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Even If They Are From A Good Orphanage…

December 16, 2014 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

They need a family…

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When we adopted Ben we knew he was from a nice orphanage, much different than many of our other children. We also knew he had a foster family for many years. Once he was home we found out he had been with them for 6 of his 7.5 years.

From Ben’s perspective his life was good in China. He had no complaints.

When we met him he did not have orphanage behaviors that we saw in many of our other children. He was more civilized and had a peaceful continence about him. He knew how to love because of his foster family. He knew how to obey and be respectful. He knew about siblings because he had a foster sister for 6 years.

Having Ben join our family was relatively easy. He just fit right in. He watched the other children and took note on the “how to’s” and then did it “that way”.

But there was a part of Ben that didn’t come so easily…

He held on to his heart for the first eight months he was home. For a child only 7 years old he understood much more than the others and integrated into our family with ease.

However, there were a few issues that he did not understand.

He would often tell us stories about his foster Mommy and Daddy. He would tell us things he did in school at the orphanage. He would share what life was like in China for him.
We could see that he sometimes wondered.
“Why did I need to be adopted? I had a family.”
“Why is life here in the USA considered better? This life is fine but I liked my life in China.”

Life in China for Ben, was good.

Soon things would change. A foster family is not a forever family. Ben’s sister was adopted and at the same time Ben was sent back to the orphanage. It made sense to him because school was at the orphanage. He continued to think of his foster family as his forever family, they were kind, nice people and they loved him. Once he was living at the orphanage they rarely came to visit and they had a new foster baby.

Ben was well liked in the orphanage. He was smart, kind and personable. He was favored. Outwardly, he was doing well in the orphanage. His best friend had a serious heart condition and his future was uncertain. Ben’s disability was not life threatening like his best friend’s but Ben’s disability could be progressive without medical care. Many of the other children in the orphanage seemed to have a more serious special need. Our son may have gotten perks that other orphans did not receive. Everything about Ben and everything he did was successful and positive in their eyes. The nannies and the director were encouraging and treated him well.

So in Ben’s eyes, all was right in the world.

But, not really.

Our son was born with spina bifida. He walked with a limp and he was incontinent.

When my husband and older son met him, he wreaked of urine. A beautiful amazing little 7 yr old boy that smelled horrific. Both my husband and son were smitten with him and once they got him back to the hotel, put him in the shower, got new clothes on him and a fresh diaper they could finally begin the bonding process.

He was a wonderful little boy. Slightly spoiled at times but still wonderful!

Ben went with the flow. He did everything the right way throughout their time in China and it continued once he was home.

As the months went by it became clear to us that Ben’s heart was not completely with us. It was still in China with his foster family.

Because after all…
Why did he need to be adopted? He had a family.
Why is life here in the USA considered better? He liked his life in China.

Ben would tell us story after story about his life in China and his China Mommy and Daddy. We have children that share very little about their lives in China so this was a gift. But, it was also a sign that our son had not completely given us his heart and come to terms with being adopted internationally.

 Ben talking to his foster sister on the phone.

Ben talking to his foster sister on the phone.

Ben came home in early December.

In early August our son quietly said to me, “Mom, I am so glad I am part of this family. I love you and Dad”. Those words were said with deep conviction. They were said from his heart. We cherished that moment because we knew he had reconciled his adoption and embraced his life with us.

For a moment time stopped and those words floated in the air, it was music to my ears. My heart leapt and thankfulness filled my soul. It was a moment to remember. It was the day that we officially (in his heart) became his Mommy and Daddy.

We want our son to remember everything positive from his life in China. We want him to embrace his past and his culture. We want him to have a good sense of self-esteem and have “his story” uplift him.

But, there also needs to be a dose of reality in this situation.

His foster family could never have adopted him.
At some point he would have to leave the orphanage and fend for himself.
He would never have received any medical care for his spina bifida and related symptoms throughout his life (incontinence, a limp and all related health issues).
Because of his special need his education would not have been able to continue past the orphanage education.
Once part of the community he would have been shunned due to his special need.
A job would be hard to come by and his future would not have looked promising.

We knew when we adopted this dear child that his life in China was good and he was valued (unlike many orphans). But we also knew that his future life in China would not be good.

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Ben and orphans like him, have so much potential. We are all so thankful he is home and doing so well. We are excited for Ben’s future! We are so thankful to be his Mommy and Daddy.


find my family: Tony

December 16, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Tony was born at the end of August of 2009. He has bright eyes and a “cleverish” mouth according to his caregivers. He is a clever (which in China means bright and smart) and skilled child who is very sensible. He shares his toys and will pick up toys for the other children and comfort them when they are upset. He is a polite child and will greet people on his own. He likes outdoor activities, playing hide and seek and listening to music. He has multiple nevi scattered on his face and on his body.

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Tony can walk, run and jump with one foot independently. He can go up and down stairs while holding on to handrail. He likes to play with toy phone, stringed beads, and blocks. He is described as shy, smiles often, likes to play games with other children. His mental development normal.

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There is a $4000 Promise Child Grant available with WACAP to families who qualify to assist with this adoption, however Tony is on the shared list so he can be pursued by a family working with any adoption agency.

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New Pictures taken November of 2014:
Tony

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Read more about this special need here. For more information about Tony or about beginning the adoption journey, contact The Advocacy team.

The Grinch Can Steal Christmas Because Jesus is All I Need

December 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

I love Christmas.

I confess I play Christmas hymns year round. They are hymns people. Hymns. They work all the time — January through December.

It’s truly my most favorite!

I also confess I decorate well before Thanksgiving. If you follow me on Instagram — I was totally annoying you with my holiday decorating mid-November. My sincere apologies.

I confess – I have one too many trees in our home. Just a hair less than 10. But let me explain… every child does have one in their room — and it’s a child-size tree… so there’s more than half our trees accounted for right there— and half are pint size I promise.

I just love almost {wait for the “almost”} everything about this season — the baking, the Christmas carols, telling stories from our traditional Jesse tree each night. Everything feels so miraculous as we focus on the miracle of Jesus — and in quiet moments I also find myself wondering all the things Mary might have also pondered in her heart.

I marinated on that one thought for awhile last Christmas “all the things Mary might have pondered in her heart” and I ended up painting a canvas in my quite time as just thinking about a mother’s heart about her child and the foretelling scripture Mary did know… the hard things that would happen one day to this babe — must have been almost too much to bear.

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And then — there’s Joseph.

Being a family that has been built through adoption — I also love thinking about Joseph and his relationship to Jesus as an adoptive father. Reflecting on some of the anticipation he might have felt—but also embracing the unique loss that adoptive parents some times also feel… mixed with awe that although those eyes aren’t his eyes — they are the eyes of God in the flesh… can you even imagine?!

From afar — this story looks beautiful. And truly… it is.

It’s miraculous.

It’s breathtaking.

It’s redemptive.

It’s good.

BUT. Here’s the almost…

As I reflect more and more on the story… and really go to the heart of each person in the Christmas story —

Mary… a young woman…who would believe she was a virgin and also pregnant? I can’t imagine the conflict that this stirred in her personal relationship with Joseph for more than some time.

Joseph… so much to lose and already so much lost. He chose to be committed to a woman that looked anything but faithful. He wanted to leave – but an angel asked him to do otherwise. This would mean diving in to hard together — and leaving his people and everything he had poured his life into thus far.

The shepherds… leave their places of leadership and honor — and cross deserts and many countries on camel and by foot… a journey that would be exhausting and last almost a year just to see and worship Him.

And Jesus… leaving the Father — something we can never imagine the magnitude or loss in. All for us.

Remembering each of these most sacred people in this holy story… it “was anything but easy” is the phrase comes to my mind. Just for a moment — it might feel like all was stripped away – too much for everyone called to be part of this story.

BUT – they have Jesus… the long-awaited for Savior.

And having Him — changes everything.

I think about our own personal stories.

Christmas does something to this momma’s heart. I look at those stockings hanging from my chimney of my children. Several Christmases I would see those stockings and I would cry because my long awaited for child was not home — instead waiting in an orphanage some times in reports not sounding so healthy… on the other side of the world.

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I had done everything in my power to speed up their coming. But there was nothing I could do but wait. I don’t know how I could have waited without Jesus — truly. I couldn’t be there with them when they were on the other side of the world — but He could. I believe His presence was with them as I prayed for Him to be with them. He was certainly with me as I waited — and having Him — changes everything.

And when they came — the transitions some times were anything but easy. But He has been with us — and having Him — truly does change everything.

Mary was called to something completely radical — to carry the Son of God. And Joseph – he was called to completely radical to be the adoptive father of the Son of God. Standing beside Mary would mean disapproval from his family. For both it would mean living several years hiding in a different land for safety. It must have seemed there were so many hard things all around them — but HE was with them… and having Him present in their lives — truly, truly had to change everything.

Our children come with hard stories — and walking through those… some times seems like we are being called to something radical and too big for us too. But I believe He comes with us — walks among us — and wants to walk with us through these hard things too. Many of our children lose so much before they come to us — yet I believe having Him will change everything about how they heal and how we are given grace to walk through each moment with them.

The last few weeks — I have been reflecting on how at Christmas — the lights, the trees, the music and parties — all these things I also love around Christmas — are STILL just things. Truly He is all we need.

Yes — He is all I need this Christmas — and every day before and after. I even sat down this weekend to do a little online shopping for gifts — to have my card rejected. There’s 10 days to Christmas — “We need to get this party rolling and see what the problem is!” I thought. I was very aware of what should have been in our account, and we discovered a few hours later that someone had stolen my husband’s checkbook — and every penny in our account after multiple checks cleared from a thief — was gone.

“Oh no!” you might be thinking! “That’s awful. And how in the world does this tie in with this story?”

Besides the fact this just happened and is obviously on my mind as I creatively think how I’ll come up with case in the morning without a check card — it very much applies to all of this…

In that moment, I realized God was doing something… because even in things He doesn’t love (in the hard little and big stuff) He is at work, and I couldn’t help but smile. After we called the bank and they assured us in 60 days it would be worked out — we knew there was nothing we could do. Sure we could try to move money over from savings or this or that so we’d have something for Christmas — or maybe — instead we just sit right where we are in thanksgiving — realizing that really — we have everything we need.

Because there is no saving Christmas because really — Jesus already did that.

I don’t feel I need to scramble or fuss at our bank to hurry up and fix it — or anything at all. Because, really, we have everything we need.

Our stockings are hung… and the names on them are upstairs asleep. (And if they were not — we could trust that God would be with them.)

We have a safe home — a sweet home — filled with lots of laughter… even if one refuses to potty train at almost 4 years old — he is here with us… home — and I can run up and look at him any time I want. Thankful. Thank you, Jesus!

Everything I dreamed as I waited for my children is truly a reality. Sure we have medical bumps and hard days — but they are here — and they are happy… and He is with us.

Truly, my children wouldn’t notice the difference in a “big” or “small” Christmas… I think it’s me that really is the only one that knows the difference — and I think it’s me that my Father in heaven is asking to change perspective a bit this Christmas, too.

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And this Christmas — I needed to be reminded that really, having Him and learning and believing that God here with us is more than enough. His presence truly changes everything. It did for Mary — for Joseph — for the wise men — and for us. His presence and being God with us truly is the greatest gift of all.

Wishing you a most Merry Christmas as you rest in what you have already been given.

“Our faith isn’t all the things we say we believe, it’s everything we do next.” Bob Goff

 

the little light project – ways to shine your light this Christmas

December 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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A few weeks ago we asked for your help. We launched the little light project, with a desire to illuminate organizations that are working on behalf of the fatherless in China. We were thrilled with the response. So many hard-working, orphan-loving organizations that are – day-in and day-out – loving the least of these. Please …Read More

find my family: Gwendolyn

December 14, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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Gwendolyn is a beautiful little girl who is four years old.  She was five months old when she came into orphanage care. Gwen was met by a visiting team this summer.  She is just full of personality.  She likes to play with blocks and loved the fruit snacks we brought.  She has a sweet tooth.   …Read More

hanging on to language

December 13, 2014 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments

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Language. It’s not something that any of us can really ignore, is it? When my first two little sisters came home they weren’t even a year old, and so our words were not nearly as important as our tone… it didn’t matter that our Chinese was very non-existant. We taught some sign language to make …Read More

find my family: Seth

December 12, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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Precious Seth was born October of 2010 and is listed as having a sensitive special need, and an abnormal screening. His file, which can be requested by an agency, provides clarity on this amazingly sweet little guy’s needs. Seth is a handsome little boy with a sweet demeanor. He is described as shy but is …Read More

the little light project – adoption fundraisers

December 10, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Last week Rebecca shared about the little light project, our effort here at No Hands But Ours to shine a light on those working on behalf of the fatherless in China. We asked for your help in finding organizations to feature in an upcoming post – and the response was fantastic. Thank you. We are …Read More

Best Friends Hoping to be Adopted Together!

December 10, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Boy do we have a treat for you today! Best friends so close that the agency they are listed with is advocating they be adopted together as brothers! “H” and “Y” are often found together playing chess and both enjoy art. They have high aspirations when they grow up and wish to be a chemist …Read More

we have a winner…

December 9, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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We have selected a winner from our Scarlet Threads Giveaway. Congratulations to Lora, commenter #19, you have won a complete collection of Scarlet Thread’s Chinese character Christmas ornaments. Contact us via comment or email so we can get your ornaments on their merry way! If you would like to purchase a set for yourself, or …Read More