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, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, Nager Syndrome, 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 0 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

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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, 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

The Sweetest of Blessings

July 13, 2015 by nohandsbutours coloboma, Family Stories, frontonasal dysplasia, hypertelorism, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial 0 Comments

jeng3

We were a family of six. We had two girls and two boys. Life was good. We felt complete. In 2007 the Lord called us to adopt. What a sweet journey of trust and faith it has been! Our first adoption was of our now 9 year old daughter, Karleigh Mei, 6.5 years ago in …Read More

Her Journey.

July 7, 2015 by nohandsbutours Family Stories, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, Nicole 0 Comments

nicole

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

The 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 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 adopting as a single mom, Family Stories, June 2015 Feature - Orthopedic, Orthopedic, osteogenesis imperfecta 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 adopting two at once, Developmental System, Down syndrome, 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

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