Organized Chaos: Managing Adoption Paperwork

August 13, 2017 Courtney, paperchase, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 3 Comments

Call me weird but there is something about adoption paperwork that I actually enjoy. My personality thrives on checklists and deadlines. I love completing a task and knowing that the work is bringing me one step closer to my son. Paperwork is a tangible way to show that I am making progress in our adoption. …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

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

On Solid Ground

July 13, 2017 Courtney, paperchase, referral 1 Comments

Last week was a challenging one for the international adoption community with the release of new regulations for families desiring to adopt a child from China. According to most social media posts and adoption agencies, the regulations that seem to affect the largest number of families are the following: the new requirement of one year …Read More

Celebrating Her Differences

July 11, 2017 amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic, referral, visible special need 0 Comments

Our adoption journey began many years before the first paper was signed and sent off to our agency. My husband and I spent the summer after our junior year in college in China studying language and culture. We actually began dating at the end of our time in China and that summer holds a very …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

Your Hand Fits Perfectly in Mine

June 30, 2017 ectrodactyly, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, limb difference, medical needs checklist, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic 1 Comments

I can remember wanting to adopt for a long time — specifically wanting to adopt a daughter from China. My amazing stepdad adopted me when I was 12 so, since I was young, adoption has been close to my heart. When my husband and I married in 2004, adoption was something we knew we wanted …Read More

Nothing to Fear: Seeing Beyond the Check Box

June 20, 2017 adopting again, arthrogryposis, Family Stories, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, medical needs checklist, older child adoption, Orthopedic 2 Comments

She loves bubbles and baby dolls. Her favorite color is yellow. She is a quick learner and a compassionate friend. She has the most joyful laugh, and an infectious smile. And we wouldn’t have known any of these aspects of our daughter had we been scared off by one single word… Arthrogryposis. Her story began …Read More

Hearing Loss: An Almost-Missed Diagnosis

June 5, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, Brandie, hearing aids, hearing loss, undiagnosed SN, waiting for referral 4 Comments

In late August 2014, I loaded up my three children and drove an hour to hand deliver our completed dossier to my adoption agency. After the months of meetings, paper chasing, notarizing, and certifying documents, I would only let those precious papers leave the firm grip of my fingers if they were placed directly in …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

Love Stories: A Shared Love

May 16, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, orphanage, Post-Adoption contact, waiting to travel 1 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

For Life: He Makes Things Beautiful

May 14, 2017 adopting again, large families, Lifelong needs, May 2017 Feature - For Life, medical needs checklist, older child adoption 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

Which Child Is His “Yes” For Us?

May 13, 2017 Courtney, declining a referral, paperchase, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 1 Comments

Any time I look at a file of a child, my heart starts to beat a little faster. I immediately wonder, “is this the one?” As my husband and I wade through pages and pages of medical information, reports, doctor assessments, places of abandonment, finding dates, pictures, and videos, we often find ourselves wondering if …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

From Inconvenient to Eternal

May 6, 2017 AFO, April 2017 Feature - CNS, bowel management, Central Nervous System, Family Stories, incontinence, medical needs checklist, referral, spina bifida, waiting for referral, wheelchair user 2 Comments

We had the same picture as so many others at the start: we envisioned a perfect, beautiful, raven-haired little girl from China. When we started exploring adoption and saw that the face of adoption had really changed to be all about special needs, we shifted our thinking. Minor, correctable needs, we thought. Our perfect, beautiful, …Read More

The Real Worst Case Scenario

April 9, 2017 adopting as a single mom, adopting as first time parents, April 2017 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, Chiari 2 malformation, Family Stories, hydrocephalus, medical needs checklist, mobility issues, neurogenic bowel and bladder, spina bifida, waiting for referral, wheelchair user 1 Comments

When I began the adoption process, in the fall of 2013, I filled out my agency’s medical conditions checklist, or MCC. I was only open to a girl up to age 18 months, but being a special education teacher, I was familiar with and open to a wide variety of medical needs. At the time, …Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Eight

April 6, 2017 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, adopting again, dossier, Faith, homestudy, paperchase, pre-adoption, Theraplay, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 0 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

Seriously Blessed

March 4, 2017 adopting again, adopting later in life, adopting out of birth order, adopting two at once, complex heart defect, complex medical, large families, medical needs checklist, November 2016 Feature - Then and Now, older child adoption, should we adopt? 9 Comments

In 2011, our family looked like this. We were considered a large family by our friends and family. Dan and I had been married for 27 years at this point. We had been through a great deal during those 27 years. Our twin boys were born prematurely, three months before their due date. Our son …Read More

Red Flags: Not All Agencies Are Created Equal

February 15, 2017 Agencies, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, switching agencies 0 Comments

You may have seen that an adoption agency with a program in China was recently “temporarily debarred” by the State Department. Some of the violations by this agency included (I am paraphrasing): Charging families in-country fees that were different than what they had previously quoted. Charging fees that were unreasonably high in consideration of services …Read More

After the Honeymoon: Adopting a Child with Complex CHD

February 14, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as first time parents, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, first year home, Heart System, heterotaxy, medical needs checklist, Morning Star Foster Home, pulmonary atresia, should we adopt?, surgery, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Prologue: In our son’s room, we have a picture that reads: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We chose this verse for him, but in reality it applies more to us. My husband, Derek, and …Read More

Adopting a Child with Unpredictable Special Needs

January 31, 2017 adoption realities, bronchiectasis, dysphagia, Family Stories, medical needs checklist, referral, swallow study, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

When you visit a carnival, some rides are very predictable. The frog hopper, bumper cars, flying elephants, and even the tea cups come with a high level of predictability. You hand over the ticket and, with almost 100% certainty, you can foresee what the outcome of the ride will be… steady, smooth, and timely. Then …Read More

On the Ground in China: Prayers Answered

January 24, 2017 agency-orphanage partnership, AWAA, Beyond Adoption, medical mission trip, orphan ministry, other ways to care for the orphan 0 Comments

Prayers answered overnight, relationships forged, and a path cleared to serve more than twice the number of children planned – this is the incredible impact of a recent medical mission trip to help orphans in China. On this recent trip, Dr. Kanhka Linthavong and his team saw God work in powerful ways. The group of …Read More

In the Meantime

January 13, 2017 adopting again, Courtney, either gender, referral, waiting for referral 8 Comments

Right now I am in a place I like to call the sweet spot. The paper chase is finished. There are no more adoption documents to sign or forms to fill out or fingerprints appointments to attend. All of our paperwork is submitted and everything on our end is done and out of our hands. …Read More

My Plan vs. His Plan

January 11, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as a single mom, adopting as first time parents, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, working mom 0 Comments

You know how you make plans for your life and then God has something completely different in mind (and probably laughs at you for thinking your plan would measure up)? That was me. In fact, I had my whole life figured out. I was going to go to college, fall in love, get married, and …Read More

Snips, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

January 1, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, adopting out of birth order, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, medical needs checklist, older child adoption, referral, waiting for referral 3 Comments

I sat down one afternoon after our decision to adopt and filled out the application and MCC. The MCC is a Medical Conditions Checklist where you check boxes of special needs that you and your family are comfortable with. There are also boxes to fill out for age preference that range (from 0-13 years old) …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

Outnumbered and Loving It

December 28, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, Family Stories, referral 0 Comments

Five years ago this month, we got “the call”. To say it was unexpected would be an understatement. Our dossier wasn’t logged in, the check marks on our medical needs list were few, and the shared list had been released earlier in the week. When I checked the caller ID on my cell phone I …Read More

Reluctant No More

December 27, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Andrea O., December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, medical needs checklist, referral, waiting for referral 1 Comments

Back in early 2005 when we first decided to adopt, we researched the different avenues of adoption and for many reasons we chose China. If I’m completely honest with myself, one of the reasons is that we were practically assured to be matched with the type of child we had already decided that we wanted: a …Read More

Without the Thought of Her, We Would Never Have Him

December 26, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, either gender, pre-adoption, should we adopt? 3 Comments

Twelve years ago I had a dream birthed in my heart of mothering a child from China. In my mind’s eye I saw a sweet little girl, jet black pigtails, and pink bows. I had just spent time in the country, and even at a young age saw the crushing weight of the reality of …Read More

Blessed by Boys

December 12, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting again, Brandie, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, dossier reuse, Family Stories, referral, should we adopt?, virtual twins, waiting for referral 1 Comments

I completed my first adoption in the fall of 1983. Cradling my new baby, I raised my right hand as I stood in front of my mother pledging, “I promise to love my Cabbage Patch Kid with all my heart. I promise to be a good and kind parent. I will always remember how special …Read More

Love Beyond Sight

December 6, 2016 cataracts, congenital blindness, December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, first year home, hypoplasia, medical needs checklist, micropthalmia, Newly Home, prosthetic eye, referral, Sensory System, vision loss 1 Comments

I have always been a planner, always been cautious. I had even been planning this adoption since I was 12! What I hadn’t planned was that China would become a special needs adoption program by the time my husband and I were able to adopt. It was daunting looking over the Medical Checklist. I could …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

Not What I Expected

October 30, 2016 Family Stories, infertility, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral, working mom 0 Comments

Our family story. It’s not what I expected. Ten years ago when my husband and I decided it was time to start a family, “my time” likely caused God to laugh because nothing, really, has happened according to my desired schedule. Ten years ago we were the ideal parents. My husband and I went to …Read More

Leaps of Faith: Adopting a Child with Micropthalmia

October 27, 2016 Chiari 1 malformation, Developmental System, medical needs checklist, micropthalmia, October 2016 Feature - Developmental, prosthetic eye, referral, Sensory System, vision loss 4 Comments

No two families start exactly the same. In some sense, every decision to have children involves a leap of faith. Nothing in this world is a guarantee; as plenty of parents have learned, there is much that can go wrong during a baby’s formative nine months in the womb and truly, through their entire lives, …Read More

When Mom Works: Every Single One Needs a Family

October 5, 2016 albinism, declining a referral, Family Stories, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, referral, Skin Conditions, TVI, waiting for referral, working mom 20 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

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Seven

October 5, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, dossier, Faith, homestudy, I'm Ready to Adopt, paperchase, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 1 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

On Medical Mission: Telling the Stories of Orphans with Special Needs

October 4, 2016 agency-orphanage partnership, AWAA, Beyond Adoption, medical mission trip, orphan ministry, other ways to care for the orphan 1 Comments

Dr. Kanhka Linthavong is a North Carolina doctor with a huge heart for adoption. His family is in the process of adopting a child from China, and he loves how adoption demonstrates how God brings us into His own family.  In just a few days, Dr. Linthavong will be traveling to China on a medical missions …Read More

The Gift of Waiting

September 29, 2016 adopting again, Courtney, paperchase, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 2 Comments

When I was four I asked for a calendar. Just writing that sentence seems ridiculous. I asked my mom to keep track of my activities so I could know which event happened on what day. Sundays and Wednesdays were church and in between there was preschool, a plethora of playdates, and ballet practice. As long …Read More

Our Red Thread of Hope: An Advocacy Success Story

September 21, 2016 adopting a boy, Advocacy, Family Stories, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, switching agencies, waiting for referral 4 Comments

The Chinese have an ancient proverb that says, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.” Back in July 2015, the Lord called our family out of the Ethiopia adoption program, where had waited for over …Read More

Beautiful Scars: Adopting a Child with a Congenital Nevus

September 7, 2016 birthmark, Congenital nevus, Family Stories, giant congenital nevus, medical needs checklist, medical waiver, referral, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions 4 Comments

When my husband and I first started looking into adoption, we were told that because of my epilepsy, we could only apply for a special focus child. In Adoption circles, Special Focus means either that the child has more than one medical condition, or has a more severe medical condition. Sometimes the label is given …Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Six

September 3, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, dossier, Faith, homestudy, I'm Ready to Adopt, paperchase, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 0 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …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

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Five

August 13, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, Agencies, agency-orphanage partnership, dossier, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, medical needs checklist, paperchase, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 1 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

Thoughts on the Former Shared List Program

August 12, 2016 Advocacy, Agencies, Carrie, CCAI, former shared list program, Gladney, Holt, Lifeline, referral, shared list, special focus 2 Comments

CCCWA has always shown a willingness to try new programs and methods in order to give more children a chance to be adopted. Through the years, many different aspects of the program have changed – sometimes quite suddenly – which initially can cause confusion and anxiety. But with time, agencies and families have adapted to …Read More

RainbowKids, Martha Osborne and the Shared List

August 6, 2016 Advocacy, CCAI, Gladney, Holt, Lifeline, RainbowKids, referral, shared list, special focus, Stefanie 0 Comments

We recently had an opportunity to talk with Martha Osborne, founder of RainbowKids, and ask her some questions about RainbowKids, the recent changes in the Shared List and the impact of those changes on China’s special needs program. ……… Q: Can you tell us more about Rainbow Kids – how did it get started? Our …Read More

A Beginner’s Guide to Special Needs Adoption: Post Four

August 3, 2016 A Beginner's Guide to Special Needs Adoption, Agencies, Faith, I'm Ready to Adopt, medical needs checklist, pre-adoption, referral, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Becoming a parent, no matter how it happens, is never easy. But for those just looking into the possibility of adoption it can seem positively overwhelming. It is our hope to change all that. This 8-post series will go step-by-step through the process to adopt through the special needs program for those of you who …Read More

His Hands and Feet: Adopting a Child with ABS

July 26, 2016 amniotic band syndrome, Family Stories, medical needs checklist, Orthopedic, pre-adoption, should we adopt?, waiting for referral 5 Comments

Sometimes you are clearly given a gift of grace and sometimes you find yourself in it. Both are of Him and from Him and are equally overwhelming and exciting. This is a glimpse of both. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8 ….. …Read More

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