Blog

Waiting to be Chosen: Lorelai

August 24, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Say hello to lovely Lorelai! Born in June 2003, she is a beautiful 13 year old girl who will age out of the system and no longer be eligible to be adopted next summer. This outgoing, cheerful, and active girl is happiest when helping others. Her Chinese name means “hope” and it is the hope of her caretakers that her life is like clouds of heaven so that she is free and lives happily ever after.

Lorelai was found when she was just 6 months old. She had a red flower and note attached to her clothing which included her actual birthday. She was cared for by the security team who found her for several weeks until she was transferred to an orphanage. Lorelai has stayed at the same orphanage throughout her entire childhood except for two years when she lived with a foster family as a toddler.

Caretakers speak affectionately and positively while describing Lorelai. They say she is a sweet girl who is very attentive to others and not afraid of meeting strangers. She likes talking with the nannies and quickly grasps what is being said. She also likes being outside, especially participating in activities and games. She is working hard to walk on her own because she “wants to get rid of her wheelchair”.


lorelai


Her favorite colors are pink and red, and she likes to keep herself clean and beautiful. She takes good care of herself – eating, getting dressed and making her bed independently. She loves listening to music and singing children’s songs but she especially enjoys reading books. She reads very carefully so she can retell the story to other children. Lorelai says she wants the other children to know and do the things that she does. If that weren’t all enough, her favorite TV show is Looking for Love. Oh my, doesn’t she melt your heart?!

Lorelai is diagnosed with postoperative cerebral palsy and received a successful surgery on her legs in 2011. She has delayed motor development and her speech is understandable but slightly slow. In 2014, WACAP staff noted that she can definitely benefit from physical therapy to strengthen her legs. It was also believed that her mental development was estimated at 7 years old while her actual age was 11 years at the time. In addition to her vaccination record, Lorelai’s file includes lab, operative and growth reports.



lorelai1
In a 2015 update, Lorelai continued taking special education classes and was doing well. She could read 8-10 Tang poems and communicated normally with others. She could stand and walk with support for a short time, mostly using a wheelchair. She also practiced grasping and holding objects with her hands, walking, and expressing her ideas.

Lorelai wants to be a teacher so she can help others. One of her friends has been adopted and she wants to be too… she has just one year to fulfill one of her many dreams of having her very own family!


lorelai3


Lorelai’s file is currently on the shared list. WACAP is offering a $7,500 grant for qualifying families. Seriously interested families should download and complete their pre-application (no fee, no commitment) found here.

You may email the completed pre-application to ckids@wacap.org with your request and the first available case manager will respond.

Sign Language and Adoption: The Gift of Communication

August 23, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

You’ve made the decision to adopt.

Your homestudy is underway or maybe even finished.

You’ve taken adoption classes and read book after book.

You’ve worked hard to prepare your home, your family and your hearts to bring your little one home.

But what about communication?

Have you prepared to communicate with your child?

For most of us, it is not realistic to learn the language of our child’s home country. We might teach ourselves a crash course in basic words or even download a translation app. But for an adult to learn a second language is, most times, not even realistic. Adoption brain has set in and we can barely remember to brush our teeth or feed the dog. Who wants to add learning a second language into those hectic days before travel?

But, you and I both know that communication is so important.

Communication, in any form, speaks volumes to your new child who is undoubtedly afraid, confused and overwhelmed. Even just your tone of voice and body language can be such a comfort to their wounded heart.

What if you had a language that you were able to begin using with your child immediately?


jenifer1


As a mother of three children with Down syndrome, one biological, two adopted from China, sign language has been a life saver for us. It has given all three of our children a language where there was none. Instead of being faced with a frustrated child who can not express themselves and their needs, we have three children who can tell us exactly what they need in a way that we can understand.

Many times, when they use their signs to communicate, I can’t help but wonder, what if we had never taught them to sign? What would our days look like? I truly can’t even imagine. It breaks my heart to imagine all the things going on in their little minds never having a way to come out. They have so much to say!

In the case of Down syndrome and many other special needs, verbal speech is often delayed until the early childhood years. Add typical orphanage delays and lack of formal education and delayed language is not surprising. Sign language is a great bridge until speech comes or even a lifelong full language if speech never comes for your child.


jenifer


There are those that will tell you that sign language will delay speech. Momma, hear me on this one. Don’t believe that. Not even for a minute. I love what Rachel Coleman, from Signing Time, has to say about signing.

“Language doesn’t delay language. The fear of signing is ridiculous and thinking that a child will not talk because they first signed is as preposterous as saying, “Don’t let your child crawl or they will never learn to walk.” Babies crawl before they walk and they sign before they talk. If your child has the ability to deliver a spoken language, they will acquire that skill whether or not you sign with them. If they happen to have a speech delay or a disability that gets in the way of speaking, then thank heavens you are signing with them and giving them a way to be understood. If your child’s speech is delayed, it is not the signing that delays speech…it is something else entirely, because communication doesn’t delay communication.” – Rachel Coleman

Now, I bet you’re wondering how you can prepare to sign with your child even before they come home. First, don’t feel like you need college level courses or immersion in the deaf community. Those would be great options, if you were so inclined, but for most families, starting simple is the way to go.


jenifer2


Think back on the first words and phrases you learned with your hearing/speaking children. Probably some of the first words beyond momma and daddy were “more”, “please”, “eat”, “drink”, “play” and “no-no”. That is the same great place to start with signing. You can learn with your child. Start slow. As their needs grow, add signs to your vocabulary.

A great way to learn is through the Signing Time series. You have the option of purchasing DVDs or even subscribing to their app called Signing Time TV for on-the-go watching anywhere.

I can’t think of a better way for you to prepare for your child’s homecoming than to spend time preparing yourself to communicate with them. Our son and daughter adopted from China were both signing within hours of being placed in my arms. In that short amount of time, they already had a way to begin to communicate their needs.

What a gift.

So as you’re making your list to check off before you bring your little one home, add sign language to your list. Learn ten to twenty signs that you think will come in handy in country. Then, add to your list after you get home and the jet lag has worn off. The best gift you will give to your child is the love of a family. A close second will be the gift of communication.

– guest post by Jenifer: blog || facebook

Lessons in Fatherhood

August 22, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

While it seems like forever ago now, in reality it was only about three and a half years ago that my wife and I began praying about adoption….

Like all parents my wife and I had dreams of healthy babies, healthy incomes, and a healthy marriage. Well, after fifteen, almost sixteen, years of marriage we’ve at least got one out of three. We may have missed the other two by a wide margin but make no mistake, they weren’t missed due to some run of bad luck or a series of unfortunate events. No, we made choices, intentional choices as to how we would live our lives… or should I say how God would have us live our lives. These were not easy choices to make, in fact we often labored in prayer until the last minute, when God would finally reveal to us his will.

This is how our HIV positive son came to be in our family. For me the HIV factor was never an issue. I guess I had paid enough attention in health class to know that the risk factor was extremely low in cases of day to day living. We came to know our future son through a local family who was likewise in the ministry and had adopted a little girl who was his best friend in China. When they returned home from China they began to advocate for this boy, our son.

This was about the same time that God began to re-introduce the idea of our family adopting. My wife (a Facebook fanatic) was perusing the social media outlet and began seeing these pictures of this sweet boy. We decided to reach out to this family who had faithfully advocated his cause.

It was through this meeting that we learned of his HIV status. Again even after discovering this little inconvenient truth I must admit that I was not bothered in the least about cross contamination or the social stigma that may follow our family forevermore. We left that day and both my wife and I agreed that this was the little boy who God had intended for us.

One year later my wife and I were sitting on the back end of a feverish fundraising campaign where we literally watched as God began to move mountains for our boy and for us, his forever family. Yet we were also sitting on the front end of what I presumed would be a two week journey to a foreign land… a trip I no doubt could do with my eyes closed. As it turns out this trip would be anything but normal, neither would it last only two weeks. And I would indeed spend a great deal of it with my eyes closed, as would our son.

You see during the second week of our trip while going through the necessary medical check-ups required by the USCIS, our son tested positive for TB. To complicate matters even more, because he had apparently had it before, compounded by his HIV status, the CDC in Atlanta was afraid that he may have actually had a type of TB known as MDR (Multi-Drug Resistant). Neither my wife nor I knew what this meant for us. But we would soon find out.

My wife and I stared at each other in disbelief as we learned that one of us was going to be required to stay in China with our boy for an unknown amount of time. We would have to wait for a travel waiver granted by the CDC. While that sounds so simple, I am here to say that the process was grueling. I watched as my wife and daughter got in a van and headed to the airport. The fact that no one could tell me when I would see them again made matters even worse; my heart sank. I walked back to the room with our son and slipped into the bedroom where I wept… alone.

I cried out to God for answers as to why this was happening to us. We had done everything right, we prayed about this adoption, we prepared for this adoption, we were assured of this adoption, only now to have the whole process disrupted and thrown into jeopardy because of a possibility that my son could have TB. It just didn’t make any sense. What was God trying to teach me?

In the end I would discover the answer to this question, but it would come from some very hard lessons that I needed to learn. This is the thing, if a father is to represent Christ on this earth, he must represent Him well and in truth. The truth – that I always knew intellectually but maybe not experientially – was that God would never leave us nor forsake us.

After exhausting all my vacation and being the primary breadwinner I was forced to consider my next steps as we waited impatiently for the waiver.

After two additional weeks of waiting I could stand it no longer and I began making preparations to have my son placed back into the orphanage until the situation had changed. I needed to go back to work, I had bills to pay, a family to feed. Surely God understands this, and surely as you read this you too can understand my dilemma.

Unfortunately my son did not understand…

”How could a father travel halfway around the world to get his son, only to leave him where he was found?”

I sat down to tell my son about the possibility that he may have to return to his orphanage or at the very least stay with a foster family until I could return to get him.

At first he said nothing and showed no emotion about the matter at all, in fact for the last four weeks I had not seen any sign of emotion from him. However when the interpreter left and it was only the two of us, alone, he climbed into my lap with his head on my shoulder and he sobbed. And so did I.

It was at this point that God began asking me the question that will forever resonate in my mind:

“How can you teach him about my faithfulness if you act in this momentary affliction unfaithfully?”

All of God’s promises began to flood my mind and my soul was filled with faith. I called our agency and let them know that I was not leaving my son… I just couldn’t do it. At some point it stopped being about me and became about God and the testimony I was leaving for my son about this God.

Needless to say, we prayed, and we prayed hard. The two of us on our knees and crying out to God for mercy. The next day we got our waiver and soon we would be on our way home.

We both learned something from this experience….

God is faithful.
God hears our prayers.

Had I left him there I would have foiled the greatest teaching opportunity I may have ever had when it comes to my children. I thank God for the strength He gave me to stay, as only God can receive the glory for what happened in China a little over two years ago.


just


As for the HIV, it is a thing… but that’s all it is, a thing. We rarely if ever think about it. Our son has perhaps the greatest doctor in these parts and his virus is undetectable as a result of the wonderful medical care he has received.

There is of course a shadow that is cast over him as a result of the HIV status, but one must always remember that the shadow is not the real thing; it is a fake representation of that which is real.

On a side note… our son never had TB, it was a false positive.

– guest post by an anonymous baba; image by Emily Adcox

When God Honors Our “Yes”: Our Sign Language Journey, Part Two

August 21, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments

Claire-and-Ava

In Part one I described how the adoption of our daughter, Ava, born with cleft lip and palate and deafness, set us on a journey to become skilled in sign language. Our desire to support her ability to communicate with others led us on a roller-coaster of experiences and emotions, which culminated in our decision …Read More

Find My Family: Maryanne and Luke

August 20, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Luke MAA Collage 2016

Meet Maryanne. Maryanne is like the precious picture she drew of a little girl reaching out to a mother with tears in her eyes and a beautiful rainbow in the background. She has a light about her and an inner and outer beauty that makes her shine. Maryanne is a beautiful 9-year-old girl who came …Read More

Q & A with the Four Agencies in the FSL Program

August 19, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

qanda

With the new Former Shared List (FSL) program unrolled, many people within the Chinese adoption community have questions about what it means for future placements. Over the last three weeks, we’ve looked at these changes from a few different perspectives. First we interviewed Martha Osborne, the founder of RainbowKids, the advocacy site which will host …Read More

Kings and Queens

August 18, 2016 by nohandsbutours 4 Comments

kelleyb2

“Maybe we are here to love wildly, passionately, and fearlessly,” whispered the heart. “You’re going to get us killed!” yelled the brain. This can be true for just about anything we find ourselves on the brink of but this particular quote, I believe, can be applied specifically to those taking the leap into the world …Read More

How HIV Changed My Life – For the Better

August 17, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments

august2

“Why would you want a child with HIV?” asked an employee from our daughter’s foster home. The question took me off guard. After all, she lived with and cared for people with HIV. Without skipping a beat, my husband spoke up, “Because she’s our daughter.” Three simple words. She’s our daughter. Words that echoed in …Read More

Waiting to be Chosen: Brett and Samuel

August 16, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

brett3

Meet fun-loving Brett. Brett is an adorable and energetic 10-year-old who was hosted via Madison Adoption Associate’s IL/MO hosting program in June and July. From Brett’s host mom: Since Brett has been with us, he has blossomed with big smiles and a cheerful attitude. He loves to play and sing in Chinese with our three …Read More

Our Journey with Reactive Attachment Disorder

August 15, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

rain

I have written this post countless times in my head and on the computer, each time it’s a completely different post. At first I wondered how a post on the same topic could be so different from one day to the next and then I remembered, it’s because RAD kids are different each day… at …Read More

© 2016 No Hands But Ours

The content found on the No Hands But Ours website is not approved, endorsed, curated or edited by medical professionals. Consult a doctor with expertise in the special needs of interest to you.