Beautiful Unknowns

December 5, 2016 epidermolysis bullosa, Skin Conditions, undiagnosed SN, Whitney 0 Comments

Medical needs adoption is one you have to walk into with your eyes wide open. Though prospective parents may have a medical history presented to them before saying the biggest “yes” of their lives, you have to know this: there are unknowns. There will always be unknowns. We knew about the unknowns before saying our …Read More

The Lucky Ones: Adopting a Child with a Visible Special Need

November 13, 2016 birthmark, Family Stories, hemangioma, phakomatosis pigmentovascularis, port wine stain, Vascular System 2 Comments

The Lord uses many avenues to speak to the hearts of his people and call them forward to adoption. For some that call comes from the Bible and teachings of the church, for some that call comes through knowing people who have adopted, some people meet the vulnerable in orphanages and fall in love, and …Read More

Adoptive Mama Overthinking

November 5, 2016 adoption realities, Attachment, epidermolysis bullosa, Whitney 4 Comments

Raise your hand if you tend to overthink things. Now, raise both hands, jump up and down, throw your head back and yell, “Yes, this is me!”, if you’re an adoptive mama and you tend to overthink things. Overthinking is a habit that can be dangerous in the best of situations. Overthinking when you’re processing …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

Choosing Private School {A Place Among the Stars}

October 3, 2016 Education, epidermolysis bullosa, private school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, Skin Conditions, Whitney 0 Comments

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ……… There was once a mama desperate to make it to the other side of the world to see her daughter face-to-face… and though the thrill of the moment could never be eclipsed, she eventually stopped looking at the moon, and forgot …Read More

Epidermolysis Bullosa: “The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of”

September 28, 2016 epidermolysis bullosa, Family Stories, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 0 Comments

Epidermolysis Bullosa (ep-i-der-mo-lie-sis bu-low-suh), abbreviated as EB, is a rare, genetic disorder that impacts connective tissue. Approximately 200 children a year in the U.S. are born with EB, and it’s known as “The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of”. Children with EB are referred to as “butterflies” due to the fragility of their skin. There …Read More

Not Really a Special Need: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 26, 2016 adopting a boy, albinism, Family Stories, nystagmus, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, TVI, vision issues 0 Comments

No Hands But Ours is focusing on skin conditions this month. My son has albinism, but I hesitated to write our story. Heck, our dermatologist has discharged us. If my son ever has a suspicious mole or a serious burn, we’ll go back. Otherwise, I am capable of – the dermatologist pointed out – totally …Read More

Our Fair-Haired Hero: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 17, 2016 albinism, Education, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, TVI, vision issues 0 Comments

Her name was spoken to us before we even knew who she was…. We had adopted from China in 2011 and just started the process to adopt again. One night I let myself start thinking about names for our new little one and after spending more time than I care to admit looking at baby …Read More

More than White Hair: Adopting a Child with Albinism

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

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

Beautiful Scars: Adopting a Child with a Congenital Nevus

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

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

Journey to Gabriel: Adopting a Child with Ichthyosis

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

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

Our Butterfly is a Beach Bum

July 5, 2016 epidermolysis bullosa, Skin Conditions, Whitney 5 Comments

(Alternately titled: Taking a Child with EB to the Beach) Our family loves the beach. The sun, the sand, the salt-water burning in our eyes. The souvenir shopping, the jellyfish spotting, the ritual of going to eat ice cream on our last night of vacation. Taking that first glimpse of the ocean at the end …Read More

Adopting a Child with “Low Vision”

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

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

Mercy: Adopting a Child with Albinism

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

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

Our Butterfly Child

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

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

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

Adopting Nevi Owners

September 6, 2015 Congenital nevus, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 0 Comments

“I may not be able to change the world, but I can change the world for one child.” That, in a sense, is how I have felt since my youth. We began our first adoption process in the fall of 2006 pursuing China’s non-special needs program. Our small agency did not have a special needs …Read More

What Does Life with EB Look Like?

September 3, 2015 epidermolysis bullosa, September 2015 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, Whitney 2 Comments

What does life with EB look like? It looks like swinging on swings at the park. Epidermolysis Bullosa is a genetic connective tissue disorder. There are many types and sub-types, each affecting the individual in different ways. Regardless of type or sub-type, one thing that I have noticed about kids with EB, and their families, …Read More

Prayer Mama

July 5, 2015 epidermolysis bullosa, orphan ministry, other ways to care for the orphan, Whitney 2 Comments

There are adoptive families of all sorts. Families who adopt and have biological children. Families who have only adopted children. Families who adopt more than one over several years. Families who adopt two at the same time. Families who adopt only one. Families who knew from the start that they would adopt one day, and …Read More

The Simplicity of Prosthesis

June 30, 2015 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

Daily Life with Burns | Not Defined

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

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

Adopting a Child with Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome

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

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 albinism, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 7 Comments

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 birthmark, Family Stories, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, May 2015 Feature - Vascular, port wine stain, Sturge Weber Syndrome 2 Comments

“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

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

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

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

Gia: Adopting a Child with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)

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

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 body scars, burns, contracture deformity, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 5 Comments

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

adopting a child with congenital nevus

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

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

Adopting a Child with Albinism

November 19, 2014 albinism, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 1 Comments

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

special need highlight: adopting a child with ichthyosis

September 16, 2014 Family Stories, ichthyiosis, Skin Conditions 3 Comments

Every adoption story is unique but if there’s one common thread, it has to be all the waiting that is involved. Waiting for the home study to be completed, waiting for the dossier to be sent, and waiting to travel. But waiting to find out who your son or daughter is may be the hardest …Read More

You’re not in Kansas anymore

May 17, 2014 adopting SN: the process, adoption realities, birthmark, Chinese Culture, hemangioma, Kayla 3 Comments

I’ve told the editors of this blog that I am running out of things to write about regarding the special need that Jubilee (that’s my daughter) has. It simply doesn’t matter to us any more that she has a skin deformity on her torso. It will matter to her one day, no doubt, but we …Read More

You Only Live Once

April 17, 2014 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 4 Comments

Sometimes I think people think too much. My husband and I, on the other hand, tend to err on the side of reckless. But I have to say that in our 12 years, reckless has served us well. Our very nuptials were hasty. We jumped into love like a kid into cold water. We got …Read More

Wonder

March 17, 2014 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 1 Comments

My daughter and I reclined comfortably together at a park yesterday, beside a calm lake in which Chinese men, bent with age, stood stirring the water around their boats with long oars. A thousand Chinese faces passed us by, upturned at the sunny sky and squinting at their beloved kites in the wind. Some of …Read More

Known by name

February 17, 2014 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 1 Comments

We call her Jubi, or Jubi Sue, or sometimes Jubes. But her name is Jubilee, and she loves her name. The other day her daddy wrote “Jubi” on her paper cup and she was not happy. “Where are the rest of the letters, Daddy?” she asked with a frown. “My name has an l and …Read More

Cheering section

January 17, 2014 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 0 Comments

Jubilee didn’t just get a mom and dad when she was adopted. She got three brothers, three grandparents, three uncles, one aunt, and three cousins. But even though adoption brings children into extended families, church bodies, and communities, the most important thing adoption does is place children into immediate families. Not immediately families, mind you, …Read More

There comes a time

December 17, 2013 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 0 Comments

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 Adoption has seasons of its own. The first season can last for years. It starts as a seed, usually, planted in our hearts, by friends, or media, or God. During this time, we pray for wisdom, seek the counsel …Read More

special need highlight: focus on congenital nevus

November 20, 2013 Congenital nevus, Family Stories, Skin Conditions 8 Comments

During the first few months of our adoption process, I poured through waiting child files and researched varying special needs in anticipation of finding our child.  When we finally got the call from our social worker telling us she had a file for us to look at, I was ecstatic. I thought we had a basic knowledge …Read More

THREE GENERATIONS

November 17, 2013 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 0 Comments

For the past three weeks, my mom and mother-in-law have been visiting from the States! Jubilee has especially loved it, with two more women in the house to offset the incessant wrestling matches and Lego building. “Let’s read magazines,” she suggests, handing each of us a copy of Good Housekeeping or Rachael Ray. We snuggle …Read More

Love Tank

October 17, 2013 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 1 Comments

All kids have “love tanks” – deep wells within their hearts which hold the fuel they run on: love. What happens when those tanks run low? I’m no expert, but I can tell you what happens when my Jubilee’s tank is low. “Mom, what did you buy at the store? Hi Mom. Mom? Mom, where’d …Read More

Chinese if you please

September 17, 2013 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 3 Comments

Once we’ve had our adopted Chinese children home for a while, they become very American, don’t they? Fluent English speakers, pudgy and healthy, faces aglow. Video games, Kraft mac-n-cheese, Gap Kids clearance clothes, and all the rest. But then there are moments when Jubilee will stop what she is doing and stare off into space, …Read More

Why did we sign up for this?

August 17, 2013 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 11 Comments

I do not run marathons. I do not run at all, in fact, although I used to, once upon a time. To train for soccer, I ran high school cross country; my short, muscular legs weighing me down as I trudged through sand and even snow (I lived in Michigan). While I struggled to keep …Read More

The question we are asking

July 17, 2013 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 3 Comments

Jubilee doesn’t throw fits, hoard her toys, act irrationally, or withdraw emotionally. In fact, on the surface she is a very “normal” child. Except when no one is looking. Then she destroys things. She tears the wheels off matchbox cars, scribbles on her brother’s artwork, takes apart completed Lego sets, sits on things, rips things, …Read More

Leap of Faith

June 17, 2013 birthmark, hemangioma, Kayla 12 Comments

Kayla is a home school mom who loves to read, write, cook, and travel. She lives in East Asia with her husband and four awesome kids – three biological sons and one daughter, Jubilee, who is adopted from China. She blogs at Life is But a Breath. We all face that moment of truth when …Read More

In the Palm of My Hand

May 23, 2012 albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 8 Comments

Last month, I spent ten days with my three sisters and our mother. Just the five of us. No kids. Cheeky was quite worried about who would cook dinner, do the laundry, clean her new ear piercing, drive her to dance while I was gone. In the weeks before I left, she asked me dozens …Read More

Earrings (or Why I’m Not Ready for the Big 1-0)

March 24, 2012 albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee, Skin Conditions 3 Comments

I remember when my four older kids were babies. People would ask, “How old is s/he?”, and I would respond with the number of days or weeks or months. Eventually, my babies became toddlers, and my answer changed from the number of weeks or months to the number of years. The same happened when Cheeky …Read More

Dear Cheeky, I Love You

March 31, 2011 albinism, birth family, older child adoption, Shirlee 0 Comments

Nine birthdays minus seven birthdays equals two birthdays. And Cheeky counts them. Last year. This year. Just as she counted her gifts this morning and noted that she had two more than she did on her eighth birthday. Does that mean we love her more now than we did then? Probably didn’t even cross her …Read More

The Care and Keeping of the Broken Heart

January 25, 2011 albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 0 Comments

I planned a different blog today. I planned to write about the care and keeping of Cheeky’s hair. We’ve had issues, you see. Food in the hair issues. Marker in the hair issues. Paint in the hair issues. With the big day coming up (have I mentioned that Cheeky is a firefly in a ballet?), I …Read More

All The Things She Doesn’t Say

August 20, 2010 albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 0 Comments

Sometimes the things our children don’t say are the most important. We went on a walk yesterday. Cheeky is much smaller than my other kids. Shorter legs, weaker body, sweet, sunny personality that gives her no need to move fast, those things make walking a little challenging for my youngest. She tries, though. Oh, how she …Read More

The Proof is in the Pudding

August 1, 2010 albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 7 Comments

I posted a similar version of this to my adoption blog. I think it is important for those of us who have had easy transitions and whose children have adapted brilliantly to remember that no matter how much it seems that they understand, they still wonder if what we offer is forever. I am back …Read More

She Flies!

June 25, 2010 albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 17 Comments

I know. My second post here in week. But it has occurred to me that we are, perhaps, too quick to make judgements about a child’s future based on what we see when they are two or three (or younger). Yes, dear friends, it was finally upon us. The BIG DAY. The DANCE. It has …Read More

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