One Small Step, One Giant Leap

March 14, 2016 by nohandsbutours beta major thalassemia, beta thalassemia, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, should we adopt?, thalassemia 0 Comments

chelsea

Our adoption story began years before we actually had the courage to take the leap and start the process to adopt internationally. On and off, literally for years, my sweet husband and I would each feel lead to adopt. Those feelings and promptings were most often followed by a conversation about the lack of finances …Read More

Learning Curve

March 12, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting as first time parents, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, hemophilia, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, referral, waiting to travel 6 Comments

nhbophoto4

After a twenty-minute speech about what our daily routine would entail, followed by a list of possible complications, the Hematologist looked at me pointedly… “You know, it will be a steep learning curve for you all, but you will settle into a routine, and more quickly than you think. You’ll see. He’s just a boy.” …Read More

More Than Blood: Adopting a Child with Thalassemia

March 11, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting again, beta major thalassemia, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, thalassemia 1 Comments

PIC-14

How do most kids get in a pool? They jump… full force, no holding back. They don’t know what the water temperature is, and they don’t care. They are so excited to be at the pool, they anticipate all the fun they are about to have, and it doesn’t bother them if the water is …Read More

The Story of MengYan

March 9, 2016 by nohandsbutours Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, thalassemia 1 Comments

meng2

MengYan’s story began in China, in Hunan Province. We do not know much about her birth or her birth family. She was found abandoned in a box at the front door of the local police station. She was a newborn at that time and was taken to an orphanage because her family could not be …Read More

#whatisthalassemia

March 8, 2016 by nohandsbutours beta major thalassemia, beta thalassemia, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, should we adopt?, thalassemia 1 Comments

thal4

Our Journey with Thalassemia First let me say this is not our story this is His story. If it was ours we would never know what thalassemia was nor would we ever have our precious kids. My husband and I have always wanted a large family and to grow our family through adoption, but never …Read More

This Traveled Road

March 6, 2016 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, should we adopt? 0 Comments

sam

Our journey to adoption has been a road of many fears being met by a faithful God. We talked about the possibility of adoption while we were still dating. Two and a half years into our marriage I gave birth to a baby boy. About two years later, my husband mentioned that he felt that …Read More

Ripples on the Water

March 5, 2016 by nohandsbutours beta thalassemia, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, thalassemia 1 Comments

mia1

Eight years ago I saw my daughter for the first time… a sad face standing behind metal bars. She looked scared and confused, with an expression that seemed more like an old woman than a young child. I searched her eyes and saw… nothing. No life, no twinkle, no joy. Expecting a referral for months, …Read More

Sorrow Turned to Joy

March 4, 2016 by nohandsbutours brain damage syndrome, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, microcephaly, small head circumference 0 Comments

sun

I hesitate to write about my daughter’s adoption story for fear I might scare others away. However, her story is one of sorrow that has turned into joy. I want to share her joy. My daughter has a brain injury and microcephaly. She also loves to eat jelly beans, tease her siblings, and prefers to …Read More

A Baby Sister But Six Months Older: Adopting Out of Birth Order

March 3, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting out of birth order, adoption realities, Attachment, Family Stories, first year home, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, parent-to-child attachment, virtual twins 6 Comments

ETibbetts2

Adoption has always been on my heart. Always. China? Not quite as long, but still in 2014 we found ourselves traveling around the world to meet and bring home our daughter from China. But before we talk about homecomings, siblings, bonding and all, let me back up a bit. When we found that getting pregnant …Read More

And Babies Make Four: Adopting Two Sons with PKU

March 1, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting as first time parents, adopting two at once, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, PKU, virtual twins 4 Comments

PKU2

At birth, I was diagnosed with PKU (Phenylketonuria). Most people do not know about this metabolic disorder, but all newborns in the US are tested at birth and if diagnosed, a special low-protein diet begins and should be maintained throughout life. With proper treatment, the child will escape the threat of untreated PKU which includes: …Read More

Looking Past the Needs to See the Child

February 21, 2016 by nohandsbutours cognitive delay, Family Stories, large families, LInear Nevus Sebaceous Syndrome, older child adoption 0 Comments

curry

More than a few times, my husband and I have looked around us and wondered out loud how this all happened. How on earth did we end up with 12 children? Have we really spent a cumulative three months in China and Vietnam adopting some of our children? Who plans this? Certainly not us. When …Read More

Victories from the Valley: An Unexpected Journey in Adopting a Child with NF1

February 18, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, cocooning, Family Stories, first weeks home, glaucoma, neurofibromatosis, NF1, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment 2 Comments

ann2

We had been home from China with our first daughter almost five months when we saw her picture: a sweet face with a deep downcast shown in her eyes. She was six years old. Her file had been passed over by a few families already because of the uncertainties of her medical condition. One eye …Read More

Thoughts from a Big Sister: Life is a Gift to be Shared

February 17, 2016 by nohandsbutours Down syndrome, Family Stories, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, sibling perspective, siblings 13 Comments

pearl1

Almost three years ago, a little stranger came into my life. And then six months ago, another one joined her: Pearl and Molly, our spicy Hunan girls. It’s so hard to think that they once were strangers to us, to our love, to our family. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without …Read More

Grace In Progress

February 16, 2016 by nohandsbutours ADHD, cl/cp, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, microcephaly, speech delay 1 Comments

gracie

Our adoption journey has been so complicated medically that it is hard to know where to start and what to include, but here is a snippet. I hope it will help you as you make a decision for adoption. My husband Chris and I had been married 16 years and had three beautiful biological boys …Read More

On Siblings and Adoption: From the Oldest of 14

February 13, 2016 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, large families, sibling perspective, siblings 12 Comments

hannah1

Upon learning that I am the oldest of fourteen children, six of whom are adopted from China, a typical response goes something along the lines of, “Bless your heart, that sounds crazy.” My answer is yes, it is crazy! Crazy in the most wonderful, beautiful, joyfully-chaotic way. Others might say, “Weren’t your parents busy enough? …Read More

Love for Leeya

February 12, 2016 by nohandsbutours cerebral palsy, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2016 Feature - Heart, Tetralogy of Fallot 3 Comments

andrea1

February is Heart Month and we continue to share stories from parents as they navigate life with their heart babies. Each story, each post, each child is special. And for today’s post, this is especially true. Andrea was in the process of writing this post when her daughter Leeya suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Andrea …Read More

The Perfect Fit for Our Family

February 3, 2016 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, hip dysplasia, misdiagnosed SN, mobility issues, Orthopedic, port wine stain, Sturge Weber Syndrome 1 Comments

Photo-six

My husband and I were only married a year when the Lord called us to adopt. Separately, we both felt the Lord speak to us about adopting a little girl from China – we told each other a few days later. It was encouraging to hear that call, and we were both excited for the …Read More

Undiagnosed Hearing Loss: Wisdom from the Journey

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

hear1

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

Microcephaly: A Blessing In Disguise

January 24, 2016 by nohandsbutours cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, Jean, microcephaly, older child adoption 1 Comments

microcephaly1

I first learned about microcephaly while working in the newborn nursery. A sweet little boy lay in a basinet all bundled up in a white hospital blanket. As I got closer to him I noticed his head was quite small compared to the other newborns. I later found out that this dear child was diagnosed …Read More

Worth It

January 13, 2016 by nohandsbutours brain damage syndrome, Developmental System, estropia, Family Stories, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, low muscle tone, oral-motor delays, speech delay 2 Comments

worthit4

The words in Miao’s file were daunting. “Soften lesion of posterior horn” and “softening of bilateral ventricle” and “HIE”. I wasn’t sure how to pronounce them, let alone what they meant. And my trusty sidekick, Google, was having trouble explaining them as well. I had come across a picture and short description of Miao on …Read More

We’re Not Special

January 5, 2016 by nohandsbutours complex heart defect, Family Stories, Heart System, HLHS, older child adoption, orphan hosting, single atrium heart disease, single ventricle heart disease, TGA 2 Comments

special

My husband, Bobby, and I are not special. We keep being told that we are. Ever since starting the adoption process, people keep telling us we are “special”. I don’t always know how to respond. I feel embarrassed and totally unworthy. We don’t belong on that pedestal. Have they seen our very un-special home and …Read More

A Single Image

January 3, 2016 by nohandsbutours December 2015 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, older child adoption, profound deafness, Sensory System, waiver request 1 Comments

max1

When a single image changes your whole life… We began our adoption process in a way that was, likely, different from many. I was checking my email, and literally, on a whim, I opened up an email I normally wouldn’t have. And there, staring at me, was my son. It rattled me to my core …Read More

Adopting a Child with “Low Vision”

December 31, 2015 by nohandsbutours albinism, December 2015 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, nystagmus, Sensory System, Skin Conditions, vision issues 4 Comments

albinism2

For 2015 the NHBO team set a goal to focus on all eleven special needs systems, featuring a different system each month. We wanted to not only spotlight the needs within that system, but simultaneously grow the content here on No Hands But Ours. And with the help of the amazing adoption community, we succeeded. …Read More

Love is a Universal Language

December 27, 2015 by nohandsbutours ASL, cochlear implants, December 2015 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, hearing loss, Sensory System 0 Comments

max1

Like nearly every adoptive parent in today’s international adoption realm, my husband and I began our adoption process with the (dreaded) Medical Conditions Checklist – a list of conditions that we felt prepared for and would be willing to review files for. Birthmarks, check. Missing digits, check. Sensory processing needs, check. As an autism specialist, …Read More

Adopting a Child with a Brain Damage Diagnosis: “Prepare to be Amazed”

December 15, 2015 by nohandsbutours brain damage syndrome, Developmental System, Family Stories, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, speech delay 1 Comments

zoey3

On January 31, 2014, we were heading out to dinner when I noticed a missed call on my cell phone. It was a Colorado area code. The agency. I asked my husband to give me a minute as I listened to the message. This was it! The call came only eight days after our application …Read More

New Ears For Ellie Kate

December 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours ASL, attachment activities, cochlear implants, December 2015 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, hearing loss, profound deafness, sedated ABR, Sensory System 0 Comments

cook5

When we started the adoption process for the second time, we knew things would look differently. Adopting a child through the Special Needs program in China was a huge step of faith for us and we had no idea what the next few months or even years would look for our family. While we were …Read More

Older Children and Incontinence, a Family Story

November 29, 2015 by nohandsbutours bowel management, Family Stories, imperforate anus, incontinence, lipomyelomeningocele, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, older child adoption, tethered cord, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

nov4

Our adoption journey started with two infant adoptions from South Korea, in 2008 and 2010. Our first was a healthy baby boy; our second, a daughter with limb differences. When we considered adding to our family again, we decided to adopt an older child and looked into the China special needs program. We pondered the …Read More

Looking Beyond the Label

November 28, 2015 by nohandsbutours anorectal malformation, bowel management, Family Stories, imperforate anus, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 0 Comments

ia2

Gastrointestinal Issues. These two words changed our world and lives forever on December 2, 2012. My husband and I had poured over the list of special needs provided by the Waiting Child Program at our adoption agency and chosen those we felt we could handle emotionally, physically, and financially. Gastrointestinal issues was a special need …Read More

She is our JOY: Adopting a Child with CAH

November 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours ambiguous genitalia, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Disorder of Sexual Development, Family Stories, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 1 Comments

When we began our adoption journey we had no idea where it would eventually lead. We were entirely new to the international adoption process yet seasoned parents of four children. Our placing agency encouraged us to begin our home study and fill out some essential paperwork. One form had us place a checkmark beside the …Read More

Waiting for a Family: Eugene and Lile

November 14, 2015 by nohandsbutours Advocacy, Family Stories 0 Comments

eugene2

Andrea Olson is Executive Director of Little Hearts Medical and a five time adoptive mother. She traveled to Beijing recently to assist with Holt International Children’s Services’ Ambassador Program, where she was partnered with two beautiful boys born with complex CHD and in need of adoption. ………………. Hello everyone! I just recently returned from Beijing …Read More

Frequently Asked Questions about Complex/Persistent Cloaca

November 13, 2015 by nohandsbutours ambiguous genitalia, bowel management, cloaca, Family Stories, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

c

Instead of beginning this article with a list of questions and daunting answers, the first thing I want to include is our most frequent ANSWER… These little girls are beyond precious! Our cloaca child is the light of our lives! They need you to come for them and you will reap a million times more …Read More

Judah’s Perfect Puzzle

November 6, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, imperforate anus, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

judah2

The Lord’s idea of adventure and my idea of adventure are radically different. My adventure began with a dream of flying to China, bringing home a child, doting him with love, he’d love me in return and we’d skip down the Great Wall in fairytale fashion into our happy adoptive family life that would fit …Read More

And Our Family Tree Grew

November 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours bowel management, cloaca, Family Stories, imperforate anus, November 2015 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 2 Comments

ginna1

Once upon a time God planted a tiny seed in my heart. A seed for adoption. That fact that it grew at all is truly miraculous. You see, my son had just been born and was in the NICU where he was recovering from his first 2 of now 13 surgeries. He has Spina Bifida. …Read More

The Truth of Parenting a Child with Unknowns

October 16, 2015 by nohandsbutours cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, low muscle tone, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, speech delay, undiagnosed SN 3 Comments

sarah1

Our daughter’s special need wasn’t on a checklist. Even today, we still don’t know what her special need is. Her medical history is a complete mystery. With no birth story, we will never have all of the pieces to the puzzle. Yet, her puzzle will not always be incomplete. In fact, as we put these …Read More

Adopting a Child with Cancer: Easton’s Story

October 11, 2015 by nohandsbutours cancer, Family Stories, retinoblastoma, surgery 1 Comments

easton0

Cancer. I went over and over it in my mind when I felt that familiar tug on my heart. Dear Lord you cannot be serious. You’re kidding right?!? I watched my dad die from cancer and now I’m going to adopt a child that could be dying too? Yes. And not only yes, but urgently. …Read More

Saying Yes Was Scary, Being Her Mother Is Not

October 7, 2015 by nohandsbutours cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, hearing loss, non-verbal, October 2015 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

huff-family

When my husband and I began our adoption journey in January of 2013 we, like most pre-adoptive parents, had a profile of sorts for the child we were hoping to adopt. We knew we wanted to adopt from China. We were hoping to adopt a girl and we knew we wanted to adopt a child …Read More

Mercy: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours albinism, developmental delays, Family Stories, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 10 Comments

mercy6

In 2011, my husband and I attended a banquet to benefit Ukrainian orphans. Our hearts were stirred for orphans that night. After praying for God’s direction, we chose All God’s Children International as our agency and began the process towards a special needs adoption from China. One afternoon I scrolled through the Rainbow Kids website, …Read More

Awesome.

September 19, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, heart defect, Heart System 0 Comments

jill

In early July of 2013 my husband and I had the rare-to-us opportunity to grab a quick lunch together. It was unplanned and so fun to sneak down to our local Red Robin for a gluten free burger together in the middle of the day. We had no way of knowing that little lunch would change …Read More

My Life for Yours. Gladly

September 16, 2015 by nohandsbutours ADHD, autism, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, institutional autism 12 Comments

becker

This is a story about expectations vs. reality. A story about HIS grace in the midst of my weakness, my fear, and my anxiety. This is our story. But I don’t want our story to just be for us. In the adoption community, our expectations are almost always at least slightly different than reality. I …Read More

Our Butterfly Child

September 15, 2015 by nohandsbutours epidermolysis bullosa, Family Stories, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 1 Comments

butterfly1

I grew up in a third world country where the exotic butterflies are exquisite! My favorite had wings like brilliant sapphires on thin blankets of black velvet. They would flit by in glorious beauty and no matter how many times I saw them, they still took my breath away. It is hard to describe something …Read More

Special Need Highlight: Daily Care for Ichthyosis

September 10, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, ichthyiosis, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 0 Comments

ichthyosis2

We had been waiting months for “The Call” from our adoption agency. Our homestudy was complete and our dossier sent to China. We were waiting, on edge, to be matched with our daughter. And when the call finally came, I missed it. My phone was in silent mode in my purse and by the time …Read More

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

Waiting Child: Kim

July 28, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories 0 Comments

11014872_10205550632498087_983018823444792963_n

Kim is a precious and beautiful girl who is 6 years old. She is designated special focus to Lifeline through an Orphanage Partnership. Her special need is listed as abnormal bone development. This little girl is absolutely precious! She is a polite and loves to greet others! She can walk unassisted, go up and down …Read More

Microtia. What?

July 23, 2015 by nohandsbutours 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

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, adopting two at once, cl/cp, 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

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