Severe Feeding Challenges: The Hardest Part

April 23, 2017 developmental delays, Developmental System, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, food issues, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, orphanage behaviors, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN 8 Comments

We started the adoption process in 2005, right before the big slowdown. We didn’t end up traveling until 2007, so I spent every free moment reading adoption stories and joining every adoption-related yahoo group out there. I felt as well-educated as one could possibly be. Unfortunately, there were only the “ladybugs and unicorns” stories out …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

The Battle Inside: Parenting a Child with Feeding Challenges

March 31, 2017 failure to thrive, Family Stories, feeding challenges, feeding tube, feeding/swallowing therapy, first weeks home, food issues, H-Pylori, malnourishment, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Nutrition, oral aversion, refusing food 0 Comments

We began our adoption journey about three years ago and in that time we completed two separate adoptions. We first traveled to China in 2015 to bring home our son who was just a year old at the time and in 2016 we re-used our dossier bringing home our daughter who had just turned two. …Read More

Tackling Feeding Challenges: Oral Motor Differences and Feeding

March 28, 2017 Education, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, food issues, Guest Series, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Newly Home, Nutrition, occupational therapy, oral aversion, physical therapy, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, Tackling Feeding Challenges 0 Comments

Feeding your child is one of the most basic ways you can bond, and yet can become the one most challenging aspects of parenting for many adoptive families. In this three-part series, Speech Therapist Melissa Pouncey will provide practical places to start working towards peaceful and healthy eating habits, along with more therapeutic information regarding …Read More

Feeding Challenges: “I’ve Got This” and Other Things I Once Believed

March 26, 2017 complex heart defect, developmental delays, early intervention, failure to thrive, feeding tube, feeding/swallowing therapy, malnourishment, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Nutrition, oral aversion, paralyzed vocal chords, refusing food, surgery 4 Comments

Major cardiac defects? That’s a little more intimidating than we initially signed up for but nothing a good surgeon can’t fix. Plus I’m a nurse, I can handle the hard. God prepared me for this. Poor oxygenation? That’ll correct itself once her heart is repaired. Severe developmental delays? Of course she’s delayed, but look at …Read More

Crying Over Cheerios: Overcoming Feeding Challenges

March 17, 2017 adopting a boy, 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

Tackling Feeding Challenges: The Basics

March 14, 2017 Education, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, food issues, Guest Series, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Newly Home, occupational therapy, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy, Tackling Feeding Challenges 0 Comments

Feeding your child is one of the most basic ways you can bond, and yet can become the one most challenging aspects of parenting for many adoptive families. In this three-part series, Speech Therapist Melissa Pouncey will provide practical places to start working towards peaceful and healthy eating habits, along with more therapeutic information regarding …Read More

Homeschooling Your Adopted Child: 8 Steps to Get Started

February 22, 2017 Education, homeschool, Jennifer B. 0 Comments

“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” ~ Gandhi home·school·ing ˈhōmˌsko͞oling/ (noun): the education of children at home by their parents. The definition of homeschooling is fairly straightforward, but families who choose homeschooling as the best option for their adopted or special needs children can …Read More

Adopting a Child with Unpredictable Special Needs

January 31, 2017 adoption realities, bronchiectasis, dysphagia, Family Stories, medical needs checklist, referral, swallow study, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

When you visit a carnival, some rides are very predictable. The frog hopper, bumper cars, flying elephants, and even the tea cups come with a high level of predictability. You hand over the ticket and, with almost 100% certainty, you can foresee what the outcome of the ride will be… steady, smooth, and timely. Then …Read More

Feeding Challenges, Attachment and Trust-Based Parenting

January 2, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, Newly Home, oral aversion, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, Trust Based Parenting 1 Comments

My introduction to the world of feeding challenges coincided with me becoming a mother. My firstborn son – a perfect, squishy newborn – refused to eat. He had no physical limitations or reasons for refusing food, he just didn’t see the need nor possess the desire to fulfill his hunger by eating. The first six …Read More

Mothering Zhou: Adopting a Child with Oral Aversion

December 24, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, feeding/swallowing therapy, occupational therapy, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

Five and a half years ago, my arms ached to hold my son, a world away in China… When I couldn’t sleep, and I had said everything to God I could think of, I would do three things: 1. visit Google maps to zoom in on a city that is as far away as it …Read More

Research, Reach Out, Advocate: Adopting a Child with Dual-Sensory Loss

December 13, 2016 December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, glaucoma, hearing aids, hearing loss, IEP, public school, Sensory System, vision loss 3 Comments

Princess. Uniquely and wonderfully made. Perfect. One of a kind. (Actually, 1 of 347 in our state and 9,574 in the U.S.*) All words to describe our daughter Lily who joined our family in January of 2013. Her file stated bilateral congenital glaucoma. Fast forward three years… and she is legally blind, wears a sclera …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

Then and Now: Mila

November 18, 2016 Attachment, attachment challenges, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, parent-to-child attachment, siblings, Trust Based Parenting 4 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’ve all seen those glossy magazine ads …Read More

When Mom Works: Juggling Work and Therapy

October 21, 2016 Attachment, Childcare scenarios, early intervention, Education, IEP, nanny, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, pre-school, public school, working mom 0 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

1 in 1000: Adopting a Child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech

October 17, 2016 apraxia of speech, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, non-verbal, October 2016 Feature - Developmental, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

Like so many of us who are part of the adoption community, we have learned so very much in the time our two youngest kiddos have been part of our family. Our son, Liam, who is now eight years old, joined our family at the age of 28 months. His special need was listed as …Read More

When Mom Works: Infinitely Better Off

October 16, 2016 congenital blindness, Education, non-verbal, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, orphanage realities, pre-school, Sensory System, vision loss, working mom 1 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

From School Psychologist to Adoptive Mama: A Series Part One (An Introduction to Special Education Law)

October 12, 2016 504 Plan, Amy A., early intervention, Education, IEP, pre-school, private school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

For as long as I can remember, I dreamt about the different careers I might have someday. For a long time, I wanted to be an artist. I loved to color, create, paint, and design, and I thought spending my life doing just that would be a dream come true. Then, as I fell in …Read More

When Mom Works: Getting Comfortable with Daycare

October 10, 2016 Childcare scenarios, daycare, early intervention, Education, IFSP, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, pre-school, private school, working mom 3 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

When Mom Works: Every Single One Needs a Family

October 5, 2016 albinism, declining a referral, Family Stories, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, referral, Skin Conditions, TVI, waiting for referral, working mom 20 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

Choosing Private School {A Place Among the Stars}

October 3, 2016 Education, epidermolysis bullosa, private school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, Skin Conditions, Whitney 0 Comments

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ……… There was once a mama desperate to make it to the other side of the world to see her daughter face-to-face… and though the thrill of the moment could never be eclipsed, she eventually stopped looking at the moon, and forgot …Read More

Making the Grade: Special Education and Adoption

September 30, 2016 agenesis of the corpus callosum, autism, brain damage syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, developmental delays, early intervention, Education, hypothyroidism, IEP, institutional autism, non-verbal, public school, 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: 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

Making the Grade: High Fives and Fist Bumps Instead of Hugs, Please

September 25, 2016 attachment challenges, Education, indiscriminate affection, Kelly, pre-school, private school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

I still remember her. She was the best. My 1st grade self loved her big smile and her early 80s old-lady perm. Everyday, she’d stand by the classroom door at the end of the day and hug each and every one of us. I was excited to go to school everyday because of her and her …Read More

Making the Grade: Choosing a Classical Approach

September 23, 2016 attachment activities, attachment challenges, cocooning, Education, homeschool, indiscriminate affection, Nicole, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

Our decision to homeschool began like many other families’ journeys, I’m sure. We wanted to give our children a Biblical worldview, be a bigger part of their lives (no parents ever regret spending too much time with their children!), and have the freedom to choose our studies based on individual interests. We also hoped to …Read More

Making the Grade: Links for Parents of Kids with Special Needs Part Two

September 20, 2016 504 Plan, early intervention, Education, ESL, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, first year home, IEP, Jennifer B., occupational therapy, physical therapy, public school, Sensory Processing Issues, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, speech therapy 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

Making the Grade: Links for Parents of Kids with Special Needs

September 18, 2016 504 Plan, early intervention, Education, ESL, homeschool, IEP, Jennifer B., pre-school, 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

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

Making the Grade: 10 Ideas for Homeschooling Your Adopted Child

September 9, 2016 Education, homeschool, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 2 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

Top 10 Signs it’s Back to School

August 29, 2016 adoption realities, Education, IEP, Mandy, pre-school, private school, public school, trauma 2 Comments

Trauma mamas and babas, our kids are headed back to school. And this season of life causes us to rejoice that summer is over while also fearing the change in routine for our kids from hard places. You know it is back to school time when — 10. You debate what to share, if to …Read More

Undiagnosed Hearing Loss: Wisdom from the Journey

January 28, 2016 BAHA, Education, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, Nager Syndrome, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

We always knew there were unknowns, as all adoptive parents do. But the moment we saw their faces we knew they were ours. This is important to always remember. Most of us who adopt realize that the medical records we receive are not always accurate or trustworthy. But sometimes, you just don’t know the right …Read More

Wisdom From the Village Teacher

October 18, 2015 Education, IELP, IEP, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, public school 0 Comments

“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African proverb Whether you are a working mom, single mom, stay-at-home, or homeschooling mom, one thing is for sure… you find out quickly that you cannot rely on your own strength to provide for your children and family. Being a mom to six children while working …Read More

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Adopting a Child With Down Syndrome

October 7, 2015 developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Education, IEP, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, physical therapy, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 5 Comments

October has always been my favorite month of the year. I love everything about the cooler temperatures, family time carving pumpkins and roasting marshmallows over a backyard fire. October is also Down syndrome awareness month, and as a Ds adoption advocate, this is one more reason for me to love October. Since adopting my daughter …Read More

The Back to School Post

August 29, 2015 Education, Kelly, public school 0 Comments

I don’t think our school district fully grasps the whole paperless concept. I’m staring at a stack of forms they’ve called “children’s homework” that I must complete. Somehow, the paperwork required to send our children to public school each year feels like we’re assembling an entire dossier. There’s even a fingerprinting form somewhere in this …Read More

A Back-to-School Letter

August 27, 2015 Carrie, Education, hearing loss, pre-school, public school, speech delay 2 Comments

Dear Teachers, Here we go! The start of a new year! First of all, you both have my great admiration. I do not know how you do it. The energy, patience, and creativity it takes to shape, mold, and sometimes just wrangle a whole crew of almost-three-year-olds is something I do not possess. I’m so …Read More

Microtia. What?

July 23, 2015 BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, hemifacial microsomia, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, Sensory System, speech therapy, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 5 Comments

“My ear hurts mommy.” “Which ear honey? Do both ears hurt?” “No, silly. This one doesn’t hurt. It’s not open. It’s teeny tiny.” Olivia was 3 and this was the first time that I knew of that she noticed that her right ear didn’t match the left. We had never made a big deal out …Read More

Her Journey.

July 7, 2015 Education, Family Stories, IEP, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, Nicole, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

I recently looked back at my blog archives and noticed that I hadn’t blogged about Sunshine’s cleft journey in over a year! Although that is representative of surgeries, it surely isn’t representative of all the work she’s been doing. My sweet girl has been putting forth so much effort in speech therapy. So although the …Read More

The Tools of The Trade

February 3, 2014 cl/cp, Education, Jennifer, speech delay, speech therapy 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

Perfectly Made

April 9, 2013 clubfoot, developmental delays, Education, IEP, Nancy, public school 1 Comments

Dear IEP team members, As the mama to the little girl that we just spent over an hour talking about, I want to say more than our 60-minute time slot allowed. IEP meetings are hard. {That may be the understatement of the year.} They suck. For a parent, sometimes it feels like IEP meetings are a laundry list of how …Read More

The Best Christmas Present Ever

January 11, 2013 developmental delays, early intervention, Education, IEP, Nancy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 6 Comments

I stood in the back of Tess’s kindergarten classroom with the other proud parents and looked on as my 5-year-old daughter performed in the class’s “holiday show”. Her part was a simple song with just a few lines and hand movements to go with it. She didn’t know all the hand movements… just like the …Read More

TAKE THAT Speech Delay!

October 27, 2012 cl/cp, Education, IEP, public school, speech delay, speech therapy, velopharyngeal Insufficiency, 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 cl/cp, Education, Nicole, speech delay, speech therapy 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

Our Early Intervention

May 25, 2012 clubfoot, developmental delays, early intervention, Education, feeding/swallowing therapy, Nancy, occupational therapy, speech therapy 5 Comments

Our girly qualified for Early Intervention services. Our sweet lovely amazing daughter is delayed. I don’t want it to be that way. But it is. And it’s no surprise either. We went into international adoption with our eyes wide open, preparing for the worst and praying for the best. Her delays were completely expected. There’s …Read More

A Journey to an IEP

October 26, 2010 Education, IEP, public school, speech delay, Wife of the Prez 0 Comments

Wow. Shock. Joy. Sadness. R.E.L.I.E.F Developmental Delay. How should I feel? I’m not sure, but the overriding feeling today is RELIEF. We have a starting point, a place from which to MOVE FORWARD. On Thursday, my baby boy, our little five-year-old son will begin a new journey. Complete with an IEP (Individualized Education PLAN). Back …Read More

Our First Birthday Together!

January 14, 2010 BAHA, Education, hearing loss, homeschool, Laine, microtia, older child adoption, speech delay, speech therapy 4 Comments

Last year she celebrated with her beloved foster mama… but this year she celebrates with her forever mama and forever family! 😉 Thank you Jesus! We brought our 7 year old, Candie, home on Halloween of 2008. Her birthday is 8/23/00. Her special need is bi-lateral microtia/atresia. Candie is a happy little girl and for …Read More

Mother Therapy

January 4, 2010 Andrea, early intervention, Education, hearing loss, microtia, speech delay, speech therapy 11 Comments

As parents, we naturally look for our child’s accomplishments. It is a unique gift we’ve been given. An Olympian can have his whole country cheering for him, but the only people he wants to see in the stands are his mom and dad. When my 2-year old daughter Lydia runs a crayon across a piece …Read More

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