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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I Did. I Asked For This.

February 17, 2017 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, large families 17 Comments

Someone finally said out loud what I assumed people might be thinking all along. I was asked, “How are you?” Careful not to ever come across as complaining about this beautiful mess God has called me to, I simply answered, “Good.” I never want to appear to have it all together (which isn’t hard); however, …Read More

Reluctant Spouses: Worth the Wait

January 21, 2017 adopting a boy, Down syndrome, January 2017 Feature - Reluctant Spouses, pre-adoption, reluctant husband, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other. This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when …Read More

Changing Hearts Near and Far: Adopting a Child with Down Syndrome

October 28, 2016 Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2016 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

I’ve typed and deleted so many times trying to find the right words for this post. You see, the truth is, our adoption of a child with Down syndrome has really been no different than any of our other adoptions. From impatiently waiting to bring her home, to bonding, to doctors appointments, and even our …Read More

The Blessing of Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome

October 11, 2016 adopting a boy, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, Morning Star Foster Home, October 2016 Feature - Developmental 5 Comments

I was sixteen weeks pregnant with our second child sitting outside Panera sipping my tomato basil soup when an elementary aged boy walked by smiling and holding his mother’s hand. The boy had Down syndrome. As they walked past a question entered my mind I had never thought in my life, “What if my child …Read More

When Mom Works: Six Truths to Hold On To

October 8, 2016 adopting as a single mom, Desiree, Down syndrome, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, working mom 2 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

Down Syndrome, Sign Language and Adoption

October 6, 2016 ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, non-verbal, October 2016 Feature - Developmental, sign language, speech delay 3 Comments

When our oldest daughter, Reagan, was a baby, I had every intention of teaching her sign language. I had researched the benefits, both for parents and children, and was excited to go down that road. But then life happened, sleepless nights and other duties prevailed, and we never pursued it further. 

 Our middle daughter, Reese, …Read More

God’s Path: Adopting a Child with Down Syndrome

September 19, 2016 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories 1 Comments

Four years ago, we were a family of five. My husband and I had two biological sons who are now 15 and 13 and one daughter who is now ten. We had adopted our daughter from China when she was only one year old. She had a hole in her heart, but God healed her. …Read More

How to Find Your Tribe

August 25, 2016 a father's perspective, adoption community, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, first weeks home, first year home, Newly Home, Perspectives, Randall 0 Comments

“Your people are my people, your God my God. Not even death itself is going to come between us.” Ruth 1:16-17 When we started the adoption process, we were not even considering Down syndrome. It was too scary. In fact, the irony of it, is we decided our cut-off for having bio kids was age …Read More

Sign Language and Adoption: The Gift of Communication

August 23, 2016 attachment activities, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, Developmental System, Down syndrome, prepping for China, sign language, speech delay, waiting to travel 1 Comments

You’ve made the decision to adopt. Your homestudy is underway or maybe even finished. You’ve taken adoption classes and read book after book. You’ve worked hard to prepare your home, your family and your hearts to bring your little one home. But what about communication? Have you prepared to communicate with your child? For most …Read More

Dear Younger Me, Walk Unafraid

July 31, 2016 Developmental System, Down syndrome, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me 3 Comments

Don’t be afraid, For I am with you. Don’t be discouraged because I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 ……. My husband Chris and I recently took a much needed respite trip to Portland, Oregon. We live in Austin, …Read More

Sign Language and Adoption: A Reason to Sign

June 2, 2016 ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, autism, China trip, Down syndrome, hearing loss, non-verbal, prepping for China, profound deafness, speech delay 7 Comments

When adopting internationally, almost every waiting parent worries, “How will I communicate with my new child?” Whether your new child is a year old or thirteen years old, if your child was not born in an English-speaking country, there will be some type of language barrier. This is even more true if you are adopting …Read More

A Message to the New Momma by Adoption

May 25, 2016 adopting two at once, Down syndrome, large families, May 2016 Feature - Large Families 11 Comments

Hey fellow adoptive mama! I’m Erin. I’m writing this post today because I was asked to share what it’s like to have a large family by adoption. In the world of adoption, my family is considered fairly mid-sized: six kids and two parents. In March 2015, I jumped from mama of four to six when …Read More

Treasure in Darkness

March 27, 2016 Attachment, cocooning, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories 2 Comments

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” – Isaiah 45:3 It has been said that most, and I would say all, adoption journeys begin out of loss. Perhaps that is …Read More

The Beginning of Surrender

March 24, 2016 adopting later in life, adopting two at once, Down syndrome, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, medical waiver, older child adoption, waiver request 4 Comments

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us …Read More

A Tale of Two Stubborn Wills

March 18, 2016 Attachment, Down syndrome, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, Trust Based Parenting 1 Comments

This is a tale of two stubborn wills – one refusing to accept new and unfamiliar love, and the other refusing to stop giving it. In May of 2013 my lifelong dream of adopting a child with Down syndrome finally came true. I was 110% sure that this was the right thing to do. My …Read More

What Will This Do To Your Kids

February 24, 2016 a father's perspective, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, Randall, sibling perspective 6 Comments

SHUT YOUR MOUTH We had a striking revelation the other day. When we began talking about our adoption roadmap, we had decided we would start the process when we turned thirty-five years old because women who get pregnant after thirty-five statistically have a 1 in 400 chance of having a child with Down syndrome. And …Read More

Thoughts from a Big Sister: Life is a Gift to be Shared

February 17, 2016 Down syndrome, Family Stories, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, sibling perspective, siblings 13 Comments

Almost three years ago, a little stranger came into my life. And then six months ago, another one joined her: Pearl and Molly, our spicy Hunan girls. It’s so hard to think that they once were strangers to us, to our love, to our family. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without …Read More

It Takes A Village: Thoughts on Adoption from Gramma

October 21, 2015 adopting as a single mom, China trip, Desiree, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Gotcha Day, grandparent's perspective, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village 2 Comments

For every nuclear family that is forever changed through adoption, there are grandparents somewhere in the mix. Hopefully, they are the family foundation for which the adoption is built on, but generationally, there may be relational, cultural, racial or even spiritual issues that hinder healthy adoption support. Even the bureaucracy of adoption can overwhelm and …Read More

Adoption and How Neighbors, Friends and Family Kept Me Sane

October 17, 2015 Down syndrome, first weeks home, first year home, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, supporting adoptive families 3 Comments

While still in the baby steps of adoption, we stumbled into the realm of special needs adoptions, specifically Down syndrome. Although our initial plan was to adopt domestically, we discovered the Bamboo Project (a program committed to finding families for children in China with Down syndrome). And when I saw our daughter’s photo, I knew …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

Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2015

October 6, 2015 Desiree, Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2015 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

Every Sunday we go to church and sit in the same general section of the sanctuary — inside middle aisle approximately 5 rows back. It’s not the ‘young families’ section of the church (that’s to the far right), so we are usually surrounded by, ahem… “seasoned” men and women and the occasional family with older …Read More

It Takes a Village: We Are Interwoven

October 1, 2015 adopting two at once, Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, virtual twinning 0 Comments

October is here and so is our new feature focus, It Takes a Village. In this month we will share ways that friends, families, churches, teachers, agencies, doctors and therapists can gather around to support, love on and encourage adopting families. October is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a chance to raise awareness and celebrate …Read More

Life on Pause: Thoughts on Orphan Hosting

August 31, 2015 Down syndrome, orphan hosting 0 Comments

Pause. The best way I can describe the way my life feels right now is that it is on pause. On pause because I met my daughter, spent five beautiful weeks with her, and then promptly returned her to the airport just like I had guaranteed I would do. For me, the whole idea of …Read More

Unhindered Jumping

July 21, 2015 adopting as a single mom, Desiree, Down syndrome, working mom 0 Comments

We have recently hit the developmental milestone of JUMPING in our household. I knew this would come at some point and we’ve been practicing for a couple of years, but his legs have finally seemed to figure it out… and now they won’t stop! He jumps on the bed. Jumps on the couch. Jumps off …Read More

Bamboo Project 2.0: Summer 2015

June 17, 2015 Desiree, Down syndrome 0 Comments

One question I am asked the most in regards to special needs adoption is “Why Down syndrome?” It seems like a fair question, but I just don’t seem to remember a specific event in my life that echoed “You will parent a child with more chromosomes than you!” Overwhelmingly, when you speak to families who …Read More

Seven Things I Learned from the Adoption Process

June 12, 2015 a father's perspective, Dads, Down syndrome, June 2015 Feature - Let's Hear It For Dads, Randall 2 Comments

Hey Dads. First of all, I know you’re probably a little scared. It’s okay. You don’t have to admit it, at least not yet. Just know that there’s somebody out there who gets what you’re going through. We’ve all felt it. Trust me, you’ll find a way to lead your family through the process. Take …Read More

I Think I Know You: A Dad’s Perspective on Adopting a Child with Down Syndrome

June 5, 2015 a father's perspective, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, June 2015 Feature - Let's Hear It For Dads 7 Comments

You don’t know me, but if you’re a dad (or prospective dad) considering adopting a child with Down syndrome from China, I think I know you. I think I was you. I know you worry about caring for a child with developmental disabilities and lifelong needs. I know you worry about health problems that are …Read More

“Now That You’ve Done it, What Do You Think About Adopting Two Kids at Once?”

May 27, 2015 adopting two at once, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories 4 Comments

Hi! I’m Erin and my husband and I just returned home from China on March 27th with our two newest daughters, Grace and Josie. They are both 5 years old and they both have Down syndrome. We already had four children at home, an 11 year old boy, an 8 year old girl, a 7 …Read More

The Unexpected Testimony

May 21, 2015 adopting as a single mom, Desiree, Down syndrome, working mom 0 Comments

One of the “perks” (not so much if you are an introvert) of walking the Adoption Road is the availability to share your testimony. I think it might actually be one of the questions on the Home Study Report: Are you ready and willing to share all that the Lord has done (and will continue …Read More

a family for Rosie

April 16, 2015 Down syndrome, Family Found, International China Concern, Stefanie 0 Comments

I first learned about this precious girl on the Down Syndrome Adoption FB group and was immediately smitten. And when you see her picture, I’m sure you’ll agree. Those chubby legs. That black hair. Those pink cheeks. Oh my. Now that we are home with our Clementine, who also has Down syndrome, I have such a huge soft …Read More

World Down Syndrome Day 2015

March 21, 2015 Desiree, Down syndrome 0 Comments

March 21st. The 21st day of the 3rd month of the year. A day picked specifically to celebrate those with a 3rd copy of their 21st chromosome. And this day specifically to increase awareness of the global blessing of Down syndrome! There is no firm data on how many beautiful people there are world wide …Read More

Adoption Allergies

January 21, 2015 adopting as a single mom, Attachment, Desiree, Down syndrome 0 Comments

“He’s been home for over two years. Isn’t it time you stop thinking about attachment?“   I stared dumbfounded at the face in front of me that had just uttered those hurtful words. I knew in my heart, they were said both in overly-asserted kindness and in ignorance, but I kinda wanted to scream back …Read More

A Dream Come True: Adopting a Child with Down Syndrome

October 27, 2014 Down syndrome, Family Stories, guest post 7 Comments

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I always knew I would adopt from China. From a very young age, I remember being drawn to families who had done so, and …Read More

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