February 22, 2010 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

by Lyn, mom to Addie from China with an SN of psychomotor developmental delays

My husband Bob and I got married in 1995, and by 2001 had two beautiful daughters. We were content with our family and had no plans to have any more children. However, in December 2005, God showed us that He had other plans for us.

That December, we attended a play at our church that was put on by a group of orphans from the Ukraine. The purpose of the play was to draw attention to the plight of orphans and to try to find adoptive homes for some of the kids who were in the play. I enjoyed the play and felt led to give money to help these children find homes, but I did not feel led to pursue adoption in any way.

A few days after going to see the play, however, I attended a Christmas party with a gift exchange. I received a DVD that included an adoption extra which told the story of Christian singer and songwriter, Stephen Curtis Chapman, adopting Shoahannah from China. It was a story that Bob and I had both heard before at an adoption fund raiser that we had attended a few years before. This time however, I couldn’t get adoption off of my mind. I was specifically drawn towards the adoption of a little Chinese girl. I prayed that if adoption was God’s plan for us, that Bob would be willing to pray with me about it. A few nights later we discussed adoption together and Bob suggested we begin praying about whether it was something we should consider. God had used the play at our church to prepare his heart to consider adopting. This answer to my prayer was the first of many times that God specifically guided us toward adoption.

I started researching adoption and found out that although we met the adoption requirements for several countries, we didn’t meet the salary requirement to adopt from China. We realized that it would take a miracle from God to adopt from there. We knew God performed miracles, and He could make it work, but we also realized that Bob would probably need a different job. He enjoyed his job as Program Director for a Christian retreat center and summer camp, and he didn’t want to leave it. We started praying for a miracle raise.

In January 2006, as we were waiting to see how God would provide a larger salary for us, we found out that some supplemental income that we had been receiving for several years would come to an end as of December 2006. We realized that without this extra money it would not only be impossible for us to adopt from China, but Bob would also need to find a different job in order for us to make ends meet. So, Bob gave notice in January 2006 that he would be leaving his job at the end of that year. Although we were discouraged about this, we soon felt sure that this was God’s way of providing a new job for us with a salary that was acceptable to China.

During this time when we were job hunting and unable to begin the adoption process, we received a phone call from some old friends of ours. They called to tell us that they would be giving us $5,000 towards the adoption! This was further confirmation that not only was God in this, but He was already funding the adoption – before it had even begun!

In the fall, to our surprise and delight, Bob was offered a new job at the retreat center where he worked, that – in combination with housing and benefits – met the salary requirement for China! The day the board met to approve the new job, we received $2500 in the mail from our friends. With this confirmation, we applied to adopt in September 2006 and began the long adoption process.

We turned in our paperwork on January 26, 2007, and China logged us into their system on February 12. We decided to name our daughter-to-be Addie. On March 1st we hosted a spaghetti dinner fund raiser for friends and family. We told our story – which was a wonderful reminder of all God had done to lead us to begin this journey to Addie. God provided over $7000 from the dinner! We were amazed.

Meanwhile, the process for receiving a healthy infant had begun slowing way down, and it began to look like we would maybe have to wait 2 years to get a referral call. In March we decided to sign up to be considered for a special needs child. I had been interested in this from the beginning, and after praying about it with me, Bob finally agreed.

In signing up for the special needs program, we said we would be willing to take a child with corrected special needs or minor correctable special needs, but we did not feel we were ready to deal with major issues like cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, etc… We also said we were interested only in a girl from birth to 2 years old. Most of the 80 – 100 people who were on the special needs list had also signed up for the same things, and only a few kids in each group of referrals fit that description, so the chances of receiving a special needs referral quickly were pretty slim.

We started to pray that God would allow us to have Addie in 2007 even though we knew it would take a miracle, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

During this time God also continued to provide the finances for our adoption. I assumed that we would need to apply for an adoption grant, but by the time we were ready to travel to China, God had given us over $21,500 through donations from family and friends!

Our agency received a group of special needs referrals in October 2007, and we were hoping to receive a phone call. I was tempted to go back through the special needs application and change some of our answers to give us a better chance at receiving a referral. However, I realized that God had already picked out Addie for our family, and there was nothing that we could do to make our chances of receiving her any better. He would give her referral to us on the exact day that He had planned, and nothing could thwart His plans. I didn’t need to manipulate the situation to help Him get her to us! He is almighty and sovereign and self-sufficient. In Isaiah 46 God says, “My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” When I went back to scripture and was reminded of what an all-powerful God we serve, I was peaceful again. We did not receive a phone call in October.

On December 6th we received an email saying that AWAA had received an unexpected group of special needs kids and that they would begin making phone calls the next day. After several days of hoping for a referral call, however, we got an email saying that they had made most of the phone calls. There were a five children left that did not fit into a specific category though, and they would email their information and pictures the next day. One was a 21 month old little girl described as being shy, quiet and introverted and having psychomotor delays. They also said that she had had a CT scan and some areas of her brain were expanded slightly. I had been hoping that I would know Addie as soon as I saw her. When I looked at this little girl though, there was nothing that made me think she was our daughter.

I had a 40 minute drive soon after seeing these referrals, and I used that time to pray for her and whether or not we should ask to be considered for her referral. As I was driving and praying, I started thinking about the type of family that would be good for a quiet little girl who could possibly be delayed her whole life. I realized that maybe our family would be good for her. We homeschool and she would have two older sisters and constant stimulation at home. I could work with her at her own pace and she wouldn’t have to receive any negative educational labels. By the time I got home, I was convinced that we should ask to be considered for this little girl. Bob agreed with me, so I contacted our agency a

nd asked to be put on the list with the others interested in her. We knew that if this was Addie, we would be chosen; if not, He would give her to us at the right time.

The next day we received the phone call we had been waiting for! The special needs team had decided that this little girl was a good match for our family! We prayed that if this was Addie, God would confirm it by giving us peace no matter what. After only a short time, Bob and I felt very sure that this was our daughter. After consulting with a doctor about her medical information, we accepted the referral. One interesting thing that we noticed about her after receiving more detailed information about her, was that her measurements were almost exactly the same as our daughter Megan, both at birth and at 16 ½ months! She was born on March 19, 2006, the day before Megan’s 5th birthday.

Finally, in May 2008, our entire family traveled to China together to get Addie. We found, to our surprise, that instead of the quiet, shy little girl we had been expecting, God had given us a beautiful, spunky two year old with a strong will, a wonderful sense of humor, and no signs of any delays. In fact, she was very bright!

God had one more surprise for us. The week that we returned home from China, we found out that Addie had been given to another family the year before on her first birthday. However, she was exhibiting so many delays that they took her to the hospital in China to have her examined. She was given a CT scan and the family was told that she had severe brain damage. They were told they could receive a different child. They had an older child with a severe heart condition and didn’t feel that they could handle the unknowns of another special needs child. After an agonizing two hours, they gave Addie back. Their guide later told them that Addie would never speak in sentences and would need extreme care her entire life.

Did God heal her or did they get the wrong information? We don’t know the answer to that, but here are some things we do know:

We serve a God who is powerful enough to heal a damaged brain, or even to cause a healthy baby to seem brain damaged when she isn’t, in order for His purposes to be accomplished. We know that God has the right and the wisdom and the power to do all that He pleases, and that many times we don’t understand the reasons for what He does. We know that He is trustworthy, and that He has a good plan.

Obviously God chose Addie for us before she was born, and He picked out another precious child for this family. We don’t understand why they had to go through such a difficult situation, but we are thankful for the time they spent with Addie and how they have loved her and prayed for her since then. We are also very thankful that Addie shows no signs now of brain damage. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Addie has been home with us for close to two years now, and we can’t imagine life without her! She is determined to grow bigger so that she can, “cook, drive the car, and be a mommy”. She is sure that she could run the household if only I’d step aside and let her take over. We are now in the process of bringing home our son Lucas, who is 10 months older than Addie and living in Guangdong Province, China. We can’t wait for our new adventure!

Feel free to visit our family blog here.

And our travel journal for Lucas here.


January 28, 2009 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

By Anonymous, mother to Meng from China with a small head circumference

Another Side of Disruption

I guess I have a different outlook on disruption. Its a subject that raises great emotion with a lot of families adopting but its one I feel extremely blessed by. You see its through a disruption In China, that we were able to adopt our daughter. She was 23 months old at adoption, and her special need in my opinion listed was a bogus one (small head circumference), that was done with the best intentions. We did know while we were reviewing her file that a disruption had taken place when she was 8 or 9 months old, which then lead to her having to be put on a special need list. We were later told by her SWI at the time of our adoption that they had to list her as special needs but they knew she didn’t have a special need at all. I will forever remember the words of the director when she spoke of the disrupting family as “a family with not a good heart”. It was clear the director loved our daughter and wanted her to have another chance at a family.

We reviewed her file carefully, had a leading international Doctor go over everything with a fine tooth comb and we never had one red flag raised.

We will never know the circumstances for sure of why our daughter was returned to her SWI In China after only a couple days, but what we do know with a 100 percent certainty is that she is our daughter. To this day, and she is 5, she has never been diagnosed with any special needs, no learning disabilities or any thing that would have caused a family to hesitate to adopt her, so I like to think of it as God’s way of making sure she was placed into our family because she couldn’t be any more my child if I had given birth to her.

I would like to encourage any family who is looking at a file of a child who may have been disrupted, to take in account it might have absolutely nothing to do with the child health that has caused the disruption, but maybe more about the family not being prepared to parent a child at the time. Many times I think people have this “Gerber baby” moment in their head and when they are handed a child who is clearly shut down and in shock they panic and feel unable to move ahead. It’s at this time I wish they had some resources in China available to assist them to take a few days to get to know the child, evaluate things and be absolutely sure they want to disrupt. Disruption for us has lead to the child of our dreams, but I know for the family who left her behind they must think and rethink their decision everyday. I do wish they could see her now. She is 5 now, as bright as can be and has a smile that lights a room. She is the most caring and giving of all my children. I have never second guessed a day of adopting her.


January 24, 2009 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

By Kristin, mother to Abby from China

In September 2005, we found ourselves DTC again for another beautiful little one from China. Having returned with Anna Grace (our NSN child) in July 2004, we knew the typical process involved. Shortly after becoming DTC, my husband brought up the idea of a special needs child. His feeling was that all children need a home. Why not ours? Our extended families were a bit uncertain. After all, in the US, special needs means special education. Not true in the Chinese adoption world.

After much thought, we submitted our Medical Conditions Checklist to CCAI in January 2006. Just one month later, we had a phone call. Now, mind you, we were in the midst of moving to a new house, Anna Grace (2.5 years) was in the hospital for RSV, and life was crazy. So why not add a referral??

In fact, I had made a comment to Dave that, if we got a phone call during all this chaos, my head would explode. So when he called me at work (when he was home with Anna Grace after being in the hospital), he said, “Are you ready for your head to explode?”

And I knew we had a referral.

The little one we were called about was 19 months old and from Jiangxi Province, just like Anna Grace. Her special need? No one was sure.

The referral paperwork said Nerve Fibromas. Our agency did further research and thought it could be Neurofibromatosis or NF1. This is a pretty serious illness. There are many kids out there with this incurable disease. Could I handle this?? Dave’s response? We can do more for her in the US than she would get otherwise.

True, very true. But was I nervous?? Absolutely. Could I handle it? What are the medical implications? What is the overall outcome? What are the potential issues? All things anyone would ask upon a referral call.

Honestly, I was scared out of my wits. But my husband was the calm one. And I have the early childhood/special ed/psych background! Sometimes I think less education is better. You don’t get so nervous.

Our teens were very excited about the new referral and took her picture to school the next day…… well, our daughter did. Teen boys don’t do that… at least in our house.

Sure enough, we accepted Abby’s referral the next day which happened to be —— Valentine’s Day. Our sweet baby was ours on Love Day!

The possible diagnosis of NF1 came from the Chinese doctors in Beijing. As it turned out, Abigail was referred to another family once before. But she had lots of café au lait spots on her body which worried the couple. As advised by their agency, they had Abby checked out by the doctors who gave the possible diagnosis of NF1. Multiple café au lait spots can be indicative of NF1.

Talk about a decision to make. What to do? This was not something they envisioned or anticipated. After three long days, they made the decision to return Abby to the orphanage due to the unknowns. It was a heartbreaking decision for them.

Could I say I would not have done the same? My heart says no… but in that moment…

All I know is we would not have our Abby without the disruption.

The medical exam in Guangzhou was interesting to say the least. The doctors all huddled around Abby trying to figure out why her paperwork said Nerve Fibromas. They found no indication of these on her body. Our guide finally explained that it may have been a mistake in paperwork. We had to state that we were still adopting her as a special needs child even though the paperwork didn’t match.

A few tense moments there. I was concerned that they would deny her visa since the paperwork wasn’t correct.

Fast forward to home: Our pediatrician checked her out and said she is perfectly fine. The marks on her body which “indicated NF1” are truly birthmarks which have faded in time.

This is the same info our agency received from the orphanage just before our acceptance. Birthmarks which faded over time.

But because that was the initial reason for “refusal of adoption”, Abby was placed on the SN list for her orphanage.

Blessings for us or Abby would not be in our house.