Our Family’s HIV story

August 13, 2015 by nohandsbutours August 2015 Feature - Infectious, Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 2 Comments

HeatherCarlilePhotography-Skipper-295edit

I had read a few blogs of people who had adopted HIV children from Africa and thought, “Wow. I could never do that. That sounds too hard.” Our hearts were lead to adopt for the third time from China. HIV was not even remotely on our radar because we had never heard of an HIV …Read More

Our Daughter Has Latent Tuberculosis

August 7, 2015 by nohandsbutours August 2015 Feature - Infectious, Family Stories, Infectious, TB testing, tuberculosis 4 Comments

tb1

It took us a couple of weeks to get into the pediatrician after we got home from China. It wasn’t a big deal that we were waiting so long though. We’d already seen a nurse practitioner for the urgent medical issues, a specialist for her documented special needs, and the medical visit in China. We …Read More

Beauty in the Unknown

August 4, 2015 by nohandsbutours Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories 5 Comments

cp2

The 30 seconds that it took for the doctor to pull up the images from the MRI seemed to take an eternity. It seemed as though time was at a standstill, which I might have thought was true if it wasn’t for the shrieking and laughing coming from our artificial twins by adoption, who were …Read More

“Easiest Special Need Ever”

August 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours August 2015 Feature - Infectious, Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 0 Comments

kathyg0

Continuing to spotlight different special needs each month, we just finished up a month of posts from moms parenting kids with craniofacial needs. This month we are focusing on infectious special needs: HIV, Hepatitis B, Syphilis and Tuberculosis. Grateful for each and every mom who shares so others might be encouraged to consider a special need that …Read More

Living into Hope

July 31, 2015 by nohandsbutours ADHD, autism, cl/cp, Developmental System, Family Stories, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, speech delay 0 Comments

matthew

Today’s post finishes out our feature this month on craniofacial needs. So grateful for all the moms who willingly shared about parenting a child with a craniofacial need – you can find all the posts in this series here. If you would like to share your family story, just complete this short form and we will be in touch …Read More

Microtia. What?

July 23, 2015 by nohandsbutours atresia, BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, hemifacial microsomia, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, Sensory System, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 1 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

Cleft Was Not on the List

July 18, 2015 by nohandsbutours adopting later in life, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial 0 Comments

twoboys1

“You must really like cleft,” my mother said to me after we accepted the referral of our second son with cleft. Like cleft? No one likes cleft. Cleft is a birth defect that causes facial deformation, creates the need for painful surgeries and can wreak havoc on eating, sleeping and breathing. No one likes cleft. …Read More

Two. Together.

July 17, 2015 by nohandsbutours adopting as first time parents, cl/cp, dual adoption, Family Stories, Tetralogy of Fallot, virtual twinning 0 Comments

twogether

Two together. Twinning. First time parents. In the beginning, these were not words or phrases that I would have put together in any combination in regards to adoption and expect success. And yet, my husband and I did them all. (And you’re reading this on an adoption advocacy site, so you know know I am …Read More

The Simplicity of Prosthesis

June 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours amputation, burns, contracture deformity, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, prosthetics 0 Comments

That would probably not have been our reaction if you would have told us seven years ago that we would have multiple pairs of prosthetic legs in our house. In early 2009, we were researching China’s special needs adoptions after adopting twice through the non-special needs program. Some of the special needs just looked too …Read More

God’s Plans are Always Best

June 26, 2015 by nohandsbutours amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, limb difference, Orthopedic 0 Comments

suzanne

God’s plans are always best… even when we fight them. After years of dealing with infertility and finally placing our desire for children into the hands of our Father, He revealed that His plan A for us was adoption. When my husband and I first started our adoption process, we told our agency that we …Read More

Night and Day

June 25, 2015 by nohandsbutours Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, mobility issues, walker user 0 Comments

lanz

In the mid 1980’s our family adopted two biological brothers from the USA’s foster care system. Both were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Fast forward to 2013 when we first adopted from China, cerebral palsy was a special need that was familiar to us and one we were confident in handling. According to CerebralPalsy.org, “Cerebral palsy …Read More

What You Don’t See

June 22, 2015 by nohandsbutours Central Nervous System, Family Stories, Moyamoya 4 Comments

mm

If you met my six-year-old daughter today, you would see right away is that she loves singing, dancing and all things girly. You would also see that she has the world’s best smile because she uses her whole face to show how happy she is. You would definitely see that she is one of the gentlest creatures …Read More

Perseverance Personified

June 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours AMC, arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic 1 Comments

AMC1

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Olivia. I worked night shift then and would often stare at sweet faces when it was slow. There were so many. I often would get overwhelmed and quickly close the page because I couldn’t look at so many big brown, solemn eyes, without a feeling of loss.  A couple of …Read More

Life, Reconstructed

June 15, 2015 by nohandsbutours amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic 3 Comments

10

My daughter is working on cursive writing. She deftly picks up her pencil with her right hand, and carefully sets it between the fingers on the left. Pressing hard, she makes one swirl after another, using her pencil to sing the song of her love for me. She writes stories, she pens love letters, she …Read More

Bumps, Bubble Wrap, and Broken Bones.

June 9, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, single mom adoption 1 Comments

oi

God has a sense of humor. Have you experienced it? He knows how to push and stretch us. I am learning not to say “never” because that is just about when He says, “Here you go! This is my plan!” I am blessed to be the mom of an amazing little girl from China (you …Read More

The Day-to-Day Life of a Child with Tetralogy of Fallot

June 7, 2015 by nohandsbutours complex heart defect, Family Stories, heart defect, Heart System, Tetralogy of Fallot 2 Comments

ToF5

When I saw my son’s picture for the very first time, before I knew he was my son, before we had decided to make him ours, the overwhelming emotion I felt was fear. His diagnosis was just. plain. scary. to a regular old mom like me: Tetralogy of Fallot (ToF), cyanotic, not corrected till 16 …Read More

Daily Life with Burns | Not Defined

May 31, 2015 by nohandsbutours body scars, burns, contracture deformity, Family Stories, scoliosis, Skin Conditions 1 Comments

NHBO4

This is our family story or what the daily life of living with burns is like. I want to make sure you all know that each story is unique and the daily life for another child with burns and their family could be much different. There are many things to consider with burns; location on …Read More

“Now That You’ve Done it, What Do You Think About Adopting Two Kids at Once?”

May 27, 2015 by nohandsbutours Developmental System, Down syndrome, dual adoption, Family Stories 4 Comments

erin2

Hi! I’m Erin and my husband and I just returned home from China on March 27th with our two newest daughters, Grace and Josie. They are both 5 years old and they both have Down syndrome. We already had four children at home, an 11 year old boy, an 8 year old girl, a 7 …Read More

The Hands of a Faithful God

May 22, 2015 by nohandsbutours disruption, Family Stories, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

sarah1

Before this year, I really thought I was the one writing my story.  I knew that God was leading, but I was really the one planning where I wanted to go. In the course of ten years I had graduated college, married, quit my job teaching, and was a busy home-school mom of three little …Read More

Adopting a Child with Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome

May 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours birthmark, Family Stories, hemangioma, Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome, May 2015 Feature Vascular, Vascular System 1 Comments

gg0

When I first read Abby’s file and read the diagnosis Hemangioma and Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome (or Phenomenon), I thought to myself, “How bad could it be?” She has a birthmark or as her file called it ‘a large hemangioma’ on her neck and chest, surely once we get her home we can ‘fix’ it! Then I did …Read More

One Wild and Precious Life: Adopting a Child with Albinism

May 19, 2015 by nohandsbutours albinism, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 5 Comments

albinism1

Our adoption story began about four years prior to our actual adoption. I was sitting at work one regular day and just had a random thought to research international adoption. This was not something we had previously discussed and wasn’t something at all on our radar screen. We had – at that time – two …Read More

Corina’s Story: Adopting a Child with Sturge-Weber Syndrome

May 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours birthmark, Family Stories, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, May 2015 Feature Vascular, port wine stain, Sturge Weber Syndrome 1 Comments

corina

“You can’t direct the wind but you can adjust your sails.” – Unknown No truer words have I ever read that bring home the reality of our daughter’s diagnosis. Our adoption journey is a story in itself, and best for another time. We have had several wise friends point out that the complications of even …Read More

Adopting a Child with a Lipomyelomeningocele

April 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours April 2015 Feature CNS, Family Stories, lipomyelomeningocele 1 Comments

molly2

We knew we felt called to adopt, and called to China, but when we found out we’d need to go through the special focus route, we were afraid… Special needs? Those words encompass a lot. Locally we had a friend who had a precious daughter from China with spina bifida. This friend had spent a …Read More

Adopting a Child with Tuberous Sclerosis

April 14, 2015 by nohandsbutours April 2015 Feature CNS, epilepsy, Family Stories, seizures, tuberous sclerosis 1 Comments

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If you have ever adopted from China before, you remember sitting at the table staring at that dreaded form asking you what special needs you thought you and your family could handle. Filling it out seemed cruel. On the one hand most of them scared me to death and at the same time it filled …Read More

Adopting a Child with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

April 8, 2015 by nohandsbutours April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, HIE, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, strabismus 2 Comments

hie9

There are the ‘facts,’ and then there’s the reality. The file says HIE, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, but what does it really mean? Brain damage that occurs when an infant’s brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen and blood, either immediately before, during or after birth, is commonly called HIE. But our Creator fashioned our brain in such …Read More

Adopting a Child with Hydrocephalus

April 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, myelomeningocele, spina bifida 1 Comments

hydrocephalus0

I’ve had this conversation with prospective adoptive parents at least six times in six months, after they hear that my sweet two-year-old girl has Spina Bifida (but before they realize she has hydrocephalus). Me: Oh, so, you have Spina Bifida on your medical checklist? Them: Yep! Me:  Do you have hydrocephalus too? Them:  No…it’s scary. …Read More

Fighting for HIV+ Orphans

March 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, HIV, Infectious 0 Comments

lily

I want to see HIV+ orphans adopted into forever families. I can’t say this was always a goal of mine, but God has a way of getting us to where He wants us to be. For my wife and I that journey started in January 2011, while we were living in Asia, and friends of …Read More

“Your Daughter Has Autism”

March 28, 2015 by nohandsbutours autism, cognitive delay, Developmental System, Family Stories 2 Comments

leslie2

My husband and I were high school sweethearts. We met young, married quickly while in college, and had plans for our life together from the start. Our plans included chasing the American dream and one child. Years went by and we were doing fine! We had our one child, a few advanced degrees, stable jobs, …Read More

Adopting a Child with Vision Impairment: 8 Things to Consider

March 23, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Found, Family Stories, retinoblastoma, Sensory System, vision issues, vision loss 6 Comments

cross1

December 11, 2011 in Fujian was cool, damp and grey. We were waiting in a conference room at the hotel with another couple from the US. This wasn’t the first time we’d done this. We had waited in similar rooms four times prior to this; however, this time was very different. Long after, we would …Read More

Ridiculous Faith

March 18, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Found, Family Stories 10 Comments

Poppy family

How this all began. The story… we simply didn’t even begin to write. Dean and I went out for a date at Olive Garden. On this date I mentioned to Dean that I keep getting this strong impression about adopting an older girl. We talked. We laughed. We both agreed this would have to be …Read More

the sea in our blood

March 17, 2015 by nohandsbutours blood conditions, Family Stories, March 2015 Feature, March 2015 Feature - Blood Conditions, thalassemia 1 Comments

thal6

When I was very young, I knew that I wanted to adopt a little girl from China. Stories of baby girls being abandoned because of the one-child policy made a strong impact on me. I grew up, got married to a wonderful man, and we spent 9 years having “the longest honeymoon ever,” rarely even …Read More

Jo Jo: adopting a child with undiagnosed urogenital defects

March 16, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, micropenis, undescended testicle, urogenital defects 1 Comments

cars

My name is Lynn and I asked if I could share my family’s story. Our hope is that in sharing about a sensitive special need like our son has, a family out there that is thinking of adopting a child with it will be helped. We have five children. The first three are biological followed …Read More

Binding Her Wounds: Adopting a Child with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)

March 12, 2015 by nohandsbutours epidermolysis bullosa, Family Stories, Skin Conditions, Whitney 7 Comments

whitney

Our journey as a family into EB adoption started with eczema. True story. Out of the three biological children we already had, two of them had big time problems with eczema. So, when one day I was scrolling down the waiting child list on our agency’s website and saw “dermatitis”, my heart leapt. Dermatitis? I …Read More

Adopting a Child with Hemophilia: What I Wish I Had Known

March 7, 2015 by nohandsbutours blood conditions, Family Stories, hemophilia, March 2015 Feature, March 2015 Feature - Blood Conditions 1 Comments

hemophilia

In honor of Hemophilia Awareness Month, I wanted to write a post to help other adoptive parents understand what can be involved in adopting a child with hemophilia. My son, who came home from China in 2013, has severe Hemophilia A (the most common type of hemophilia), which means that his body does not make …Read More

Gia: Adopting a Child with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)

March 4, 2015 by nohandsbutours epidermolysis bullosa, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 3 Comments

Family

When my husband and I began the adoption process, we knew we were open to adopting a child with special needs, but we didn’t have any specific need in mind. We had a very broad medical checklist, and we planned on getting our LID and having our agency match us with a child. But then …Read More

Cleo: adopting a child with burns

February 18, 2015 by nohandsbutours body scars, burns, contracture deformity, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 5 Comments

NHBO-9

In looking back I can see now that the seed was carefully planted long before we knew of her. The unknown preparation came in the forms of books, a family story from a friend, career decisions and a few other situations that seemed of random nature at the time. It wasn’t in our initial scope …Read More

Cardiac Transplant: part two

February 16, 2015 by nohandsbutours advanced heart failure, complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, Family Stories, February 2015 Feature, heart defect, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease 0 Comments

Rini-Recent-#2edit

This is the second half of a two-part post written by two mamas who have walked a similar – and yet very different – path. Both of their daughters, adopted from China with complex heart defects, required what most parents would consider a worst case scenario: a cardiac transplant. Each shares their experience below. Andrea, …Read More

adopting a child with congenital nevus

February 12, 2015 by nohandsbutours Congenital melanocytic nevus, Congenital nevus, Family Stories 3 Comments

HJ7A7020

My husband was adopted domestically as an infant. As high school sweethearts, I heard him share his personal testimony several times. His testimony centered around his physical and spiritual adoption. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us …Read More

Cardiac Transplant: Two Little Girls, Two New Lives

February 9, 2015 by nohandsbutours advanced heart failure, complex heart defect, end stage cardiac disease, Family Stories, February 2015 Feature, heart defect, heart transplant, single ventricle heart disease 0 Comments

Lily-immediately-Post-Transplantedit

February is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month, so this month we will be featuring several posts from moms parenting children with heart defects. Our goal is to inform and equip those considering or home with children with this special need by sharing the real-life experiences of those already parenting a child with a CHD. This …Read More

Little Girl Red

February 6, 2015 by nohandsbutours complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2015 Feature, heart defect, PDA, VSD 0 Comments

talitha9

Sometimes I put my head to her chest and listen. Lub, dub. Lub, dub. Oh the beauty of that sound. It sounds like life and hope, sadness and struggle. I think about her heart in the first months of her life. Her first breath in the world, a whoosh of air into her (most likely …Read More

Will You Love Me Forever?

January 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, older child adoption 1 Comments

IMG_3527

Excitement, curiosity and fear of the unknown filled the eight year old boy’s mind as he entered the cold, stale room. His eyes landed on some smiling faces that looked vaguely familiar. Yes, these were the same faces that had smiled at him from the pages of the photo album he carried in his backpack, …Read More

not disabled. differently abled.

January 26, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, limb difference, Missing hand/foot, Orthopedic 3 Comments

sarah2

When I was fourteen I taught Sunday School for a year. One of the kids in my class of four year olds had a short left arm. The first day of class I found myself thinking “that poor little guy was born with only one arm.” It took next to no time at all for …Read More

Looking back on adopting my child with HBV

January 17, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, guest post, HepB+, Infectious, January 2015 Feature 2 Comments

khb

When my husband and I decided in 2008 to adopt from China’s Special Needs Program, we knew we would have to fill out a medical check list. One of the needs we readily checked was Hepatitis B. I had contacted HepB as an adult and had cleared the virus without really getting sick. Of course, …Read More

She is Perfectly and Wonderfully Made

December 31, 2014 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, guest post, limb difference, Mandy, symbrachydactyly 6 Comments

a10_20140314_5979

My husband Bryson and I knew we would grow our family through adoption when we got married 12.5 years ago. His family served as a foster family welcoming 18 children into their home during his childhood, and I spent time volunteering at an orphanage in Southeast Asia as a teen. These experiences were transformational in …Read More

Unspeakable Joy: adopting a child with complex special needs

December 19, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive delay, Family Stories, hypothyroidism, non-verbal 3 Comments

savvy2

Sometimes life takes us places we never expected to go and in those places God writes a story we never thought would be ours. — Renee Swope I never viewed myself as “special needs” parent. Our biological daughter was born healthy and our adopted son has a complex heart condition. I believed special needs to …Read More

Willow: adopting a child with complex heart defects

December 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours ASD, complex heart defect, Family Stories, Featured, TGA, VSD 4 Comments

willowfamily-3326-Recovered

We are all transformed. Every day that goes by, I know that more clearly in my heart and mind than the day before. We have only been home with Willow for five months. My husband and I married right out of college, and we waited a while before deciding we wanted to have children. He’s …Read More

Adopting a Child with Albinism

November 19, 2014 by nohandsbutours albinism, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 0 Comments

790

Our daughter Phoebe was almost nine years old when we adopted her. She is our sixth adoptive child from China, our fifth adoption of an older child, and our first with albinism and with severe visual impairment. The only previous experience my husband and I had with visual impairments is one of our teenage daughters …Read More

A Dream Come True: Adopting a Child with Down Syndrome

October 27, 2014 by nohandsbutours Down syndrome, Family Stories, guest post 6 Comments

siblings

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I always knew I would adopt from China. From a very young age, I remember being drawn to families who had done so, and …Read More

The Ayers Family Writes Their Own Story

October 20, 2014 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, guest post, Osteogenesis Imperfecta 7 Comments

AyersFamilyCanvas

As people grow up, get married, and launch into a life together, there’s a funny series of conversations that often encircles these rights of passage. Even as a teenager, I remember the chatter. “How many kids do you think you’ll have?” And after weddings, I’ve heard, “When do you think you’ll starting trying?” Right after …Read More

A Missing Piece: Adopting a Child with 22q Deletion Syndrome

October 9, 2014 by nohandsbutours 22qdeletion syndrome, Developmental System, Family Stories, velocardiofacial syndrome 3 Comments

3

In May of 2013, we were asked if we wanted to review the file of a little girl with a repaired Congenital Heart Defect, Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). We had been waiting several months and were so ready for THE phone call. When our doctor reviewed the file, she told us about Velo Cardio Facial …Read More

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