The “Other Side” of Adoption… and Beyond

November 29, 2017 adopting again, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, older child adoption 0 Comments

We are nobody. No one special. What I mean is, we are not celebrities, we are not “beautiful” people, not snappy dressers, we wouldn’t stand out in a crowd, and certainly not wealthy. We are completely ordinary…. except for one thing. Trailing in our wake are six children, two of the homegrown variety and four …Read More

Hearts to Listen: Parenting a Non-Verbal Child

October 31, 2017 autism, cl/cp, Developmental System, non-verbal, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, older child adoption 4 Comments

I lie awake with a bewildered mind, but know the feeling that has been laid upon my face like I have been awake all day – I climb out of bed with the biggest smile looking up at me. She has been heard. The feeling on my face is from my non-verbal child that has …Read More

When All That’s Left is Relationship: Attachment with Adult Children

September 3, 2017 adult adoptee, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment 2 Comments

When my dear friend Andrea recommended that I write this article for No Hands But Ours, I was intimidated. I still am. As a mom of eight young adult daughters (ages 21 – 25), seven that joined our family through the gift of adoption — five after the age of 18 — I still feel …Read More

Past Contributor Throwback: Kelley

August 10, 2017 Kelley, older child adoption, Past Contributors, Throwback series 0 Comments

Since our inception in 2008, No Hands But Ours has relied on the shared stories of regular moms and dads as our foundational way to encourage, inform and support those in the adoption world – in any phase of the adoption process. And since our first post, the list of regular contributors has changed, well… …Read More

How Adoption Changed Our Definition of Perfect

June 27, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting out of birth order, arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, mobility issues, older child adoption, Orthopedic, should we adopt?, wheelchair user 3 Comments

My husband and I met in middle school. We didn’t date until right after high school, but were close friends from early in our relationship. We dated through college and got married right after my graduation. We met a family who had children through adoption, and that was when the seed was planted. We knew …Read More

Nothing to Fear: Seeing Beyond the Check Box

June 20, 2017 adopting again, arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, medical needs checklist, older child adoption, Orthopedic 2 Comments

She loves bubbles and baby dolls. Her favorite color is yellow. She is a quick learner and a compassionate friend. She has the most joyful laugh, and an infectious smile. And we wouldn’t have known any of these aspects of our daughter had we been scared off by one single word… Arthrogryposis. Her story began …Read More

For Life: He Makes Things Beautiful

May 14, 2017 adopting again, large families, Lifelong needs, May 2017 Feature - For Life, medical needs checklist, older child adoption 2 Comments

Adopting a child with special needs can be scary. And even scarier when that child has needs that just might require a lifetime of parental care. This month we are hearing from those whose parenting journey has diverged from what most would think typical. They’re parenting children who require more than what many would believe …Read More

This Is Why We Adopt

May 5, 2017 adopting out of birth order, aging out expedite, Family Stories, older child adoption, should we adopt? 6 Comments

Terrified, I sat on our bed staring at a 13 year old little girl’s picture. The Lord stopped me in my tracks as I read the brief description about her. Father, surely she is meant for another family… I am hearing your voice wrong, right? People will think we are irresponsible… they will think we …Read More

Elijah’s Story: You Don’t Have to Hide

May 2, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, aging out expedite, Family Stories, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, May 2017 Feature - Vascular, older child adoption, should we adopt?, Vascular System 7 Comments

We had no clue what was about to happen. We have many folks in our circle of friends and family who have fostered and adopted, both domestically and internationally. We have loved supporting them, praying for them, and wearing the t-shirts. Shared stories and advocacy posts were a regular occurrence on our news feeds, but …Read More

All She Needed Was A Family

April 26, 2017 cancer, Family Stories, glioma, mobility issues, older child adoption, wheelchair user 0 Comments

I saw a serious and sad little girl when I looked at her referral picture for the first time. My experience with referral photos told me that she had been through a lot in her short time here on earth. Her eyes reminded me of an old person who had known loneliness and sorrow. Her …Read More

Love Stories: My Happily Ever After

April 19, 2017 adoptee perspective, April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, birth family, foster care, older child adoption, orphanage realities, telling their life story 4 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

From Death to Life

April 18, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Attachment Disorder, indiscriminate affection, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment, rages, rejects mom, therapy, trauma 5 Comments

I glanced at the clock. It was 2:50. I felt my shoulders tighten involuntarily and a sick feeling start in my stomach. In 15 minutes, the most difficult part of my day would start: my daughter would walk through the door. It was the part of the day I dreaded the most. I wasn’t an …Read More

He Will Provide: Part Two

April 3, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, ESL, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I have needed regular reminders since we brought David and Daniel home to keep trusting that – because our adoption was God’s miracle – He will provide all that we need. God has been helping me to keep holding on to hope and to keep believing that His plans for our family are always good. …Read More

He Will Provide: Part One

March 31, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, Developmental System, older child adoption, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I was acutely aware of my lack of motherly connection to Daniel, as I watched him lying there with vacant eyes on the hospital bed. “God, is it even possible for me to love this boy?” My husband Charly was working on his PhD at Lanzhou University when we learned about our sons David and …Read More

An Unfinished Family Portrait

March 25, 2017 a father's perspective, adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, Dads, Family Stories, hemophilia, hemophilia A, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 2 Comments

Looking up from a pile of leaves, a young, beautiful blonde-haired college girl smiles while being kissed on the cheek by a “somewhat handsome” college-aged boy. That young, twenty-year old girl, now even more beautiful than ever, is my wife, Amber. That college kid, who has not graced the twenty years since quite as well, …Read More

Three Simple Words

March 12, 2017 adopting a boy, adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cocooning, Family Stories, older child adoption, rejects mom 0 Comments

We often hear the term “leap of faith”. Three simple words. Saying these three simple words is easy, but truly living them out is a different story. My husband and I always joke with each other saying that nothing in our lives comes easy or goes as planned. We are okay with this, because what …Read More

Putting the Pieces Together

March 11, 2017 brain injury, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, hemiplegia, older child adoption 3 Comments

One of the ways in which we fundraised to bring our daughter, Lulu, home last year was through a jigsaw puzzle fundraiser, suggested by a fellow adoptive Mama. Perhaps you’re familiar with it — we reached out to family and friends asking them to sponsor pieces of a puzzle to raise the $5,800 orphanage donation …Read More

Our Iron Man: Adopting a Child with Thalassemia

March 7, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, medical expedite, older child adoption, thalassemia 3 Comments

Fluffing up his pillows around him on his hospital bed, I did my best to make him smile. We had learned together that love, smiles, silliness and laughter cross any language barrier. Though he was tired, he did manage a slight smirk that didn’t quite reach his usual smiley, almond eyes. This dance was still …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

Choosing Happiness Daily: Adopting a Child with an Unfixable Heart

February 19, 2017 adopting a boy, complex heart defect, double inlet left ventricle, Eisenmenger’s Syndrome, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, heart defect, Heart System, older child adoption, pulmonary hypertension, terminal diagnosis, TGV 3 Comments

One evening less than two months after bringing home our second son from China, I told my husband that I wished we could adopt an older child someday too. In both of our travel groups, there were older children who were adopted. These had made such an impact on my heart! They understood the idea …Read More

He Is A Gift

February 9, 2017 adopting a boy, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, Heart System, HLHS, older child adoption, pulmonary stenosis, single atrium heart disease, single ventricle heart disease, TGA 7 Comments

Our son, Matthew, is eight years old. He came home last year in May 2016. Throughout the adoption process and shortly after arriving home, God reminded us that Matthew is a gift. My husband and I would hear “He is a gift” over and over again. God had to remind us. He had to because …Read More

Reluctant Spouses: Of One Mind….

January 15, 2017 adopting again, adopting out of birth order, aging out expedite, January 2017 Feature - Reluctant Spouses, older child adoption, pre-adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 0 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other. This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when …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

Reach for the Stars: Adopting a Child with Vision Impairment

December 1, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, nystagmus, older child adoption, opaque cornea, public school, Sensory System, TVI, vision issues, vision loss 0 Comments

It was the second time in his life to ride on an airplane. The first time was only ten months ago when he traveled the 16 hour flight from China to America. On that first flight he was a scared, angry little fighter whose only concern was protecting himself. Now he was a happy, calm …Read More

Then and Now: Abby and Evie

November 23, 2016 adopting again, adopting out of birth order, Family Stories, food issues, Heart System, homeschool, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, older child adoption, orphanage behaviors, port wine stain, spina bifida, VSD 0 Comments

November is Adoption Awareness Month. And our focus is Then and Now… glimpses into the lives of children – children who were once orphaned – who are now beloved family members. Daughters, sons, sisters and brothers who are now blossoming in the love of a forever family… ……….. We have been blessed with two beautiful …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

Making the Grade: Why We Homeschool

September 16, 2016 developmental delays, Education, homeschool, older child adoption, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 1 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Making the Grade: Educating Liam

September 12, 2016 adopting a boy, Education, ESL, older child adoption, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Blessed: Adopting a Child Who Isn’t “Healthy”

August 31, 2016 Family Stories, Heart System, older child adoption 1 Comments

Scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook, I see a popular thanksgiving…. In the hospital after the delivery of a new baby, I hear the same praises. In the grocery store I hear faint echoes of the same gratitude while everything else goes quiet in my head. Parents and family alike are “so blessed” by having healthy …Read More

Kings and Queens

August 18, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, Attachment, disruption, failed adoption, Kelley B., older child adoption 4 Comments

“Maybe we are here to love wildly, passionately, and fearlessly,” whispered the heart. “You’re going to get us killed!” yelled the brain. This can be true for just about anything we find ourselves on the brink of but this particular quote, I believe, can be applied specifically to those taking the leap into the world …Read More

When God Honors Our “Yes”: Our Sign Language Journey, Part One

August 10, 2016 adopting as first time parents, ASL, Attachment, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, cl/cp, cochlear implants, Craniofacial, developmental delays, Family Stories, hearing loss, older child adoption, profound deafness, Sensory System, sign language 6 Comments

In May 2009, I first saw her face. She couldn’t possibly be our daughter; she didn’t “fit” any of the criteria we’d committed to on our Medical Needs Checklist and there was no way my husband would agree to adopting her. True, we’d agreed that caring for a child with cleft lip/palate was something we …Read More

A Little Piece of a Big Plan

July 16, 2016 adopting a boy, BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, older child adoption, Ponto, Sensory System 0 Comments

“I just spoke to the director. He will call me when they’re about five minutes away.” It’s almost time. My heart is almost uncontainable. Everything. All of this. It’s about to happen. So many months, years, planning for this moment… Even though I shouldn’t be surprised, being a part of and seeing just a tiny …Read More

Meet the Contributors: Jean

July 8, 2016 adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, Contributor Q and A, Jean, large families, Meet the Contributors, older child adoption 6 Comments

Continuing today with our series in which we share a short Q and A with one of our contributors to give y’all, our faithful readers, a little more behind-the-scenes insight into the amazing group of writers assembled here. And it will also give each of our contributors a chance to share their heart in a …Read More

Dear Younger Me, His Plans are Good

July 7, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting later in life, aging out expedite, guest post, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, older child adoption 0 Comments

“When I think back over the years since marrying Tom Rylands, it is almost surreal to me the path that God chose for our family. It was a path that was such a grand departure from any plans that we had for ourselves. When Tom, 28 years my senior, and I approached marriage, neither of …Read More

Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy

July 1, 2016 adopting a boy, amputation, Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, Larsen Syndrome, limb difference, older child adoption, prosthetics 1 Comments

My son, J, has Larsen syndrome, a condition of multiple joint malformations. I write this in hopes that it shows how manageable this condition is. In the summer of 2012, I saw a video that an advocate had posted, of a little boy riding a scooter around a play area. His nanny was directing him …Read More

We Love the Llama

June 5, 2016 attachment activities, June 2016 Feature - Books, older child adoption, Whitney 0 Comments

Our June featured focus is books. Books that teach us about our children’s homeland. Books that help us understand our children’s past. Books that resonate with our kids once home. This month we’ll be featuring all kinds of books. It’s sure to be fun. And if you have some recommendations for our readers, please be …Read More

Building a Family: Adopting as a Single Mom

June 3, 2016 adopting as a single mom, diastematomyelia, Family Stories, June 2016 Feature - Orthopedic, older child adoption, Orthopedic, scoliosis, spina bifida, tethered cord, working mom 2 Comments

I am a happy and busy single mom to two wonderful daughters adopted from China. My older daughter, Corrie, was adopted in 2002 through the NSN (non-special needs) program; she is a smart, funny, and thoughtful young lady who loves animals and plans to be a veterinarian when she grows up. For years Corrie and …Read More

Two Years of Blessings

May 9, 2016 adopting a boy, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, older child adoption 0 Comments

It has been two years. Two years since China said yes. Two years full of unexpected blessings. Two years of being asleep before your head hits the pillow at night. Two years of going to work with kisses on your cheeks. Two years full of learning new things for both Lock and us. Has life …Read More

We’ve Got This: Parenting a Child with CP

April 29, 2016 April 2016 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, older child adoption 3 Comments

My son has Cerebral Palsy. Mild Right Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy to be specific, which means only the right side of his body is affected. If you see him running by on the playground or the soccer field, you might never even notice he has physical difficulties. If you have an idea in your mind of …Read More

Right in the Middle…. A Perfect Fit

April 17, 2016 adopting out of birth order, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, older child adoption 0 Comments

In 2007 with four boys already at home ages 10, 7, 2 and 1, we started the process to adopt from China. What had been a desire for quite some time in our hearts was finally coming true. We submitted paperwork to adopt a as young as possible non-special needs daughter. We expected to be …Read More

The Best Decision We’ve Ever Made

April 15, 2016 adopting again, adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, Jean, large families, older child adoption 7 Comments

In September of 2006, hubby and I walked into our first adoption introductory meeting at Children’s Home Society in St Paul, MN. It was for families that were interested in adoption and wanted to learn more about it. We met four wonderful couples at that meeting. At that time we had five birth children, ranging …Read More

Painting White Walls White

April 13, 2016 Attachment, older child adoption, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

When I was 14 years old my family moved to a new state. This was a good move for me personally, as I had struggled both academically and socially where we were and it was good for our whole family. The town we were leaving was struggling, and as a result about half the town …Read More

Siblings and Adoption: 30 Ways to Ease the Transistion

March 30, 2016 adopting again, attachment activities, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, older child adoption, siblings 0 Comments

We have seven kids, four bio and three adopted. Our three children whom we have adopted are older kiddos with special needs. We’ve been home for only three months with our newest child….. so we are pretty much hands on at the moment. I have compiled a list of different things we did to help …Read More

Thriving with Thalassemia

March 26, 2016 beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, thalassemia 2 Comments

My daughter’s medical information is scary. It has words like chronic and terminal. Add that to the fact that her orphanage has never had a child with her diagnosis live past the age of 14, and you start to really get a grim picture of her life. Now, wipe all of that away, because it’s …Read More

Adopting Out Of Birth Order… Times Three

March 26, 2016 adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, age assignment, large families, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, older child adoption, virtual twins 0 Comments

Sometimes I look around at my kids and think how did this happen? How did I deserve to have 10 amazingly perfect children? We struggled in our marriage, we worked it out, and promised God that where He led, we would follow. And He has not disappointed. He continues to bless us with his amazing …Read More

And 2 Makes 9

March 25, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, aging out expedite, Family Stories, large families, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, older child adoption, should we adopt? 2 Comments

Where do I even start? Our family began our first adoption in 2004, a few years after the birth of our third son. We thought it would be our first and last adoption. We always had the heart for adoption, but surprised ourselves as we actually went through with our heart’s desire. My husband, Russ, …Read More

The Beginning of Surrender

March 24, 2016 adopting later in life, adopting two at once, Down syndrome, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, medical waiver, older child adoption, waiver request 4 Comments

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us …Read More

We Said Yes, Anyway

March 22, 2016 beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Blood Conditions, older child adoption, thalassemia 2 Comments

“It’s so easy to live with! It barely impacts our day to day life.” “It’s a very complicated disease. It looks like it’s going to be another couple of weeks in the hospital this time…” You might think I’m referring to different disorders in the descriptions above. The truth is these were all things I …Read More

More Than Blood: Adopting a Child with Thalassemia

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

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

Looking Past the Needs to See the Child

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

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

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