Your Permission Slip

May 25, 2015 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

When I asked you how things were going, you started to cry. Through your tears, you told me how great your new son’s eye contact is, how he likes to be held, how he lets you know what he wants. You told me how everything is really so good, so much better than you were prepared for. But, you were still crying when you said that.

I imagine you were your social worker’s dream family. You dotted all your Is and crossed all your Ts. Not only was every form filled out completely and perfectly, but you didn’t fuss about any of the training required. You were your agency’s star student, soaking up every minute of every training with paper and pen in hand, taking notes lest you forget something. Every recommended book is now part of your library with broken bindings and yellow highlights throughout. You can channel your inner Dan Siegel and Karyn Purvis and explain the attachment cycle and define time-ins to any captive audience. You’re it — the well-prepared, ready-to-go adoptive mom equipped with a full holster of every attachment-building tool there is. 

And, then you adopted your son. 


You remind me a little of that friend we all have, the one who went to Lamaze classes or the like and somehow heard the message — or simply chose to hear it — that if you learn all the breathing tricks and positions that labor and delivery would be relatively painless, that somehow her own learned skills and oxygen-inhaling prowess would trump the reality of biology.

Yeah… it doesn’t that work that way.

Here’s what just happened. You and your husband, quite comfortable and relatively confident in your parenthood experience to the one biological child you already had, grew your family again. That’s always hard. And, since you did that through this incredible adventure of adoption, you multiplied that hard exponentially. While it’s normal for a mom to feel overwhelmed and tired and totally consumed by her new child who needs her all the time, you feel all that and your new child is not a sleepy infant and your child doesn’t understand English and you are scared to death that all the anxiety and growing sense of oxygen-inhaling failure on your part is going to break down whatever foundations of attachment have been built and that your adoption fund is going to be replaced by a therapy fund to pay for all the additional trauma you are going to bring into your child’s life.

{take a deep breath right about…. now}

All those rules and tools you’ve studied and prepped for — the baby-wearing, the co-sleeping, the skin-to-skin contact, the commitment to be the only one to meet his every need, the keeping him within several feet at all times, the cocooning, the intentional regression — they are not the end all; rather, they are the means to an end with that end being relationship. That’s the most important thing. If those good rules and tools are so binding to you right now that they are actually hindering relationship, you have the permission to step away from the books and the blogs and the webinars and experience freedom as the mother God’s called you to be to your son.

It’s not forever, but for now, find what it is that you need whether that is grocery store runs sans anyone under 3 feet tall, a break to go have coffee with a friend one afternoon, going back to your weekly women’s group with a sitter in your friend’s basement, or something else entirely different. Find what it is that you need so that you can get on track with building a relationship with your son rather than falling into a pattern of going through the motions that you think you need to do but growing seeds in you of fear, questions, and resentment — all of which are enemies to relationship.

Friend, this is hard, yes. But, you can do hard; you were made for hard. You are exactly what your son and your daughter need right now — in your frailty, in your weakness, in your tears.

– photo by Tish Goff

find my family: Sunny

May 24, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Sunny was born in February 2011. He was found when he was approximately two months old. When he was admitted to the orphanage, they noted that he “had black spots on his skin, and cysts in his neck, arms, and back.” Read more about this special need under Congenital Nevus here. Children with nevus face quite a bit of prejudice and judgment in China. It is so important for these children to be adopted and given love and opportunity.


Sunny is a busy little boy who can walk, run, and jump independently. He is described as being busy and playful. He is not afraid of strangers. He loves to smile and has an extroverted personality. This darling boy needs a family who can help him reach his full potential.


Sunny has been paper ready for a family to chose him for over three years. He is currently listed with GWCA, please contact them for more information or to review his file. He has a Reece’s Rainbow account where he is known as Brandon.

God is (Still) Good

May 23, 2015 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8


Sometimes I don’t like what God does. 
Sometimes I can’t taste the sweetness, because of the hint of bitterness in the heart lesson.
I don’t like when He calls me to something and then makes me wait. 
I don’t like when I’m in one country and my baby is waiting in another. 
I don’t like when governments get between me and my adoption.  
I don’t like when Gotcha Day is less perfect, less easy, than I thought it would be.
I don’t like when being “newly home” is harder than I expected. 
I don’t like when my-already been through too much- medically complex warrior, faces more. 
I don’t like when my child questions where her birthmother is.

Adoption can push the limits of how good we think God is.  We can start to wonder if He’s fully good all the time, in all things.

We begin the application process spilling over with hope, anticipation and purpose. And then, somewhere along the way, we start feeling the stretch. We start having doubts, obstacles, longings and hurts. We realize adoption is not easy. That the redemption of hearts comes at great cost. We’d long heard that it’s not “for the faint of heart”, but suddenly faint is exactly how our hearts feel.     

The journey reframes our thinking, teaching us its deep and wide lessons. Some lessons settle into our hearts sweet and easy. Others take longer to embrace. And some. Some are only learned from days strung together pleading from our knees. 

We tend to love success stories, speedy, positive results and miracle turn arounds. We prefer happy endings. And when we get what we hope for, on the timeline we prefer, we tell each other, “God is good.”

When we hear good news, we proclaim it. Under Gotcha Day photos, friends comment, “God is good.” When a little patient gets good medical test results, “God is good.” 

But what about when endings are hard, or we don’t get what we want?  When the timeline we drafted doesn’t match our reality? When a child’s medical needs are more extensive than the file promised?   When attachment doesn’t come naturally?   When the adoption community loses a little life that we’ve all battled for in prayer.   Do we type, “God is good” then? 

When we don’t like what is in the cup we’ve been given, we wonder if God truly is good. 


There have been many times on this adoption trek, when circumstances felt bleak, that I’ve wondered if “good” meant all the time, for everybody. A few times I allowed myself to consider whether or not I would still think God good if the adoption didn’t happen, or the surgery had complications. When I wondered why a good God wouldn’t clear the world’s orphanages of its waiting children. And post adoption, when so many special needs little people come home with miraculously cured hearts, or are healed after one surgery, but mine had to keep battling, I felt a little greedy annoyance by the “God is good” posts.    

And if not, He is still good.  Daniel 3:18

Since my fleshy feelings don’t always align with my faith, I’m learning to lead my heart. Learning that when I’m raw and unraveled by adoption and parenting high need little people, I need to speak, write, read, sing and meditate on the truths I can’t always feel. 

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.  Psalm 119:68

So I can question His promise and character, or I can open my clinched palms and accept that He is good, and His work is good. I can let go of my expectations, efforts, timing and struggling. I can look beyond my adoption and parenting challenges, and remind myself of the profound truth. He’s always at work, and it’s always good.      

Adoption sings His name, all the time, in its beauty and in its stretching. Both the bitter and the sweet are saturated with His goodness. 

When He overwhelms us with miracles, He’s good.
When we are called to wait, He’s good.
When adoption realities don’t match the picture we painted in our heads, still good.
When the little souls we parent are hurting, even still. 

He is good. Let’s make that the cadence that we train our hearts to beat to. 

1. right, proper fit
2. morally excellent, righteous, virtuous
3. satisfactory in quality, quantity or degree
4. of high quality
5. kind, beneficent, friendly
6. honorable or worthy

*special thanks to Tish Goff for the photos

The Hands of a Faithful God

May 22, 2015 by nohandsbutours 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

find my family: Timmy

May 22, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Timmy is a precious little guy who needs a family so badly! He was born March of 2011 and admitted into the orphanage in August of 2011. He has cerebral palsy with high muscular tension. In May 2012 he was sent to Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment. At the beginning he could not raise his head, …Read More

The Unexpected Testimony

May 21, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


One of the “perks” (not so much if you are an introvert) of walking the Adoption Road is the availability to share your testimony. I think it might actually be one of the questions on the Home Study Report: Are you ready and willing to share all that the Lord has done (and will continue …Read More

Adopting a Child with Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome

May 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments


When I first read Abby’s file and read the diagnosis Hemangioma and Kassanbach Merritt Syndrome (or Phenomenon), I thought to myself, “How bad could it be?” She has a birthmark or as her file called it ‘a large hemangioma’ on her neck and chest, surely once we get her home we can ‘fix’ it! Then I did …Read More

May Fundraising Family: Meet the Berrys

May 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

No Hands But Ours is committed to encouraging, informing and supporting families as they pursue adoption through the special needs program in China. In an effort to be more purposeful in supporting in-process families as they stretch financially to adopt, we are now featuring one fundraising family per month. If you would like your family …Read More

find my family: Samantha

May 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


Samantha is listed with WASATCH and is diagnosed with scoliosis. Samantha was 5 years old on admission, cautious to new environment, observed her surroundings with curiosity. Under the excellent care of caregivers and patient guide of teachers, she gradually adjusted to the environment and she has become outgoing and has had good living habits. At …Read More

One Wild and Precious Life: Adopting a Child with Albinism

May 19, 2015 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments


Our adoption story began about four years prior to our actual adoption. I was sitting at work one regular day and just had a random thought to research international adoption. This was not something we had previously discussed and wasn’t something at all on our radar screen. We had – at that time – two …Read More