Dear younger me, You were wrong

July 24, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Dear Younger Me,

You were wrong about many things, and I am oh so very glad you were.


You got married and designed a life plan. It was a dreamy projection, and you believed you had control of how it all would go. You had a timeline, a number of kids in mind, visions of a dream home, and you never imagined anything beyond comfort, health, joy, and a magically easy, Saturday morning snuggles kind of parenting.

You thought you were the author of your story, and that some praying would help make it happen.

Somewhere along the road, the seed of adoption was planted in your heart, but you decided that you’d wait for “clear signs” and “open doors” before saying yes.

You wanted to wait until the time was right, until the ducks of your life were in a row: your house, your marriage, your finances, your biological baby. You thought it all had to be in perfect order for the child who waited on the other side of the globe.

You thought timing was everything.

When you finally penned your signature on the application, you thought you understood adoption.

You thought you needed to play it safe on the special needs checklist. (Healthiest and youngest child possible, please.)

You thought you knew what YOU could handle, because you’d not yet had to live beyond yourself.

You thought you could adopt and stay within your comfort zone.

You thought adoption would be tidy and romantic. You were trained for possible hard outcomes, but you still believed it would be easy for your family. You were the author of the plan after all.

You thought you possessed the ability to heal little hearts rocked by trauma.

You thought you knew who you were, who your husband was, who God was.


You thought you knew how it all would play out. But you were wrong, weren’t you, girl?

Your plans were made with all the wisdom and life experience you had at the time. The world felt like it was yours and you were giddy with anticipation. How the Author of Our Stories must have smiled down upon you, imagining the chapters not yet written. The unfolding was to be hard and good, and so very much more than you planned.

You couldn’t have known how a dossier would change your course. You were wrong about how it would go. The ride was crazier, bumpier, deeper. The timing was off, the wait longer, the obstacles bigger, your child’s needs more profound, the hurt deeper, the love wider, the adventure more grand. There were more giggles, more hospital visits, more love, and more stretching than what you had mapped out. It was altogether better, but you had to wait, you had to hurt, you had to fall on your knees, confused and shaken.

While on your knees, as time passed, you slowly laid down “the plan”, and then realized that your life, your home, your heart could hold more than you thought it could. You felt the beauty of letting yourself be small before a big God. You said yes to more complex needs, to more kids, to more unknowns. You stopped waiting on the sidelines for “signs and open doors” and started taking risks when God whispered a calling. You were given more than you asked for. More was asked of you.

Nothing is how you planned or imagined. The Creator of families got extra creative. He exploded your heart and wrote a grand story with your family. It’s been hard, messy, and far outside your presumed trajectory, but today there are little souls around the breakfast table that you didn’t plan for. Today your faith is bigger and your heart enlarged.

So, I am so glad you were wrong.


You now know the wonder, freedom and release of living out on the edge of comfort with the Author of all stories. Most incredible is that there is unfolding yet to come for this family, more chapters to be written. I can’t even fathom what is planned for us, and I trust it is better that way.

With love,
Older Me

Thoughts from an Adult Adoptee: Two Sides of One Coin

July 23, 2016 by nohandsbutours 8 Comments

Hello Readers, I am new here at guest posting on No Hands But Ours. First, let me introduce myself. My name is Parrie Liu and I am a Chinese adoptee. Since the age of almost four, I have lived in Texas with a loving family.

Currently, I am attending university and pursing a degree in Biology. My goal is to help others like me. Chinese adoption and special needs adoption are both things that I can relate to.


As I became older, I started forming my thoughts about adoption. I think of adoption as a coin. A coin has two sides. Adoption has two sides. There is a positive and negative side of adoption. Like a coin, each side makes up adoption. I believe that one should not dwell on one side of the coin more than the other side. There are situations that will cause a person to think more about one side of the coin more than the other side.

There are many positives to adoption. Family is a very important positive to adoption. I became a part of a wonderful family and I am loved by my family. Growing up with a family has been great. I have gained parents, siblings, many family members, and the opportunity to do family activities since I was adopted.

Medical care is another great positive. Without a family, I know that it would have been hard to receive the medical care that I needed.

Another great positive is education. I have received a great education because of my parents. They wanted me to have the ability to learn. There are so many opportunities that I have received in my family. I am very grateful for my family and love them so much.

But adoption is not all rainbows. It can be hard for both the parent and child. Most of the time, I try not to think about the negative side of adoption. The past can be a negative part of adoption. For me, this involves not knowing my past.


There are many uncertainties involved with adoption. Birth family, medical history, knowing why I was given up are some of the unknowns for me. It bothers me that I do not know my past when family history questions are asked. I have to fill out N/A on the family section when I am at the doctor. It can be frustrating not knowing the answers.

When people talk about inheriting traits from their family, it makes me wonder. What traits did I inherit from my biological family?

My advice is to let the adoptee talk it out. Talking about these unknowns can be really helpful. Parents need to remember that their children had a past before coming into a family; they should not try to cover up their child’s past. Though my past is unknown, it is something that I don’t want to dwell on too much. This does not mean that I will not think about my past occasionally, but I try to focus on the present because that is what I can change.

I would advise parents with young adopted children to help them respond to intrusive adopted related questions or ignorant adopted related statements. There are many adopted related questions that I have been asked.

Recently, I was told that I should find my birth parents by an older adult. It was very hard for me to hear that comment because I do not prefer to talk about finding my birth parents. I was very kind when I responded and I tried to educate her about Chinese adoption.

Even though most people mean well, it can be a little hurtful to hear those questions and statements frequently. It is tempting to answer slightly rude, but it is better to answer nicely and honestly. Find a response to those questions that your child feels comfortable with. If you practice these responses, the situation can be less awkward.

Adoption is a beautiful but hard story. Adoption has given me the opportunity to have a story, to be a daughter, and to be able to relate to other adoptees, and this is why I consider my adoption as a gift.

– guest post by Parrie Liu

Dear younger me, Enjoy them

July 22, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

After I agreed to write this guest post on what I would tell my younger self, I wondered how I could narrow down all the things I would tell my younger self. Here is all the advice that people gave me about life with children that I now know was actually helpful. These are the things I would want to hear again if I was a new mom.

Enjoy every stage because it goes by in the blink of an eye.

I can’t believe how true this is and time seems to go faster with each child we have added to our family. So often you hear people say, “I can’t wait until they are school age.” Or, “I can’t wait until they can do crafts.” Or, “I can’t wait until they are teens.” Not me.

I have no biological children, so perhaps it’s easier for me to cherish the time because we missed so much of the early years of our two youngest. We never knew them as babies who could fall asleep on your chest or snuggle up with a bottle. I can’t get that time back and I want to enjoy them as they grow.

A friend of mine told me when he realized that time was going by so fast with his first child, he asked the neighborhood “Grandpa” if he felt the same way. The man said, “I will tell you this. My granddaughter was born 2 weeks ago and last night she graduated from high school.”

Don’t let the child change your family style.

The person who told me this had three grown children and the way she explained it was – if you are a loud family, stay loud. Don’t make your house artificially quiet because you have a baby in it now. She said this was especially important as you add more children. They are naturally loud and boisterous and if you are riding them all the time to be quiet, then everyone in the house is stressed out and frustrated.

We have a daily nap time and/or quiet time in our house that is enforced for the good of all, but the rest of the time they get to act like kids.

It’s easy to think you are an awesome mom when you just have one.

Oh dear, this is so true and cuts to the heart. I mistakenly thought I was such a great mom when I just had one. How ridiculous of me! Once we added our second child who was a toddler from a horrible orphanage with so many struggles to our family, I learned the true depth of my sin. I learned what it really meant to die to self and sacrifice for another person.

Now that my girls are a bit older and I am not completely sleep deprived, I remind myself that I have to keep working to be a great mom to them. It will be something I work at all the rest of my days.

Only parent your own kids.

Stop and think about this for a moment because it’s such great advice. So often people just spout off about what they would do and how their kids were and more. Social media has ramped this up in an ugly way that it often frustrates me.

Sleep when they sleep.

It’s seems so obvious, but my brain would tell me all the things I could get done when they were sleeping like cleaning, blogging or dishes. Just go to sleep if you are tired. It can wait until you have more energy. You don’t need to have a Pinterest life.


Now here are a few things I have learned that I would tell myself if I could.

Adopting toddlers is really, really hard.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Our adoption agencies, social workers, books, webinars, fellow bloggers and more didn’t really prepare me for what was to come. Even our first adoption didn’t prepare us for how hard the second one was going to be.

Let them learn at their own pace.

Let them play, play, play to learn. We have homeschooled from the beginning, but I really wish I would have been more relaxed about it in the beginning like I am now.

Your kids are going to do things that boggle the mind.

Good and bad. Sometimes I ask myself if something really just happened with my kids. Many days they shock and confuse me. But then I remind myself that I was a kid once and must have done the same thing to my parents. It’s really okay, just keep teaching them goodness and mercy.

It doesn’t matter when they potty train.

All kids are different. All kids have different backgrounds that will affect when and how they potty train. Unless they have a severe special need, no one goes to college in diapers.

Ignore the words of “know it all” people who aren’t walking the same road.

I can’t tell you how many people who only have biological children have told me “how it is”. Sorry. It’s just not the same for those of us who didn’t have our kids in utero. Your biological kids didn’t suffer neglect, lack of food, lack of air conditioning or dirty water making them sick. Your kids don’t have large scars with no answers as to how they got there. Your kids don’t have gaps in their timeline that you don’t have any answers for. The only response to this is to ignore because they just don’t understand. There are plenty of people you can connect with who do understand, so don’t let others get you down.

Embrace the chaos!

The more kids you have, the more wild your house will get. And most of the time, that is awesome! Our kids have us laughing so much and they are so creative. They bring so much delight to the world, but lots of times that delight is loud and messy. Let them paint. Let them mix the play-dough colors. Let them get soaking wet in fountains.

Enjoy them as they grow. It goes by in the blink of an eye.

– guest post by Louanne

Waiting to be Chosen: Nikki and Katie

July 22, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Meet sweet Nikki. Nikki is an adorable six year old girl with a tender heart for others. Nikki’s special need is Down syndrome and esotropia. Nikki came to Lifeline’s March Kids Camp and was a joy to be around. She is described as outgoing, active, and full of spunk. She is strong willed and has …Read More

Pondering the “What-Ifs”

July 21, 2016 by nohandsbutours 10 Comments


I remember reading all the recommended adoption books, watching all the training videos, stalking all the mom blogs, and talking to other adoptive moms during the time leading up to our own adoption. I got myself familiar with so many new terms and tried to educate myself on any possibility of trouble our future daughter …Read More

No Hands But Ours: Reader Survey 2016

July 20, 2016 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


A little over a year ago we created a reader survey, asking our readers to weigh in with your thoughts about NHBO – what you liked, what you didn’t like and what you thought would make NHBO better. Well, y’all delivered. We received so much wisdom and insight – we used your ideas as a …Read More

Luke Waits

July 20, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Meet seven year old Luke! Luke is a charming boy who has a close relationship with his caregivers and is known around the orphanage for his helpfulness. He is attentive when the little ones cry and runs errands for his caregivers when they need an extra hand. Luke likes to play games with others, especially …Read More

Waiting to be Chosen: Lana and Josiah

July 19, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Meet little Lana. Lana is a precious 15 month old little girl who loves to smile. Lana’s special need is Down syndrome and congenital heart disease. The Chinese name that was chosen for this sweet girl means beautiful and smart — she has definitely lived up to her name. She is described as gentle, very …Read More

Dear younger me, You won’t be the same

July 19, 2016 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


If I could go back to when we started this journey, way back to sitting in those first adoption classes, I would want to take my hand and sit down and say, “Sweet thing, I love you. You are throwing yourself into changing this world. You have a grand vision. But you should know something. …Read More

A Treasured Son: Adopting a Child with Cleft Lip and Palate

July 18, 2016 by nohandsbutours 6 Comments


I like to say our son, Bo, is an answer to a prayer I didn’t even know I had until we began the process to adopt him. ……. In 2004, my husband, Peet, and I became parents for the first time in a courtroom in Tomsk, Siberia, to a beautiful baby girl. Then in 2010, …Read More

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