Rock-a-Bye, Baby

February 7, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

I love how furniture has a history – how it tells a story – and nursery room furniture is no exception. When I was pregnant with my first child, I received a rocking chair from my sister-in-law, who had used it to rock her three babies. So many middle of the night feedings have taken place in that chair. Sick babies have been comforted while their fevers cooled. Countless books have been read in silly voices. I’ve snuggled my children, kissed their necks, and sang songs about our beautiful Savior in that rocking chair. Although there is nothing unique or special about the chair itself, it has become a sacred place where unconditional love is expressed between my children and me.

In God’s perfect design, all children are born into families who love and provide for them. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where children are harmed by those who were created to protect them and relinquished by those who were meant to provide security. Sometimes this is an act of love. Other times, it’s not. The result is a baby who never gets to sit in a rocking chair each night with his mama or baba. No books, no kisses, no songs, no snuggles. Instead, these children find themselves in a room filled with cribs, often stark and cold, not even a mattress to bring them comfort. Vacant eyes of other children stare back at them while their needs and cries go unanswered. My heart aches for the thousands upon thousands, millions upon millions of babies who have to live apart from a family in these conditions.

Bringing home my China loves has only increased the beauty of the chair where I had previously rocked my first two sons. To connect with them in that sacred space was something I yearned for in the wait. God has provided so many opportunities for healing and bonding in that simple rocking chair. In that space, I can reassure my new sons, working to plant deep roots of security in their hearts. Watching those small seeds grow into trust and love is such a gift. A child whose body was rigid when held now asks to be rocked and cuddled. A child who turned his body away when hugged now tightly squeezes us with a smile on his face.


I’ll never forget the first night with Tyson after flying home from China. While holding my sweet son in the rocking chair and rhythmically patting his back, I whispered these words in his ear:


…and have continued to do so every night ever since. It was a tradition we started after bringing his big brother, Tucker, home 19 months prior. Knowing that nighttime can trigger fear and insecurity, we wanted our children to go to sleep every night hearing the names of the people who would love them forever. We wanted to reassure them that they are home and with their family. Sitting in that chair, while rocking my little guy, I have repeated “Mama, Dada, Noah, Liam, Tucker, Tyson, Home, Family” over and over again.

When TyTy came home, he calmed his fears by sucking his finger. I think that finger was in his mouth the entire 35-hour trip home from China. Once home, as soon as we would sit down in the rocking chair, Ty would pop his finger in his mouth and begin to close his eyes. Seven weeks later, he had surgery to repair his cleft palate, which meant arm restraints and no finger to suck. He reverted to what we guess was an old coping mechanism that we had never seen him exhibit before – rocking on all fours while banging his head against his crib. Sometimes the banging would occur with gentle rocking, while other times, he rocked and banged his head with great force. This was super heartbreaking to watch in the video monitor.

Without a mama in China to rock him, my baby learned to rock himself.


To help him feel more secure, we tried a multitude of strategies. I went into his room to comfort him. We used a weighted blanket to provide pressure and sensory input. We attempted to give him other comfort items for his crib. I ordered several essential oils to help him feel more peaceful. We even moved him into a pack-n-play because the walls were made with flexible material rather than the wooden slats that his crib offered. While I do believe that these strategies helped him to a certain extent, the behaviors of rocking and banging did not completely extinguish.

Over the past 8 months, I have sat in that chair, rocking my son before almost every nap and again almost every single night. I’ve continued to repeat the names of the people in our family, as well as the words home and family, each night before bedtime. Many times he will even repeat me, or he will say the words, and I will repeat him. Ty shows so many signs of improved security during the day and even at night. A few nights ago, I listened and watched him in the monitor. This time, there was no rocking – only peace – as he spoke these sweet words that I captured on video. And then he drifted off to sleep. Once again, the Lord has shown me that He heals in time and with love.

Sherry Waits for Her Family

February 6, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

This gentle, beautiful little girl is Sherry!


She was born in May of 2013 and her legs are paralyzed. Sherry was found when she was about 2 years old and had an EEG, head CT, and lower limb testing (results in file). She was very timid, depressed and scared of strangers but the nannies spent a lot of extra time with her and encouraged the other children to play with her. Over time, she began to be comfortable and is now optimistic and easy going. While her upper limbs move well, she had some delays with fine motor skills and has been receiving therapy for that.


Her teachers report that her intelligence, emotion, and language ability development is good and she can speak many words. She needs assistance with eating but is learning to use a spoon. She can hold a biscuit and clean her mouth with a towel. Sherry enjoys playing games and playing with new toys. Her favorite food is candy!! Sounds like every two year old I know smile emoticon Sherry is described as shy, quiet, introverted, quick in reaction, and gets along well with others.


Watch her incredibly sweet videos:

Sherry’s file is assigned to BAAS through an orphanage partnership. Her orphanage is known for their excellent care. Please contact Xiaoqing at BAAS for more information!

Kaleidoscope: One Year Home

February 5, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Today our family celebrates our One Year Home anniversary! I’ve often imagined what it would be like if I could travel back in time to those early days; what would I say to myself? What words of encouragement would One-Year-Home-Me have to say to Me-From-A-Year-Ago?

This is how I imagine it would go…


Hi there, Me-From-A-Year-Ago!

You are so tired, aren’t you?

Up until this point, you never even knew that this degree of tired existed. You made it through two weeks of the unimaginable; a hurricane of emotion, stories that will be told around the dinner table for decades to come… some funny, and some really gross ones, too!


You are so overwhelmed, aren’t you?

You never imagined the storm of emotion that could exist in your heart, loving a child you first loved via a computer screenshot and then seeing her walk into the same room you were in. Her. Your daughter! Right there in front of you! You never anticipated the paradox of having a daughter who was both undeniably resilient, and yet unmistakably fragile.

That is what you are, too. Fragile. Resilient. These first days might threaten to break you, but they will not. The firestorm of emotions might feel overwhelming, but you will not be overcome.

You know what, Me-From-A-Year-Ago… there is more to come. In the following year you will continue to be tired, and there are many times you will feel overwhelmed, but you will also find new life.

You will cry.
You will throw your hands up in frustration.
You will wonder how the world can continue turning on its axis like your world isn’t upside down.
You will question your sanity.

You will learn to depend on others more.
You will learn to depend on God more.
You will pray with a desperation you never knew before.
You will become a better mother and a better wife.
You will become a wound care expert, at least when it involves your child.
You will live what you learned on paper, you will figure out what works for you slowly.

You will mess up. Many times. 
You will also seek forgiveness and revel in the peace that overcomes you when it is given.

You will watch your children learn to be siblings.
You will eventually sleep through the night.
You will figure out schedules, and how to communicate the needs of your children to others.
You will be gracious in responding to ungracious inquiries.
You will read about Chinese holidays in hopes of communicating the value of your daughter’s heritage to your family. You will find familiar snacks and buy them just to see that smile light up her face.

You will rock your girl, give her bottles, and carry her all so she can better handle the emotions she is processing.
You will make new friends who will become a lifeline for you during the most stressful of moments.
You will be amazed… simply amazed at who you will be on February 5th, 2016. Like a kaleidoscope twisting and turning, life will be a series of beautiful pictures you see for a moment before another twist takes it away to be replaced by chaos. The picture always returns, always a little different; a new normal.


Other people will tell you they are so proud of you, that you are doing a great job. You will hesitate to agree because the picture doesn’t look anything like what you thought “great” would look like. That’s okay. Just know that one day, you WILL think it’s great. You will know that the job you are doing is important because you are living a Yes you never dreamed for yourself. You will recognize that God is great, and that through you, His greatness found a finger print covered window to shine through.

You will be humbled this year.

It will be the best of the best and the worst of the worst, you just have to take every day as it comes.

Hang on to the good, discard the bad.

Take lots of pictures, but don’t berate yourself when you happen to take ZERO pictures on Christmas Day. 😉

You can do this.

A slightly older and wiser One-Year-Home-You

find my family: Layla

February 4, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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Layla was born July of 2014. She is described as an extroverted little girl who likes playing with mirrors, and being held by her nanny. Though her development is behind compared to other children, she can babble and say “mama,” and will clap her hands in greeting! As of December she was crawling and standing …Read More

The Perfect Fit for Our Family

February 3, 2016 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments


My husband and I were only married a year when the Lord called us to adopt. Separately, we both felt the Lord speak to us about adopting a little girl from China – we told each other a few days later. It was encouraging to hear that call, and we were both excited for the …Read More

Celebrating China: Children’s Books

February 2, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


In years past, I’ve scoured websites and bookshelves for every Chinese New Year/Spring Festival themed kids’ book around to read to our clan in anticipation of the holiday. We found some good ones and some not so good ones. Overthinker that I am, I hope my musings help you decide which ones are worthwhile for …Read More

find my family: Gwen

February 2, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


Gwen was born in September 2005 and brought to the hospital to be treated for Neonatal Septicemia when she was about a week old. During her hospital admission her parents did not return for her and she was declared abandoned. After spending several weeks in the hospital for observation she was moved to her orphanage. …Read More

Heart Month: Little Hearts Medical

February 1, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


It’s February 1. Happy American Heart Month! To start off heart month here at NHBO, I asked Andrea Olson to share. Andrea has shared here before, as mom to four children with complex (some with very complex) heart needs. But today Andrea is sharing as the Executive Director of Little Hearts Medical. One of her …Read More

My Family’s First “Real” Chinese New Year

January 31, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


My son was only 18 months old when Chinese New Year approached last year. From his perch on my shoulders, he gasped in amazement at the dragon dancers advancing along Market Street during San Francisco’s Chinese New Year parade, but he was too young to understand the cause for all the fuss. Now a year …Read More

I Could Never Do That

January 30, 2016 by nohandsbutours 5 Comments


I could never do that. I could never adopt. I could never foster. I could never have more than two kids. I could never adopt multiple children. I could never afford adoption. I could never say yes to a child with special needs. I could never bear my child needing surgery. I could never parent …Read More

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