my wild and beautiful.

March 23, 2013 Angie, cl/cp 5 Comments

she finds my pillow or my arm or holds my hand… and stays close by through the night. her wild and spunky and determined self finds rest. for years i dreamed of this. waited endlessly to have her snuggling in my arms. wept thousands of tears over the days we were apart. and she is …Read More

Our Non-Verbal World {hearing her "it" factor}

February 21, 2013 Angie, apraxia of speech, cl/cp, speech delay 8 Comments

Angie and her husband live in Pennsylvania with their 3 kids (2 bio boys and 1 daughter adopted in July 2011 from china – born with the cutest cleft lip you ever did see). They spend time working on crazy projects, taking far too many pictures and serving God to the best of their abilities. …Read More

Her story

January 29, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

I returned from the Created 4 Care retreat late Sunday night. Wow, my head is spinning with all of the information I took in. I still have a lot to sort out, but one theme that really stuck with me is telling Sunshineʼs story in a way that is respectful and considerate to her. Telling …Read More

Give them grace

November 30, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 6 Comments

We’ve been pretty fortunate in avoiding the awkward public questions about adoption. We certainly get some odd stares here and there, along with lots of smiles. But we don’t get offensive questions. We get questions, sure. And there have been a couple times when I wanted to make a sarcastic comment, but of course I …Read More

502 days.

November 3, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

That’s the number of days it took Sunshine to feel comfortable enough to stay in the church nursery without me. After staying with her in the nursery off and on for months, I tried a few times unsuccessfully to leave her there by herself. I never pushed, just left for a few minutes until her …Read More

TAKE THAT Speech Delay!

October 27, 2012 cl/cp, Education, IEP, public school, speech delay, speech therapy, velopharyngeal Insufficiency, Wife of the Prez 4 Comments

Never did I imagine even a year ago that our just-turned 7-year-old daughter would be preparing for a big solo on the rather large stage at our church. Never did I imagine even a few weeks ago when the children were told they could try out for solos and/or speaking parts in the 1st and …Read More

Pre-speech Therapy

August 30, 2012 cl/cp, Education, Nicole, speech delay, speech therapy 5 Comments

Did you know that playing with straws in the bathtub is actually speech therapy? Who knew?!? We had Sunshine’s post-palate repair/cleft clinic appointment on Monday and I spent some time with the team’s speech pathologist. It’s still a little too early after the palate repair for speech therapy, but she did give me a few …Read More

The Surgery That Wasn't

August 27, 2012 cl/cp, heart defect, older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 2 Comments

At 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, I was preparing trying to prepare for surgery #14, which was scheduled for the following day, Wednesday, August 22. Yes, that is not a typo. Fourteen surgeries since we brought Li’l Miss home and waited during her six-hour, open-heart surgery on September 30, 2008. Tomorrow was to be the …Read More


July 31, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 5 Comments

I often use many different adjectives to describe my 2-year-old daughter. After her most recent palate repair surgery a few weeks ago, the top adjectives have been strong, brave, courageous, graceful and pretty darn amazing. I have also called her loving, affectionate, beautiful, smart, clever, happy, funny, silly, spunky and feisty. She is one of …Read More

The Bed

July 13, 2012 cl/cp, heart defect, Laine, radial club hand 3 Comments

I love my bed, don’t you love your bed? Think about it for a minute. When you’ve been out of town for awhile, don’t you just look forward to your OWN BED? There’s just nothing else like it. And oh, that first night back in your bed after you’ve been away on a trip? You …Read More

One year

June 29, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

One year ago on June 7, 2011, our baby girl was placed in my arms. Our lives were forever changed. Looking back over the pictures from that day, my heart hurts for the loss that she endured, having no certainty in her life and not knowing what was happening. She was so incredibly brave and …Read More

A Birthday Fully Enjoyed

June 13, 2012 cl/cp, heart defect, Laine, radial club hand 5 Comments

I remember 5 years ago on May 26th, 2007. I was at my niece’s graduation camping experience with my entire family. We were having the time of our lives. Biking, hiking, roasting marshmallows, swimming, talking, sharing…it was a wonderful day! Except for that deep void I felt in my heart. That sadness that made me …Read More

It's the little things

June 5, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

It really is the little things that mean the most, don’t you think? I remember being in China last June and just studying Sunshine … all of the little bits and pieces of her that I didn’t have memorized. I didn’t realize that I had taken this for granted with the 2 older kids … …Read More

A letter to her first mother

May 29, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

To her first mother: You are one of the most important people in my life, and I have never met you. You live somewhere halfway across the world, in a Chinese city called Fuzhou. You are our daughter’s first mother. You carried her under your heart for a precious 9 months, gave birth to her, …Read More

Some Things You Just Can’t Get Over

May 27, 2012 cl/cp, heart defect, older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 1 Comments

My post is late. My brain feels like mush much of the time. Life is just plain hard right now. For many reasons. I have really struggled with this post. Even going back and forth on a possible topic. I thought it was going to be about foster care. Then attachment. Then our new normal …Read More


April 29, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

Not the high school kind of graduation. Or even the middle school or elementary type. But this is a graduation that I am ecstatic to be celebrating with Sunshine – she has officially graduated from Physical Therapy! Although we expected she’d be somewhat physically delayed when we brought her home last June, we truly weren’t …Read More

Cleft lip and palate as a "minor" special need

March 1, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 6 Comments

Her special need really wasn’t a “need”… in the beginning. Her cleft was quite minor and utterly adorable. Eating was terribly messy, and we had a lot of nonstop drool. And, I suppose when we were out in public, her cleft lip became more obvious and apparent as people stared. But I truly did not …Read More

What we’re reading Wednesday: links

February 22, 2012 cl/cp, Stefanie, travel tips, What We're Reading 2 Comments

From the last few weeks, some good stuff we’ve read that relates to adoption and/or parenting a special needs child. As always, if you are a traveling family, or have posted something, or read something, that you’d like to share here on No Hands But Ours, please let us know at From the blog …Read More

"Why is one nostril bigger than the other?"

February 13, 2012 cl/cp, Laine 0 Comments

That was the question I got over the weekend from my 7 year old son, Quan. We adopted Quan from China in 2007. He had a cl/cp. Both were repaired upon arriving home, he was in speech therapy until 2010, and he has done AMAZING. I know not every experience with cl/cp is this simple. …Read More

Communicating through ASL

January 31, 2012 ASL, attachment activities, cl/cp, Nicole, Parenting Special Needs 0 Comments

This has probably been a familiar scene at some point in your home … your young toddler child is sitting in the middle of the floor throwing a temper tantrum. Tears are streaming down her face, her nose is running and her hair is matted to her face. She’s kicking the floor and screaming … …Read More

welcome to Nicole

January 6, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 0 Comments

 I am excited to introduce our newest member of the No Hands But Ours team, Nicole. She is the mom of three, one from China with cleft lip and palate and, well, let me let her tell you herself… ___________________________________________________________________ I am so thrilled to be joining the No Hands But Ours guest blogger team!  …Read More

Lilah’s Journey: Ten Weeks Post Surgery

August 25, 2011 cl/cp, Lilah's Journey, surgery, tessier cleft 0 Comments

 Lilah’s mom, Paige, has chronicled her daughter’s journey to repair her Tessier Cleft. We have shared Lilah’s story here, as the treatment has progressed. Lilah’s final surgery was to repair her eye, complete a bone graft for her cleft and make some soft tissue changes. All the posts in this series can be found here. …Read More


April 27, 2011 cl/cp, heart defect, Wife of the Prez 0 Comments

I see this label often on the shared list and advocacy sites. It hits close to my heart to see it. I don’t think as I used to of the FEAR. Of the what ifs. Of genetic syndromes. Of shorter lifespans. Of lower intelligence. Of open-heart surgery. Of speech delays that may take years to …Read More

I Can't Be Her Voice

May 25, 2010 cl/cp, Parenting Special Needs, Wife of the Prez 15 Comments

As much as I’d like to put a protective cocoon around her and be her voice among other things, I can’t. Let me preface this entry with two things: my heart is in my throat these days as we wait for our final piece of paperwork to travel to China for our sons, and our …Read More

my son

April 15, 2010 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, guest post, older child adoption 0 Comments

Today’s post is a guest post, written by Amy who is in China now adopting her son, Xinran 🙂 In just a few short weeks, 19 days to be exact, a 4 year old little boy with dark brown hair and black eyes will stand in front of me. He will call me Mama. I …Read More


March 5, 2010 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories 0 Comments

by Angie, mom to Joseph from China with an SN cleft lip and palate The word the Lord has used over and over to speak to our hearts is treasure. When He spoke to our hearts for the first time in Sept. 2003 about adoption He reminded us of our three treasures. We have three …Read More

Kooper and Kinley

February 16, 2010 adopting two at once, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, older child adoption 0 Comments

by Connie, mom to Kinley (2) and Kooper (13) adopted from China at the same time In August of 2003 when God instantly gripped the hearts of my husband and I for the orphan, we had no idea where He would lead us. We knew He was calling us to a task much larger than …Read More

Virtual Twins (Artificial Twinning)

December 5, 2009 Attachment, cl/cp, DonnaT, virtual twinning 9 Comments

Six months after we came home from China with our first daughter (Gwen), someone on our Agency’s message board announced their 2nd referral: A cute baby with a beaming smile and a very minor cleft palate. A few days later, they updated to say that they’d refused the referral because she was only 2 weeks …Read More

1 out of 1361

November 3, 2009 cl/cp, DonnaT 6 Comments

One thousand three hundred and sixty-one days ago, we saw our our daughter, Madeline, for the very first time. She was a grainy image on a fax we’d received from our agency and we were only seeing her photo this early because she was “special need”. Five months earlier, we’d adopted a NSN baby girl …Read More

His Pleading Eyes…..

October 30, 2009 arthrogryposis, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, Linny, Orthopedic, Sensory System 6 Comments

I had poured through a “billion” special needs kids faces, all of them drawing an “ooohh” or an “awwww”….but then I saw his face….and I gasped. (It seems that whenever I gasp I know God is up to something big.) Really. I remember staring at him and studying the expression on his sweet little face, …Read More

The wanted one

October 6, 2009 cl/cp, Maia, surgery 10 Comments

Possibly the most unexpected revelation in the course of our special-needs adoption came when the three of us, my husband, our daughter and I, waltzed in to our first cleft clinic at the hospital we had chosen for our daughter’s surgeries, eager and full of anticipation. At the time, we had been home for just …Read More

Sarah Pearl

March 2, 2009 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories 0 Comments

by Julia, mom to Sarah Pearl from China with cleft lip and palate Once upon a time, there was a baby girl with a cleft lip and palate, named Guan Yan Nan. Living in an orphanage in a Southern Province of China, she did not know there was a woman living in another land, who …Read More


February 27, 2009 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hypospadias, Urogenital System 0 Comments

by Mara and Kevin, parents to David from China with cleft lip/palate and hypospadias Kevin and I knew before we were married that we might not be able to have biological children, so we had talked about adoption for years before we started the process in September 2006. Even then, we thought about a special …Read More

Kimmie and Quan

February 16, 2009 cl/cp, Family Stories, radial club hand 2 Comments

by Laine, mom to Kimmie from China with radial club hands and Quan from China with cleft lip and palate Kimmie and Quan…two toddler adoptions at the same time! If that title doesn’t get your attention, nothing will! We were blessed beyond measure to adopt two special needs children at one time. Our story is …Read More


February 9, 2009 cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

by Ryan and Beth, parents to Mason-Kate from China with cleft lip and palate Growing up, I was fascinated with adoption. My neighbor was adopted, “Annie” was my hero, playing adoption agency was my favorite pretend game and occasionally I wondered if I was adopted and my parents just weren’t telling me about it. During …Read More


February 9, 2009 cl/cp, Family Stories, Lifelink 0 Comments

By Gail, mother to William Michael with cleft lip and palate “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”~Edward Everett Hale I am a mother to …Read More

Abby Grace

February 2, 2009 AWAA, cl/cp, Family Stories, heart defect 0 Comments

By Jennifer, mother to Abby Grace from China with complex unrepaired heart condition and unrepaired bi-lateral cleft lip and palate In December of 2005 a little girl was born in the city of Ping Liang in GanSu Province China. A child that was not perfect in the eyes of man but perfect in the eyes …Read More


January 30, 2009 AWAA, cl/cp, Family Stories, heart defect 0 Comments

by Leslie, mother to Susannah from China with complex unrepaired heart defects and unrepaired cl/cp Our journey to Susannah began years ago as God was birthing the desire to adopt in both of our hearts. It is very hard to pinpoint a specific date as I can look back at so many moments when I …Read More

Ava Lan

December 15, 2008 cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Tara, mom to Ava Lan from China with cleft lip and palate I had wanted to adopt a child for a long time, even after having 3 biological children. This was a desire God had placed in my heart since childhood. My husband, however, had no interest in adopting at first. I prayed in …Read More


December 9, 2008 CHSFS, cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Joan, mom to Isabella from China with cleft lip and palate My name is Joan and I am a single mom to two girls adopted from China with the help of Children’s Home Society & Family Services. Elizabeth is my oldest daughter and I traveled March of 2003 to bring her home. She was …Read More


December 6, 2008 AGCI, cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Julia, waiting mom to Caleb in China with cleft lip and palate I clearly heard God calling our family to adopt years ago. I cried every time I heard or saw anything adoption related. I just knew that we were called to go somewhere to adopt someone. I didn’t know where, who, when or …Read More


December 4, 2008 cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Jennifer, mom to Cainan Tao Pletcher from China with cleft lip and palate We decided to persue a SN adoption and adoption of a little boy from China almost right from the beginning of our adoption process. Adoption was always part of our family plan. We thought we would have two biological children and …Read More


December 3, 2008 cl/cp, Family Stories, Living Hope 0 Comments

By Kateri, mother of Alayna from China with cleft lip and palate I remember after Kyrsten was born, whenever someone would ask, David and I would firmly say “we’re done.” Troy and Kyrsten were only 22 months apart. And even though we both work full time, children are expensive. There would be no more Lambrose …Read More

Maddie Rae

December 2, 2008 cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Retta, mom to Maddie Rae from China with cleft lip and palate I am often asked, “Why did you decide to adopt?” and I normally sit there racking my brain for a clever and inspiring answer. Something that will sum up our adoption journey in one short sentence while motivating that person to check …Read More


November 21, 2008 cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Ohilda, mom to Kai from China with cleft lip and palate As we entered thru the front doors of the building, there standing with his nanny, was one of the most precious gifts I have ever received in my life. To this day, I am filled with shivers down my spine thinking of how …Read More


November 20, 2008 AGCI, cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Sarah, mom to Naomi from China with cleft lip and palate Our family’s dossier was originally logged in to the CCAA on August 3, 2006, NSN. A long year had passed since that summer, and we received an email that would change our lives. Our agency, All God’s Children, International (AGCI), sent out a …Read More


November 18, 2008 CCAI, cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

by Donna, mom to Lainey from China with cleft lip and cleft palate We began our adoption journey in March 06, becoming LID on 8/1/06. I began looking into the SN program before my husband was comfortable with it. But, after realizing it wasn’t as scary as he initially had built it up to be, …Read More

Lindsey Li

November 18, 2008 cl/cp, Family Stories 0 Comments

By Kathy, mother to Lindsey Li from China with cleft lip and palate Did I know I would adopt from China before 2006? Well that answer is no. I knew nothing about Chinese adoptions let alone special needs. My oldest daughter, Chelsea left us to be with God on January 6, 2006. She was healthy …Read More


October 20, 2008 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories 0 Comments

by Cathy, mom to Camie from China with cleft lip and palate We received a letter from our Agency at the end of December (2006) saying they were going to have a ‘Pilot’ program for 5 Special Needs baby’s waiting to be adopted and if we were interested to fill out the information and send …Read More


October 20, 2008 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories 0 Comments

by Leslie, mom to Zoie from China with cleft lip and palate We adopted our daughter Zoie in August of 2006. She was 22 months at the time and had a unilateral cleft lip and palate. Her lip had been repaired in China when she was 15 months old. Her “need” has turned out to …Read More

© 2017 No Hands But Ours

The content found on the No Hands But Ours website is not approved, endorsed, curated or edited by medical professionals. Consult a doctor with expertise in the special needs of interest to you.