Cool Hats and Shaggy Haircuts: Adopting a Child with Microtia

July 18, 2017 adopting a boy, BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, microtia, Sensory System, visible special need 1 Comments

(Let me start by saying I are so far from an expert on the topic of microtia and atresia. Just know that I am a loving mother with a son who happens to have this special bonus feature, not an ENT doctor.) When my husband and I filled out a medical checklist in February of …Read More

What If It Ruins Everything?

June 30, 2017 a father's perspective, adopting a boy, adopting again, Dads, June 2017 Feature - Thoughts From The Dad, Mike, should we adopt? 6 Comments

Finishing up our June Feature, Thoughts from the Dad, with a post by Mike, a former (and greatly missed) regular contributor. The last time Mike shared was during our dad series two years ago… we are so grateful he was up for sharing once again. You can read all Mike’s previous posts on NHBO here. …Read More

How Adoption Changed Our Definition of Perfect

June 27, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting out of birth order, arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, mobility issues, older child adoption, Orthopedic, should we adopt?, wheelchair user 2 Comments

My husband and I met in middle school. We didn’t date until right after high school, but were close friends from early in our relationship. We dated through college and got married right after my graduation. We met a family who had children through adoption, and that was when the seed was planted. We knew …Read More

An Orphan’s Courtroom

June 21, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, June 2017 Feature - Thoughts From The Dad, should we adopt? 4 Comments

In honor of Father’s Day, the month of June is dedicated to Dads. During our Thoughts from the Dad series, we’ll feature stories written by fathers sharing their unique perspective on the journey of adoption. ……… It was the spring of 2013. Our three older kids were out of the house and on their own, …Read More

More Than Meets the Eye

June 18, 2017 a father's perspective, adopting a boy, Dads, June 2017 Feature - Thoughts From The Dad, Perspectives, should we adopt? 1 Comments

In honor of Father’s Day, the month of June is dedicated to Dads. During our Thoughts from the Dad series, we’ll feature stories written by fathers sharing their unique perspective on the journey of adoption. ……… “God is spirit and exists at the level of reality where the human heart, or spirit, also exists, serving …Read More

A Plan and a Purpose

June 17, 2017 adopting a boy, clubfoot, Orthopedic, physical therapy, surgery 0 Comments

The first time I saw him, he was ten months old, and we had gone to volunteer in the sweltering month of August. He was wearing not only a million-dollar smile, but double leg casts that stretched from his little hips to his tiny toes from a recent surgery. He was sweet, laid back, adorable. …Read More

The Most Important Job: The Making of a Father

June 9, 2017 a father's perspective, adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting as first time parents, Dads, June 2017 Feature - Thoughts From The Dad, Perspectives, should we adopt? 1 Comments

Welcome June! And, in honor of Father’s Day later this month, June is all about Dads. During our Thoughts from the Dad series, we’ll feature stories written by fathers sharing their unique perspective on the journey of adoption. ……… “They’re so lucky,” I often hear, once someone learns of my two adopted boys. “You’ve given …Read More

Hearing Loss: An Almost-Missed Diagnosis

June 5, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, Brandie, hearing aids, hearing loss, undiagnosed SN, waiting for referral 4 Comments

In late August 2014, I loaded up my three children and drove an hour to hand deliver our completed dossier to my adoption agency. After the months of meetings, paper chasing, notarizing, and certifying documents, I would only let those precious papers leave the firm grip of my fingers if they were placed directly in …Read More

Not-A-Baby-Anymore, But Still My Baby

June 3, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting as first time parents, Attachment, attachment activities, co-sleeping, cocooning, Faith, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 4 Comments

We still co-sleep. That’s right. My 3.5 year old, not-a-baby-anymore, rapidly growing in every way, sweetest little boy still sleeps smack dab in the middle of our California King sized bed. (My husband is 6’5”, so that pretty much predetermined the bed size for us, but, yes I do recommend a big bed if you …Read More

Weathering Medical Surprises

May 9, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, Brandie, hearing aids, hearing loss, heart defect, oral aversion, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay, undiagnosed SN, VSD 2 Comments

At the first sign of a chilly night in the fall, my husband and daughter take tarps to their little garden to cover her cherished tomato plants, hoping to buy them a little more time before the cold winter claims them. Around the same time, my husband and son begin the preparation for winter. They …Read More

Elijah’s Story: You Don’t Have to Hide

May 2, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, aging out expedite, Family Stories, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, May 2017 Feature - Vascular, older child adoption, should we adopt?, Vascular System 7 Comments

We had no clue what was about to happen. We have many folks in our circle of friends and family who have fostered and adopted, both domestically and internationally. We have loved supporting them, praying for them, and wearing the t-shirts. Shared stories and advocacy posts were a regular occurrence on our news feeds, but …Read More

Twice as Lucky: Adopting a Child with Bilateral Limb Differences

April 29, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, limb difference, Mandy, Orthopedic, symbrachydactyly 1 Comments

“How does your son do it?” I am frequently asked this question by loving, curious, and experienced friends in the special needs adoption community who want to know how our son navigates the world with bilateral upper limb differences. Having already adopted one child with unilateral limb differences, we also wondered how our son would …Read More

Advocacy: The Profound Ripple Effect

April 20, 2017 a father's perspective, adopting a boy, adoption community, Advocacy, Beyond Adoption, other ways to care for the orphan 1 Comments

“Why are we here?” It is a question many people ask themselves through their life journey. Answers come in many forms through prayer, hope, and helping others.   But now imagine yourself as a person who was abandoned by his or her biological parents. How can you, and that child, find solace? You are reading …Read More

Love Stories: More Than I Hoped For

April 13, 2017 adopting a boy, April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, Family Stories, foster care, large families, orphanage visit 0 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

He Will Provide: Part Two

April 3, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, ESL, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I have needed regular reminders since we brought David and Daniel home to keep trusting that – because our adoption was God’s miracle – He will provide all that we need. God has been helping me to keep holding on to hope and to keep believing that His plans for our family are always good. …Read More

He Will Provide: Part One

March 31, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, Developmental System, older child adoption, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I was acutely aware of my lack of motherly connection to Daniel, as I watched him lying there with vacant eyes on the hospital bed. “God, is it even possible for me to love this boy?” My husband Charly was working on his PhD at Lanzhou University when we learned about our sons David and …Read More

An Unfinished Family Portrait

March 25, 2017 a father's perspective, adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, Dads, Family Stories, hemophilia, hemophilia A, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 2 Comments

Looking up from a pile of leaves, a young, beautiful blonde-haired college girl smiles while being kissed on the cheek by a “somewhat handsome” college-aged boy. That young, twenty-year old girl, now even more beautiful than ever, is my wife, Amber. That college kid, who has not graced the twenty years since quite as well, …Read More

Crying Over Cheerios: Overcoming Feeding Challenges

March 17, 2017 adopting a boy, Brandie, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, first weeks home, first year home, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Newly Home, oral-motor delays 2 Comments

Where I grew up, food was a love language. I learned at a very young age that food was the center of any worthwhile gathering. I remember once in the sweltering heat of a Mississippi summer, we attended a family reunion. It was a potluck, and table after table was overflowing with plates of styrofoam …Read More

Three Simple Words

March 12, 2017 adopting a boy, adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cocooning, Family Stories, older child adoption, rejects mom 0 Comments

We often hear the term “leap of faith”. Three simple words. Saying these three simple words is easy, but truly living them out is a different story. My husband and I always joke with each other saying that nothing in our lives comes easy or goes as planned. We are okay with this, because what …Read More

What I Didn’t Know: Adopting a Child with Severe Hemophilia

March 9, 2017 adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, hemophilia, hemophilia A, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, should we adopt?, undiagnosed SN 2 Comments

Adoption for us was not something we thought about for years. It was something that God spoke to us in one day. On March 25, 2013 my husband casually mentioned he had been thinking about adoption. At the time, our daughters were seven, four, and two. I was overwhelmed and had no interest in adoption. …Read More

Our Iron Man: Adopting a Child with Thalassemia

March 7, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, medical expedite, older child adoption, thalassemia 3 Comments

Fluffing up his pillows around him on his hospital bed, I did my best to make him smile. We had learned together that love, smiles, silliness and laughter cross any language barrier. Though he was tired, he did manage a slight smirk that didn’t quite reach his usual smiley, almond eyes. This dance was still …Read More

One Year.

March 2, 2017 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Family Stories, first year home, Megan, Newly Home, orphanage behaviors, parent-to-child attachment 9 Comments

We have been home one year as of January 10, 2017, and I can finally say that I love him. I can’t tell you when exactly it happened. There was not a lightening bolt moment. Nor was there an instant bond or attachment from the moment we met. I spent the better part of our …Read More

Choosing Happiness Daily: Adopting a Child with an Unfixable Heart

February 19, 2017 adopting a boy, complex heart defect, double inlet left ventricle, Eisenmenger’s Syndrome, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, heart defect, Heart System, older child adoption, pulmonary hypertension, terminal diagnosis, TGV 2 Comments

One evening less than two months after bringing home our second son from China, I told my husband that I wished we could adopt an older child someday too. In both of our travel groups, there were older children who were adopted. These had made such an impact on my heart! They understood the idea …Read More

After the Honeymoon: Adopting a Child with Complex CHD

February 14, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as first time parents, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, first year home, Heart System, heterotaxy, medical needs checklist, Morning Star Foster Home, pulmonary atresia, should we adopt?, surgery, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Prologue: In our son’s room, we have a picture that reads: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We chose this verse for him, but in reality it applies more to us. My husband, Derek, and …Read More

He Is A Gift

February 9, 2017 adopting a boy, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, HLHS, older child adoption, pulmonary stenosis, single atrium heart disease, single ventricle heart disease, TGA 7 Comments

Our son, Matthew, is eight years old. He came home last year in May 2016. Throughout the adoption process and shortly after arriving home, God reminded us that Matthew is a gift. My husband and I would hear “He is a gift” over and over again. God had to remind us. He had to because …Read More

Confessions of a Former China Director Turned Adoptive Mom

January 24, 2017 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, cognitive delay, complex medical, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, first weeks home, first year home, low muscle tone, Newly Home, should we adopt? 8 Comments

Alternately titled: What I wish I would have known, and what I would like to share with other adoptive families I first started out with adoption in 2004 when I was just 21 years old. It was the summer before my senior year of college when I got a job as an intern at All …Read More

Reluctant Spouses: Worth the Wait

January 21, 2017 adopting a boy, Down syndrome, January 2017 Feature - Reluctant Spouses, pre-adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other. This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when …Read More

My Plan vs. His Plan

January 11, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as a single mom, adopting as first time parents, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, working mom 0 Comments

You know how you make plans for your life and then God has something completely different in mind (and probably laughs at you for thinking your plan would measure up)? That was me. In fact, I had my whole life figured out. I was going to go to college, fall in love, get married, and …Read More

The Wonderful Blessing of Boys

January 5, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Kelley B. 7 Comments

When we started our China adoption journey, I was certain we would be bringing home one tiny baby girl. Sometimes God has bigger, different, and even better things in store for us. Our journey to our two boys has proven to be one of the best things to happen to our family About four years …Read More

Snips, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

January 1, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting out of birth order, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, medical needs checklist, older child adoption, referral, waiting for referral 3 Comments

I sat down one afternoon after our decision to adopt and filled out the application and MCC. The MCC is a Medical Conditions Checklist where you check boxes of special needs that you and your family are comfortable with. There are also boxes to fill out for age preference that range (from 0-13 years old) …Read More

Family Makes a Difference

December 29, 2016 adopting a boy, age assignment, bone scan, cl/cp, Craniofacial, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Family Stories, first year home, International Adoption Clinic, night terrors, Sleep issues, switching agencies 0 Comments

If you have read any adoption account they all contain transformation stories. Most are pretty dramatic. How could it be anything less? Family makes a difference. The love of family brings healing physical, emotional and spiritual. It is no different in our story. My family was in line to be matched with a child in …Read More

Outnumbered and Loving It

December 28, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, Family Stories, referral 0 Comments

Five years ago this month, we got “the call”. To say it was unexpected would be an understatement. Our dossier wasn’t logged in, the check marks on our medical needs list were few, and the shared list had been released earlier in the week. When I checked the caller ID on my cell phone I …Read More

Reluctant No More

December 27, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Andrea O., December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, medical needs checklist, referral, waiting for referral 1 Comments

Back in early 2005 when we first decided to adopt, we researched the different avenues of adoption and for many reasons we chose China. If I’m completely honest with myself, one of the reasons is that we were practically assured to be matched with the type of child we had already decided that we wanted: a …Read More

Without the Thought of Her, We Would Never Have Him

December 26, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, pre-adoption, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Twelve years ago I had a dream birthed in my heart of mothering a child from China. In my mind’s eye I saw a sweet little girl, jet black pigtails, and pink bows. I had just spent time in the country, and even at a young age saw the crushing weight of the reality of …Read More

The Rewrite in our Adoption Story: Choosing a Son

December 21, 2016 adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, cerebral atrophy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Family Stories, ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura) 3 Comments

You make them. I make them. We pray they are the right ones. Choices. As a parent, we analyze and make decisions sometimes seamlessly and other times with great thought. When you are faced with a life-altering choice it weighs heavy on your heart and mind. When I began to weigh what it would mean …Read More

Blessed by Boys

December 12, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Brandie, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, dossier reuse, Family Stories, referral, should we adopt?, virtual twins, waiting for referral 1 Comments

I completed my first adoption in the fall of 1983. Cradling my new baby, I raised my right hand as I stood in front of my mother pledging, “I promise to love my Cabbage Patch Kid with all my heart. I promise to be a good and kind parent. I will always remember how special …Read More

It’s a boy! And yes, he’s from China.

December 11, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Family Stories 8 Comments

We’ve noticed a common theme has emerged when we share that we adopted our youngest son from China… “Wow! How did you adopt a boy?!!” “I thought you could only adopt girls from China.” “I can’t believe you found a boy in China!” I have to admit, before a friend adopted a handsome Chinese son …Read More

Single, 30 and About to be Mom to a 3 Year Old Boy

December 9, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting as a single mom, adopting as first time parents, Adopting Scenarios, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy 1 Comments

In October 2015, I was beginning to think about pursuing adoption through foster care or international adoption. I was single, and I wasn’t completely sure it was the right time, but I had a full time job, a house, a car, and it seemed like I would be ready “soon”. I started poking around for …Read More

Then and Now: Deklan

December 3, 2016 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, profound deafness, rejects mom 14 Comments

I find myself consistently caught in the deceptive trap of a compare and contrast representation of the last 345 days. Through the lens of retrospection, milestones can be simple to compartmentalize. I quickly disregard the messy tentacles that stretch from each “attained” behavior and stamp it “victorious”. I am learning that adoption carries an oceanic …Read More

We Thought We Wanted a Girl

December 3, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Faith 2 Comments

When we started our journey to China, we wanted to adopt a little girl. When we filled out our Medical Conditions Checklist, we specified girl only. I had visions of picking out a glorious name for my daughter-to-be, dressing her in the most beautiful clothes, and decorating her room. This baby girl would be my …Read More

Reach for the Stars: Adopting a Child with Vision Impairment

December 1, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, nystagmus, older child adoption, opaque cornea, public school, Sensory System, TVI, vision issues, vision loss 0 Comments

It was the second time in his life to ride on an airplane. The first time was only ten months ago when he traveled the 16 hour flight from China to America. On that first flight he was a scared, angry little fighter whose only concern was protecting himself. Now he was a happy, calm …Read More

Then and Now: Lock

November 27, 2016 adopting a boy, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now 2 Comments

November is Adoption Awareness Month. And our focus is Then and Now… glimpses into the lives of children – children who were once orphaned – who are now beloved family members. Daughters, sons, sisters and brothers who are now blossoming in the love of a forever family… ……….. It would be easy to say the …Read More

His Real Special Need

November 22, 2016 adopting a boy, micropenis, November 2016 Feature - Urogenital, strabismus, Urogenital System, vision issues 0 Comments

Our adoption story started much like everyone’s adoption story… my husband Mark and I decided to grow our family by adopting a baby from China. Our log in year was 2007, just before the Beijing Olympics and a few months before the Hague initiative. We were originally told our adoption would take approximately eighteen months …Read More

Uncommon Visible Difference

November 19, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, Family Stories, large families, lateral proboscis, referral, surgery, visible special need 6 Comments

There is an art to a successful adoption announcement when you are adopting a child with a visible difference. You learn to manage the situation, to set up the encounter in ways that you would never think about when you adopt a child who looks more typical. You mention your referral. Your friend expresses excitement …Read More

When Mom Works and Dad Stays Home

October 26, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting as first time parents, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, stay-at-home dad, working mom 8 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

The Blessing of Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome

October 11, 2016 adopting a boy, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, Morning Star Foster Home, October 2016 Feature - Developmental 5 Comments

I was sixteen weeks pregnant with our second child sitting outside Panera sipping my tomato basil soup when an elementary aged boy walked by smiling and holding his mother’s hand. The boy had Down syndrome. As they walked past a question entered my mind I had never thought in my life, “What if my child …Read More

Making the Grade: Exporing Special Education Service Options

September 27, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, Education, feeding/swallowing therapy, IEP, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pre-school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, speech therapy 1 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Not Really a Special Need: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 26, 2016 adopting a boy, albinism, Family Stories, nystagmus, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, TVI, vision issues 0 Comments

No Hands But Ours is focusing on skin conditions this month. My son has albinism, but I hesitated to write our story. Heck, our dermatologist has discharged us. If my son ever has a suspicious mole or a serious burn, we’ll go back. Otherwise, I am capable of – the dermatologist pointed out – totally …Read More

Our Red Thread of Hope: An Advocacy Success Story

September 21, 2016 adopting a boy, Advocacy, Family Stories, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, switching agencies, waiting for referral 4 Comments

The Chinese have an ancient proverb that says, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.” Back in July 2015, the Lord called our family out of the Ethiopia adoption program, where had waited for over …Read More

Making the Grade: Educating Liam

September 12, 2016 adopting a boy, Education, ESL, older child adoption, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

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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.