The Real Worst Case Scenario

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

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

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Eight

April 6, 2017 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, adopting again, dossier, Faith, homestudy, paperchase, pre-adoption, Theraplay, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 0 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

Seriously Blessed

March 4, 2017 adopting again, adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, complex heart defect, complex medical, large families, medical needs checklist, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, older child adoption, should we adopt? 9 Comments

In 2011, our family looked like this. We were considered a large family by our friends and family. Dan and I had been married for 27 years at this point. We had been through a great deal during those 27 years. Our twin boys were born prematurely, three months before their due date. Our son …Read More

Red Flags: Not All Agencies Are Created Equal

February 15, 2017 Agencies, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, switching agencies 0 Comments

You may have seen that an adoption agency with a program in China was recently “temporarily debarred” by the State Department. Some of the violations by this agency included (I am paraphrasing): Charging families in-country fees that were different than what they had previously quoted. Charging fees that were unreasonably high in consideration of services …Read More

After the Honeymoon: Adopting a Child with Complex CHD

February 14, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as first time parents, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, first year home, Heart System, heterotaxy, medical needs checklist, Morning Star Foster Home, pulmonary atresia, should we adopt?, surgery, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Prologue: In our son’s room, we have a picture that reads: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We chose this verse for him, but in reality it applies more to us. My husband, Derek, and …Read More

Adopting a Child with Unpredictable Special Needs

January 31, 2017 adoption realities, bronchiectasis, dysphagia, Family Stories, medical needs checklist, referral, swallow study, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

When you visit a carnival, some rides are very predictable. The frog hopper, bumper cars, flying elephants, and even the tea cups come with a high level of predictability. You hand over the ticket and, with almost 100% certainty, you can foresee what the outcome of the ride will be… steady, smooth, and timely. Then …Read More

On the Ground in China: Prayers Answered

January 24, 2017 agency-orphanage partnership, AWAA, Beyond Adoption, medical mission trip, orphan ministry, other ways to care for the orphan 0 Comments

Prayers answered overnight, relationships forged, and a path cleared to serve more than twice the number of children planned – this is the incredible impact of a recent medical mission trip to help orphans in China. On this recent trip, Dr. Kanhka Linthavong and his team saw God work in powerful ways. The group of …Read More

In the Meantime

January 13, 2017 adopting again, Courtney, either gender, referral, waiting for referral 8 Comments

Right now I am in a place I like to call the sweet spot. The paper chase is finished. There are no more adoption documents to sign or forms to fill out or fingerprints appointments to attend. All of our paperwork is submitted and everything on our end is done and out of our hands. …Read More

My Plan vs. His Plan

January 11, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as a single mom, adopting as first time parents, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, working mom 0 Comments

You know how you make plans for your life and then God has something completely different in mind (and probably laughs at you for thinking your plan would measure up)? That was me. In fact, I had my whole life figured out. I was going to go to college, fall in love, get married, and …Read More

Snips, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

January 1, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting out of birth order, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, medical needs checklist, older child adoption, referral, waiting for referral 3 Comments

I sat down one afternoon after our decision to adopt and filled out the application and MCC. The MCC is a Medical Conditions Checklist where you check boxes of special needs that you and your family are comfortable with. There are also boxes to fill out for age preference that range (from 0-13 years old) …Read More

Family Makes a Difference

December 29, 2016 adopting a boy, age assignment, bone scan, cl/cp, Craniofacial, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Family Stories, first year home, International Adoption Clinic, night terrors, Sleep issues, switching agencies 0 Comments

If you have read any adoption account they all contain transformation stories. Most are pretty dramatic. How could it be anything less? Family makes a difference. The love of family brings healing physical, emotional and spiritual. It is no different in our story. My family was in line to be matched with a child in …Read More

Outnumbered and Loving It

December 28, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, Family Stories, referral 0 Comments

Five years ago this month, we got “the call”. To say it was unexpected would be an understatement. Our dossier wasn’t logged in, the check marks on our medical needs list were few, and the shared list had been released earlier in the week. When I checked the caller ID on my cell phone I …Read More

Reluctant No More

December 27, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Andrea O., December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, medical needs checklist, referral, waiting for referral 1 Comments

Back in early 2005 when we first decided to adopt, we researched the different avenues of adoption and for many reasons we chose China. If I’m completely honest with myself, one of the reasons is that we were practically assured to be matched with the type of child we had already decided that we wanted: a …Read More

Without the Thought of Her, We Would Never Have Him

December 26, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, pre-adoption, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Twelve years ago I had a dream birthed in my heart of mothering a child from China. In my mind’s eye I saw a sweet little girl, jet black pigtails, and pink bows. I had just spent time in the country, and even at a young age saw the crushing weight of the reality of …Read More

Blessed by Boys

December 12, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, dossier reuse, Family Stories, referral, should we adopt?, virtual twins, waiting for referral 1 Comments

I completed my first adoption in the fall of 1983. Cradling my new baby, I raised my right hand as I stood in front of my mother pledging, “I promise to love my Cabbage Patch Kid with all my heart. I promise to be a good and kind parent. I will always remember how special …Read More

Love Beyond Sight

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

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

Uncommon Visible Difference

November 19, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, Family Stories, large families, lateral proboscis, referral, surgery, visible special need 6 Comments

There is an art to a successful adoption announcement when you are adopting a child with a visible difference. You learn to manage the situation, to set up the encounter in ways that you would never think about when you adopt a child who looks more typical. You mention your referral. Your friend expresses excitement …Read More

Not What I Expected

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

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

Leaps of Faith: Adopting a Child with Micropthalmia

October 27, 2016 Chiari 1 malformation, Developmental System, medical needs checklist, micropthalmia, October 2016 Feature - Developmental, prosthetic eye, referral, Sensory System, vision loss 4 Comments

No two families start exactly the same. In some sense, every decision to have children involves a leap of faith. Nothing in this world is a guarantee; as plenty of parents have learned, there is much that can go wrong during a baby’s formative nine months in the womb and truly, through their entire lives, …Read More

When Mom Works: Every Single One Needs a Family

October 5, 2016 albinism, declining a referral, Family Stories, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, referral, Skin Conditions, TVI, waiting for referral, working mom 20 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Seven

October 5, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, dossier, Faith, homestudy, I'm Ready to Adopt, paperchase, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 1 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

On Medical Mission: Telling the Stories of Orphans with Special Needs

October 4, 2016 agency-orphanage partnership, AWAA, Beyond Adoption, medical mission trip, orphan ministry, other ways to care for the orphan 1 Comments

Dr. Kanhka Linthavong is a North Carolina doctor with a huge heart for adoption. His family is in the process of adopting a child from China, and he loves how adoption demonstrates how God brings us into His own family.  In just a few days, Dr. Linthavong will be traveling to China on a medical missions …Read More

The Gift of Waiting

September 29, 2016 adopting again, Courtney, paperchase, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 2 Comments

When I was four I asked for a calendar. Just writing that sentence seems ridiculous. I asked my mom to keep track of my activities so I could know which event happened on what day. Sundays and Wednesdays were church and in between there was preschool, a plethora of playdates, and ballet practice. As long …Read More

Our Red Thread of Hope: An Advocacy Success Story

September 21, 2016 adopting a boy, Advocacy, Family Stories, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, switching agencies, waiting for referral 4 Comments

The Chinese have an ancient proverb that says, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.” Back in July 2015, the Lord called our family out of the Ethiopia adoption program, where had waited for over …Read More

Beautiful Scars: Adopting a Child with a Congenital Nevus

September 7, 2016 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

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Six

September 3, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, dossier, Faith, homestudy, I'm Ready to Adopt, paperchase, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 0 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

Sign Language and Adoption: The Gift of Communication

August 23, 2016 attachment activities, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, Developmental System, Down syndrome, prepping for China, sign language, speech delay, waiting to travel 1 Comments

You’ve made the decision to adopt. Your homestudy is underway or maybe even finished. You’ve taken adoption classes and read book after book. You’ve worked hard to prepare your home, your family and your hearts to bring your little one home. But what about communication? Have you prepared to communicate with your child? For most …Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Five

August 13, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, Agencies, agency-orphanage partnership, dossier, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, medical needs checklist, paperchase, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 1 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

Thoughts on the Former Shared List Program

August 12, 2016 Advocacy, Agencies, Carrie, CCAI, former shared list program, Gladney, Holt, Lifeline, referral, shared list, special focus 2 Comments

CCCWA has always shown a willingness to try new programs and methods in order to give more children a chance to be adopted. Through the years, many different aspects of the program have changed – sometimes quite suddenly – which initially can cause confusion and anxiety. But with time, agencies and families have adapted to …Read More

RainbowKids, Martha Osborne and the Shared List

August 6, 2016 Advocacy, CCAI, Gladney, Holt, Lifeline, RainbowKids, referral, shared list, special focus, Stefanie 0 Comments

We recently had an opportunity to talk with Martha Osborne, founder of RainbowKids, and ask her some questions about RainbowKids, the recent changes in the Shared List and the impact of those changes on China’s special needs program. ……… Q: Can you tell us more about Rainbow Kids – how did it get started? Our …Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Four

August 3, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, Agencies, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, medical needs checklist, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

His Hands and Feet: Adopting a Child with ABS

July 26, 2016 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

Saying Yes

July 10, 2016 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

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Three

July 3, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, agency-orphanage partnership, Faith, LID vs. SF, medical needs checklist, pre-adoption, referral, shared list, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 7-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

No Limits: Adopting a Child with Amniotic Band Syndrome

June 26, 2016 adopting again, amniotic band syndrome, amputation, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic, prosthetics, referral 0 Comments

As mom to four biological boys, I remember the ultrasound appointments where the heart, kidneys, bones and limbs were surveyed and carefully measured. I was blessed with healthy boys and encouraging news from each of those prenatal appointments. Often, I wonder if my girls’ China mommies had ultrasounds, and if they knew prior to birth …Read More

Different Than What We Asked for, Better Than We Imagined

June 20, 2016 adopting a boy, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, first weeks home, Megan, 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

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Two

June 1, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, medical needs checklist, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 3 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post One

May 3, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 3 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

16 Ways to Prepare During the Wait

May 2, 2016 first weeks home, International Adoption Clinic, Jennifer B., Newly Home, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 3 Comments

Those who have adopted, as well as those currently knee deep in the adoption process, know all about a little thing called waiting. Only it really is not a little thing; it is a big, difficult thing. The good news is that although the wait is hard, it gives families the opportunity to prepare for …Read More

International Adoption Clinics: Services and Locations

April 29, 2016 first weeks home, first year home, International Adoption Clinic, Jennifer B., Newly Home, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 4 Comments

I can still remember getting ‘the call’ during our first adoption process. Our agency coordinator was on the phone and they had a file for us to review. I remember the many different emotions I felt as we opened the file and photos and began to read. Within an hour of opening the file I …Read More

Mine In China: Your Comprehensive Guide to Adopting from China

March 31, 2016 books, China trip, pre-adoption, prepping for China, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 3 Comments

Talking today with Kelly, who authored our 10-part series I’m Ready to Adopt: Choosing an Agency as she shares about her new book Mine in China: Your comprehensive guide to adopting from China, which is available now for pre-order and will be released April 4th. Q: Tell us a little about your family. A: My …Read More

Creating a Book to Help Children through Transitions

March 30, 2016 adopting again, Attachment, attachment activities, China trip, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, pre-adoption, prepping for China, waiting to travel 3 Comments

Children love books. The exciting pictures! The imaginative stories! The interactive tabs and hidden illustrations! The textures of a touch and feel! Typically, books allow a child to peek into an alternate reality filled with adventure but books can also be used as a tool to help guide a child through their own adventure. My …Read More

Learning Curve: Adopting a Child with Hemophilia

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

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

All for One, One for All

March 9, 2016 Amy, pre-adoption, should we adopt?, sibling perspective, waiting for referral 2 Comments

I remember several times over about 5 years talking to Jesus about adoption. I remember telling Him that I would if I could, but… my husband wasn’t on board. it was too expensive. it wasn’t the right time. the kids are too old. the kids are too young. our house doesn’t have any more room …Read More

Preparing Siblings for Adoption: Five Simple Guidelines

February 9, 2016 adopting again, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, guest post, referral, siblings, waiting to travel 4 Comments

If you are reading this, I am guessing you are close to saying YES to adoption or have already done so. There is a great chance you are somewhere in the middle of the paperwork race or nearing the finish line. You have countless hours under your belt thinking about how you will love, parent …Read More

Heart Month: Little Hearts Medical

February 1, 2016 February 2016 Feature - Heart, Heart System, Little Hearts Medical, other ways to care for the orphan, referral, waiting for referral 0 Comments

It’s February 1. Happy American Heart Month! To start off heart month here at NHBO, I asked Andrea Olson to share. Andrea has shared here before, as mom to four children with complex (some with very complex) heart needs. But today Andrea is sharing as the Executive Director of Little Hearts Medical. One of her …Read More

A Plan to Survive the First Weeks Home

December 29, 2015 Attachment, China trip, cocooning, first weeks home, Mandy, Newly Home, prepping for China, Theraplay, toddler adoption, waiting to travel 11 Comments

Adoption is hard. The first few weeks home can be brutal or not. For us, it is hard, but I am not super mom. I am so tired. The kind of tired that makes your bones ache and makes you laugh when things aren’t really that funny. We adopted our second child, a son, 21 …Read More

The Extra Stocking on Your Mantel: {Longing at Christmas}

December 17, 2015 Andrea Y., Christmas, waiting to travel 0 Comments

We had just begun decorating the tree tonight when he ran in the room saying, “Mama! Mama! Where are my ornaments? Is that one mine momma?” Although his hand-made ornaments are fewer because he’s been with us… home… a shorter time than the rest, my heart couldn’t help but recognize the peace it felt as …Read More

Right On Time

December 11, 2015 Amy, referral, waiting for referral 6 Comments

I was messaging with a friend who is in the paperwork portion of their adoption. I love being a resource for people who have questions or need encouragement because those people for me were lifelines during a time in our life where we sometimes needed one. Sometimes I just needed someone who had gone before …Read More

The What, Why and How of International Adoption Clinics

November 4, 2015 China trip, first weeks home, International Adoption Clinic, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, referral 0 Comments

International Adoption Clinics (IACs) were initially founded by a group of adoptive parents who were also physicians. We saw a huge gap in the health care given to our own internationally adopted children. Before IACs opened their doors we were trying to see international adoptees by squeezing them into the 15 minute or less appointment …Read More

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