You Belong

Several years ago I visited an elderly great uncle in California. Uncle Frank was one of my Grandpa Kelley’s 4 brothers. I’m sure I’d met Uncle Frank when I was a young girl, but it had been many, many years. When he opened the door to the adult woman who’d come to visit, he stood silent on the doorstep for just a moment, and then gathered me up in a hug saying, “Oh, sweetheart. I’d have picked you out of a line-up as a Kelley.” He knew me instantly.

When we were in the waiting phase of our adoption I probably saw hundreds of referral pictures. Each time I’d think, Could I look at that baby and say, Yep, she’s mine? When we finally got Cholita’s referral, Lyle and I first read through all of the written information that had been e-mailed to us. We knew that her pictures would be at the bottom and I wanted to kind of sneak up on them, casually take her in starting with the tip of her head and then I could work my way down, stopping to process each bit of information. Somehow I scrolled too fast and suddenly there she was–a round-faced, healthy-looking 6 month old, sitting in a walker, jauntily kicking up one little bare foot into the air.

She literally took our breath away. I knew her. It was like looking at the face of a long-lost friend. I would have picked her out of a line-up, I know it. I noticed her beautiful Chinese features, but I also thought she looked like her siblings. I put our 4 kids’ baby pictures together and made friends and family tell me they saw the resemblance too. Don’t you see it? She so belongs with this group.

Cholita has been with us for three years now and has noticed that not everyone sees the resemblance. When she was two, she was told by a little girl in Kinko’s that I was NOT her Mommy. The girl’s father was obviously mortified and told her, “No, honey. That is that little girl’s Mommy,” but his daughter would not be swayed. “No, I KNOW that’s not her Mommy.” Cholita’s chin quivered and she pointed to me and said, “Dat my Mommy right dare.” For a good week afterward, Cholita would tell complete strangers, even before they had a chance to say hello, “Dis is MY Mommy. MY Mommy.” She wanted to make sure they knew from the get-go, just in case they didn’t happen to notice.

As Cholita grows older, my hope is that she’ll feel like she belongs exactly where she is and that she can always find something of herself in the faces around her. Right after she came home, I had my two youngest girls in a double cart at Costco. A man in line asked five year-old Rose if she liked shopping with her friend. Rose told him that Cholita was her sister. “Sister?” said the man. “She doesn’t look like your sister.” Rose crinkled her eyes in a confused expression, shrugged her shoulders, and answered, “Well, we’re not twins.”

I snapped their picture just moments after the exchange. Nope, obviously not twins, but we would have picked her out of a line-up just the same. She’s one of us. She belongs.

contributing blogger mommas!

If you haven’t noticed yet, take a look to the left and check out all our new contributors! We’ve asked some fellow blogging moms to join us here at the No Hands But Ours blog to share their thoughts on the journey of being a mom. I can. not. wait. to read all the posts that will be heading this way… they are going to be good!!

We hope that by sharing many versions of what the ‘journey’ of adoption may look like, you will get a multifaceted glimpse into what parenting a special needs child looks like. And you’ll see, that beyond having special needs, our children are so so much more.

Whatever Wednesday

Each Wednesday we post links from the previous week that touch on special needs adoption. Our hope is that these small snapshots provide you with a glimpse of life after adopting through China’s waiting child program… both the long-term blessings and the challenges that come with parenting a child with special needs. We also hope to raise awareness about a variety of special needs.

Unexpected Success adoptive momma (China) Shirlee McCoy at And Then There Were Seven… an update after her daughter Cheeky’s eye surgery

Uh-Oh!adoptive momma (China) Amy at Finally a Family of Five… success making the “o” shape with her mouth, after bilateral cleft surgery

Doctor-pa-loozah
adoptive momma (China) LMGNYC at La Bicicleta… $109 dollars in medical co-pays in a single day, plus two more appointments (possibly three), with a surgery likely

the many faces of life with piggy flu
adoptive momma (China) Ohilda at A Bouquet of Blessings… trying to survive the H1N1 virus while praying that her immune-compromised child doesn’t catch it from anyone

Out of Surgery
adoptive (domestic) and foster momma Julie at Not just an Ordinary Life… Maisy is out of surgery AND she turned two today!

Travel Alert issued by the US Department of State

Seems that precautionary measures might pick up in China as the winter approaches in order to slow the transmission of the H1N1 virus.

Although situations where Americans have been quarantined have diminished since September, those numbers might rise again as we head into the winter months.

The US Department of State warns travelers that children being separated from their parents as well as children being given medications without parental consent are both possibilities. Everyone planning to travel to China in the coming months, but especially those traveling with children, should be advised to do their research.

Read the Travel Alert (dated September 25th) here.

A Helping Hand

A Helping Hand Adoption Agency has updated their current list of waiting children.
Additionally, they are participating in the CCAA’s “Trip of Hope” program. Read more here.

For more information, contact:
Dana Woods: dana@worldadoptions.org

Whatever Wednesday

Each Wednesday we post links from the previous week that touch on special needs adoption. Our hope is that these small snapshots provide you with a glimpse of life after adopting through China’s waiting child program… both the long-term blessings and the challenges that come with parenting a child with special needs. We also hope to raise awareness about a variety of special needs.

How a kid with special needs affects your marriage: extreme honesty momma to a child with cerebral palsy Ellen at To The Max… looking at the special marital challenges that come with parenting a child who has special needs

Some answers…, second open-heart surgery and pictures!adoptive momma (China) Melinda at And Mia Makes 6… detailing the complications that arose after her daughter’s recent heart surgery

Pain and He will never Leave you or Forsake youMike, who is currently on an adoption trip (Uganda), at Joining the Journey… finding out, just days after holding her in their arms, that their new daughter Josie is HIV+

24 pounds; 33 1/5 inches adoptive momma (China) Annie at Cornbread and Chopsticks… she finally made it onto the Southern Chinese Girls growth chart!!!!

never forsaken!adoptive momma (China) Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom… after adopting her eight-year-old daughter who had ALREADY previously experienced one disruption and an autism diagnosis in China, a mom looks back on their first year together as a family

Food Issues and Ah Haadoptive momma (China) Wuxi Mommy at Our Wuxi Girl… food issues, six months after coming home, cause a mom to ask for helpful ideas (be sure to read the comments on this one)

thump… thump… thump… thumpadoptive momma (China) Ohilda at A Bouquet of Blessings… contemplating their attachment journey so far, a little over two years after arriving home

Tell Her Thisnew adoptive momma Kris, in China now adopting a daughter with the special need spina bifida, has written so many thoughtful posts during her trip, I’m just sending y’all directly there: surf around, you won’t be sorry

I Am Humanadoptive momma (Russia, Siberia and Ukraine) Christine at Smiles & Trials… the day to day reality of spina bifida, after one month home

special needs: mind your business
adoptive momma (China) Stefanie at Ni Hao Y’all… a powerful post ALL should read about deciding between the NSN and SN programs

What I didn’t knowadoptive momma (Russia) Ingrid at the group adoption blog Grown In My Heart… what she didn’t know about surgeries before adopting a child with special needs

An Amazing Girl!adoptive momma (China) Lori at Joy Unspeakable… during their first few days together as a family (older child adoption), Lori talks about names and the honeymoon period

3 AMadoptive momma (China) Shirlee McCoy at And Then There Were Seven… middle-of-the-night thoughts about her daughter’s upcoming eye surgery and their transition just after an older child adoption

What is Visual Processing Disorder?
adoptive momma (Russia and Guatemala) Marcie at the group adoption blog Grown In My Heart… children diagnosed with SPD, autism or ADHD may all “see things differently” because of visual processing disorder

New Protocol for TB Testing

There is newly released protocol for TB testing, dated September 18, 2009.
It applies to children age 10 and younger.
Visit here for more info.

story in LA Times

Chinese babies stolen by officials for foreign adoption
By Barbara Demick ::

September 20, 2009

The man from family planning liked to prowl around the mountaintop village, looking for diapers on clotheslines and listening for the cry of a hungry newborn. One day in the spring of 2004, he presented himself at Yang Shuiying’s doorstep and commanded: “Bring out the baby.”

Read more….

Whatever Wednesday

Each Wednesday we post links from the previous week that touch on special needs adoption. Our hope is that these small snapshots provide you with a glimpse of life after adopting through China’s waiting child program… both the long-term blessings and the challenges that come with parenting a child with special needs. We also hope to raise awareness about a variety of special needs.

First Day Patched and My Big Girladoptive momma (China) Sharie at Mostly Amelia… a full report on her daughter’s first few days wearing her eye patch

About Surgery Week
and Regroup!adoptive momma (China) Sonia at Proverbs 31 Hands… describing her daughter’s upcoming heart surgery

Guarding Your Information
Atilla the Mom at 5 Minutes for Special Needs… who really needs to know what information – and what do do when they don’t need it, but ask for it

What I Wanted to Say
adoptive momma (China) Shirlee McCoy at And Then There Were Seven… a recent conversation with a nosy cashier about adoption and albinism

Sentencesadoptive momma (China) Cheri at Infinite Love… recent progress despite a severe apraxia diagnosis

Back to Square One… Sort Ofadoptive momma (China) Wuxi Mom my at Our Wuxi Girl… recent potty training set-backs point to surgery this coming summer

Please Help by Donatingadoptive momma (Vietnam) Mother, Mother Ocean… one momma responds to the horrific crime committed against Lavender Banks

Whatever Wednesday

Each Wednesday we post links from the previous week that touch on special needs adoption. Our hope is that these small snapshots provide you with a glimpse of life after adopting through China’s waiting child program… both the long-term blessings and the challenges that come with parenting a child with special needs. We also hope to raise awareness about a variety of special needs.

filling out a medical checklist for special needsadoptive momma (China) snapshot at Somebody Needs a Nap!… navigating the family decisions that come when filling out a medical checklist for special needs

disclosureadoptive momma (Liberia and Ethiopia) Jennifer at to africa and home… what do you do when a young child discloses their own HIV+ status?

Jeremiah Update adoptive momma (domestic, transracial and Uganda) Spirit of Adoption at the Spirit of Adoption Blog… reporting test results for a battery of medical tests, including HIV, malaria and anemia

Waiting on the (deaf) world to changeadoptive momma (China) Sandra at The Daily Grind… thoughts after an anonymous commenter questioned their family’s decision about cochlear implants

She does it againadoptive momma (China) Monica at Our Dongguan Baby… a post-op diary

calming the senses with weighted blanketsadoptive momma (China) Weeks Ringle at Craft Nectar… a how-to guide for making a weighted blanket, perfect for little sensory-seekers

Glasses & Patch
adoptive momma (China) Sharie at Mostly Amelia… Amelia gets new glasses and an eye patch