More Than We Ever Expected…

May 18, 2019 albinism, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, global developmental delays, older child adoption, orphanage realities, Skin Conditions 4 Comments

We entered into this adoption full of hopes and dreams just like most people. However, we also understood the realities, especially when adopting from China. We knew the gambles, had read all the blogs and books and articles we could get our hands on. We knew to expect the unexpected… or so we thought. We …Read More

The Unlikeliest Gift

December 22, 2018 adopting again, cleft palate, Craniofacial, December 2018 Feature - The Gift of Adoption, developmental delays, Family Stories, Heart System, VSD 0 Comments

As I sit down and reflect on all the gifts that my Lord has bestowed upon my family and I, there are too many to count. Yet I know that, on so many days, I forget. My mind soars in other directions and I lose sight of these gifts. Or perhaps… as I have realized …Read More

Magnificently Good

December 13, 2018 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, Lifelong needs, Linny, non-verbal 0 Comments

When people are considering special needs adoption they usually look over a list and decide what they are comfortable with. Looking at the long lists of possible medical needs fearful thoughts can overwhelm even the bravest hearts. Sometimes the uncertainty of needs, often based on misinformation, can generate an automatic “No, not that need”. Here’s …Read More

The Unexpected Gift of Struggling

December 7, 2018 Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, December 2018 Feature - The Gift of Adoption, developmental delays, Developmental System, epilepsy, IEP, Lifelong needs, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, “Adoption is a gift”. People respond with a smile and a nod of their heads. Sometimes I get to go a little deeper and share details of our story and how we came to be the parents of a child with significant physical and …Read More

Lessons Learned from an Internal Processor

November 23, 2018 a father's perspective, Dads, developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Lifelong needs, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, Perspectives, Randall, should we adopt? 0 Comments

Down syndrome is scary. I said that to myself five years ago. It took me awhile to admit it. But I was pretty opposed to all lifelong diagnoses. I had very little information about Down syndrome back then. And the information gaps gave my imagination plenty of space to run freely. I saw the shadows …Read More

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

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

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

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

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 6 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

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

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

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

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

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: The Road God Had For Us

May 10, 2017 developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Lifelong needs, May 2017 Feature - For Life, medical needs checklist, waiting for referral 2 Comments

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

Severe Feeding Challenges: The Hardest Part

April 23, 2017 developmental delays, Developmental System, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, food issues, oral aversion, oral-motor delays, orphanage behaviors, refusing food, Sensory Processing Issues, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN 8 Comments

We started the adoption process in 2005, right before the big slowdown. We didn’t end up traveling until 2007, so I spent every free moment reading adoption stories and joining every adoption-related yahoo group out there. I felt as well-educated as one could possibly be. Unfortunately, there were only the “ladybugs and unicorns” stories out …Read More

When My Non-Verbal Daughter Dreamed About a Butterfly

April 14, 2017 ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, developmental delays, Developmental System, low muscle tone, non-verbal, sign language 3 Comments

Talking is my strong suit. I love to talk. My grandmothers would both comment on my ability to talk, even at a very young age. I remember being at a Shoney’s (a restaurant) when I was around five or six years old. My grandmother shushed me several times. It was then I realized how much …Read More

Feeding Challenges: “I’ve Got This” and Other Things I Once Believed

March 26, 2017 complex heart defect, developmental delays, early intervention, failure to thrive, feeding tube, feeding/swallowing therapy, malnourishment, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Nutrition, oral aversion, paralyzed vocal chords, refusing food, surgery 4 Comments

Major cardiac defects? That’s a little more intimidating than we initially signed up for but nothing a good surgeon can’t fix. Plus I’m a nurse, I can handle the hard. God prepared me for this. Poor oxygenation? That’ll correct itself once her heart is repaired. Severe developmental delays? Of course she’s delayed, but look at …Read More

Confessions of a Former China Director Turned Adoptive Mom

January 24, 2017 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, cognitive delay, complex medical, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, first weeks home, first year home, low muscle tone, Newly Home, should we adopt? 8 Comments

Alternately titled: What I wish I would have known, and what I would like to share with other adoptive families I first started out with adoption in 2004 when I was just 21 years old. It was the summer before my senior year of college when I got a job as an intern at All …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: Mila

November 18, 2016 Attachment, attachment challenges, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, parent-to-child attachment, siblings, Trust Based Parenting 4 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’ve all seen those glossy magazine ads …Read More

Then and Now: Ayla

November 9, 2016 beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia major, Blood Conditions, developmental delays, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, thalassemia 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… ……….. “I do not think she will live …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

Making the Grade: Why We Homeschool

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

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

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 10 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

Pondering the “What-Ifs”

July 21, 2016 coloboma, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, micropthalmia, prosthetic eye, Sensory System, siblings, vision loss 10 Comments

I remember reading all the recommended adoption books, watching all the training videos, stalking all the mom blogs, and talking to other adoptive moms during the time leading up to our own adoption. I got myself familiar with so many new terms and tried to educate myself on any possibility of trouble our future daughter …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

Sorrow Turned to Joy

March 4, 2016 brain damage syndrome, cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, microcephaly, small head circumference 0 Comments

I hesitate to write about my daughter’s adoption story for fear I might scare others away. However, her story is one of sorrow that has turned into joy. I want to share her joy. My daughter has a brain injury and microcephaly. She also loves to eat jelly beans, tease her siblings, and prefers to …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

Microcephaly: A Blessing In Disguise

January 24, 2016 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, Jean, microcephaly, older child adoption 1 Comments

I first learned about microcephaly while working in the newborn nursery. A sweet little boy lay in a basinet all bundled up in a white hospital blanket. As I got closer to him I noticed his head was quite small compared to the other newborns. I later found out that this dear child was diagnosed …Read More

The Truth of Parenting a Child with Unknowns

October 16, 2015 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Family Stories, low muscle tone, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, speech delay, undiagnosed SN 3 Comments

Our daughter’s special need wasn’t on a checklist. Even today, we still don’t know what her special need is. Her medical history is a complete mystery. With no birth story, we will never have all of the pieces to the puzzle. Yet, her puzzle will not always be incomplete. In fact, as we put these …Read More

Saying Yes Was Scary, Being Her Mother Is Not

October 7, 2015 cognitive delay, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, hearing loss, non-verbal, October 2015 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

When my husband and I began our adoption journey in January of 2013 we, like most pre-adoptive parents, had a profile of sorts for the child we were hoping to adopt. We knew we wanted to adopt from China. We were hoping to adopt a girl and we knew we wanted to adopt a child …Read More

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Adopting a Child With Down Syndrome

October 7, 2015 developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Education, IEP, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, physical therapy, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 7 Comments

October has always been my favorite month of the year. I love everything about the cooler temperatures, family time carving pumpkins and roasting marshmallows over a backyard fire. October is also Down syndrome awareness month, and as a Ds adoption advocate, this is one more reason for me to love October. Since adopting my daughter …Read More

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