Seeing Things Differently

September 9, 2017 BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, limb difference, microtia, Orthopedic, Sensory System, September 2017 Feature - Visible Special Needs, visible special need 0 Comments

Recently someone reached out to ask what I would tell a group of Boy Scouts if I could speak to them as a special needs mom. This friend, who works everyday as a speech therapist, had been invited to speak to a local Boy Scout troop about interacting with children with special needs. Upon reading …Read More

One Year Home: A First-Time Mom’s Thoughts on “Gotcha Day”

July 27, 2017 adopting as first time parents, China trip, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, first year home, Gotcha Day, infertility, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, Newly Home, referral, toddler adoption, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 3 Comments

We’re finally here, we’re already here. The road to this day, the first anniversary of Willa’s “Gotcha Day,” has been slow, and yet in other ways, I feel like I blinked, and here we are. I’m not exactly sure what meeting your adopted child feels like for many moms, the ones with a gaggle of …Read More

Please Don’t Poke the Bear

July 23, 2017 adopting as first time parents, BAHA, Craniofacial, declining a referral, Family Stories, hearing loss, hemifacial microsomia, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, microtia, referral, speech therapy, waiting for referral 1 Comments

I call my daughter baby bear. For my first Mother’s Day, my husband presented us with matching mama bear/baby bear bracelets. SJ saw them and exclaimed: “SJ. Mama. Same!” Though I’ve never considered myself a shrinking violet by any means, this process, this crazy-beautiful, seemingly impossible way of becoming parents, has seemed to draw out …Read More

Bringing Benjamin Home

July 22, 2017 adopting a boy, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, surgery 2 Comments

We are the Young Family. We live in a small town in North Carolina with our two biological daughters ages 16 and 11, and our adopted son Benjamin who is 4. Our story begins like may others. God’s call to expand our family through adoption, a reluctant spouse, no funds, paperwork, and the “What special …Read More

Walking His Road

July 21, 2017 adopting again, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, should we adopt?, speech delay, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

It was Memorial Day 2012 the first time my husband, Robert, told me he wanted to adopt. We lived in a delightful little suburb of Dallas and had spent the afternoon watching our three young boys play at the splash park. We were all hot and sticky as we drove home and he said, “I’d …Read More

Cool Hats and Shaggy Haircuts: Adopting a Child with Microtia

July 18, 2017 adopting a boy, BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, medical needs checklist, microtia, Sensory System, visible special need 1 Comments

(Let me start by saying I are so far from an expert on the topic of microtia and atresia. Just know that I am a loving mother with a son who happens to have this special bonus feature, not an ENT doctor.) When my husband and I filled out a medical checklist in February of …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

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Our Cleft Story

July 10, 2017 cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, either gender, Family Stories, fistula, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, referral, speech therapy, waiting for referral 2 Comments

Adoption had been on our heart for years. And in August of 2014, after lots of prayer, we accepted God’s call to adopt. We completed our home study, filled out the medical checklist, put together lots of paperwork, prepared our home for another child, and waited to see our child’s face for the first time. …Read More

What You Might Not Know About Shriners in Cincinnati

July 6, 2017 cl/cp, cleft lip, cleft palate, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, hospital stays, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, Stefanie, surgery 0 Comments

With craniofacial needs as our focus this month, we thought it would be a perfect time to share a little about a resource for families with kiddos with cleft lip and palate: Shriners Hospital for Children — Cincinnati. We recently had the opportunity to speak with the wonderful folks at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital and pose …Read More

Her Extra Wide Smile

July 3, 2017 bilateral cleft, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial 3 Comments

Here is the story of how we came to have the privilege of getting to be the parents of our beautiful daughter with an extra wide smile. Adoption was placed on my heart in early 2012. God spoke to me so clearly that I found myself sobbing with the weight of it all. He was …Read More

July Special Needs Focus (and Favorite Family Stories): Craniofacial

July 1, 2017 cl/cp, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, Family Stories, Favorite Family Stories, hemifacial microsomia, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, tessier cleft 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

Conquering Oral Aversions

May 4, 2017 attachment activities, cleft lip, cleft palate, feeding/swallowing therapy, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy 0 Comments

Originally posted on Under the Sycamore When we arrived in China (almost 5 years ago), I thought she would try new foods pretty quickly. She didn’t. I thought once she was settled in at home, she’d be ready. She wasn’t. After several months of no progress, I joked that I was sure she’d eat a …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

Family Makes a Difference

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

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

Mothering Zhou: Adopting a Child with Oral Aversion

December 24, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, feeding/swallowing therapy, occupational therapy, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

Five and a half years ago, my arms ached to hold my son, a world away in China… When I couldn’t sleep, and I had said everything to God I could think of, I would do three things: 1. visit Google maps to zoom in on a city that is as far away as it …Read More

Then and Now: Caris and Calah

November 26, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now 1 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… ……….. In 2004 when we first felt the …Read More

Uncommon Visible Difference

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

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

Making the Grade: Exporing Special Education Service Options

September 27, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, Education, feeding/swallowing therapy, IEP, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pre-school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, speech therapy 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

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

August 21, 2016 ASL, Attachment, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, BAHA, cl/cp, cochlear implants, hearing loss, profound deafness, Sensory System, sign language 2 Comments

In Part one I described how the adoption of our daughter, Ava, born with cleft lip and palate and deafness, set us on a journey to become skilled in sign language. Our desire to support her ability to communicate with others led us on a roller-coaster of experiences and emotions, which culminated in our decision …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

Her First Smile

July 30, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, guest post, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, surgery 5 Comments

It was the morning before my daughter’s cleft lip repair. Alongside my husband and with my daughter in my arms, we walked into her surgeon’s office. We had intentionally waited four months after her adoption before scheduling the surgery. I wanted to give her time to begin to know and trust us. I also wanted …Read More

A Treasured Son: Adopting a Child with Cleft Lip and Palate

July 18, 2016 adopting a boy, cl/cp, Craniofacial, feeding challenges, first weeks home, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, Newly Home 6 Comments

I like to say our son, Bo, is an answer to a prayer I didn’t even know I had until we began the process to adopt him. ……. In 2004, my husband, Peet, and I became parents for the first time in a courtroom in Tomsk, Siberia, to a beautiful baby girl. Then in 2010, …Read More

What I Didn’t Expect

July 17, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, siblings, virtual twins 0 Comments

Have you heard of that book, What To Expect When You’re Expecting for newly pregnant moms-to-be? Have you ever wondered why there isn’t a book written on what to expect when adopting? Hmmm…..I think it’s because the adoption process is about letting go of expectation and putting plans on hold….or embracing detours. It’s a wild …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

Saying Yes

July 10, 2016 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, referral, waiting for referral 5 Comments

Our journey to Claire has been one of unexpected turns in directions we didn’t know God would take us…. Six years ago we were blessed with our first daughter, Evangeline. My pregnancy with her was extremely difficult. Adoption was something we had always talked about and seemed like the best choice for us to grow …Read More

Is That Really All?

July 4, 2016 cleft gumline, cleft lip, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial 1 Comments

I remember sitting down – just my husband and I – and looking through the special needs checklist. Although we didn’t check off everything, for young first-time parents, I think that we had a pretty large list of special needs that we would consider. I envisioned us being matched to a child with a heart …Read More

Accepting the Unexpected

July 2, 2016 adopting a boy, cleft palate, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2016 Feature - Craniofacial, Pierre Robin Sequence 2 Comments

Expect the unexpected. Can that even be accomplished? Doubtful, but with preparedness, an open heart, and faith in God’s greater plan, we can accept the unexpected. Our adoption journey began by filling out a medical conditions checklist with mostly surgically repairable needs. Phillip and I were expecting to adopt a baby girl someday, until we …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

Grace In Progress

February 16, 2016 ADHD, cl/cp, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, microcephaly, speech delay 1 Comments

Our adoption journey has been so complicated medically that it is hard to know where to start and what to include, but here is a snippet. I hope it will help you as you make a decision for adoption. My husband Chris and I had been married 16 years and had three beautiful biological boys …Read More

Undiagnosed Hearing Loss: Wisdom from the Journey

January 28, 2016 BAHA, Education, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, Nager Syndrome, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

We always knew there were unknowns, as all adoptive parents do. But the moment we saw their faces we knew they were ours. This is important to always remember. Most of us who adopt realize that the medical records we receive are not always accurate or trustworthy. But sometimes, you just don’t know the right …Read More

Craniofacial Board 101

August 3, 2015 cl/cp, cleft lip, Craniofacial, Jennifer 0 Comments

You remember that moment when time sort of stands still? When you have the file of a precious one in front of you and you allow yourself to begin to love that child just a little in your heart, and as you open up to the brown of her eyes, or his crooked smile; you …Read More

Living into Hope

July 31, 2015 ADHD, autism, cl/cp, Developmental System, Family Stories, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, speech delay 0 Comments

Today’s post finishes out our feature this month on craniofacial needs. So grateful for all the moms who willingly shared about parenting a child with a craniofacial need – you can find all the posts in this series here. If you would like to share your family story, just complete this short form and we will be in touch …Read More

Microtia. What?

July 23, 2015 BAHA, Craniofacial, Family Stories, hearing loss, hemifacial microsomia, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, Sensory System, speech therapy, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 5 Comments

“My ear hurts mommy.” “Which ear honey? Do both ears hurt?” “No, silly. This one doesn’t hurt. It’s not open. It’s teeny tiny.” Olivia was 3 and this was the first time that I knew of that she noticed that her right ear didn’t match the left. We had never made a big deal out …Read More

Cleft Was Not on the List

July 18, 2015 adopting later in life, cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial 0 Comments

“You must really like cleft,” my mother said to me after we accepted the referral of our second son with cleft. Like cleft? No one likes cleft. Cleft is a birth defect that causes facial deformation, creates the need for painful surgeries and can wreak havoc on eating, sleeping and breathing. No one likes cleft. …Read More

Two. Together.

July 17, 2015 adopting as first time parents, adopting two at once, cl/cp, Family Stories, heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot, virtual twinning 0 Comments

Two together. Twinning. First time parents. In the beginning, these were not words or phrases that I would have put together in any combination in regards to adoption and expect success. And yet, my husband and I did them all. (And you’re reading this on an adoption advocacy site, so you know know I am …Read More

The Sweetest of Blessings

July 13, 2015 coloboma, Family Stories, frontonasal dysplasia, hypertelorism, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial 0 Comments

We were a family of six. We had two girls and two boys. Life was good. We felt complete. In 2007 the Lord called us to adopt. What a sweet journey of trust and faith it has been! Our first adoption was of our now 9 year old daughter, Karleigh Mei, 6.5 years ago in …Read More

Eyes Wide Open

February 9, 2015 Amy A., cl/cp, referral 0 Comments

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed setting goals, creating organized plans, and executing those plans until my goal is achieved. I carry out most tasks as efficiently as possible and tend to think my ways are the best ways. If we have 3 errands to run, I find the most organized …Read More

There’s Something In My Hole (the New Year’s resolution you will want to adopt)

January 4, 2015 cl/cp, Jennifer 4 Comments

It was at lunch just a few days ago. Grace had received some new books with adoption themes for Christmas and she was becoming increasingly confident in telling her story and asking other relatives about their part in it. “Mommy cried happy tears, what did YOU do?” I certainly do not feel that I am …Read More

When Labels Don’t Stick

October 15, 2014 Carrie, hearing loss, hemifacial microsomia, microtia, sedated ABR, Sensory System 4 Comments

It’s been a year since I paused while writing a post for this very site and glanced at the photo-listings for children on our agency’s website. And I saw her. It was a morning exactly like this one. I was up early, before the sun came up. The cup of coffee growing cold beside the …Read More

She Smiles

September 22, 2014 cl/cp, Craniofacial, guest post, referral 15 Comments

Late one Monday night, I incessantly hit ‘refresh’ on my computer screen hoping for an email. Longing for THE email. The minutes felt like hours and then suddenly something popped up. The subject simply had a name – my daughter’s name. A flood of emotions overtook my husband Chris and I as we opened that …Read More

In the Miry Clay: Trust Based Parenting

September 3, 2014 Attachment, cl/cp, Jennifer, TBRI DVD Series, Trust Based Parenting 7 Comments

I was thinking about parents in the adoption trenches today, those stuck down deep in the mud – you know who you are and this one’s for you.  I have had a little time in the trenches, not nearly as much as some of you, but I know that when you are in the muddy …Read More

Sometimes Love Is War

August 27, 2014 Attachment, Carrie, first year home, journey to adoption, microtia 48 Comments

She’s been clawing – literally, until I cut her fingernails – at my legs all day long. Whining and whimpering and the hours go so slow I sometimes wonder if the clock is moving at all. Cora entertains herself, like she does almost every day lately, and I squelch the feelings that I’m letting her …Read More

Unfiltered

August 3, 2014 cl/cp, Jennifer 4 Comments

I am a glass half full kind of person and most definitely, a glass half full kind of mother. Hope springs eternal in my heart and my life plays out accordingly. But, this week, I stopped and gave myself permission to reflect a little on the past months with Grace – just three months shy …Read More

Not Bad For 3 Months

June 27, 2014 Carrie, journey to adoption, microtia 3 Comments

It’s only been three months, but she looks like a different child. I can hardly believe how Alea has transformed in the 90 days since she joined our family. She has gained 4 pounds, for one. She’s developed a bit of a pot belly and pudgy little cheeks. Alea’s such a little dumpling in more …Read More

The Party Blower

June 3, 2014 cl/cp, Jennifer 9 Comments

You know the ones – the party blowers for birthdays with Hello Kitty or Batman on them. They make a loud noise and extend with airflow, sometimes with streamers and usually accompanied by delirious laughter from children and sometimes adults alike. We opened a package of these on a van ride home just for fun. …Read More

During the process

May 29, 2014 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

During the adoption process, there are few things more fierce than the determination of an adoptive mama (or baba) to get to her baby. She has a strange, indescribable love for her child that carries such intensity, it’s often overwhelming. The “my-claws-will-come-out-if-you-get-in-my-way” mama bear protective instincts kind-of-love are ferocious and very real. Anything that stands …Read More

When the voiceless break into song (from Isaiah 35)

May 19, 2014 a father's perspective, BAHA, hearing loss, microtia, Mike, Sensory System 1 Comments

As a dad of six, I know that I am not objective in assessing my own kids. Often, I see them in too favorable of a light, and I find myself measuring our family room mantle to see if it will hold six Nobel Prizes, six Olympic medals, and six Academy Awards at the same …Read More

Happy To Fail

May 3, 2014 cl/cp, Jennifer 0 Comments

This past week, Grace was evaluated in speech therapy. She took a standardized speech assessment test and she failed it. And we rejoiced! High fives all around from her speech therapist and myself! Up high, down low and even some that were too slow but managed to hit the hand anyway! Because up until this …Read More

Confession

April 3, 2014 cl/cp, Jennifer 3 Comments

Confession: I am a reluctant blogger. I normally write because I’ve been asked to and while it is therapeutic to do so, I find myself more and more backing away from the computer, overrun by mommy blogs attacking my facebook stream. Some are beautifully honest and real, helping in the trenches and deep waters of …Read More

This is Goin’ Out to all the Second Opinions…

March 3, 2014 cl/cp, Jennifer 5 Comments

So there we were driving into a parking garage of a strange new hospital with a strange new hospital smell to ride the elevator up the flights to the long row of specialists and into the fish aquarium waiting room to wait. To wait for the second opinion. The second opinion that became necessary after …Read More

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