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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.

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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.

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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

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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. 


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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. 

good:
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
(source)

*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 ones, all under four years old. When our youngest turned one we knew we weren’t finished having children. God directed our hearts toward adoption and we began the process. Fifteen months later we were on a plane to China! It was March of 2015.

The waiting process is full of the unexpected. There are no certain time frames. Paperwork gets lost.  The process stalls then charges ahead. Funds are raised (or not raised). The time-frame doesn’t seem clear, but at least it is a story I felt a little bit in control of. There were steps to follow. Goals. And we made it! We were at the end… or so I thought.


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All the unknowns would end as soon as I held her, right? The adoption chapter in my life would come to a neat, tidy end. Of course we would be parenting… but we had three other children. I honestly didn’t even think about that next chapter. I focused on holding her and having this horrible waiting come to an end.

The day she was placed in our arms was one of the most difficult days of my life. Joy was mixed with sadness. I cried tears of joy and relief as they handed over this little girl, all bundled up. After giving birth to three babies, I knew the feelings of relief and joy that you feel when you hold your child for the first time. Once again, I was able to experience that relief and joy!

We sat down in the corner of the civil affairs office in Zhengzhou, China to look at her. She was huge, with her four layers on! She was so heavy. Her limp body was like a rock in my arms I resisted the urge to take off her jacket. Her head bobbed and her eyes were glazed as I tried to look into her face. I handed her to my husband, Jason, and we studied her. We smiled a smile of relief between us.

We didn’t say much. We continued to look at her. We tried to get her to sit in our laps, but her body was limp. She had no strength. Her head was not straight. Her eyes would not focus on our faces. She fussed and whined. We fed her a snack. She continued to lay in our arms. And her eyes. Her eyes were the reason my heart started pounding. She would not look at us. At all. After she ate, she began to cry and my heart just sank.   We knew that children could withdraw in shock and grief during those first few days. We weren’t sure whether the lack of eye contact, drool, and inability to sit or hold her head up were signs of withdrawal or a sign of something wrong medically.

That first night, we laid her in the crib and the only one to cry was me. She slept in her crib without a peep. And I cried. I was so scared. This was not what I had signed up for. Some parents are prepared for certain medical conditions. I was not. A few things just plain scared me. Here we were, in the middle of China, being given a child with two of those conditions we had said “no” to. What was God doing with my story, and my heart?

The thoughts came tumbling in out of me…

I wasn’t ready for this.  
They tricked us.
I can’t handle this.
They have pushed us in a corner.  
What choice do we really have? Leave her here? Take her home?


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Disruption became a word I never thought I would utter. As the days moved forward in China, we realized her original referral was completely wrong and her condition was worse then we had thought. My life and my heart were in a million pieces on the ground. We weren’t one of those families. You know, the families that get their children and realize medically, the child is completely healthy. No, she was not better then we had hoped.

The questions came flooding over me….

Where had we gone wrong? 
What did we miss?  
Was this call to adopt really from God?
Did we rush into accepting her referral? 
Did we miss something with her paperwork?
How did we not know this about her?
Would she ever live on her own?
How much therapy would she need?
What would this mean for our family?

Would I be able to continue to homeschool?

The questions and the lack of answers threatened to drown me. I struggled to find air. Each day I somehow found the strength to wake up and face that day’s duties. Friends and family texted. I shared our fears with a few people. Prayers were whispered for us. We know that prayer was the grace getting us through.

My story was still broken. Where was God in all of this? I struggled in connecting to her. My heart was torn. And broken and struggling. I told God: “I can’t do this. This is NOT my story! Change it!”

One day towards the end of our trip, a fellow adoptive momma, whom I had been texting, sent me an article from No Hands But Ours. It was a blog post from Katie, who had just traveled to China to bring home two girls. One child was much worse than what they were expecting. Katie shared how her heart broke and she had to make those hard decisions. I wept. I began to read the article to Jason and he began to weep. We weren’t alone in this hard place. Others have walked this road. We were reassured that God gives grace. He was faithful with her story. And if He could make her story beautiful, He could make mine as well. All the truth from His Word flooded back into my heart. I began hearing the Spirit whisper truth into my heart again.

God whispered to me: “You don’t have to do this. You want me to change it, but I’m not going to change it. But I will equip you. You are not alone. You have your friends, family, and especially Me.”

So we have her. Have all my fears disappeared? No. Not all. I stare at my fears when I stare into her wandering eyes that cannot focus on my face. Fear threatens everyday. This is not where my story was going to go. Honestly, some days I don’t know this life that I am living. My story still doesn’t make sense, but slowly God is changing the story. Slowly He is changing me.


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A broken story can be made beautiful in the hands of a faithful God.

God is making it all beautiful. Not because all of the pieces fit together. No, the pieces of my heart are still very much broken. They are scattered all over the floor and I can’t make sense of this story anymore. No, God is making it beautiful because after I read that blog post, I began to look up. I looked into His face and realized that all of those truths I’ve been speaking for 20+ years to heart, they are true. Truth floods into my broken heart and fills it. Truth. His truth. The truth of His Word. Truth is the only thing filling me up and making me whole again.  

I cannot look at my story as a whole book or even a chapter. My story is made up of moments. In those moments are tiny pieces of grace. His faithfulness is new everyday. Each day I’ve been home He has given me a mercy for that day. A song. A verse. A devotional reading. A sweet card. A blog post. Every day God encourages my heart with something. Something to fight the fear, sadness, anger, and selfishness.

Lamentations 3:22-26

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. 
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.


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The song, He’s Always Been Faithful, by Sara Groves has been one of my favorites for years. But I can’t sit at the piano and play this song without weeping now. It truly has become the anthem of my life. It is my song and my story:

“He’s Always Been Faithful” by Sara Groves

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me

I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me

This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful,
He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me

…..

God is faithful, dear momma, no matter how God is writing your story. No matter the past. No matter the future. Today the promises of scripture tell us that our God is faithful.

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;”

– guest post by Sarah Frazer: blog | facebook | twitter | instagram

find my family: Timmy

May 22, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

I’m Ready to Adopt: Choosing an Agency (Part 3)

May 18, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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Today we’re back with our I’m Ready To Adopt series with the third in a mini-series by Kelly – who blogs at Mine In China – on How To Choose An Agency. You can read the first two posts here and here.   Understanding LID and Partnership Files In this post, we are going to focus on another file designation used by China, known …Read More