Blessed: Adopting a Child Who Isn’t “Healthy”

August 31, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook, I see a popular thanksgiving….

In the hospital after the delivery of a new baby, I hear the same praises.

In the grocery store I hear faint echoes of the same gratitude while everything else goes quiet in my head.

Parents and family alike are “so blessed” by having healthy children. You see, I was that person, too… before I adopted a child that wasn’t healthy. I said the same words and meant them with all my heart. I was blessed. I was so thankful that God gave me three healthy children, and I thanked him endlessly for those mercies – and I should have, but that health status isn’t what makes us blessed.

Instead of seeing healthy children as a blessing, I now see children as a blessing. Just children, nothing else needs to be added.

Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It doesn’t fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Trusting him fully in our adoption journeys and medical journeys are what I am thankful for and for that trust – we are blessed.

We have a ridiculous faith and crazy peace – not often do we waver with worry because we know that His plan is perfect – whatever that plan may be, it is what He knows is best for us and our children. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” We have taken refuge in Him and go to Him before we go to anyone else.

He has always answered our prayers – maybe not the way we always ask, but He has guided our children’s lives and ours down a path that is far greater than what we could’ve ever asked for. He is perfect. His plan is perfect.

Our blessings aren’t limited to ten fingers and ten toes – finger and toes are overrated. Being blessed is a whole other realm of God and His Grace that is not limited to health. My child – who came home from China just over a year ago – was not healthy. Soon, she will have had thirteen surgeries in her short, seven-year life. I am so happy to be her mother.

Her siblings see no differences when they look at her and say, “I adore you, Joy.”


When I ask my seven year old what her favorite part of adoption is, her answer has never once wavered. She answers, “Jesus fixed my heart.” When our extended family hears this they thinks she is meaning that her heart was healed by parents who brought her in a loving home. And this is partly true. But actually, at the core, she means that she had heart surgery, and is so very thankful. She is thankful for the doctors and nurses that cared for her.

Many people told me, as we were preparing to bring her home, that older children will not be thankful for being adopted. Joy is. Not every child will be, but she is not only thankful for us, but each time a needle pierces her skin or anesthesia is put in her body, she is thankful.


That my friends is a blessed little girl – not because we as parents did anything, but because she takes joy in the Lord and His provision for her. She is so grateful for things that some others might be upset about, and miss seeing the positive like our precious Joy does.

We certainly chose the perfect name for our child – she is already seeing the joy of the Lord at age seven. And I pray that her heart stays on fire for Him.

– guest post by Allison

Waiting to be Chosen: Maeve

August 30, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Meet lovely Maeve.

Born July 2013, this precious little one just turned three. She came into care at the SWI when she was 11 months old and at the time, her development was delayed. She couldn’t sit without support.

She made progress at the SWI, though, and according to her file she was sitting without support and playing by 18 months of age. At the time of her file preparation, she was able to walk without assistance.


Her motor skills were formerly behind other children but now she can walk well, go up stairs with some assistance and climb in and out of her friends cribs to play. Her cognitive development is slightly behind, but she is saying single words like “dad” and “sister”. She’s an outgoing little girl who is nearly always smiling. She likes balls that are yellow.

Her caregivers say she recognizes people and remembers pictures she has seen. She’s curious about new people but sticks close to familiar care givers. They say she can play simple imagination games like clapping hands or rocking dolls.

Maeve’s official diagnosis is epilepsy. Her file contains her EEG report, which notes abnormality. She has had two seizures since she came into care, her last one being in May of 2015. She has not been taking any medication. Her file also contains an immunization report and some other labs, as well as a growth chart.


WACAP is offering a $4,000 grant for qualifying families, in addition to waiving their application fee and pre-approval deposit fee. Seriously interested families should download and complete their pre-application (no fee, no commitment) found here.

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

Top 10 Signs it’s Back to School

August 29, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

Trauma mamas and babas, our kids are headed back to school. And this season of life causes us to rejoice that summer is over while also fearing the change in routine for our kids from hard places.

Back to School 1

You know it is back to school time when —

10. You debate what to share, if to share, how much to share and when to share information about your child’s history. Sometimes, it feels like over sharing on a first date. You hope not to hear the all too typical, “Well, all kids do that.” You remind your child’s teacher that he has only been in a family half as long as the other kids.

9. When a teacher or administrator tells you they are trauma informed, and have witnessed traumaversaries in children in their care, you rejoice knowing these are your people. You fight the urge to kiss them. You rejoice that they understand one must look at what is driving behavior. They get it.

8. The day of meet-the-teacher, you frantically ask in Facebook adoption groups for HELP with the back to school adoption and trauma teacher handouts. If you do not have these, go here, here, here, and here for a good start.

7. You realize that many well-meaning and gifted teachers are not informed about trauma, and so, you must die to your people pleasing ways and become an advocate and teacher. The discipline techniques that work for typical kids, don’t work for our kids.

6. You celebrate when your child cries at drop off and celebrate even more when your child runs to you at pick-up. Mama! Mama! Yea! My mama! We are on our way to a secure attachment, baby.

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5. You agonize over the best school fit for your child. It’s different, yes, it is. Sometimes, your family makes enormous sacrifices so your child has access to the best school for their special needs. Sometimes, your public school is a dream come true. Sometimes, homeschooling is the answer.

4. You realize that ice cream absolutely helps you deal with the back-to-school stress.

3. You worry when school assignments require baby photos, researching the family tree and ancestry, and details that none of us have about our kids.

2. You advocate for your child in IEP meetings. And sometimes you fight for your child.

1. When your child struggles, you question everything. Is this “normal” separation anxiety? Does this environment remind them too much of an orphanage? Is this the right thing to do? Is this regression? And so, you rush to your other adoptive mama and baba friends, because they get it.

What would you add to the list?

– photography by Emily Flynt

Sign Language and Adoption: Getting Started

August 28, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments


You might think that sign language is only for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We’d like to encourage you to reconsider. Signing is an incredibly valuable tool in any adoptive parent’s tool belt. It makes communicating with your newly adopted child exponentially easier – no matter their age or special need. And …Read More

Meet the Contributors: Rebecca

August 27, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments


Continuing today with our series in which we share a short Q and A with one of our contributors to give y’all, our faithful readers, a little more behind-the-scenes insight into the amazing group of writers assembled here. And it will also give each of our contributors a chance to share their heart in a …Read More

Waiting to be Chosen: Manny

August 26, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Oh, Manny. You make our hearts smile. Born in June 2011, Manny arrived at his orphanage when he was one. He has remained at the orphanage ever since, where he has captured the hearts of the staff. When Manny first arrived at the orphanage, he was very weak. With the consistent love and care of …Read More

How to Find Your Tribe

August 25, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

bamboo group

“Your people are my people, your God my God. Not even death itself is going to come between us.” Ruth 1:16-17 When we started the adoption process, we were not even considering Down syndrome. It was too scary. In fact, the irony of it, is we decided our cut-off for having bio kids was age …Read More

Beyond Folded Hands: Praying for China’s Orphans

August 24, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


I’m not an artist. I’m better with words. At least, that’s what I’ve always believed, that’s what I’ve always told myself. I feel at home with a pen in my hand. It’s familiar and comfortable. I know what to do with it, and I am confident that the ink on the page will eventually produce …Read More

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 …Read More

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 …Read More

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