what we’re reading: 6.2.15

June 2, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

You guys, so many families traveling for their little ones to share with you! Grab a comfy spot in the shade, get yourself a nice cool drink, turn on the sprinklers for the kids, and don’t forget your box of tissues before you start going through this episode of “What We’re Reading.” So much joy to bring to you this time, pretty much a living example of Psalm 126:3!

And as always, thank you so much for being willing to allow us to link your blogs and stories!

To share a blog post or news article go here.
To share your blog with our readers, as a soon-to-be traveling family, go here.


To the mom who doesn’t feel like a mother yet, is a beautiful post in which Katie Davis relates her heart journey as an adoptive mom. She began feeling like a surrogate or babysitter (many of us can relate!) to her adopted daughters and bloomed into becoming their mom, “somewhere along the line after weeks or months or years of choosing this kind of love, I suddenly found myself in the place that I am now where I have no choice, where I could not stop loving that if I tried because they are part of me.”

Ever wonder what happens to orphans who have aged out? Here is a brief story of two young men who were once orphans and benefited from care at International China Concern. Li Shi and Zhou Li’s Hengyang Adventure to serve children much like they once were.

Oh my word, you gotta go watch how Joy in the Waiting creatively announced their being matched to their family. So precious to watch all of their loved ones see the sweet face for the first time!

Abiding in Grace shares Brittany’s Adoption Story, where this special mama shares that “the miracle of adoption is that our faith have become a little bolder, a little stronger and a little more sweet too.”


Grace Village is a brand new foster home being opened by Zhanjiang Kids Organization in Zhanjiang, Guangdong. They are hosting a virtual housewarming and baby shower, sounds fun, huh? Are you interested in attending this party with us? It is an open invitation and anyone can attend, so come join us in shower this new home.

Confused about the China adoption eligibility guidelines which changed at the beginning of the year? Rainbow Kids does a great job of explaining what it takes to qualify for the China program. And please remember, that even if you do not meet one of the qualifications you can still interview agencies and apply for waivers to be allowed to enter the program.


tysonWelcome Tyson, the newest blessing to (our very own!) Amy and family! 

In China now (or super soon)…
My Passionate Balance
A Sister for Mia
Love Hope Adopt
Bringing Jaden Home
Trusty Party of Six
Beautiful Chaos
The Domestic Doctorette
Crazy Blessed
Growing Beards
Mama of a Big Bunch of Kids
Four2Six Family

And just home from China…
Another 1 Home
Hubers Family Adoption Journey
God’s Amazing Grace
Jellybeans Katie
Mommy’s Little Peanuts
Surpassing Greatness
What It Means 2 Be Held
Bringing Charlie Home
Beautiful Chaos
The Trost Adventures
Another 1 Home
Where Lindsey Writes

Getting close to travel for your little one in China? Share the link HERE.

Thank you for joining us for another What We’re Reading edition, see you again soon!


Lifeline: The Wonderful Boys from Winter Camp 2015

June 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

From Lifeline:

“Snips and snails and puppy dog tails,
that’s what little boys are made of.”

This is certainly true for all of our precious camp boys! Every single one of these beautiful little boys loved just being able to be a boy; climbing, playing soccer and basketball, fishing and exploring the great outdoors!

Please read about Colin, Cade, Lucas, and Leo. Please pray that hearts would be moved and opened for these wonderful little boys. Please take a few minutes to watch this precious video, made by our team who was there, who played with and loved on these boys for the 2 weeks they were at camp HERE. Please consider helping these wonderful little boys know the love of a forever family. Could that family be your family?

The Lifeline team is available to speak to you about any of these kiddos. For more information on any of our Winter Camp Kids, please email Annie Hamlin.


Handsome Colin – 8 ½, male, special focus, Lifeline Hosting List, MH (hypoevolutism). Colin is described as an obedient and capable child with a strong self care ability. He is said to have good manners, greets people easily, and even finds slippers for guests when they arrive. Colin’s file states that he is a “good boy” who is helpful and who, when having delicious food, will share with the other children. This sweet boy is said to love outdoor activities, studying and music.

unnamed (1)

From camp: Colin is so very smart and kind. At one point he came up to our daughter, and asked IN ENGLISH “How old are you?”. He shared his snack with another one of my children. He was amazing! Collin is a very smart, strong willed and independent little boy. Collin really wants to please those around him. He really picked up on some English words and loved using them (especially “I love you!”). He is goal oriented and sets goals for himself. For example, while shooting basketball, the basketball goal was down low but every time he made a basket, he wanted me to raise the goal up higher. He was very affectionate towards the staff and would usually hold their hand, hug on them or try to kiss them! Though there are challenges, Collin is a loving and very bright boy and can use these to build his character become a strong leader.

Please keep in mind that several families may be reviewing this child’s file at one time. At any given time, this child’s file can go on hold or be taken back to the Shared List by the CCCWA. Please contact your Lifeline social worker or Annie Hamlin to review any of these files.


Precious Cade – 9 years old, male, special focus, Lifeline’s Winter Camp List, sensitive special need. This sweet child is described as clever and polite. Cade is said to like to play games with other children, listen to music and dance. His file states that he is loved by everyone.


From camp: Cade LOVES life. He is full of energy and personality. He made us laugh on so many different occasions!! He smiles easy, and has a big self confidence. He would always say “thank you” in English after we gave him something. Cade is also a strong-willed but smart little boy. He is “all boy”! He loved playing with the toy cars and trucks outside. He does well playing by himself but can play well with others.

Please keep in mind that several families may be reviewing this child’s file at one time. At any given time, this child’s file can go on hold or be taken back to the Shared List by the CCCWA. Please contact your Lifeline social worker or Annie Hamlin to review any of these files.


Wonderful Lucas – 10 years old, male, special focus, Lifeline’s Hosting list, clubfeet. This precious child is described as busy, outgoing, sweet, and shy. Lucas is said to like spicy foods, bad mitten, sports and puzzles. His report states that he is not crazy about school but loves math and sports. It goes on to say that Lucas is very bright and hard working with a sweet, quiet, soft spoken personality.

unnamed (3)

From camp: Lucas is a sweet boy. Lucas walks well in spite of his disability. He could do well with correction to his foot. He has a sweet personality and fun. He loves to laugh and is well mannered. He will do well being placed anywhere in a family.Though he has trouble with one of his feet, he loves keeping up with the other boys.They would all run around with each other outside or in the gym. Lucas also picked up on English words and loved saying them back to the staff and volunteers.

Please keep in mind that several families may be reviewing this child’s file at one time. At any given time, this child’s file can go on hold or be taken back to the Shared List by the CCCWA. Please contact your Lifeline social worker or Annie Hamlin to review any of these files.


Wonderful Leo (now has a private grant) – 10 years old, male, special focus, Lifeline’s Hosting list, post op cleft lip and palate. This precious boy is described as smart, active, very kind and talkative. He is said to like to play sports, loves to go to school and likes spicy food. Leo is said to love all subjects at school but math is his favorite. He is described as having a beautiful smile that lights up the room!

unnamed (2)

From camp: Leo is the sweetest little boy you will meet. He has a smile and personality to capture your heart. He is so polite, easygoing and calm. He is kind, helpful, inquisitive, willing to share. He was my bus buddy and learned English quickly. He repeats everything. Leo would fit anywhere in a family. He is so loving with any age child and does well with adults men and women. Leo is a kind and loving little boy. He is all boy! He enjoys playing with his remote control car, playing outside and he also enjoyed fishing or anything sport related. Leo just enjoys being around others and spending time with them. He seems to adjust well to new people.

Please keep in mind that several families may be reviewing this child’s file at one time. At any given time, this child’s file can go on hold or be taken back to the Shared List by the CCCWA. Please contact your Lifeline social worker or Annie Hamlin to review any of these files.


On Being an Adoptive Dad

June 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments

June is here and as we move into a new month, we also begin a new Feature here on NHBO. In April and May our focus was on attachment. This month, in honor of Father’s Day, our focus will be… you guessed it, Dads. We are looking forward to sharing posts from adoptive dads all month long – and, based upon our recent NHBO reader survey, we know many of you have been wanting to hear more from a father’s perspective, too. So, welcome June and let’s hear it for Dads!

Everything has changed since we adopted Lucy from China.

Being a guy, we are often not the ones who initiate the adoption process. In our case, I wasn’t the one to start the conversation – my wife was. When she first brought it up, I wasn’t very interested; in fact, I was unmoved. If I remember correctly, I nodded my head, smiled, and said ‘yes.’

Laura, being wise and intuitive, sensed my lack of believable affirmation. The issue didn’t come up again for some time.

However, when it did surface, I agreed once again. We actually did begin the process. I was on board, intellectually. Once we started the paperwork (all of that paperwork….), God spoke and moved me to a position where the adoption made sense to me on a personal level.

Not that it was anything particularly hidden, but it was a blindspot to me. My own Dad grew up in a children’s home and was never adopted. I didn’t see that I had an opportunity to give a child a home – a family, physical needs, siblings, lots of love and affection, discipline and guidance – when my own father wasn’t privy to those same advantages. From this point on, our journey to adopt Lucy took on a new meaning for me that was previously untapped.

Again, men aren’t the primary drivers of adoption, in most cases. Much of this has to do with our culture. We aren’t encouraged to nurture, to ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ at pictures of babies, or to take the time to connect with our children. We’re meant to produce, to win, to get the job done and then retreat to our islands once more. Right?

kirkland 1

In my own life, I’ve seen the need to exit the roles we’ve been pre-assigned by our society (or that we feel have been assigned) on many occasions. Those roles are often rigid and don’t account for many nuances. For example, I would be encouraged by all that I’ve seen and has been fed to me that I should wear a Clint Eastwood-style suit as a man. I should be a man of few words. I should be tough as nails. I should tell others what to do and how to treat me. I shouldn’t take crap from anyone.

This simply doesn’t line up with reality or who God created me to be.

First of all, Laura and I must be on the same page. We have to operate with one mind, if you will. If we aren’t, then our lives will be chaotic, as we each try to wrestle our worldview to the driver’s seat of our household. We have to talk and relate. We have to be honest with each other. We have to voice our wishes, our opinions, our hurts, and our fears. If we aren’t doing these things regularly – if the highway of communication is under construction – we won’t be living as the unit God joined together in that ceremony years ago. A living, breathing joint effort meant to bring glory to God.

So, I understand that Laura and I need to be one. That process of dying to my own plans – those individual fantasies of my own mind – has been painful, but so necessary. That process is ongoing; it will never be over. I will always wrestle with that part of me that wants to do my own thing, live on my own island, and bend to no one’s will. Just as we’ve started to live a life that’s melded together – as we are walking in stride – this transforms my walk with God. It’s all part of the same process, interestingly enough.

We’re nearly at the 2-year mark since adopting Lucy. Like I said, everything has changed.

We are in the process of adopting – again. We’re planning to return to China later this year (most likely the Fall) to adopt another little girl, Charlotte. She is deaf, as was Lucy. Lucy now has cochlear implants and can hear. If possible, we are planning to give Charlotte the same opportunity as Lucy and she will have cochlear implants.

In our adoption walk, both of our girls have been deaf. God has led us into this world of the hearing-impaired for a reason.

Throughout Lucy’s doctors appointments, the surgeries, the therapies – I have learned as well. I have been in need of a new way to hear. I have been cut off – spiritually deaf, for all intents and purposes – from hearing God’s voice. By seeing Lucy’s struggles – her frustrations, her fatigue, her seemingly impossible odds to learn language and operate “normally” as we all do, who hear and speak and converse – I see myself. I, too, am stubborn. I, too, don’t want to take the time and work to learn to listen and speak. I, too, don’t know how to communicate.

Brilliantly, God has begun a work in our lives. God has begun to transform the life of our girl, Lucy, both spiritually, emotionally, and physically. God has done the same in me. God has begun resurrecting the wreckage that I previously operated in (that I believed was functional, but in reality, wasn’t at all) and has begun transforming me into one who lives for those I’ve been blessed to walk with in this life. Laura and I walk in unison. We walk in unison with God. Our family relates – not with perfection, but with honesty, love, forgiveness, and hope.

kirkland 2

As we look ahead to another China voyage and to begin a new walk with Charlotte, we have great joy. As a Dad, I have another opportunity to invite another little one into our fold. I have another opportunity to see the grace and love of God poured out in ways unimaginable. I have another opportunity to be stretched beyond what I think possible. I have more need of God.

As a man, this is the place I need to live from.



Sean Kirkland loves to create. Depending on the day, he could be writing a story, shooting and editing a video, or acting in something. He has also been able to collaboratively create an unpredictable adventure of a marriage with his wife, Laura Kirkland, as well as a growing brood of young, distinct personalities: Zoë, Henry, Finn, and Lucy. They are welcoming a fifth child when they travel to China this Fall to adopt Charlotte.

Sean has a video production company, Pursuit Productions, located in Kennesaw, GA. He also writes/posts on Tumblr. You can see more of the Kirkland Family’s story and donate to Charlotte’s upcoming adoption at their Adopt Together site.

Daily Life with Burns | Not Defined

May 31, 2015 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments


This is our family story or what the daily life of living with burns is like. I want to make sure you all know that each story is unique and the daily life for another child with burns and their family could be much different. There are many things to consider with burns; location on …Read More

find my family: Libby

May 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Two year old Libby is listed with Madison Adoption Associates via an orphanage partnership. She is the most precious little thing! Libby is diagnosed as having refractive amblyopia (it is suggested she wear glasses), CHD-ASD, microcephaly, and mental delay. In December of 2014, Libby joined a foster family. At the age of 19 months, she …Read More

My Daughter’s Red Thread

May 29, 2015 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments

bright smiles

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” – Unknown The day Lydia was placed in my arms (what many call “gotcha day”), I had so much excitement and anticipation. I was about to become a mom for the first time and see …Read More

I’m Ready to Adopt: Choosing an Agency (Part 4)

May 28, 2015 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments


Today we’re back with our I’m Ready To Adopt series with the fourth in a mini-series by Kelly – who blogs at Mine In China – on How To Choose An Agency. You can read the first three posts here, here and here.   LID File Agency Questions and Transferring Files Between Agencies   While we will be discussing many different factors to consider when choosing an agency, …Read More

waiting for a family: Felicity

May 28, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

You are not even going to believe the preciousness we have in store for you today! Felicity! Felicity was born in February of 2011. She is very social and loves to play with other kids. She’s been diagnosed with Down syndrome. A natural little leader, she can become loud trying to get the other children …Read More

“Now That You’ve Done it, What Do You Think About Adopting Two Kids at Once?”

May 27, 2015 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


Hi! I’m Erin and my husband and I just returned home from China on March 27th with our two newest daughters, Grace and Josie. They are both 5 years old and they both have Down syndrome. We already had four children at home, an 11 year old boy, an 8 year old girl, a 7 …Read More

find my family: Langston

May 26, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Langston is an adorable 11 month old little guy! Langston is a quiet and happy baby who loves brightly-colored rattles and listening to music. He giggles and loves to laugh and dance when tickled or playing with other children! His special need is listed as thick-skulled reflex to light of pupils. He is designated to …Read More

© 2015 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.