By Annette Hines

Butterflies and Second Chances

A Mom’s Memoir of Love and Loss

Annette and Elizabeth’s powerful story provides hope, solace, and a path forward for parents of special needs children, and it will resonate with families everywhere.

Annette’s Daughters – Caroline and Elizabeth

The world Annette Hines knew exploded when her infant daughter Elizabeth was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease—a degenerative, life-limiting illness. Annette’s joy quickly turned to apprehension and she knew nothing would ever be the same again.

Butterflies and Second Chances is the inspiring true story of a mother’s special needs journey, and her struggle to secure the best possible life for her child in the face of bureaucratic resistance and marital crisis. It is a story of sacrifice, dedication, and the life-altering adjustments a special needs parent has to make when confronted with the unthinkable. But most of all, it’s about love and an extraordinary mother-daughter relationship that flourished without words in the darkest shadows of adversity.

Praise for Butterflies and Second Chances


“Annette’s unique and caring ability to provide her personal story is inspiring and inspirational, told not only as a mother, but also from an advocate for persons with special needs.” 

Hyman Darling, Immediate Past President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys


“Butterflies and Second Chances gives insight to the life changing events that follow the birth of a child with significant difficulties. Annette shares her unique experiences of raising a child with cognitive and medical challenges to help other families wind their way through a maze of services  to achieve a quality life for themselves and their child.”

—Theresa Varnet, M.S.W., J.D., Co-chair of Special Needs Law Section of NAELA


“Annette has written the book that speaks the thoughts we as mothers of atypical children and atypical births have all had.”

—Karen B. Johnson, JD, LL.M, Madge & Johnson, PC, Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys


“I always knew Annette was a very special person (along with a wonderful attorney and mother), but after reading her book, I now understand more, the depth of her courage and faith. Her book is compelling and raw and really brings you into the joys and darkness of special needs parenting. Annette’s story and insight are uplifting and a must read for any family. Her experiences are also an excellent primer for all health care and human services professionals.”

—Jeff Keilson, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at Advocates, Inc.


“Much of my learning in my work has come from families and the stories they have shared with me. Annette’s story of caring and loss will help you in your journey whether family or friend.”

—Leo V. Sarkissian, Executive Director, The Arc of Massachusetts


“Losing a child is unimaginable; the club you never want to join. But Annette’s story and insight are uplifting and a must read for any family living this reality.”

—Patricia Keane Martin, Esq., Partner, Seegel, Lipshutz & Lo, Board member, Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

Purchase Your Copy

About the Author

Annette Hines is a founding partner of the Special Needs Law Group of Massachusetts. She brings personal experience to her practice as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from mitochondrial disease in 2013. This deep, personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and advocacy and drives her dedication to the practice. Recognized as a Distinguished Citizen by ARC Massachusetts and cited for public service by both the Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives, Ms. Hines works tirelessly on behalf of people with disabilities.

Let Us Serve You