What’s in a Name

October 2, 2019 adopting a boy, Adopting Scenarios, Blood Conditions, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, October 2019 Feature - Developmental, should we adopt?, siblings, speech delay, speech therapy, undiagnosed SN, virtual twinning 0 Comments

Every adoptive parent dreams of how they will “meet” their new child… Will they see him or her on an advocacy post and be flooded with warm fuzzies? Will they get “the call” or open an email to an endearing face that will change their family forever? I had been dreaming about this moment for …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

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

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

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

I Commit Myself to Thee

December 27, 2017 Andrea O., complex heart defect, complex medical, disruption, November 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, prepping for China, terminal diagnosis, undiagnosed SN 23 Comments

I commit myself to thee. After the adoption of our youngest child and her immediate hospitalization from end-stage heart failure, I began to receive emails and messages via social media from some of the dozens of families who had reviewed her file. One of the families wrote something that shook my soul and has remained …Read More

Afraid of the Dark

December 9, 2017 adoption realities, Brandie, first year home, Lifelong needs, Medical Momma, Newly Home, November 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

I was never a fan of haunted houses. I didn’t like the lack of control or the dark spaces flooded with loud, foreboding music. I didn’t like the strobe lights that gave me small glimpses of what I should fear. I didn’t like the anticipation of what was lurking around the corner, eagerly waiting to …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

A Life We Never Expected

August 25, 2017 Hillary, Lifelong needs, undiagnosed SN 3 Comments

We can’t help but be subject to it. Our past experiences shape our current perspectives. Our current perspectives shape our expectations for this day and for the future. We see through our own lenses and we tend to measure what we see against our expectations. Sometimes we look up and the horizon seems to be …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

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

It was Part of the Plan

June 10, 2017 arthrogryposis, clubfoot, June 2017 Feature - Orthopedic, mobility issues, Orthopedic, undiagnosed SN, walker user 0 Comments

If I ran out of the room right now I wonder if anyone would notice? We were standing in the civil affairs office in Guiyang, Guizhou, China and the reality of what was about to happen came crashing down as she was carried through the doors. We were seeing her in person for the first …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: 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

Thankful We Didn’t Know

May 23, 2017 adopting again, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, heart defect, May 2017 Feature - Vascular, Takayasu’s arteritis‎, undiagnosed SN, Vascular System, Von Willebrand 1 Comments

Almost four years ago, my husband finally said yes. Again. We had talked, I had prayed. I’d promised not to nag, prayed some more, and waited for that yes. When he agreed to begin our second adoption, he had limits. He had the idea to draw some lines in the sand of what special needs …Read More

For Life: When Exhaustion Meets Glory

May 19, 2017 Katie, May 2017 Feature - For Life, undiagnosed SN 2 Comments

Are you one of the Mamas who thought that the orphanage delays would relent? You thought a year later you would stand on mountain tops and shout of the greatness and miracles of our God? And a year came and went and then another. And suddenly you wake up feeling like you are living your …Read More

Weathering Medical Surprises

May 9, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, Brandie, hearing aids, hearing loss, heart defect, oral aversion, Sensory Processing Issues, speech delay, undiagnosed SN, VSD 2 Comments

At the first sign of a chilly night in the fall, my husband and daughter take tarps to their little garden to cover her cherished tomato plants, hoping to buy them a little more time before the cold winter claims them. Around the same time, my husband and son begin the preparation for winter. They …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

He Will Provide: Part Two

April 3, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, ESL, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I have needed regular reminders since we brought David and Daniel home to keep trusting that – because our adoption was God’s miracle – He will provide all that we need. God has been helping me to keep holding on to hope and to keep believing that His plans for our family are always good. …Read More

He Will Provide: Part One

March 31, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, Developmental System, older child adoption, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I was acutely aware of my lack of motherly connection to Daniel, as I watched him lying there with vacant eyes on the hospital bed. “God, is it even possible for me to love this boy?” My husband Charly was working on his PhD at Lanzhou University when we learned about our sons David and …Read More

What I Didn’t Know: Adopting a Child with Severe Hemophilia

March 9, 2017 adopting a boy, Blood Conditions, Family Stories, hemophilia, hemophilia A, March 2017 Feature - Blood Conditions, should we adopt?, undiagnosed SN 2 Comments

Adoption for us was not something we thought about for years. It was something that God spoke to us in one day. On March 25, 2013 my husband casually mentioned he had been thinking about adoption. At the time, our daughters were seven, four, and two. I was overwhelmed and had no interest in adoption. …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 1 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

Beautiful Unknowns

December 5, 2016 epidermolysis bullosa, Skin Conditions, undiagnosed SN, Whitney 0 Comments

Medical needs adoption is one you have to walk into with your eyes wide open. Though prospective parents may have a medical history presented to them before saying the biggest “yes” of their lives, you have to know this: there are unknowns. There will always be unknowns. We knew about the unknowns before saying our …Read More

The Happiest Kid on the Playground

April 11, 2016 April 2016 Feature - CNS, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, Family Stories, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

In 2009, we were ready for children, but we felt no rush. At that point, we were not concerned that there were no children ready for us. But then there was infertility, followed by an extremely painful disruption of a newborn adoption during the revocation period. In the following six months, two more domestic adoptions …Read More

Undiagnosed Hearing Loss: Wisdom from the Journey

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

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

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

Hardest. And Best.

June 14, 2015 adoption realities, congenital blindness, disruption, Katie, Sensory System, undiagnosed SN, vision loss 7 Comments

My life was almost returned to normal. I would have slept better, been freer, able to eat better, clean the house, and find my way back to the normal details of everyday life. But I chose to finish the adoption, to make this girl who was so far from the one portrayed to me, my …Read More

The Hands of a Faithful God

May 22, 2015 disruption, Family Stories, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

Before this year, I really thought I was the one writing my story.  I knew that God was leading, but I was really the one planning where I wanted to go. In the course of ten years I had graduated college, married, quit my job teaching, and was a busy home-school mom of three little …Read More

non-special needs. but not.

March 19, 2012 NSN, TongguMomma, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

We adopted our second daughter from China during the summer of 2011. We adopted through a Christian agency. And we adopted through the non-special-needs program. Heh. Y’all weren’t expecting me to say that, were you? Yep, we are one of those “crazy” families who waited five plus years to adopt a so-called healthy child. Only …Read More

Francesca

April 5, 2009 Family Stories, megacolon, NSN, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

by Shelly, mom to Francesca from China(NSN) with an undiagnosed SN of megacolon Here is part one to our story starting with our oldest daughter, Francesca, who is truly one beautiful little girl… inside and out! When Keith and I started our adoption journey (after experiencing some set backs on starting our family) we never …Read More

Inspiration for Parents

March 19, 2009 TongguMomma, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

This video spoke a lot to me, despite its slight cheese factor. I found the message extremely moving, especially as the momma of a child with unexpected special needs. I feel it will mean a lot to those parents who – like me – found themselves on an unexpected road, but I suspect this video …Read More

© 2019 No Hands But Ours

The content found on the No Hands But Ours website is not approved, endorsed, curated or edited by medical professionals. Consult a doctor with expertise in the special needs of interest to you.