All She Needed Was A Family

April 26, 2017 cancer, Family Stories, glioma, mobility issues, older child adoption, wheelchair user 0 Comments

I saw a serious and sad little girl when I looked at her referral picture for the first time. My experience with referral photos told me that she had been through a lot in her short time here on earth. Her eyes reminded me of an old person who had known loneliness and sorrow. Her …Read More

The Little Girl No One Believed In

April 17, 2017 April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy 2 Comments

I didn’t set out on this journey to become the parent of multiple children with special needs. It’s a funny thing, though, to see a dream evolve. As a young girl, I learned of the gender disparity in China and the preference for sons. In that moment, the seeds were planted in my heart and …Read More

Love Stories: Rewritten

April 16, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, Family Stories, foster care, mobility issues, wheelchair user 2 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

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

What’s in a Word

April 11, 2017 amputation, congenital femoral deficiency, Family Stories, limb difference, missing arm/leg, Orthopedic, prosthetics, proximal femoral focal deficiency, rotationplasty 2 Comments

Driving in the car recently, I was listening to my girls’ conversation with each other and was struck by the words that came out of their mouths. Almost perfectly pronounced, and discussed quite nonchalantly, words like: prosthetic leg, surgery, backwards foot. It sort of hit me that these are words that not everyone (especially little …Read More

The Real Worst Case Scenario

April 9, 2017 adopting as a single mom, adopting as first time parents, April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, Chiari 1 malformation, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, medical needs checklist, mobility issues, neurogenic bowel and bladder, spina bifida, waiting for referral, wheelchair user 1 Comments

When I began the adoption process, in the fall of 2013, I filled out my agency’s medical conditions checklist, or MCC. I was only open to a girl up to age 18 months, but being a special education teacher, I was familiar with and open to a wide variety of medical needs. At the time, …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

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, 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

Ten Frequently Asked Questions About Adopting a Child With Thalassemia

March 15, 2017 beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, thalassemia 1 Comments

Kate, Chelsea, and Alissa are three friends who have brought home five girls with beta thalassemia within the last two years. They live in rural Montana – four hours from the nearest children’s hospital. All five of their girls are thriving with thalassemia and are truly living up to their name as the “Thal Thugs …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

Strength for the Journey: Adopting a Child with Complex Heart Defects

February 26, 2017 atrioventricular canal defect, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, heterotaxy, hospital stays, pulmonary atresia, single ventricle heart disease, VSD 0 Comments

I was just able to sit down with a cup of hot tea on a cold and lazy Saturday afternoon, relishing in the quiet and calm. Also know as, daddy is home so he is dodging toddlers and taking care of farm animals while I hide in his office to write this article. With six …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

Yes, I Did. I Asked For This.

February 17, 2017 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families 15 Comments

Someone finally said out loud what I assumed people might be thinking all along. I was asked, “How are you?” Careful not to ever come across as complaining about this beautiful mess God has called me to, I simply answered, “Good.” I never want to appear to have it all together (which isn’t hard); however, …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 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

Fighting for Her Heart

February 5, 2017 Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, heart defect, Heart System, hospital stays, surgery, Tetralogy of Fallot 15 Comments

Just over four years ago, I was waiting in a cold government office in Zhengzhou, China to meet my second daughter. I had hesitantly said yes to adopting a child with a heart condition. In saying yes, I had armed myself with knowledge and facts and learned everything I could about my daughter’s medical diagnosis. …Read More

Straight into the Fire: Our Road to Rosie

February 1, 2017 complex heart defect, complex medical, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, medical expedite, Tetralogy of Fallot 3 Comments

February is the month of hearts. And here at NHBO, we are all about hearts this month, too. This February, we will be sharing stories of children with congenital heart defects – from minor to complex – and how their families found them. pursued them, and brought them home. ……… After adopting our first daughter …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

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

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

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

Just an Inconvenience

December 15, 2016 congenital blindness, December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, older child adoption, Sensory System 4 Comments

J: “Mom, we did four mile repeats today! I ran them all about 6:20.” Me: “Well, can I expect to see a 21 minute 5K on your next race?” J: “Mom, we got to rest five minutes between repeats. You know a race isn’t like that. Oh, and my agricultural instructor wants me to talk …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

Blessed by Boys

December 12, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, 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

Embracing the Unknowns

December 7, 2016 ambiguous genitalia, Disorder of Sexual Development, Family Stories, hypospadias, November 2016 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 2 Comments

Our son is adventurous, affectionate, good-natured, and strong. He loves playing outside, blowing bubbles, reading books, and playing with anything with wheels. He is absolutely amazing and the perfect addition to our family. I want the world to know all of this about him. What I choose to keep private is information about his special …Read More

Love Beyond Sight

December 6, 2016 cataracts, congenital blindness, December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, first year home, hypoplasia, medical needs checklist, micropthalmia, Newly Home, prosthetic eye, referral, Sensory System, vision loss 1 Comments

I have always been a planner, always been cautious. I had even been planning this adoption since I was 12! What I hadn’t planned was that China would become a special needs adoption program by the time my husband and I were able to adopt. It was daunting looking over the Medical Checklist. I could …Read More

Then and Now: Selah

December 5, 2016 Family Stories, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now 5 Comments

One year ago we were sitting in a hotel conference room waiting to meet our daughter for the first time. One year ago the minute hands on our watches seem to stand still. One year ago we watched families meet their children for the first time. One year ago our daughter was finally brought into …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: Caris and Calah

November 26, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now 1 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… ……….. In 2004 when we first felt the …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

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

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 You Know a Child is Yours: Adopting a Child with DSD

November 15, 2016 Disorder of Sexual Development, Family Stories, hypospadias, November 2016 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 1 Comments

When my husband and I first began filling out our medical needs checklist we had no idea what most of the conditions were or what we could, as a family, even handle. We figured anything in the “mild needs” category could be managed. It’s a funny thing that happens though when you see a child’s …Read More

The Lucky Ones: Adopting a Child with a Visible Special Need

November 13, 2016 birthmark, Family Stories, hemangioma, phakomatosis pigmentovascularis, port wine stain, Vascular System 2 Comments

The Lord uses many avenues to speak to the hearts of his people and call them forward to adoption. For some that call comes from the Bible and teachings of the church, for some that call comes through knowing people who have adopted, some people meet the vulnerable in orphanages and fall in love, and …Read More

In the Trenches

November 1, 2016 bowel management, bronchial deformity, Family Stories, imperforate anus, incontinence, November 2016 Feature - Urogenital, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula, Urogenital System, VACTERL 1 Comments

When my husband and I were researching the needs of our would be son, we turned to various physicians, websites, and blog posts in search of not only what the diagnosis was and what it would entail medically, but also what the day to day parenting for a child with his special needs would be …Read More

Not What I Expected

October 30, 2016 Family Stories, infertility, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral, working mom 0 Comments

Our family story. It’s not what I expected. Ten years ago when my husband and I decided it was time to start a family, “my time” likely caused God to laugh because nothing, really, has happened according to my desired schedule. Ten years ago we were the ideal parents. My husband and I went to …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

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

Down Syndrome, Sign Language and Adoption

October 6, 2016 ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, non-verbal, October 2016 Feature - Developmental, sign language, speech delay 2 Comments

When our oldest daughter, Reagan, was a baby, I had every intention of teaching her sign language. I had researched the benefits, both for parents and children, and was excited to go down that road. But then life happened, sleepless nights and other duties prevailed, and we never pursued it further. 

 Our middle daughter, Reese, …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

Epidermolysis Bullosa: “The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of”

September 28, 2016 epidermolysis bullosa, Family Stories, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 0 Comments

Epidermolysis Bullosa (ep-i-der-mo-lie-sis bu-low-suh), abbreviated as EB, is a rare, genetic disorder that impacts connective tissue. Approximately 200 children a year in the U.S. are born with EB, and it’s known as “The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of”. Children with EB are referred to as “butterflies” due to the fragility of their skin. There …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

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