Urgent Aging Out Child: Rebekah

April 30, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Rebekah is 13 years old and will age out of the adoption system on her 14th birthday in November.


Rebekah is an HIV carrier and lives in a group home setting with other children who have also tested positive for HIV. She was with her birth family and cared for by the community until she came to the group home at age 4. She attends private school where she is a good student. Rebekah has three friends at school and one friend at the group home, but no best friend. She is also close with a specific caregiver. Rebekah can be described as a bright, sensitive child who is good at caring for her own needs and very tidy. She interacts well with adults and likes to take care of younger children. Her personality is passive and introverted although she will let you know if she is very angry. She has been observed to be less social than others in her peer group. A few of her favorite activities are playing hackie-sack, skating, bike riding and playing on her cell phone. Holt staff members who met Rebekah noted that she made good eye contact, answered questions readily and often showed off her big, beautiful smile! She has glasses to correct a vision problem, but doesn’t like to wear them. Photos are on file-please contact us for more information. Rebekah needs a family who can complete her adoption before she ages out of adoption in November 2016. We believe she would fit best in a family without children close to her age at home so that she can be showered with the individual attention she needs to develop healthy relationships.


A Holt ambassador who met Rebekah in October 2015 had this to say about her:

“Last week I was in China hanging out with an amazing group of kids at a children’s HIV home. One of the gals I had the privilege of spending alot of time with was Rebekah. She is a quiet , sweet spirited, talented and beautiful girl. Her hobbies include riding bikes and roller skating. She has a servant’s heart and was always in tune with what I was doing and would eagerly help me with whatever I needed. She was a joy to have by my side in China. Such a sweetheart! I have great hope that some family out there will choose her as their daughter. She is so lovable and desirable. She told me that she wants to move to America and when I asked her why she said, “I want a family.” Will you join me in asking God to give her this desire of her sweet heart?”

Contact Holt for inquiries about adopting this child.

International Adoption Clinics: Services and Locations

April 29, 2016 by nohandsbutours 4 Comments

I can still remember getting ‘the call’ during our first adoption process. Our agency coordinator was on the phone and they had a file for us to review. I remember the many different emotions I felt as we opened the file and photos and began to read. Within an hour of opening the file I had contacted the International Adoption Clinic (IAC) at our local children’s hospital, emailed them the file and photos, and set up an appointment with the IAC doctor to review and go over everything. A few days later we said yes to that file, and a few weeks after arriving home with our new son we visited that same IAC for a comprehensive post-adoption appointment.

Having an IAC review a file is the first step many families take when considering a child, and the IAC is often one of the first medical appointments a child has upon arriving home. Services commonly offered by IACs include:

• Pre-adoption services aimed at education and preparing prospective adoptive for the unique medical and developmental issues internationally adopted children may face. This typically includes review of all medical information, files, photographers, videos, etc. by an IAC physician followed by a phone or in person consultation with the family. In general, the IAC physician will go over the medical information contained in the file, evaluate photos/video, consult with other specialists if needed, provide questions that would be helpful to ask the agency/orphanage. Many IAC will also provide prescriptions for travel.

• During travel, most IACs offer ‘on-call’ support allowing you to email/call the IAC with any questions or concerns while you are in country.

• Post-adoption services begin once home and include identifying medical, developmental, and emotional issues. The post adoption IAC visits typically include such things as a complete physical examination, labs, hearing and vision screenings, referrals to specialists, development assessment and evaluation with a psychologist, evaluations with speech and physical therapists, meeting with IAC social worker, and referral to therapy services and early intervention.


Last year NHBO began a new project aimed at expanding the resources section of the website for each stage of the adoption process. And because IACs play such an important role in the pre-travel and newly home stages of adoption, we decided that a list of International Adoption Clinics by state would be a great addition to the growing list of resources.

Below you will find a list of International Adoption Clinics, alphabetized by state.


Children’s Hospital of Alabama
Birmingham, AL
Dr. Jennifer Chambers & Dr. Carin Kiser


Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach
Long Beach, CA
Dr. Gary Feldman

USCF Benioff Children’s Hospital
Oakland, CA
Dr. Nany Curtis


Children’s Hospital Colorado
Aurora, CO


Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital
New Haven, CT
Dr. Carol Weitzman & Dr. Warren Andiman


Nemours Children’s Hospital
Orlando, FL

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
St. Petersburg, FL
Dr. Juan Dumois & Dr. Joel Shulkin


University of Chicago Comer Children’s
Chicago, IL
Dr. Larry Gray

Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Chicago, IL


Riley Hospital for Children
Indianapolis, IN


Children’s Mercy Hospital
Kansas City, KS
Dr. Douglas Swanson & Dr. W. Scott Colliton


Kentucky Children’s Hospital
Lexington, KY
Dr. Shawn Taylor


Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Kennedy Krieger Institute
Baltimore, MD


Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center
Boston, MA
Dr. John Sargent


University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
Dr. Dana Johnson, Dr. Judith Eckerl, Dr. Cynthia Howard


St. Louis Children’s Hospital
St. Louis, MO
Dr. Rachel Orscheln

Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital
St. Louis, MO
314-577-5643 ext. 2
Dr. Jennifer Ladage

Children’s Mercy Hospital
Kansas City, MO
Dr. Douglas Swanson & Dr. W. Scott Colliton


Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Columbus, OH
Dr. Aarti Chandawarkar

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Cincinnati, OH
Dr. Mary Allen Staat

Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital
Cleveland, OH
Dr. Elaine Schulte

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
Cleveland, OH
Dr. Denise Bothe


The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
Dr. Susan Friedman, Dr. Rachel Hachen, Dr. Katie Lockwood


Hasbro Children’s Hospital
Providence, RI


Children’s Hospital Greenville Health System
Greenville, SC
Dr. Robin LaCroix, Dr. Joshua Brownlee, Dr. Sue Jue

MUSC Children’s Hospital
Charleston, SC
Dr. Angela LaRosa & Dr. Andrea Summer


Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
Nashville, TN
Dr. Alice Rothman


Texas Children’s Hospital
Houston, TX
Dr. Mary Paul, Dr. Susan Gillespie, Dr. Elizabeth Collins

Children’s Health
Dallas, TX


Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters
Virginia Beach, VA
Dr. Douglas Mitchell

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
Richmond, VA
Dr. Suzanne Lavoie

University of Virginia Children’s Hospital
Charlottesville, VA
Dr. Mark Mendelsohn & Dr. Sarah Boggs


Center for Adoption Medicine
Seattle, WA
Dr. Julia Bledsoe, Dr. Julian Davies, Dr. Cynthia Kertesz


Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, WI

If you know of an IAC not listed, or if you find a broken link, please leave a comment or use our contact form to let us know.


We’ve Got This: Parenting a Child with CP

April 29, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments

My son has Cerebral Palsy.

Mild Right Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy to be specific, which means only the right side of his body is affected.

If you see him running by on the playground or the soccer field, you might never even notice he has physical difficulties. If you have an idea in your mind of what Cerebral Palsy looks like, you’d probably never connect that mental picture with the boy in front of you.

Cerebral Palsy is a generic, blanket term doctors use for any damage that happens to the brain before about the age of two, and causes physical symptoms. Modern medicine now adds more descriptive words to CP to give a better indication of the exact presentation of symptoms.

My son’s CP was caused by a stroke around the time of birth, a common cause. The human brain is such a mystery to doctors, even today, that no one can tell from an MRI of an affected child just what their prognosis will be. One child might have a very small region of the brain affected (or nothing even visible on images), and yet be fairly severely affected. Others can have massive sections of the brain affected and have very mild symptoms. I say this to help give perspective if a child you are considering is noted as having Cerebral Palsy or abnormal brain scans.

When he first came home at almost seven years old, we concentrated on bonding and general health. My son’s symptoms are very mild, but he had NO stamina. We let him decompress, attach to us, run, play, and build coordination before embarking on a formal assessment of his needs (in our case this was approved and encouraged by our International Adoption Clinic). Depending on the severity of CP symptoms, neurology and therapy may be a more immediate focus for other children.

CP is probably a lot like other special needs – we’ve gone through a phase of “We’ve got this” followed by one of “Oh my gosh, there’s so much to research and address” at least three times in the two and a half years he’s been home.


Our first real foray into the CP world was a visit to a neurologist. We were given the option to do an MRI or not. Due to his age, all treatment would stem from his symptoms and not the results of an MRI, but we chose to have one to get a baseline image in case he even got a concussion playing sports. The MRI was also able to rule out a couple of rare structural causes for his original stroke, which is nice peace of mind.

Our son’s main symptom is difficulty using his right hand. We saw the hand clinic at Scottish Rite hospital, and he underwent a tendon transfer and related orthopedic surgery after about a year home. They took the tendon he had the most control over and re-attached it in the location that would give him the most useful function when moving his hand. It was a very difficult recovery, since our very active 1st grader was not allowed to run, play, or sweat for five weeks (and in Texas, not sweating is hard even in the spring!). After the cast was removed, it was immediately clear that the surgery had produced wonderful results for our son. Weekly Occupational Therapy has allowed him to capitalize on the progress and make continuing additional gains.


Physical therapy was started to keep his affected leg as strong and flexible as possible. Growth spurts often cause increased spasticity in kids with CP, and the six inches he grew in the first two years home challenged us to keep up with ensuring he can run and walk smoothly! He is now also in an AFO (Ankle Foot Orthotic) to help get his toes up and out of his way as he moves, which has reduced his tripping tremendously.

After two and a half years home, my son is on a recreational soccer team, loves most sports, is close to riding a bicycle without training wheels, and is working at grade level in school. We are amazed every day at the ways he figures out how to work with the limitations of his body. We are just beginning to puzzle out some possible learning or processing differences, and are unsure if they are the product of hyper-vigilance, being in an SWI for almost seven years, or related to his stroke.


With most of his physical needs addressed, we are more confident entering this new phase. We’ve incorporated our son’s physical needs into our lifestyle, so it barely even occurs to us that not everyone’s kids do stretching exercises on weekday mornings. The OT is a part of our routine as well, just one of those after school activities we attend. Our days are filled with homework, soccer, Nerf guns, and fart jokes – typical nine year old stuff.

If you are considering a child with cerebral palsy, here are a few things to consider:

1. Medical science is just starting to really understand how much potential the human brain has to rewire around damaged area. Neuroplasticity is proven, and incredible gains can be made all the way through puberty, however many doctors, and even neurologists, have not kept up with this research. Do not settle for medical professionals who accept the status quo of your child’s functionality! Dr. Karen Pape has a fantastic blog that discusses advances in understanding of neuroplasticity.

2. There are amazingly supportive groups out there. Find them, and use the group’s combined wisdom to ensure you are getting the best care for your child. Yes, you and your doctor need to sift through the options and decide on the best course for your individual child, but collective knowledge can help you understand the jargon and know what questions to ask to find the best care possible.

3. Find a great neurologist that specializes in Cerebral Palsy. You’ll benefit from the knowledge of cutting edge research and therapy techniques. Our neurologist, even hosts conferences that bring together experts from all over America to share ideas and educate colleagues and parents!

4. The damage that causes Cerebral Palsy can also cause seizures. If you are reviewing a child’s file, be on the lookout for indications of seizures and educate yourself on the different varieties of seizure activity – some types do not resemble the classic grand mal seizures that are most often portrayed on TV.

5. Cerebral Palsy is caused by damage to the brain. Damage to the brain can also cause learning disabilities, some types of hearing loss, and some types of peripheral vision issues. I don’t say this to discourage families from considering this need, but to be realistic about the range of related issues that weren’t always acknowledged as part of CP in the past.

6. Just because you have a two-story house or other physically challenging situation, you may not need to rule out CP or other movement disorders. Many needs can exist on a continuum, and our son has no trouble navigating stairs or uneven terrain!

We began our adoption knowing our son had a medical need. This meant that we embraced his needs as part of who he was from the beginning – part and parcel with his smile and personality. I feel this has allowed us to cheer his accomplishments, enthusiastically research the best treatments, and embrace his therapies and equipment as exciting additions in helping him reach his potential.

We just live our particular life to the fullest.

– guest post by Bethany

Sensory Bins 101

April 28, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Over the years, we’ve had a lot of fun with sensory bins. A few of my little loves are sensory-seeking (often craving sensory input of all kinds), so these bins can be a super interesting way to get them what they need. The great thing about sensory bins is that the possibilities are absolutely limitless. …Read More

Find My Family: Jade

April 28, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Jade has resided in a foster family since birth. She is fond of playing with other kids, and shares toys with them. She pays attention to keeping clean, she likes wearing pretty clothes. Jade was born with a cleft palate which was repaired in 2009. She has delayed language and cognitive development. She goes to …Read More

I Never Felt Called to Adopt

April 27, 2016 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments


I never felt called to adopt. For me, adoption was simply the way God chose to build our family. In 2011 we adopted our son Sean who is now seven years old. In 2013 we adopted our daughter Elliana who is now five. When people first started saying that adoption was a beautiful thing for …Read More

Xia Waits

April 26, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Xia will turn six years old in May. She is outgoing and active-she’s described as an extrovert. Xia likes to play with other children, listen to music, and watch TV. She likes toys with bright colors or toys that play music. Xia attends kindergarten which she enjoys. She turns her homework in on time and …Read More

When Jesus Tells You What To Do

April 25, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


A Hot Mess This week I got into a conversation about these two big ideas called expiation and propitiation. Sounds fun, right? Don’t worry, I’m not going to open up the discussion here. It’s really boring unless you’re a theology nerd. For sure, it’s an important doctrine, but how important? Important enough to argue over? …Read More

Find My Family: Theo

April 24, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Theo was placed in his foster family at birth in May of 2014. He was born blind, and has had two eye surgeries in December 2014 and September 2015. Due to his blindness he is not as comfortable with new people, but he enjoys being held and interacting with his foster mother. He can walk …Read More

Countless Possibilities

April 23, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments


As long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a mom. After all, my own mom was the best mom in the world… a woman who loved her girls unconditionally and fiercely. I always wanted to be just like her. As most of us know, life isn’t always how you wish it would …Read More

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