drawing prizes will be a pair of earrings donated by the Rancho Santa Fe jeweler John Matty Co.

“Our amazing donors are the backbone of making our mission a reality,” Gastelum said. “We are grateful to anyone who considers a donation to change the life of a special needs mom.”

All ticket sales and 10% of all fashion purchases made through Bloomingdale’s will be donated to Bella’s House of Hope. The evening will not only be filled with fashion, but will also provide hope and inspiration for moms raising kids with special needs.

“Bella’s condition has no answer, no diagnosis. That is perhaps the most challenging thing for me, not knowing,” Gastelum said. “What I do know is that I’m going to be here for her, and she is my inspiration.”

Tickets for the fashion show are available for $75 at Those who cannot attend the event but still wish to donate can do so at

About Bella’s House of Hope
Bella’s House of Hope address a critical need in our community, a need that typically falls between the cracks on the spectrum of social service programs. Single moms with children with special needs often cannot get direct aid or support. Bella’s House of Hope provides a safe haven and community service support for single parents with children who have long term intellectual, developmental, and medical disabilities. 

Download this press release as a PDF: fashionshowforhopepressrelease-2
Download this press release as a Word document: fashionshowforhopepressrelease