She Smiles

September 22, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp 15 Comments

Late one Monday night, I incessantly hit ‘refresh’ on my computer screen hoping for an email. Longing for THE email. The minutes felt like hours and then suddenly something popped up. The subject simply had a name – my daughter’s name. A flood of emotions overtook my husband Chris and I as we opened that …Read More

In the Miry Clay

September 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours Attachment, cl/cp, Jennifer, Trust Based Parenting 6 Comments

I was thinking about parents in the adoption trenches today, those stuck down deep in the mud – you know who you are and this one’s for you.  I have had a little time in the trenches, not nearly as much as some of you, but I know that when you are in the muddy …Read More

Unfiltered

August 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 4 Comments

I am a glass half full kind of person and most definitely, a glass half full kind of mother. Hope springs eternal in my heart and my life plays out accordingly. But, this week, I stopped and gave myself permission to reflect a little on the past months with Grace – just three months shy …Read More

The Party Blower

June 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 9 Comments

You know the ones – the party blowers for birthdays with Hello Kitty or Batman on them. They make a loud noise and extend with airflow, sometimes with streamers and usually accompanied by delirious laughter from children and sometimes adults alike. We opened a package of these on a van ride home just for fun. …Read More

During the process

May 29, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

During the adoption process, there are few things more fierce than the determination of an adoptive mama (or baba) to get to her baby. She has a strange, indescribable love for her child that carries such intensity, it’s often overwhelming. The “my-claws-will-come-out-if-you-get-in-my-way” mama bear protective instincts kind-of-love are ferocious and very real. Anything that stands …Read More

Happy To Fail

May 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 0 Comments

This past week, Grace was evaluated in speech therapy. She took a standardized speech assessment test and she failed it. And we rejoiced! High fives all around from her speech therapist and myself! Up high, down low and even some that were too slow but managed to hit the hand anyway! Because up until this …Read More

Confession

April 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 3 Comments

Confession: I am a reluctant blogger. I normally write because I’ve been asked to and while it is therapeutic to do so, I find myself more and more backing away from the computer, overrun by mommy blogs attacking my facebook stream. Some are beautifully honest and real, helping in the trenches and deep waters of …Read More

This is Goin’ Out to all the Second Opinions…

March 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 5 Comments

So there we were driving into a parking garage of a strange new hospital with a strange new hospital smell to ride the elevator up the flights to the long row of specialists and into the fish aquarium waiting room to wait. To wait for the second opinion. The second opinion that became necessary after …Read More

special need highlight: adopting a child with cleft lip and palate

February 12, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, cleft lip, Craniofacial, Family Stories 1 Comments

Two years ago I fell in love with a very small 7 month old little boy with big sad eyes and the hiccups. He didn’t cry much and loved to be held. He was the most beautiful little boy. He also had a severe bilateral cleft lip and palate. At that time, I was on …Read More

The Tools of The Trade

February 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 4 Comments

If I had to do it all over again, I would have been a speech therapist. It’s funny how things work sometimes; I never expected to spend five years of my life in group and individual speech therapy with both of my biological boys for oral motor and articulation issues. Now my oldest boy competes …Read More

Her Birth Heritage

January 30, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

I can remember our China trip to adopt Sunshine like it was yesterday. If I close my eyes, I can remember stepping off the plane, smelling “China,” and hearing people speak Mandarin everywhere. The food, oh the delicious food. Making a fool out of myself trying to eat with chopsticks. The hustle and bustle of …Read More

The Makeup Bag and Making Up for What Was Lost

January 4, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 2 Comments

So, in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the outpouring of many gifts for the newest member of our family, of all the things for our Grace to latch onto, she would not part with her makeup bag. My parents made the trip from North Carolina to the great state of Texas and …Read More

Pumpkin Pie, Pillows and the Potty Seat

December 3, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 2 Comments

I was watching Grace eat Thanksgiving dinner this year; so different from the little person we brought home around this time a year ago. This time last year, she ate and ate everything on her plate, much to our delight and sorrow. She turned nothing down, and ate every last bite, sometimes with two and …Read More

This Girl

November 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

This little beauty has been hungry for knowledge since the end of last school year. She is so much more interested in “cool work” (as she calls it) than Angel and Lovebug ever were. I think after seeing them work hard and learn all last year, she was so ready to jump on the bandwagon. …Read More

one

November 4, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 10 Comments

We are just three short days away from our one year anniversary with Grace. Three short days away from celebrating her Gotcha Day. A lot can happen in just one year. I remember being so immensely grateful that when Grace was placed in my arms one year ago, she willingly came to me and laid …Read More

All In

October 3, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 0 Comments

We are fast approaching the one year mark of the anniversary of Grace’s adoption. I remember feeling confident in the decision to go and get my baby girl across the world. The Lord had confirmed that decision a thousand different times in a thousand different ways…it is an exhilaratingly joyful thing to hear the Father …Read More

Save the Drama for Your Mama

September 4, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 5 Comments

There is much written about the healthy display and expression of emotions, not just in adoption literature, but in education, psychology and parenting resources as well. “Use your words” is the bridge between a tantrum and a reasonable response. What happens though when your child cannot use her words yet? Even worse, what happens when …Read More

Big girl

August 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 5 Comments

My feisty three-year-old was still in a crib up until a few weeks ago. I know that’s a little on the older side, but it was easier to stick with a crib because she didn’t try to get out. We didn’t switch Angel to a toddler bed until she climbed out at 2 1/2 years, …Read More

Rest

August 3, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Jennifer 3 Comments

I am Jennifer who has many roles but my most favorite are wife to Cory, mother to Carter (10), Claire (7), William (4) and our newest addition, Grace (2). These four were always a “twinkle in our eyes” long before we ever walked down the aisle and began the process of becoming a family. To …Read More

The Ripple Effect

July 30, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

rip′ple effect` n. A spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event. As we guided our weekend Chinese exchange student through Washington D.C. on Saturday, I heard him say multiple times with a big smile on his face, “I have seen these places in American films so many times. And …Read More

Verbal language … it’s a lovely thing

July 1, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

After using sign language almost exclusively for the first year and a half of Sunshine’s life with us, it is absolutely amazing to see such progress in her verbal communication now. Her cleft palate was repaired just about a year ago, and her verbal explosion since then is nothing short of miraculous! She started weekly …Read More

Mystery Mama, I wish you were here today.

June 23, 2013 by nohandsbutours Angie, cl/cp 3 Comments

Mystery Mama, I wish you were here today. Today of all days, you should be here. Our daughter turns 3 today. Watching her open gifts and boss her brothers around…you should be here. You should get to take a turn chasing her on the scooter she learned to ride last week and giggling when she …Read More

Blooming

May 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 0 Comments

As we sat around my house earlier this month celebrating Mother’s Day (my 8th, whoa!) with family, I took a moment to meditate on the blessing of motherhood. Sometimes I cannot believe that God trusts me to raise these three precious beings whom I have the privilege of calling “mine.” All three of them are …Read More

she + i

May 23, 2013 by nohandsbutours Angie, cl/cp 3 Comments

she and i spend a lot of days like this. her in my arms, snuggling, giggling, crying, jabbering about all types of things. though my arms tire, my heart never does. holding a wee one in their greatest as well as saddest moments is of the deepest treasures not just in motherhood, but life in …Read More

If feels good to be heard

April 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 2 Comments

Almost two years ago, we took Sunshine to her first cleft clinic day. It was a very long day (smack dab in the middle of nap time, mind you) filled with seeing lots of doctors who poked and prodded my child … the child who had only been home from China for a month and …Read More

Nature versus nurture

April 7, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 2 Comments

Sometimes as I rock Sunshine to bed at night, I think about her first mother. I mostly grieve for all that she will not have the privilege of experiencing with our special girl. I wonder what she is doing now and if she thinks of our daughter. I wonder if she knows how loved Sunshine …Read More

my wild and beautiful.

March 23, 2013 by nohandsbutours Angie, cl/cp 5 Comments

she finds my pillow or my arm or holds my hand… and stays close by through the night. her wild and spunky and determined self finds rest. for years i dreamed of this. waited endlessly to have her snuggling in my arms. wept thousands of tears over the days we were apart. and she is …Read More

Our Non-Verbal World {hearing her "it" factor}

February 21, 2013 by nohandsbutours Angie, cl/cp 8 Comments

Angie and her husband live in Pennsylvania with their 3 kids (2 bio boys and 1 daughter adopted in July 2011 from china – born with the cutest cleft lip you ever did see). They spend time working on crazy projects, taking far too many pictures and serving God to the best of their abilities. …Read More

All About Love

February 13, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, Laine, radial club hand 0 Comments

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so let’s talk about LOVE! One of my favorite subjects! Some say, “Actions speak louder than words.” In some cases, that may be true. But we must never underestimate the power of words. When we meet our adopted children for the first time, we always say I love you lots and …Read More

Her story

January 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

I returned from the Created 4 Care retreat late Sunday night. Wow, my head is spinning with all of the information I took in. I still have a lot to sort out, but one theme that really stuck with me is telling Sunshineʼs story in a way that is respectful and considerate to her. Telling …Read More

#1 Sign

January 15, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, Laine, radial club hand 4 Comments

Here is the Number One Sign that you need to re-clarify the similarities between adopted and birth children: When your 5 year old sits next to an adult visitor at church and promptly asks him, “Did you come from a belly?” Well, Kevin. As a matter of fact, we ALL came from bellies. Time to …Read More

Give them grace

November 30, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 6 Comments

We’ve been pretty fortunate in avoiding the awkward public questions about adoption. We certainly get some odd stares here and there, along with lots of smiles. But we don’t get offensive questions. We get questions, sure. And there have been a couple times when I wanted to make a sarcastic comment, but of course I …Read More

502 days.

November 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

That’s the number of days it took Sunshine to feel comfortable enough to stay in the church nursery without me. After staying with her in the nursery off and on for months, I tried a few times unsuccessfully to leave her there by herself. I never pushed, just left for a few minutes until her …Read More

TAKE THAT Speech Delay!

October 27, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, speech delay, Wife of the Prez 4 Comments

Never did I imagine even a year ago that our just-turned 7-year-old daughter would be preparing for a big solo on the rather large stage at our church. Never did I imagine even a few weeks ago when the children were told they could try out for solos and/or speaking parts in the 1st and …Read More

Pre-speech therapy

August 30, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 5 Comments

Did you know that playing with straws in the bathtub is actually speech therapy? Who knew?!? We had Sunshine’s post-palate repair/cleft clinic appointment on Monday and I spent some time with the team’s speech pathologist. It’s still a little too early after the palate repair for speech therapy, but she did give me a few …Read More

The Surgery That Wasn't

August 27, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 2 Comments

At 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, I was preparing trying to prepare for surgery #14, which was scheduled for the following day, Wednesday, August 22. Yes, that is not a typo. Fourteen surgeries since we brought Li’l Miss home and waited during her six-hour, open-heart surgery on September 30, 2008. Tomorrow was to be the …Read More

Strong-Willed?

July 31, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 5 Comments

I often use many different adjectives to describe my 2-year-old daughter. After her most recent palate repair surgery a few weeks ago, the top adjectives have been strong, brave, courageous, graceful and pretty darn amazing. I have also called her loving, affectionate, beautiful, smart, clever, happy, funny, silly, spunky and feisty. She is one of …Read More

The Bed

July 13, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, Laine, radial club hand 3 Comments

I love my bed, don’t you love your bed? Think about it for a minute. When you’ve been out of town for awhile, don’t you just look forward to your OWN BED? There’s just nothing else like it. And oh, that first night back in your bed after you’ve been away on a trip? You …Read More

One year

June 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

One year ago on June 7, 2011, our baby girl was placed in my arms. Our lives were forever changed. Looking back over the pictures from that day, my heart hurts for the loss that she endured, having no certainty in her life and not knowing what was happening. She was so incredibly brave and …Read More

A Birthday Fully Enjoyed

June 13, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, Laine, radial club hand 5 Comments

I remember 5 years ago on May 26th, 2007. I was at my niece’s graduation camping experience with my entire family. We were having the time of our lives. Biking, hiking, roasting marshmallows, swimming, talking, sharing…it was a wonderful day! Except for that deep void I felt in my heart. That sadness that made me …Read More

It's the little things

June 5, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

It really is the little things that mean the most, don’t you think? I remember being in China last June and just studying Sunshine … all of the little bits and pieces of her that I didn’t have memorized. I didn’t realize that I had taken this for granted with the 2 older kids … …Read More

A letter to her first mother

May 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

To her first mother: You are one of the most important people in my life, and I have never met you. You live somewhere halfway across the world, in a Chinese city called Fuzhou. You are our daughter’s first mother. You carried her under your heart for a precious 9 months, gave birth to her, …Read More

Some Things You Just Can’t Get Over

May 27, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 1 Comments

My post is late. My brain feels like mush much of the time. Life is just plain hard right now. For many reasons. I have really struggled with this post. Even going back and forth on a possible topic. I thought it was going to be about foster care. Then attachment. Then our new normal …Read More

Graduation

April 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

Not the high school kind of graduation. Or even the middle school or elementary type. But this is a graduation that I am ecstatic to be celebrating with Sunshine – she has officially graduated from Physical Therapy! Although we expected she’d be somewhat physically delayed when we brought her home last June, we truly weren’t …Read More

Cleft lip and palate as a "minor" special need

March 1, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 6 Comments

Her special need really wasn’t a “need”… in the beginning. Her cleft was quite minor and utterly adorable. Eating was terribly messy, and we had a lot of nonstop drool. And, I suppose when we were out in public, her cleft lip became more obvious and apparent as people stared. But I truly did not …Read More

What we’re reading Wednesday: links

February 22, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, schizencephaly, Stefanie, travel tips, what we're reading 2 Comments

From the last few weeks, some good stuff we’ve read that relates to adoption and/or parenting a special needs child. As always, if you are a traveling family, or have posted something, or read something, that you’d like to share here on No Hands But Ours, please let us know at nohandsbutours@gmail.com. From the blog …Read More

"Why is one nostril bigger than the other?"

February 13, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Laine 0 Comments

That was the question I got over the weekend from my 7 year old son, Quan. We adopted Quan from China in 2007. He had a cl/cp. Both were repaired upon arriving home, he was in speech therapy until 2010, and he has done AMAZING. I know not every experience with cl/cp is this simple. …Read More

Communicating through ASL

January 31, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C., Parenting Special Needs 0 Comments

This has probably been a familiar scene at some point in your home … your young toddler child is sitting in the middle of the floor throwing a temper tantrum. Tears are streaming down her face, her nose is running and her hair is matted to her face. She’s kicking the floor and screaming … …Read More

welcome to Nicole

January 6, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 0 Comments

 I am excited to introduce our newest member of the No Hands But Ours team, Nicole. She is the mom of three, one from China with cleft lip and palate and, well, let me let her tell you herself… ___________________________________________________________________ I am so thrilled to be joining the No Hands But Ours guest blogger team!  …Read More

Lilah: ten weeks post surgery

August 25, 2011 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, surgery, tessier cleft 0 Comments

 Lilah’s mom, Paige, has chronicled her daughter’s journey to repair her Tessier Cleft. We have shared Lilah’s story here, as the treatment has progressed. Lilah’s final surgery was to repair her eye, complete a bone graft for her cleft and make some soft tissue changes. To see Lilah’s journey unfold, be sure to read the …Read More