Embracing the Unknowns

December 7, 2016 by nohandsbutours ambiguous genitalia, Disorder of Sexual Development, Family Stories, hypospadias, November 2016 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 0 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours adopting a boy, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours albinism, declining a referral, Family Stories, October 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours 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

God’s Path: Adopting a Child with Down Syndrome

September 19, 2016 by nohandsbutours Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories 1 Comments

Four years ago, we were a family of five. My husband and I had two biological sons who are now 15 and 13 and one daughter who is now ten. We had adopted our daughter from China when she was only one year old. She had a hole in her heart, but God healed her. …Read More

Our Fair-Haired Hero: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 17, 2016 by nohandsbutours 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

Adoption – The Beautiful Paradox

September 15, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, books, Family Stories, Parenting Special Needs 5 Comments

I just flew back from South Carolina. I went there to reunite my daughter with a friend that she had not seen in almost four years. The last time the girls saw each other, they were in an orphanage halfway around the world. The nannies who had raised them pressed the bewildered little girls into …Read More

More than White Hair: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 14, 2016 by nohandsbutours albinism, Family Stories, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 1 Comments

We didn’t plan to adopt a child with white hair. I wouldn’t assume many do when they consider adopting a child from China. I fell in love with our son Noah’s face and short description one night while perusing the waiting children on RainbowKids. Adoption was something my husband and I had prayed about, discussed …Read More

Beautiful Scars: Adopting a Child with a Congenital Nevus

September 7, 2016 by nohandsbutours birthmark, Congenital nevus, Family Stories, giant congenital nevus, medical needs checklist, medical waiver, referral, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 4 Comments

When my husband and I first started looking into adoption, we were told that because of my epilepsy, we could only apply for a special focus child. In Adoption circles, Special Focus means either that the child has more than one medical condition, or has a more severe medical condition. Sometimes the label is given …Read More

Journey to Gabriel: Adopting a Child with Ichthyosis

September 2, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting a boy, Family Stories, ichthyiosis, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 7 Comments

I love adoption. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. It’s hard. It’s the big stuff — hope, joy, grief, love, sacrifice… wrapped up in one. It makes a world of difference to a child in need. It builds families. It’s an example of God’s handiwork. And being part of anything God does is just, well, awesome. When …Read More

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

August 31, 2016 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, Heart System, older child adoption 1 Comments

Scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook, I see a popular thanksgiving…. In the hospital after the delivery of a new baby, I hear the same praises. In the grocery store I hear faint echoes of the same gratitude while everything else goes quiet in my head. Parents and family alike are “so blessed” by having healthy …Read More

How HIV Changed My Life – For the Better

August 17, 2016 by nohandsbutours August 2016 - Infectious, Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 2 Comments

“Why would you want a child with HIV?” asked an employee from our daughter’s foster home. The question took me off guard. After all, she lived with and cared for people with HIV. Without skipping a beat, my husband spoke up, “Because she’s our daughter.” Three simple words. She’s our daughter. Words that echoed in …Read More

A Gift You Can’t Prepare For: Adopting a Child with CP

August 14, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting a boy, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, should we adopt? 3 Comments

“You weren’t trained for this, but you were born for it.” I keep reading these words sent to me by a dear friend the other day. She knew I was struggling with parenting our three year old son, home since January, while also trying to meet the needs of our three biological children ages four, …Read More

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

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

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

Sign Language and Adoption: The Value of their Voice

August 7, 2016 by nohandsbutours ASL, attachment activities, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, Family Stories, Heart System, sign language, speech delay, tracheo-malacia, VSD 0 Comments

You might think that sign language is only for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We’d like to encourage you to reconsider. Signing is an incredibly valuable tool in any adoptive parent’s tool belt. It makes communicating with your newly adopted child exponentially easier – no matter their age or special need. And …Read More

Her First Smile

July 30, 2016 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, guest post, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, surgery 5 Comments

It was the morning before my daughter’s cleft lip repair. Alongside my husband and with my daughter in my arms, we walked into her surgeon’s office. We had intentionally waited four months after her adoption before scheduling the surgery. I wanted to give her time to begin to know and trust us. I also wanted …Read More

His Hands and Feet: Adopting a Child with ABS

July 26, 2016 by nohandsbutours amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, medical needs checklist, Orthopedic, pre-adoption, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 5 Comments

Sometimes you are clearly given a gift of grace and sometimes you find yourself in it. Both are of Him and from Him and are equally overwhelming and exciting. This is a glimpse of both. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8 ….. …Read More

Pondering the “What-Ifs”

July 21, 2016 by nohandsbutours coloboma, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, micropthalmia, prosthetic eye, Sensory System, siblings, vision loss 10 Comments

I remember reading all the recommended adoption books, watching all the training videos, stalking all the mom blogs, and talking to other adoptive moms during the time leading up to our own adoption. I got myself familiar with so many new terms and tried to educate myself on any possibility of trouble our future daughter …Read More

A Little Piece of a Big Plan

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

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

What Can Grow in the Dark?

July 13, 2016 by nohandsbutours Developmental System, Family Stories, low muscle tone 1 Comments

Thunderstorms – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. It was 5:00 am when the crack of thunder woke us all up. My six-year-old crawled into our bed for the very first time. Yes, it’s normal for some children to be frightened by thunderstorms, but for some reason, he really hates them. Even the mention …Read More

Saying Yes

July 10, 2016 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, referral, waiting for referral 5 Comments

Our journey to Claire has been one of unexpected turns in directions we didn’t know God would take us…. Six years ago we were blessed with our first daughter, Evangeline. My pregnancy with her was extremely difficult. Adoption was something we had always talked about and seemed like the best choice for us to grow …Read More

Is That Really All?

July 4, 2016 by nohandsbutours cleft gumline, cleft lip, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial 1 Comments

I remember sitting down – just my husband and I – and looking through the special needs checklist. Although we didn’t check off everything, for young first-time parents, I think that we had a pretty large list of special needs that we would consider. I envisioned us being matched to a child with a heart …Read More

Accepting the Unexpected

July 2, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting a boy, cleft palate, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, Pierre Robin Sequence 1 Comments

Expect the unexpected. Can that even be accomplished? Doubtful, but with preparedness, an open heart, and faith in God’s greater plan, we can accept the unexpected. Our adoption journey began by filling out a medical conditions checklist with mostly surgically repairable needs. Phillip and I were expecting to adopt a baby girl someday, until we …Read More

Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy

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

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

A Child of God: Adopting a Child with Arthrogryposis

June 30, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting a boy, arthrogryposis, clubfoot, Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic 1 Comments

I knew the second I saw his picture that he was my son. I still remember scrolling through my facebook feed when my heart drew me into the boy on the screen and with only seeing his hands I knew… He was mine. We were not looking to adopt and years before we would have …Read More

Part of Your World: A Mermaid Tale

June 28, 2016 by nohandsbutours amputation, Family Stories, fibular hemimelia, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, leg length discrepancy, limb difference, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic, prosthetics 4 Comments

We first saw her profile on our adoption agency’s web page. Her special need was listed as lower leg deformity, a layman’s term for fibular hemimelia, a congenital condition of missing/shortening of fibular bone, curved tibia (shin bone) and underdeveloped foot. I turned to my husband and said: “Hey, she looks kinda cute, but we …Read More

Different Than What We Asked for, Better Than We Imagined

June 20, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting a boy, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, first weeks home, Newly Home, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 5 Comments

When considering the orphans of China, many think of the the one child policy and specifically the incredible amount of girls that were abandoned as a result. When my husband and I began our adoption process we too thought that it was the girls most in need of homes and loving families. Like many others, …Read More

Adoption Infertility: When Not Now Feels Like Not Ever

June 17, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting again, adopting later in life, adopting two at once, brain damage syndrome, Family Stories 0 Comments

“Come, sit amidst the ash heap; pick up your potsherd and pray.” That was a phrase borne in my heart from a season of personal lament… a time during which my own sorrowful meditations were keenly focused on the circumstances of the biblical saint of old, Job. How he must have pondered there in that …Read More

Cherishing Today: Adopting a Child with OI

June 16, 2016 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, osteogenesis imperfecta 3 Comments

Our littlest love, with us now for three months, has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease. Adopting a child with OI was not something we set out to do, nor was OI something we had ever been exposed to or educated about, but when Tessa Kate’s adorable picture appeared on the China …Read More

My Amazing Boy: Adopting a Child with Larsen Syndrome

June 13, 2016 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, Larsen Syndrome, Orthopedic, skeletal dysplasia 3 Comments

I feel that I am not just biased when I say my son is truly inspiring. He may be only five years old, but he is braver than any grown adult I have ever met. I am so excited to share his story with you. At the beginning of our adoption process, we found our …Read More

Life’s Little Surprises: Adopting a Child with Fibular Hemimelia

June 8, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting again, amputation, Family Stories, fibular hemimelia, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, leg length discrepancy, limb lengthening, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic 0 Comments

Our daughter had been asking for a little sister for awhile…. I had been looking at the waiting child website off and on for a few days when I just happened on his face. It was love at first sight. His diagnosis was malformed right foot. The picture in his file showed that his foot …Read More

My Warrior. My Princess.

June 4, 2016 by nohandsbutours amputation, Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, limb difference, Orthopedic, prosthetics 2 Comments

“She is the perfect combination of warrior and princess.” This phrase echoed through my mind as I watched her jump and twirl down the street, still wearing her tutu, waving her pirate sword in the air. She had just completed her first dance recital. I told her earlier that day, “Sometimes little girls get flowers …Read More

Building a Family: Adopting as a Single Mom

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

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

In the Quiet Moment

May 23, 2016 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, Kristi, port wine stain, Sturge Weber Syndrome, Vascular System 1 Comments

On March 20, 2009 I spent the quiet moments of nap-time looking at waiting child programs with various adoption agencies. Home from China just four months with our second child, we weren’t ready to expand our family just yet, but as a planner I wanted to have ‘all my ducks in a row’ for when …Read More

He Knows

May 21, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting a boy, clubfoot, complex heart defects, Family Stories, hypospadias, PDA, waiver request 3 Comments

Who knew ​this momma – who had once upon a time envisioned life with my husband to include ​a couple of ​children, a spacious home, and (of course!) many family vacations to tropical destinations​ – would instead​ learn (​and ​daily​ re-learn)​ that the path to the​ purest​ peace and the greatest joy​ is to​ yield …Read More

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