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

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

Putting the Pieces Together

March 11, 2017 brain injury, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, hemiplegia, older child adoption 2 Comments

One of the ways in which we fundraised to bring our daughter, Lulu, home last year was through a jigsaw puzzle fundraiser, suggested by a fellow adoptive Mama. Perhaps you’re familiar with it — we reached out to family and friends asking them to sponsor pieces of a puzzle to raise the $5,800 orphanage donation …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

Seriously Blessed

March 4, 2017 adopting again, adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, complex heart defect, complex medical, large families, medical needs checklist, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, older child adoption, should we adopt? 9 Comments

In 2011, our family looked like this. We were considered a large family by our friends and family. Dan and I had been married for 27 years at this point. We had been through a great deal during those 27 years. Our twin boys were born prematurely, three months before their due date. Our son …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

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 6 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

Reluctant Spouses: Of One Mind….

January 15, 2017 adopting again, adopting out of birth order, aging out expedite, January 2017 Feature - Reluctant Spouses, older child adoption, pre-adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 0 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

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

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: Abby and Evie

November 23, 2016 adopting again, adopting out of birth order, Family Stories, food issues, Heart System, homeschool, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, older child adoption, orphanage behaviors, port wine stain, spina bifida, VSD 0 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… ……….. We have been blessed with two beautiful …Read More

Our Fair-Haired Hero: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 17, 2016 albinism, Education, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, TVI, vision issues 0 Comments

Her name was spoken to us before we even knew who she was…. We had adopted from China in 2011 and just started the process to adopt again. One night I let myself start thinking about names for our new little one and after spending more time than I care to admit looking at baby …Read More

Making the Grade: Why We Homeschool

September 16, 2016 developmental delays, Education, homeschool, older child adoption, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 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

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

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

August 31, 2016 Family Stories, Heart System, older child adoption 1 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 …Read More

Kings and Queens

August 18, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, Attachment, disruption, failed adoption, Kelley B., older child adoption 4 Comments

“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

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

August 10, 2016 adopting as first time parents, ASL, Attachment, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, cl/cp, cochlear implants, Craniofacial, developmental delays, Family Stories, hearing loss, older child adoption, profound deafness, Sensory System, sign language 6 Comments

In May 2009, I first saw her face. She couldn’t possibly be our daughter; she didn’t “fit” any of the criteria we’d committed to on our Medical Needs Checklist and there was no way my husband would agree to adopting her. True, we’d agreed that caring for a child with cleft lip/palate was something we …Read More

A Little Piece of a Big Plan

July 16, 2016 adopting a boy, BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, older child adoption, Ponto, Sensory System 0 Comments

“I just spoke to the director. He will call me when they’re about five minutes away.” It’s almost time. My heart is almost uncontainable. Everything. All of this. It’s about to happen. So many months, years, planning for this moment… Even though I shouldn’t be surprised, being a part of and seeing just a tiny …Read More

Meet the Contributors: Jean

July 8, 2016 adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, Contributor Q and A, Jean, large families, Meet the Contributors, older child adoption 5 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

Dear Younger Me, His Plans are Good

July 7, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting later in life, aging out expedite, guest post, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, older child adoption 0 Comments

“When I think back over the years since marrying Tom Rylands, it is almost surreal to me the path that God chose for our family. It was a path that was such a grand departure from any plans that we had for ourselves. When Tom, 28 years my senior, and I approached marriage, neither of …Read More

Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy

July 1, 2016 adopting a boy, amputation, Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, Larsen Syndrome, limb difference, older child adoption, prosthetics 1 Comments

My son, J, has Larsen syndrome, a condition of multiple joint malformations. I write this in hopes that it shows how manageable this condition is. In the summer of 2012, I saw a video that an advocate had posted, of a little boy riding a scooter around a play area. His nanny was directing him …Read More

We Love the Llama

June 5, 2016 attachment activities, June 2016 Feature - Books, older child adoption, Whitney 0 Comments

Our June featured focus is books. Books that teach us about our children’s homeland. Books that help us understand our children’s past. Books that resonate with our kids once home. This month we’ll be featuring all kinds of books. It’s sure to be fun. And if you have some recommendations for our readers, please be …Read More

Building a Family: Adopting as a Single Mom

June 3, 2016 adopting as a single mom, diastematomyelia, Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, older child adoption, Orthopedic, scoliosis, spina bifida, tethered cord, working mom 2 Comments

I am a happy and busy single mom to two wonderful daughters adopted from China. My older daughter, Corrie, was adopted in 2002 through the NSN (non-special needs) program; she is a smart, funny, and thoughtful young lady who loves animals and plans to be a veterinarian when she grows up. For years Corrie and …Read More

Two Years of Blessings

May 9, 2016 adopting a boy, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, older child adoption 0 Comments

It has been two years. Two years since China said yes. Two years full of unexpected blessings. Two years of being asleep before your head hits the pillow at night. Two years of going to work with kisses on your cheeks. Two years full of learning new things for both Lock and us. Has life …Read More

We’ve Got This: Parenting a Child with CP

April 29, 2016 April 2016 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, older child adoption 3 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 …Read More

Right in the Middle…. A Perfect Fit

April 17, 2016 adopting out of birth order, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, older child adoption 0 Comments

In 2007 with four boys already at home ages 10, 7, 2 and 1, we started the process to adopt from China. What had been a desire for quite some time in our hearts was finally coming true. We submitted paperwork to adopt a as young as possible non-special needs daughter. We expected to be …Read More

The Best Decision We’ve Ever Made

April 15, 2016 adopting again, adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, Jean, large families, older child adoption 7 Comments

In September of 2006, hubby and I walked into our first adoption introductory meeting at Children’s Home Society in St Paul, MN. It was for families that were interested in adoption and wanted to learn more about it. We met four wonderful couples at that meeting. At that time we had five birth children, ranging …Read More

Painting White Walls White

April 13, 2016 Attachment, older child adoption, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

When I was 14 years old my family moved to a new state. This was a good move for me personally, as I had struggled both academically and socially where we were and it was good for our whole family. The town we were leaving was struggling, and as a result about half the town …Read More

Siblings and Adoption: 30 Ways to Ease the Transistion

March 30, 2016 adopting again, attachment activities, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, older child adoption, siblings 0 Comments

We have seven kids, four bio and three adopted. Our three children whom we have adopted are older kiddos with special needs. We’ve been home for only three months with our newest child….. so we are pretty much hands on at the moment. I have compiled a list of different things we did to help …Read More

Thriving with Thalassemia

March 26, 2016 beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, thalassemia 2 Comments

My daughter’s medical information is scary. It has words like chronic and terminal. Add that to the fact that her orphanage has never had a child with her diagnosis live past the age of 14, and you start to really get a grim picture of her life. Now, wipe all of that away, because it’s …Read More

Adopting Out Of Birth Order… Times Three

March 26, 2016 adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, age assignment, large families, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, older child adoption, virtual twins 0 Comments

Sometimes I look around at my kids and think how did this happen? How did I deserve to have 10 amazingly perfect children? We struggled in our marriage, we worked it out, and promised God that where He led, we would follow. And He has not disappointed. He continues to bless us with his amazing …Read More

And 2 Makes 9

March 25, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, aging out expedite, Family Stories, large families, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, older child adoption, should we adopt? 2 Comments

Where do I even start? Our family began our first adoption in 2004, a few years after the birth of our third son. We thought it would be our first and last adoption. We always had the heart for adoption, but surprised ourselves as we actually went through with our heart’s desire. My husband, Russ, …Read More

The Beginning of Surrender

March 24, 2016 adopting later in life, adopting two at once, Down syndrome, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, medical waiver, older child adoption, waiver request 4 Comments

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us …Read More

We Said Yes, Anyway

March 22, 2016 beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, thalassemia 2 Comments

“It’s so easy to live with! It barely impacts our day to day life.” “It’s a very complicated disease. It looks like it’s going to be another couple of weeks in the hospital this time…” You might think I’m referring to different disorders in the descriptions above. The truth is these were all things I …Read More

More Than Blood: Adopting a Child with Thalassemia

March 11, 2016 adopting again, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, thalassemia 1 Comments

How do most kids get in a pool? They jump… full force, no holding back. They don’t know what the water temperature is, and they don’t care. They are so excited to be at the pool, they anticipate all the fun they are about to have, and it doesn’t bother them if the water is …Read More

Looking Past the Needs to See the Child

February 21, 2016 cognitive delay, Family Stories, large families, LInear Nevus Sebaceous Syndrome, older child adoption 0 Comments

More than a few times, my husband and I have looked around us and wondered out loud how this all happened. How on earth did we end up with 12 children? Have we really spent a cumulative three months in China and Vietnam adopting some of our children? Who plans this? Certainly not us. When …Read More

Victories from the Valley: An Unexpected Journey in Adopting a Child with NF1

February 18, 2016 adoption realities, cocooning, Family Stories, first weeks home, glaucoma, neurofibromatosis, NF1, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment 2 Comments

We had been home from China with our first daughter almost five months when we saw her picture: a sweet face with a deep downcast shown in her eyes. She was six years old. Her file had been passed over by a few families already because of the uncertainties of her medical condition. One eye …Read More

It’s Twins!… Or Not.

February 15, 2016 adopting out of birth order, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, older child adoption, virtual twins 0 Comments

When we entered the world of adoption in 2013, my eyes were opened to older child adoption. To the reality of spending your entire life in an institution. To the tragedy of aging out children. We were in process to bring home our then five year old, and I remember thanking the Lord for people …Read More

Microcephaly: A Blessing In Disguise

January 24, 2016 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, Jean, microcephaly, older child adoption 1 Comments

I first learned about microcephaly while working in the newborn nursery. A sweet little boy lay in a basinet all bundled up in a white hospital blanket. As I got closer to him I noticed his head was quite small compared to the other newborns. I later found out that this dear child was diagnosed …Read More

Saying Yes to a Beautiful Mess

January 11, 2016 older child adoption, tethered cord 0 Comments

We started our adoption journey after a mission trip to the Navajo nation in Arizona. Leaving our three children behind, we set out to minister to others.While we were there, we saw the “big picture of life”, as we like to call it. We saw things on our trip that were bigger than ourselves. We …Read More

We’re Not Special

January 5, 2016 complex heart defect, Family Stories, Heart System, HLHS, older child adoption, orphan hosting, single atrium heart disease, single ventricle heart disease, TGA 2 Comments

My husband, Bobby, and I are not special. We keep being told that we are. Ever since starting the adoption process, people keep telling us we are “special”. I don’t always know how to respond. I feel embarrassed and totally unworthy. We don’t belong on that pedestal. Have they seen our very un-special home and …Read More

A Single Image

January 3, 2016 December 2015 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, older child adoption, profound deafness, Sensory System, waiver request 1 Comments

When a single image changes your whole life… We began our adoption process in a way that was, likely, different from many. I was checking my email, and literally, on a whim, I opened up an email I normally wouldn’t have. And there, staring at me, was my son. It rattled me to my core …Read More

Older Children and Incontinence, a Family Story

November 29, 2015 bowel management, Family Stories, imperforate anus, incontinence, lipomyelomeningocele, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, older child adoption, tethered cord, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

Our adoption journey started with two infant adoptions from South Korea, in 2008 and 2010. Our first was a healthy baby boy; our second, a daughter with limb differences. When we considered adding to our family again, we decided to adopt an older child and looked into the China special needs program. We pondered the …Read More

Embracing Her Story: Sarah

November 20, 2015 adoptee perspective, adoptee Q and A, birth family, Jean, November 2015 Feature - Embracing Their Story, older child adoption, telling their life story 0 Comments

We know that God is the only one who can heal hearts and redeem stories. But what of our role as shepherds of their hearts? One powerful, guiding gift we can dig into is the experience of others, young and old, who are willing to share their stories. As part of our Embracing Their Story …Read More

It Is What It Is, Not What it Should Be

November 18, 2015 disruption, failed adoption, November 2015 Feature - Embracing Their Story, older child adoption 3 Comments

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 That’s been my view on most things in life: it is what it is, not what it should be. Our daughter came to us on September 1, 2013, at 8.5 years old. She’d been adopted from China at age 4.5 by another family, …Read More

Every Child is Our Child {the blessing of orphanage updates}

October 28, 2015 Kelly, older child adoption, orphanage realities 3 Comments

It was a 100-page labor of love. For months, in anticipation of my visit back to my daughter’s orphanage, I had been collecting updates. I hoped for 25 families to be a part of the update book. In the end, there were 50. I had asked them specific things: their child’s Chinese name and the …Read More

Dear Parents-To-Be: Advice From the Front Lines

October 22, 2015 adopting two at once, adoption realities, China trip, disruption, Gotcha Day, guest post, older child adoption, orphanage behaviors 13 Comments

There’s been a rash of disruptions lately, both while still in China and shortly after the families are back in America. I’m not here to pass judgment on people, or talk about families who disrupt months or years into the process. I’m here to talk about the beginning, and to give some advice. Real advice. …Read More

A Poster Picture of… The Waiting Child…

September 15, 2015 Jean, older child adoption 5 Comments

Every time I look at this picture I am at a loss for words… It embodies the plight of the older waiting child. A loving family visits their son’s orphanage just days after they meet him. Their daughter (being carried by her mother) has been home for over a year. Their new son is in …Read More

Attachment: What’s Worked For Us

April 15, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Jean, large families, older child adoption 2 Comments

I would say we are experienced in attachment but we are by no means experts. After adopting 13 children we have had quite a bit of “on the job” training! Ten of our adoptions have been with children between the ages of 5-11. Our daughter adopted at 11 years 3 months was not prepared to …Read More

with open arms: adopting from disruption

March 19, 2015 disruption, March 2015 Feature - Disruption, older child adoption 8 Comments

We stood shivering on a strange doorstep sixteen long hours from home. It was nerves mixed with excitement that churned inside me as we raised our hand to knock on the door. A stack of boxes and suitcases greeted us in the foyer when the door opened. We stepped inside and a little boy with …Read More

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