find my family: Wesley

October 4, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

This precious child is Wesley who was born October of 2014 and has postoperative hydrocephalus. He had surgery in January of 2015 where they put a shunt in his brain to help his hydrocephalus and since then he has been a very active little guy!


Wesley loves to laugh, watch the people around him, and play with his rattle. He is very active, sometimes restless, loves listening to music, and loves playing with toys. He is able to roll over from his back to his tummy, hold his head up while he lies on his tummy and sit on his own. He has started to babble and has very good eye contact.


Contact Heartsent to get more information on adopting wonderful little Wesley today!

These videos were taken August of 2015:

The One Thing

October 3, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

“To be alive as a human being with indescribable mysteries at every turn, and to have in front of us an eternal destiny of spectacular glory or inexpressible horror is a weight that can either press you down with fear and trembling or bear you up with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” – John Piper

If there were one piece of advice I could give; one thing or one morsel that would trump all of the other advice in an adoption journey, it would be making your priority knowing who you are in Christ and knowing it to your core.


To purpose to have an identity in Him so secure, that nothing else matters. Not the paperwork, not the travel date, not the Gotcha, not the embassy, not the attachment or support groups. Just Him. Those things are all important and vital, but if given more room than they require, I’ve noticed they can deceptively push Him out in the guise of “important adoption business.” They can smother a voice calling deep within to know Him in order to know who I really am – that voice can call louder in the adoption process than ever before. Piles of paperwork and anticipation smother that cry and that eternal moment can be lost. To purpose to know Him in order to know my true identity. He knows we will need to know it on this adoption journey so I believe He starts to call louder in the adoption process – if we are willing hear Him.

If there is any wisdom to be had in this post, honestly it is not my own. I’ve taken it as my very breath, but I have no authorship. I realize what becomes ruffled when we start talking about identity and though we might not admit it, the eye rolling over scriptural truth we’ve heard a thousand times. In a hidden thought of “Please don’t preach to me” we are annoyed and we don’t even know quite why. This wisdom is available and necessary for us all, and we’re annoyed by it because we don’t live there like we should. We visit like a lovely beach condo we long to reside in, but we don’t live there. We might stay the weekend but that’s about it. At least that’s been my story.

There is an aspect in the process of adoption of indescribable mystery. The mystery of a child somehow belonging to you across the world, the mystery of a family formed and the redemption awaiting – where orphan turns to adopted and adopted turns to beloved. There is a mystery in the process of how it all works out somehow and there are pieces of eternity carefully and intricately woven into every notary stamp and every delay, every fund raised and every prayer whispered in expectation. That mystery is full of glory if your identity is in Him. Peace and hope abound when you trust and know the One who really does see it all. I’ve journeyed here with this One Thing not out of some lofty religious pious place but instead through gritted teeth, pressing fear and limping to the other side to grasp it.

Romans 8 says that I am “in the Spirit” and 1 Corinthians 1 declares in unison that I am “in Christ Jesus.” There is a tendency in the process of adoption for us to “pocket size” these truths so they fit in our suitcase to travel – Christ lives in me like some carry on luggage I can take on a plane instead of the glorious and truly freeing reality that I am IN Christ. Not only that, Romans 6 says I am united with Him in both death and life. I am His possession according to 1 Peter and I belong to Jesus. He bought me with a price and I am not my own. When this offensive truth becomes the safest place – the audacity of choosing to be a bondservant before a good and loving Father – when that reality sinks way down deep, it is liberty to start casting crowns. The first crown I throw in the adoption process is that of “the adoptive mom.” That is not my identity. You will know if it is yours if you work something about adoption into every conversation within the first few minutes of talking with others or meeting someone. If you are planning how to fit it in and it becomes your motive for speaking, then it is an identity.

Yes, we talk about our children because they are such a gift – that is natural. But if it is woven into communication so that this is what others associate you with, then it has become the One Thing. And as precious as that one thing is, it is not THE ONE THING. Adoptive mother is a role that I am privileged to walk in, charged with the responsibility of raising this sweet girl for a while. This sweet one who I love dearly. She is my adopted daughter but that is merely her role too. She, like me, is a child of God. And if a child, an heir, and oh what glorious mystery, an heir with Christ. That is her identity, more than being Chinese, more than carrying my last name now and more than anything that wants to yell out a false role or persona. She is a child of God.

So in the process of adoption, the one thing is to be IN Christ. Consumed. Covered. Abiding. It becomes a natural response to cast every other crown that competes when one listens to that voice calling deep in those months of expected redemption in the adoption process. It really is perfect timing. That voice calling deep will start to unlock hidden doors in the attics of your heart where you are banking that this adoption somehow gets you extra points, even though in your head, you know it doesn’t work that way. Hidden boxes get cleaned out where you would never admit to wanting special eternal treatment, but secretly wish that this at least gets you preferred seating, or minimally, an aisle seat. And if you know the eternal is set, there is still the praise of this world and nothing causes applause in social circles quite like adoption. “We put our money where our mouth was and did something radical!”

We don’t show off these hidden boxes but they are in there tucked away sometimes. Please hear me, I can only write about what I know. These are crowns I’ve tossed and boxes I’ve carefully examined before I ever saw a waiting child file and a sweet face staring back. Casting these crowns quickly is easy in the process of being IN Him. In the process of adoption, cast them quickly.

In the trenches of adoption, maybe in country or just home for a while, the mysteries continue to unfold at a rapid pace. It is a knee jerk response to run for advice and education in those trenches. It is true, we really do need each other. But what if we could stop and be IN Christ? Not pocket sized carry on Jesus in us, but us IN Him. What if in the “pressing down” moments, we could indeed “Put on the Lord” like the promise of Romans 13? What if we get so covered by His grace, and in that so reminded of His nature, that we die with Him to live with Him?

The most freeing moment of my adoption journey thus far was when I died to my absolute that this little girl would have to love me back no matter what. I most certainly wanted her to but my identity was getting eaten up inch by inch with her initial rejection. And the truth is, if I am really IN Christ, nothing can touch it. So freedom came when all of that pressure and that self inflicted absolute was removed. IN Christ, I could swallow freely the true absolute that her love back didn’t define me at all; His love did. And if His love did, then even her rejection, short lived or long term, just made me understand being IN Him a little more. How many times had He loved me and I turned away? How many times had He reached for me and I reached for something other than His perfect love? To be united with Him is to die in order to live.

Putting Him on in the trenches was like releasing every bit of pressing, crushing, stifling air in my lungs and breathing in life. Eventually I breathed out and the air was much much clearer. Not just for me, but for my daughter too. She could actually breathe when her forever mama got her identity back in alignment with the truth. It is not about me. It’s about Him. There was more glory in that death than any projection of white – washed life in the character of “perfect adoption mother.” If I’m united with Him, I should expect some dying and equally expect some resurrected life. It is not about me at all and if I’m in it, even somewhere hidden, in order to pay penitence for a bad choice in college, to ramp up a lackluster spiritual life or to check a box of obedience; the trenches in adoption will remind me quickly that I brought nothing to the table. He did it all. He is all. The One Thing.

1 Peter 5 blesses with “a peace to all who are in Christ.” Adoption is at once both glorious and horror producing, and peace can be hard to come by. In the process, the journey and the trenches, it is peace we long for. We have to know it before we even start. IN Him there is peace that passes any understanding of government documents, a child waiting alone and even a child who shows up with issues beyond our natural ability. If we listen to that voice that calls from the start of the process from way deep within, our identity becomes secure. And knowing Him is our purpose, our drive, the first thing on our lips in a room full of strangers. Our heart’s first tug in the morning and our last thought at night. In pursuit of IN Him. This is my One Thing.

– photo by Tish Goff

It Takes a Village: Showering the Adoptive Mom

October 2, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Last year, when I was asked to help plan a sprinkle shower for my sweet friend, I was happy for the chance to celebrate another special child coming home from China! I didn’t take many pictures at the event unfortunately, but we had a great time celebrating with my dear mama friend. I pulled out all of my Chinese New Year decorations and we went wild turning the house into a festive Chinese party, dragons and lanterns hanging from the ceiling and all.

I also created a “good luck” tree table centerpiece with red envelopes and decorative Asian coins hung from a bouquet of sticks. We ate some delicious homemade Chinese food with chopsticks, including dumplings, crab meat wontons, fried rice, wonton soup, and buttery moon cookies. One of the other girls created and decorated a gorgeous panda-inspired cake. But if you aren’t into making cakes, decorating a plain white cake with a lot of colorful fruit is traditional and would work just as well!


We played adoption and China-inspired shower games during the party too. Game prizes were framed paintings of the Great Wall that were created in China by one of those artists who works with only their hands for paint brushes.

And of course, my friend received so many sweet gifts from her family and friends! We made sure to include gifts of a few new adoption books, a stunning custom name charm from Jiayin Designs, and a beautiful China-themed adoption “baby book.” She also received several other China-inspired gifts for her son.


It was such a privilege to walk with my friends on their journey to bring their new son home. Celebrating with a Chinese-inspired sprinkle was a wonderful way to honor his birth heritage and share about where he came from. Adding to a family through adoption is a beautiful process to witness!

If you are looking for some China adoption-themed shower games, please check out the blog post for these games from my friend, Kelly, at My Overthinking.

Also, I created two more games for the shower:
China Adoption Acronyms (answers)
Mandarin Match-Up (answers)

Although most of the shower guests were not adoptive moms, going over the answers for the China Adoption Acronyms game was a terrific way to explain the adoption process to everyone. I also think a trivia game about Chinese history or culture could be a fun addition!

Precious Little Thomas

October 2, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Precious little Thomas was born in August of 2014 and was admitted into the institute in September of 2014. The physical exam at admission showed syphilis RPR test to be positive and HIV to be weak positive. The doctors think that these were brought from his birth mother. In May of 2015, the RPR test …Read More

It Takes a Village: We Are Interwoven

October 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


October is here and so is our new feature focus, It Takes a Village. In this month we will share ways that friends, families, churches, teachers, agencies, doctors and therapists can gather around to support, love on and encourage adopting families. October is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a chance to raise awareness and celebrate …Read More

A Birthday Gift for Fallon

October 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Today is both a day of celebration and sadness. Celebration because our little girl turns 2 today! Sadness because we are not there to celebrate with her. Celebration because she is a loved daughter and sister! Sadness because she does not yet know what it means to be a daughter and sister. Celebration because we …Read More

Mercy: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours 8 Comments


In 2011, my husband and I attended a banquet to benefit Ukrainian orphans. Our hearts were stirred for orphans that night. After praying for God’s direction, we chose All God’s Children International as our agency and began the process towards a special needs adoption from China. One afternoon I scrolled through the Rainbow Kids website, …Read More

Coming Home: Sleeping Arrangements

September 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Finishing out September with our last post in our Coming Home series. We’ve covered a lot of ground this month, from siblings, to discipline, to friendships, to finding joy in the struggle. You can find all 14 posts here. So grateful for all the wisdom shared by our regular and guest contributors, it is our …Read More

find my family: Jackie

September 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Jackie will be turning two years old shortly. She was abandoned at a hospital when she was one day old. She was born with a hand deformity, anal atresia and a heart defect. Jackie received surgery for her anal atresia, but she doesn’t have bladder or bowel control yet and wears diapers. Jackie had surgery …Read More

Coming Home: Balancing Their Biggest Needs

September 29, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments


Heartache. There’s a lot of that in adoption—the recognition of hard things that can overwhelm us. The images of families receiving their children for the first time often capture it as deep emotions rise to the surface responding to the juxtaposition of loss and gain, of broken relationships and the birth of new ones. Oh, …Read More

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