Being a Mom to Special Kids

September 15, 2017 autism, cerebral palsy, Megan, Parenting Special Needs, siblings 1 Comments

All of our children our special, but some of us know just how hard it is having extra special kids. Anyone who has adopted, whether your child was listed as having special needs or not, knows what it’s like to parent an atypical and often difficult child. Sometimes it is just plain hard. Whether your …Read More

Unexpected Beauty

July 15, 2017 cleft palate, Craniofacial, declining a referral, Family Stories, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, malnourishment, referral, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

I sat in my Thursday morning Bible study, sharing my confusion and fears with my prayer partner, Shawna. My husband and I were certain that God had called our family to adoption shortly after our biological daughter, Campbell, was born in 2011. By the time she was 15 months old, we had submitted our dossier …Read More

The Scoop on Poop: All About Bowel Management

June 11, 2017 anorectal malformation, bowel management, bowel management, cerebral palsy, cloaca, imperforate anus, incontinence, Jennifer B., lipomyelomeningocele, myelomeningocele, neurogenic bowel and bladder, recto vaginal fistula, spina bifida, Urogenital System, VACTERL 0 Comments

This post is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Poop is a daily topic of conversation in our home. After three years of being in the trenches, I can tell you more than you’d probably ever want to know about it, but it hasn’t …Read More

For Life: Unexptected Treasures

June 4, 2017 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, Developmental System, Lifelong needs, low muscle tone, May 2017 Feature - For Life, seizures, undiagnosed SN 1 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. In our For Life series, 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 …Read More

For Life: What Families of Children with Lifelong Needs Need

May 31, 2017 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, Lifelong needs, May 2017 Feature - For Life 1 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

Full of Surprises

May 17, 2017 Central Nervous System, Chiari 1 malformation, clubfoot, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, hydronephrosis, neurogenic bowel and bladder, spina bifida 2 Comments

When we started our adoption process we wanted a healthy child. That’s what everyone wants – adopted or biological – right? Our hearts changed when we had the privilege of working with special needs kids, and we saw so much life and strength in them that we changed our adoption papers to special needs. When …Read More

My Hero

May 15, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, cerebral palsy, first year home, Megan, Newly Home, orphanage realities, self-harming, trauma 3 Comments

My hero is tiny but larger than life. Tan skin, black hair and the most beautiful dark chocolate eyes you have ever seen. He is 33 inches tall and weighs 33 pounds. A perfect little pint of goodness. A little over a year ago, at age three, he left a cold gray building with my …Read More

From Inconvenient to Eternal

May 6, 2017 AFO, April 2017 Feature - CNS, bowel management, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, incontinence, medical needs checklist, referral, spina bifida, waiting for referral, wheelchair user 2 Comments

We had the same picture as so many others at the start: we envisioned a perfect, beautiful, raven-haired little girl from China. When we started exploring adoption and saw that the face of adoption had really changed to be all about special needs, we shifted our thinking. Minor, correctable needs, we thought. Our perfect, beautiful, …Read More

The Little Girl No One Believed In

April 17, 2017 April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy 2 Comments

I didn’t set out on this journey to become the parent of multiple children with special needs. It’s a funny thing, though, to see a dream evolve. As a young girl, I learned of the gender disparity in China and the preference for sons. In that moment, the seeds were planted in my heart and …Read More

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 2 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

April Special Needs Focus (and Favorite Family Stories): Central Nervous System

April 1, 2017 April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Favorite Family Stories, hydrocephalus, microcephaly, moyamoya, spina bifida 0 Comments

The term special needs can sound scary. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Our goal at NHBO is to equip and inform parents – replacing fear with knowledge – as they navigate the beginning stages of special needs adoption. And then encourage and support those home with their special needs kiddos. We do …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

Medical Crisis: Being Your Child’s Best Advocate

February 25, 2017 cerebral palsy, complex medical, February 2017 Feature - Preparing Your Child for Medical Interventions, hospital stays, seizures, surgery 2 Comments

In the summer of 2016 we adopted our precious Sonnet. Her adoption was medically expedited due to her being profoundly malnourished. She was also diagnosed with cerebral palsy and overall global and cognitive delays. What we didn’t know about was the seizures. She was experiencing them the day we took custody of her, but the …Read More

The Rewrite in our Adoption Story: Choosing a Son

December 21, 2016 adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, cerebral atrophy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Family Stories, ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura) 3 Comments

You make them. I make them. We pray they are the right ones. Choices. As a parent, we analyze and make decisions sometimes seamlessly and other times with great thought. When you are faced with a life-altering choice it weighs heavy on your heart and mind. When I began to weigh what it would mean …Read More

Pictures, Songs, and God’s Goodness

November 25, 2016 complex medical, developmental delays, Developmental System, encephalocele, hypothyroidism, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now 1 Comments

After several adoptions, I’ve realized there is not a “standard” Then and Now story. We have a heart hero, a tiny miracle with the biggest and brightest joy, a precious daughter who struggles with significant PTSD, and a daughter with great needs who is a two steps forward, ten steps back – kind of girl. …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

Every Life Has Value: Adopting a Child with Lifelong Needs

October 18, 2016 cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Lifelong needs, non-verbal 9 Comments

I have to be honest and tell you up front that I am writing this while nursing some sore feelings. One too many times over the last month or so I’ve had to fight for my girl. I have had to hear hurtful words. So my heart is tender and a little broken so be …Read More

1 in 1000: Adopting a Child with Childhood Apraxia of Speech

October 17, 2016 apraxia of speech, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, non-verbal, October 2016 Feature - Developmental, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

Like so many of us who are part of the adoption community, we have learned so very much in the time our two youngest kiddos have been part of our family. Our son, Liam, who is now eight years old, joined our family at the age of 28 months. His special need was listed as …Read More

Making the Grade: Special Education and Adoption

September 30, 2016 agenesis of the corpus callosum, autism, brain damage syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, developmental delays, early intervention, Education, hypothyroidism, IEP, institutional autism, non-verbal, public school, 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

A Gift You Can’t Prepare For: Adopting a Child with CP

August 14, 2016 adopting a boy, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, Megan, should we adopt? 3 Comments

“You weren’t trained for this, but you were born for it.” I keep reading these words sent to me by a dear friend the other day. She knew I was struggling with parenting our three year old son, home since January, while also trying to meet the needs of our three biological children ages four, …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

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

The Blessings of an Unknown Road

May 13, 2016 adopting later in life, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, reluctant husband, spina bifida, toddler adoption 20 Comments

Let me start by saying I am an ordinary middle aged woman living an ordinary life but just happen to have five extraordinary children, three of whom are adopted. My children have forever changed my life. My oldest son is 31 with a beautiful wife and two precious children of his own. My second oldest …Read More

Backwards

May 11, 2016 adopting a boy, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, older child adoption 0 Comments

We did everything backwards. After watching our best friends adopt two girls from China, my husband and I were very open to adoption. However, we are both “take it slow” kind of people so it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I felt ready to build our family through adoption. My husband? He …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

Countless Possibilities

April 23, 2016 adopting as a single mom, April 2016 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hemiplegia, working mom 3 Comments

As long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a mom. After all, my own mom was the best mom in the world… a woman who loved her girls unconditionally and fiercely. I always wanted to be just like her. As most of us know, life isn’t always how you wish it would …Read More

The Happiest Kid on the Playground

April 11, 2016 April 2016 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

In 2009, we were ready for children, but we felt no rush. At that point, we were not concerned that there were no children ready for us. But then there was infertility, followed by an extremely painful disruption of a newborn adoption during the revocation period. In the following six months, two more domestic adoptions …Read More

A Seed of Hope

April 6, 2016 ADD, April 2016 Feature - CNS, brain damage syndrome, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, Craniofacial, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, hemiplegia 1 Comments

Our adoption journey started in the summer of 2003. We attended an adoption fair. A family speaking that afternoon had brought their daughter with them to the meeting. The little girl, about seven years old, snuggled up to my husband with a large photo album and began to tell him her story. A story, and …Read More

Unknown to Us; Known to Him

April 3, 2016 agenesis of the corpus callosum, April 2016 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, nasal dermoid sinus tract 0 Comments

Our family’s story of adopting a child with neurological and facial birth defects and God’s sovereign grace When we first viewed our daughter’s medical file, it was brief at best. It had a normal physical exam, and she was meeting all her developmental milestones. Her videos were priceless! They showed a chunky little girl wobbling …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

Love for Leeya

February 12, 2016 cerebral palsy, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2016 Feature - Heart, Tetralogy of Fallot 4 Comments

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

Worth It

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

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

Saying Yes to a Beautiful Mess

January 11, 2016 older child adoption, tethered cord 0 Comments

We started our adoption journey after a mission trip to the Navajo nation in Arizona. Leaving our three children behind, we set out to minister to others.While we were there, we saw the “big picture of life”, as we like to call it. We saw things on our trip that were bigger than ourselves. We …Read More

Older Children and Incontinence, a Family Story

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

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

Beauty in the Unknown

August 4, 2015 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories 5 Comments

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

Night and Day

June 25, 2015 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, mobility issues, walker user 0 Comments

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 Central Nervous System, Family Stories, moyamoya 4 Comments

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

Adopting a Child with a Lipomyelomeningocele

April 20, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Family Stories, lipomyelomeningocele 1 Comments

We knew we felt called to adopt, and called to China, but when we found out we’d need to go through the special focus route, we were afraid… Special needs? Those words encompass a lot. Locally we had a friend who had a precious daughter from China with spina bifida. This friend had spent a …Read More

Adopting a Child with Tuberous Sclerosis

April 14, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, epilepsy, Family Stories, seizures, tuberous sclerosis 1 Comments

If you have ever adopted from China before, you remember sitting at the table staring at that dreaded form asking you what special needs you thought you and your family could handle. Filling it out seemed cruel. On the one hand most of them scared me to death and at the same time it filled …Read More

Adopting a Child with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

April 8, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, strabismus 2 Comments

There are the ‘facts,’ and then there’s the reality. The file says HIE, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, but what does it really mean? Brain damage that occurs when an infant’s brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen and blood, either immediately before, during or after birth, is commonly called HIE. But our Creator fashioned our brain in such …Read More

Adopting a Child with Hydrocephalus

April 1, 2015 April 2015 Feature CNS, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, myelomeningocele, spina bifida 1 Comments

I’ve had this conversation with prospective adoptive parents at least six times in six months, after they hear that my sweet two-year-old girl has Spina Bifida (but before they realize she has hydrocephalus). Me: Oh, so, you have Spina Bifida on your medical checklist? Them: Yep! Me:  Do you have hydrocephalus too? Them:  No…it’s scary. …Read More

Surprise

November 24, 2014 Amy, kyphosis, scoliosis, tethered cord, Tetralogy of Fallot 7 Comments

I knew to be prepared for undiagnosed needs when we set out to adopt. We prepared for the reality that a heart condition would be worse than we originally anticipated it would be. While we went through the list of needs that we would consider or not consider we had to imagine that what we would believe would …Read More

Taking Care of Business – part 2

October 17, 2014 incontinence, Jean, spina bifida 3 Comments

In my previous poop and potty post I shared with you about our son who was born with spina bifida and as a result he is incontinent. After watching him sit on the waiting child list the Lord made it clear that he was our son and that we could do this special need. And …Read More

Adopting Two Boys with Tethered Cord

October 4, 2014 Central Nervous System, Family Stories, spina bifida, tethered cord 1 Comments

It was December 2010, exactly one year since we had brought home our first child from China. I happened to be on New Day Foster Home’s site, and this face popped up on the screen. His eyes captured my heart. Immediately, all of our children and I began praying for this little guy, wondering if …Read More

Hydrocephalus and Baby Hope

September 29, 2014 Advocacy, hydrocephalus 4 Comments

In the world of adoption advocacy, I’ve kind of become the mom that everyone asks about hydrocephalus. When a parent is reviewing a file of a hydro baby and has questions or is looking for a medical team to take a look, I always seem to get tagged in their advocacy post. “Kelli has a …Read More

Taking Care of Personal Business

June 15, 2014 incontinence, Jean, spina bifida 6 Comments

In other words this is a poop and potty post! Many of the children that sit and sit and sit on the waiting child list are there because they are incontinent. Which means they cannot control their bowels and bladder. We have brought 2 children home that were in “that situation.” One was diagnosed with …Read More

special need highlight: adopting a child with limited mobility

April 26, 2014 Central Nervous System, Family Stories, incontinence, mobility issues, spina bifida, wheelchair user 5 Comments

It was April 2012. We had just completed our first adoption from Uganda. The 6 month wait had been satisified for the state of Ohio and we’d just fully adopted our new son. Then…we fell in love with a story and a picture. A sweet little boy waited for us in China! 10 months later, …Read More

special need highlight: adopting a child with spina bifida

April 22, 2014 Central Nervous System, Family Stories, spina bifida 0 Comments

In 2012 we started our adoption journey. We have four biological children and wanted to add a special needs baby to the mix! It was very difficult for us to go through the medical list of possible special needs, but we left it in God’s hands. When we received our daughter’s file from our agency …Read More

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