Hand-Picked By God

November 6, 2018 ABA therapy, autism, developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Education, Family Stories, global developmental delays, institutional autism, non-verbal, occupational therapy, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, physical therapy 0 Comments

The moment I saw our daughter being carried into the Civil Affairs office where we waited, I knew something wasn’t right. She was 19 months old and couldn’t even hold her head up. We knew she had Down syndrome but, according to her file, she was able to sit up, play with toys, and even …Read More

The Other Side of the Mountain: Surviving the Death of a Child

November 4, 2018 adopting again, adoption realities, Down syndrome, Family Stories, Lifelong needs, medical expedite, orphanage realities 3 Comments

It was a horrible stomach flu that took us down one by one. The kids were both sick. Ken and I were horribly sick. It was one of those “fend for yourself and hope to see you on the other side” type of illnesses. When the phone rang that morning, I had no strength to …Read More

Loving Our “Lifers”

November 1, 2018 developmental delays, large families, Lifelong needs, Linny, sibling perspective, siblings 5 Comments

Bringing these three home forever was hands down – three of the very best decisions we’ve ever made in our entire 40+ years of marriage! We affectionately refer to these three little girlies of ours as “our lifers” – because we get to keep them for the rest of our lives! I’m sure to some …Read More

Life Isn’t Fair: Parenting Children with Multiple Special Needs

October 29, 2018 adopting later in life, adopting two at once, autism, cochlear implants, developmental delays, Developmental System, epilepsy, hearing loss, large families, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, Sensory Processing Issues, Sensory System, undiagnosed SN, virtual twins 6 Comments

I don’t remember the exact moment when adoption was put on my heart and in my mind. But, I do remember it was all consuming. I tried to get away from it. But, I couldn’t. It was there and it wouldn’t go away. It was 2015. By early 2016 I finally worked the nerve up …Read More

Please Just Be My Sunshine Today: Down Syndrome Adoption and the Attachment Dance

October 25, 2018 Attachment, attachment challenges, congenital blindness, developmental delays, Developmental System, disruption, Down syndrome, Family Stories, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, parent-to-child attachment, profound deafness, rejects mom, TBRI-based therapy, therapy, Trust Based Parenting, undiagnosed SN 2 Comments

The first photo I ever saw of Winnie was so ridiculously cute. She is dressed from head to toe in a hot pink puffy coat with matching pants and black boots. Her edibly adorable face was framed by such a tragically terrible haircut that made me laugh and cry at the same time. She and …Read More

When Fear Turns To Joy

October 23, 2018 22qdeletion syndrome, adopting a boy, adopting again, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, hearing aids, hearing loss, IEP, older child adoption, speech delay, Tetralogy of Fallot 1 Comments

I remember sitting there staring. Staring at the notes that I had just scribbled down. My mind was racing and yet it was paralyzed. I had just gotten off the phone with the cardiologist who reviewed the file of a girl that my husband, Dan, and I had requested him to review. I was expecting …Read More

Busy, Busy, Boy: Adopting a Child with SPD

October 19, 2018 developmental delays, Developmental System, Education, occupational therapy, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, physical therapy, pre-school, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy 0 Comments

Imagine looking at your beautiful, happy, healthy child. Then imagine the first time that you held him he was two and you were strangers from different continents. This is adoption. It is a serious leap of faith into the unknown. It is loving and fiercely protecting someone you have never even met. It is praying …Read More

Finding A Place For Her: Parenting A Child With Delays

October 18, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, cocooning, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Education, Family Stories, homeschool, IEP, non-verbal, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, public school, SPED class, speech delay, speech therapy, trauma 1 Comments

When we brought our daughter home in the fall of of 2013 we knew she likely had significant, lifelong developmental delays. A mystery girl is how she was described to us. And still, almost five years later, she is a mystery. No real clear cut diagnoses except developmental delays and an MRI thats shows a …Read More

Fully Known, Completely Loved

October 13, 2018 Attachment, cocooning, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, oral aversion, refusing food, speech delay 1 Comments

“I’m fully known and loved by You You won’t let go no matter what I do And it’s not one or the other It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace To be known fully known and loved by You I’m fully known and loved by You” Known by Tauern Wells /// There’s a popular song that’s …Read More

Saying Yes to God

October 11, 2018 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, orphanage realities 1 Comments

As he walked into our post delivery recovery room, he closed the door behind him. He walked over to my bedside to give us an update on the birth of our preemie twin girls. They had been born 6 weeks early and delivery was tough for Isabelle, twin two. The evening before was spent holding …Read More

A Violet Covering

October 9, 2018 adoption community, adoption realities, Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, trauma 0 Comments

Everyone wears a hat in life. No matter your age, race, socioeconomic status, or place you live. Some people wear their hat with pride, some wish their hat was invisible, and some of us wear hat that seems more like a sombrero and everyone can see it. There are times we have the opportunity to …Read More

Our Best Yes

October 1, 2018 Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2018 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

It’s funny how someone will come along in your life, and change everything for you. Every idea of what is important, how you live, what you celebrate in life is just taken and completely transformed. That’s what happened in February 2011 when our family welcomed our third child into the world. Ollie Faith was born …Read More

More Than I Could See: Adopting a Non-Verbal Child

September 22, 2018 Developmental System, Family Stories, hearing loss, non-verbal, older child adoption, profound deafness, Sensory System 1 Comments

It was sentiment we shared for 15 months: we were way in over our heads with this adoption. We had said “yes” to a seven and a half year old daughter who was deaf and had never received the gift of language. There were no schools available to teach her in her province. Consequently, she …Read More

The Syndrome We Never Suspected

September 5, 2018 adopting again, birthmark, developmental delays, Family Stories, linear sebaceous nevus, older child adoption, September 2018 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, speech delay, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

In 2011, we received the file of a little girl, age 3. Her file read “delayed mental development” and it included a very low DQ score. We were able to ask questions and receive a video of her reading flashcards and reciting the names of the items on the flashcards. “Okay,” we thought. “Yes, she’s …Read More

Nothing Is Impossible

July 17, 2018 apraxia of speech, cl/cp, Craniofacial, developmental delays, Family Stories, July 2018 Feature - Craniofacial, non-verbal, speech delay 3 Comments

We had been home with our Laura Cate for 12 months, when a family member made a statement that took my breath away: “Your adopted daughter just doesn’t have the same potential. She will never be able to do all the things your biological daughter can do.” /// We adopted Laura in October 2015, when …Read More

Her Words Will Come

July 15, 2018 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2018 Feature - Craniofacial, speech delay, speech therapy 8 Comments

A few weeks ago my husband and I and our four kids were at Legoland for a day of fun in the California sun. My four kids are all what you may call opinionated, independent, and vocal. Our youngest may be the sassiest of them all, but she also has a profound expressive speech delay. …Read More

The Word that Shattered my White-Picket-Fence World

July 5, 2018 achondroplasia, adopting again, Developmental System, dwarfism, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic 6 Comments

“We believe your baby has something called Achondroplasia.” “Achondro what?” my husband asked. I was six months pregnant at the time with our second child. Achondroplasia – it’s a word that changed our lives forever. I knew what that word was. It was a word that meant my son wouldn’t be the captain of the …Read More

A Dad’s Heart on Adoption

June 17, 2018 a father's perspective, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, June 2018 Feature - Celebrating Dads, large families, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 0 Comments

Almost 15 months ago we brought home one of the biggest blessings of my life. Our daughter, Willow, has changed me forever and has made me a better man, father, husband and drawn me closer to our Heavenly Father. Her unconditional grace, love and pure joy for life are a daily reminder of how true …Read More

Just What We Needed: Parenting a Child with Hypotonia

April 11, 2018 April 2018 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, hypotonia, low muscle tone, occupational therapy, periventricular leukomalacia, physical therapy, Uncategorized 0 Comments

When we were matched with Hailey, she was 6 months old, and we were blessed to call her our daughter! We waited over 18 months to see this sweet girl’s face, and could not believe the day was finally here. With her referral information, we were given the results of a CT scan, which showed …Read More

Say What? – Six Months Later

April 9, 2018 apraxia of speech, Brandie, early intervention, Education, hearing aids, hearing loss, sign language, speech delay, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 1 Comments

Six months ago, I shared about our journey with Caston through his surprise diagnosis of hearing loss and severe speech delay. Six months! Half of a year. It seems like just yesterday that I sat down to write about our experience. Since then, I’ve seen so many parents with questions and concerns relating to speech …Read More

Understanding Early Intervention

March 9, 2018 Brandie, developmental delays, early intervention, Education, first weeks home, first year home, Newly Home, physical therapy, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 1 Comments

On a Monday morning twenty months ago, I rushed around to tidy my house before an afternoon appointment with an Early Intervention coordinator. At the time, I had no idea what Early Intervention entailed. I just knew that in the brief month that we had known our youngest son, we identified several areas where he …Read More

Joy in Broken Hearts

February 13, 2018 cleft palate, complex heart defect, developmental delays, Family Stories, February 2018 Feature - Heart, feeding tube, Heart System, hospital stays, mitral valve regurgitation 0 Comments

I first saw my daughter’s face on my thirty-first birthday. There she was. Staring out at us from a computer screen. Her diagnosis was cleft palate, congenital heart disease, and delayed development. We sought out expert advice from an international adoption specialist and then took the leap of love and said Yes. But as I …Read More

Four Little Heartbeats

February 6, 2018 adopting again, amniotic band syndrome, complex heart defects, developmental delays, February 2018 Feature - Heart, Heart System, Orthopedic, profound deafness, Sensory System, toddler adoption, virtual twins 5 Comments

I’m a mama to four heart babies. And this is our story of becoming a family… our story of going from no children to four children in 15 months. This is our crazy, wonderful life. It was a big day. It was the day my husband messaged me at work and told me that he …Read More

The Numbers That Matter

December 18, 2017 developmental delays, Education, IEP, Megan V., public school 5 Comments

Today we sat across from a table full of people in the conference room of our beloved elementary school, screen full of numbers and goals. They were so kind, so tentative, explaining the testing process to us and how Maggie fared in each category. She’s behind. Universally behind and the numbers didn’t expose anything we …Read More

Unintentional Twinning

December 6, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, developmental delays, Developmental System, siblings, speech therapy, trauma 0 Comments

The terms virtual or artificial twinning are common terms in the adoption world for when a family brings a child home that is born in the same year as a child already in the home. But have you heard of unintentional twinning? It’s OK if you haven’t, because as far as I know I just …Read More

Getting In the Groove: Transitioning As a Family through Adoption

December 4, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families, siblings 2 Comments

“Mommy, when Adeline go back to China? We say bye bye to her tomorrow?” His chubby little 4-year-old hands cupped my face as his big eyes looked intently and earnestly into mine. I had a feeling these questions were coming, but they still kind of caught me by surprise, and my heart ached for his …Read More

Doubly Blessed by PWS (Prader-Willi Syndrome)

November 12, 2017 complex medical, developmental delays, Family Stories, growth hormone deficiency, hip dysplasia, Nutrition, Prader-Willi syndrome 5 Comments

Hi, I’m Kallie. I am married to David, and we have two precious sons through adoption, Jahleel and Camden. Jahleel is five and a half years old and Camden is three and a half. Camden just came home from China this past spring. Both our boys have diagnoses of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), but they present …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

Preparing for Adoption: Wisdom From a Physical Therapist and a Speech Therapist

October 30, 2017 China trip, early intervention, October 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption from the Experts, packing list, physical therapy, prepping for China, speech delay, speech therapy, waiting to travel 1 Comments

You’ve dreamt for this day for months, years even. Planned for it, traveled halfway around the world for it and played it out in your mind a million times. And yet, the reality of becoming a family through adoption is undoubtedly different. What happens next depends much on how you, as the adoptive parent, process …Read More

From “What If” to “What Is”

October 29, 2017 apraxia of speech, developmental delays, Developmental System, non-verbal, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, siblings, speech delay, speech therapy 4 Comments

The doors open, and all of the 3 year old preschoolers come running out… “Mama, I painted today!” “Mama, we ate cookies at snack!” “Mama, I played on the slide outside!” “Mama, I had so much fun today!” My little girl also comes running out. Her mega-watt smile is turned on high. She hugs my …Read More

The Upside of Down Syndrome

October 28, 2017 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Education, homeschool, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 2 Comments

If you asked me three years ago what I expected life to be like after adopting a child with Down syndrome, I may have said something like, “Our lives will have to slow down a lot.. We’ll have to make time for lots of doctors appointments, therapies, etc.. and we’ll definitely have to have a …Read More

Revealing Hidden Treasures

October 26, 2017 adopting again, adopting two at once, Advocacy, Developmental System, Down syndrome, large families, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 3 Comments

I wasn’t one of those amazing people who aspires to adopt a child with Down syndrome from a young age. Neither did I ever imagine that I would become an advocate for children with Down syndrome waiting to be adopted. I, like most people, was fairly ignorant of what Down syndrome, or “Trisomy 21” actually …Read More

Worth It

October 25, 2017 ADHD, cl/cp, cognitive delay, Craniofacial, developmental delays, Developmental System, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding challenges, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay 0 Comments

Three years after coming home with our older daughter – whose special needs are unrepaired cleft palate and ear atresia and microtia – we were ready to adopt again. We were open to many things on the medical needs checklist, but not developmental delays. We had good insurance and several medical facilities nearby, so we …Read More

Worry Turned to Joy

October 24, 2017 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 1 Comments

One year ago, we chose a file of a little girl half way around the world we didn’t know. We knew her diagnosis, her given name, her age, and a little about her personality. What can you really know from a file, truly? With the months passing and preparing paperwork, my mind was racing. What …Read More

Just As You Are

October 24, 2017 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, homeschool, non-verbal, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, sign language, speech therapy 5 Comments

I left church early this past Sunday. For some reason the transition from Sunday school to big church has been difficult for our daughter for the last month or so. She is non-verbal and, although she is mine, cannot communicate to me what is making this transition so hard. Usually I can pull from my …Read More

Fighting to Slow Down

October 21, 2017 attachment challenges, developmental delays, Developmental System, discipline, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, IEP, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, refusing food, seizures, Sensory Processing Issues, sign language, speech delay, speech therapy 2 Comments

“Wow, you’re really quick!” It was one of the first thoughts I had about my daughter. We were standing in the provincial civil affairs office. The nanny from the orphanage had just placed her in my arms. I tried to hold her facing me and she spun around to face outward with a speed I’d …Read More

“A Little Bit Naughty”: Misunderstood Special Needs

October 19, 2017 ADHD, adopting a boy, age assignment, developmental delays, Developmental System, IEP, Newly Home, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, public school, Sensory Processing Issues 2 Comments

One and a half years ago my husband and I, seasoned parents with three pre-teen/teenage biological daughters, flew across the globe to China to meet our four-year-old son, Asher. He was in the Special Focus program and his special need was Developmental Delay. Being that DD is such a common and global term associated with …Read More

The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Our Family

October 16, 2017 adopting again, adopting later in life, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 2 Comments

A friend of mine, who happens to also have a daughter with Down syndrome, called me the other day. “Audrey! I was just realizing, not only are you about to get another child… (we currently have 7) but she is a toddler! Like – in diapers, not talking yet and she has Down syndrome!” We …Read More

What We Didn’t Know

October 14, 2017 developmental delays, Developmental System, early intervention, Education, failure to thrive, heart defect, medical needs checklist, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, sign language, speech delay, virtual twinning 0 Comments

Every child is different, and those differences make life a beautiful kaleidoscope. Our family was formed through adoption and through our most recent adoptions we have become familiar with various aspects of developmental delays. We adopted our sons domestically, and then we adopted our two two year old daughters from China one year apart. With …Read More

When Words Don’t Come

October 11, 2017 augmentative and alternative communication, cerebral palsy, dysarthria, non-verbal, speech delay 0 Comments

The ability to speak is commonly used as a litmus test for intelligence. After all, audible language equates with the ability to form thoughts. True? Not true. Oftentimes, non-verbal children have the same thoughts and feelings as typically developing peers but don’t have the skills or ability to use words to express themselves. We have …Read More

Say What?

October 9, 2017 attachment activities, Brandie, early intervention, Education, first weeks home, first year home, hearing aids, hearing loss, Newly Home, sign language, speech delay, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 0 Comments

“I don’t get it,” I said to my friend several years ago when she mentioned she was having her toddler evaluated by an early intervention team to assess his speech. “He’s not even two. He’s a late bloomer!” I assured her. I went on with anecdotes about our first born, now 15, who at two …Read More

In Celebration of Down Syndrome

October 2, 2017 adopting a boy, Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2017 Feature - Developmental 4 Comments

Five years ago, on October 6th, we welcomed our daughter Wren into the world. With Wren being our second child, we felt pretty confident that we were prepared for all that adding another child into our little family would bring. What we were not prepared for was learning shortly after Wren’s birth that she has …Read More

Being a Mom to Special Kids

September 15, 2017 autism, cerebral palsy, Megan, Parenting Special Needs, siblings 2 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

Attachment Q & A: Still Not Attached

August 18, 2017 Attachment, attachment challenges, Attachment Disorder, August 2017 Feature - Attachment Q & A, Jean, parent-to-child attachment, RAD, reactive attachment disorder, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments

Attachment. Not much more could not be packed into one single word, especially in the adoption world. We spent all of July focusing on this most-important topic and decided to continue into August – but with a bit of a twist. This month, we’re answering your attachment questions. Because we all have them – we …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

Trusting My Instincts

July 19, 2017 ABA therapy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, autism, cocooning, developmental delays, Developmental System, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, IEP, indiscriminate affection, occupational therapy, speech delay, speech therapy 1 Comments

My husband Derrick and I had been married for almost eight years when, in the summer of 2015, our path to parenthood ultimately led us to adopt from the China Special Needs program. Up to that point, we had never considered what life would be like for our growing family outside of the “typical” narrative. …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 Happened When We Killed Our Dreams

May 26, 2017 a father's perspective, ASD, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, feeding challenges, heart defect, May 2017 Feature - For Life, medical needs checklist, Randall, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Finish high school. Graduate from college. Get a job. Get married. Have a couple kids. Maybe even adopt one. Send them all to college. Celebrate their weddings. Spoil the grandkids. Retire. That’s the plan. Well… that was the plan. When I was getting ready to finish high school, I realized I had no idea what …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

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