Using Your Skills and Talents to Fundraise Successfully

January 23, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Through fundraising for our adoption, I’ve met many determined adoptive mamas. I never tire of hearing others stories of adoption and how, despite seemingly impossible odds, God brought in the funds.

When I meet other families that have fundraised I am always amazed and inspired. Each person puts their own spin, and uses their own passions, to come up with unique ideas to get those fees paid. One such adoptive mama is Sarah and today, she shares her story and how they raised the funds to bring home their son, Liam.


Our adoption journey started years before we picked an agency or started looking through waiting child pictures. I believe it started in Brentwood, Tennessee right after we had done our “debt free scream” on Dave Ramsey’s radio show and the video producer started interviewing us. He asked what our ultimate goals were now with money and my husband told him we were hoping to one day adopt.

I don’t think shocked is an adequate word for the look on my face in that moment. We had mentioned it from time to time throughout our marriage but in that moment, it all felt real. We had paid off $39k in two years so it finally didn’t seem impossible.

About a year later, we went to an informational meeting from an agency and I really saw the numbers and my legs began to shake. I didn’t know how we could come up with that kind of money in a year. I’m blessed to have a cousin who adopted from China in 2010 and her words echoed through my heart as we began the process, “Never let money be the thing that holds you back.” I had watched their story of God providing in amazing ways and their church family rallying around them to bring their daughter home.

I didn’t know how it was going to look for our family but we took the leap of faith and began our journey to our son Liam in 2014.

I believe that we can share and learn from each other in the ways we raise money but each family has to look at their support network, their own skills and talents and unique set of circumstances to know how to best fundraise.

I had a sizable following on social media so I was able to get a large audience to share our story on Twitter and the bulk of our funds came from direct donations to our crowdfunding page.

I made some crafts, had a garage sale, and we sold some t-shirts. We received one grant. We had a pancake breakfast with a silent auction a few months before we travelled and that brought in the remaining funds. In the end, we were able to save half the money we needed through our monthly budgeting and the other half was raised through fundraising.

When families ask me how to get started with fundraising, I always advise them to look at what they think will work best in their situation. Some churches will allow a large event like a yard sale or spaghetti dinner. Social media has made it possible to have online auctions and crowdfunding websites can reach far beyond your local community. I believe each journey will look different but there are more options than ever to be successful.

Through our fundraising journey, it made me more dependent on God and incredibly thankful for all of those who are now part of bringing our son home. It also inspires me every day to give more and listen to where God is calling my heart financially. I believe that fundraising is an opportunity for anyone to participate in the miracle of adoption.


We hope you loved Sarah’s story as much as we do – be sure to check out her Facebook page here where you can get tips, advice and encouragement for your fundraising journey!


Waiting to be Chosen: Maya

January 22, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

Maya is a beyond precious 2 1/2 year-old girl who is waiting for her forever family to fall in love with her sweet face!

Maya can sit independently and can reach for objects around her. She likes to play with her hands and sit on the rocking horse. Maya can stand up in front of the mirror. When she sees herself, she tries to reach herself and makes excited sounds.

Maya knows her name and turns with a smile when she is called. Maya is described as energetic and smiley. She likes playing with toys (especially musical ones), playing games with adults and with other children in the activity room, and playing outside. Maya also likes to listen to music and watch cartoons.

She can stand with her hands holding onto a handrail and can transfer from the standing to sitting position on her own. Maya likes to use the blocks to make noise and she understands simple instructions, such as clapping hands, waving goodbye, blowing kisses, etc. Maya babbles and can understand directions from an adult, such as ‘Come to drink, please.’ She will put down her toy and crawl over. She can also respond to others asking for her objects.

Maya entered a foster family in September of 2014. She spends 5 1/2 hours a day in the grandmother’s class at the orphanage, where she receives physical therapy and developmental training. The rest of the time she is with her foster family and she is very close to her foster mother.

Maya was born with Down syndrome and anal atresia (stoma fistula on the abdomen). She also has alpha thalassemia (just a carrier).

On September 13th, 2015 she received reconstructive surgery in Beijing. In March of 2016, she returned back to her home orphanage. She recovered well after the surgery. The doctors at the orphanage help her to do dilatation each day. Now she can use the potty for defecation and urination.

Video of Maya can be found here – password is Adoptmaa

Maya is listed with Madison Adoption Associates via an orphanage partnership. Does your family or someone you know have room in your home and hearts for this treasure?

There is a $5,000 agency grant with Madison Adoption Associates for Maya’s adoption. Other grants may be available based on the adoptive family’s circumstances. Agency grants are awarded as agency fee reductions. MAA also partners with the Brittany’s Hope Foundation for matching grants, which are given out twice a year (January and July) to families that are matched with a child.

If you are interested in reviewing Maya’s file or in adopting Maya, please fill out a free PAP Waiting Child Review Form, which can be found here.

– guest advocacy post by Brooke

Reluctant Spouses: Worth the Wait

January 21, 2017 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other.

This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when one of you is ready to adopt, and the other isn’t.

I asked my husband for his input throughout this story since he was the reluctant one.

I do not know exactly when I knew adoption would be part of my life. My mom said I spoke about it in high school. Somehow, my poor husband, we never discussed this while dating or even in marriage counseling. My husband and I did not discuss adoption until we decided to start our family and had to deal with infertility. We were blessed to have excellent doctors and to be able to conceive our first son with medical assistance. Our second son was a natural surprise.

During the time we were trying to get pregnant we discussed adoption and knew it would be an option to start or grow our family but it was only a passing thought. We did not discuss international adoption or special needs adoption at any point in our relationship, so my husband was not prepared when it came up. I asked him if I caught him off guard and he said he had a feeling it was something I would like to do, but didn’t think we actually ever would.

Time passed and as our boys grew so did my desire to add to our family through adoption. I stumbled upon an adoption blog and began to learn about special needs adoption. This led me to Reece’s Rainbow.

I continued to learn more about special needs adoption and how we could actually adopt. I initially wanted to adopt a child with a “correctable” or “hidden” need. As I learned more and my desire to add to our family through adoption grew, I began to approach the topic with my husband. I asked him about international adoption of a child with HIV. He was not open to it and our discussions did not go well.

I would mention it frequently and he thought it was the only thing I was willing to talk about. He would feel angry and I would get upset. It was an unpleasant time in our marriage. This lasted for about 6 months. I think we were both praying for the other person to change their mind.

I asked my husband while writing this what his concerns were during that time. He stated I was so excited about special needs adoption when I approached it, he saw only two outcomes. He would agree to the adoption and then resent me or he would not agree to the adoption and I would resent him.

During this difficult time I sought out other wives who had been through this situation. I found support in adoption Facebook groups. I asked for advice. They also began to pray for my husband. I was able to talk with them and take a break from the subject with my husband. I also confided in two close friends who I know prayed for us regularly.

I tried my hardest not to bring it up for at least 2-3 months. During those months I began to support other adoptive families and became an administrator for an adoption grant Facebook group. Being involved in those different ways really helped me wait for “my time.” I was able to learn more about the process and get to know adoptive families. I was able to celebrate with them when their child came home.

My birthday came and I told my husband all I wanted for my birthday was for him to sit and listen, without interrupting or getting emotional, as I told him about adoption and why I wanted to adopt. Earlier I had typed up a “presentation” stating adoption facts and how I thought we could manage the process, therapies when home, and I had a kiddo in mind who I thought would fit into our family.

I tried to be very calm and factual. I told my husband I only wanted him to hear me and for him to think about what I was sharing. I did not want him to give me an answer until he was ready. I shared the picture of a child I had in mind for our family.

I had actually shown this little face to my husband 6 months earlier. He had commented “cute” and then went right back to the TV. I told him this little guy had been waiting at least 6 months and to my knowledge no one had expressed interest in him. We discussed his special need, Down syndrome. I asked him if we could just post his picture up on our refrigerator and pray for him. My husband agreed.

I put the picture up a few days later. Unbeknownst to me my husband took a picture of his picture and started to look at his face regularly. I didn’t say anything during this time. About a week and a half later while at church my husband gave me a yes sign. I made him say it again clearly later, and several more times throughout the following week just to make sure I was hearing him right and that he fully understood what he was saying yes to.

We are now in the midst of our second adoption. This time around our communication was much clearer and we both said yes easily. I asked my husband what he thought a good approach would be for wives of reluctant husbands and he said he appreciated the factual “presentation” I did with information about adoption. He also appreciated being told not to give any answer and me allowing him time to consider everything.

Since our first adoption we have also spent time in person with many families who have adopted special needs kids. Watching them interact with their families has, in my husband’s words, “made it easier to get rid of the excuses and fear.” My husband also had an easier time saying yes to a specific country, a plan of how we could adopt and a specific child versus the big idea of adoption. He said that it helped him know that it wasn’t just some novelty to me but about the little boy we would bring home.

I think international special needs adoption is such an emotional and scary thing it can be hard to clearly communicate with our spouses our desires. When you feel so strongly about something and your spouse does not, that causes a lot of difficulties and miscommunication. But it is not something that can be done with someone who is not on board.

If you have a reluctant husband, find friends, adoptive moms, or family members who can support you. It is to hard to walk alone. I also think we need to learn to be patient. I have a cousin who waited 7 years for her husband to agree to become foster parents. They went on to adopt two sons so I know it was worth the wait.

As we both know how hard this disconnect can be on a marriage, my husband and I are both happy to speak with spouses on either side of this issue. We can be reached on FB or through our blog.

– guest post by Ginny: facebook || blog

Waiting to be Chosen: Trent

January 20, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Two year old Trent could not be any cuter? Trent knows the nanny who takes care of him and he is very close to her. He is active and has a ready smile. Trent likes to listen to music and enjoys toys that make sound. He can hold his bottle and he likes playing with …Read More

Finding Me

January 19, 2017 by nohandsbutours 5 Comments

I started out this new year of 2017 by sitting down with my kids and filling out a form for goals and ideas for goals. A small part was, “What Makes You Happy.” I watched my kids fly through and write down at least twenty things. I struggled to write down more than five. Like …Read More

Waiting to be Chosen: Robert

January 18, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

In September of 2015, I met the most special baby boy in an orphanage in China. He was to be advocated for as ‘Robert.’ Robert was 14 months old at the time and he didn’t have a file even started. This precious baby boy was found abandoned in a toilet. Unfathomable to me, but I …Read More

No Hands But Ours: Looking Back at 2016…

January 17, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

2016 was an amazing year for No Hands But Ours. Hundreds of posts shared. Twelve special topics featured. Guest series. Family stories. Book reviews. Recipes. And advocacy posts written that turned faces across the sea into treasured sons and daughters. Here is just a glimpse of all we shared… …………………… A Look Back by the …Read More

Child Who Waits: Whittingham

January 16, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

“Yi, er, san, qiezi!” (One, two, three, eggplant!) I can still hear these words in my head and remember exactly how he says them. Every time I took my camera out, he would yell this phrase loudly and throw his two fingers up in the air in “V” and put them right in front of …Read More

Reluctant Spouses: Of One Mind….

January 15, 2017 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Choosing to grow your family is a monumental, life-altering decision. And choosing to grow your family through special-needs adoption? Even more so. Which makes this decision an understandably difficult one to make – one that is typically easier (or harder) for one spouse than the other. This month we’re focusing on Reluctant Spouses. Or, when …Read More

Homemade Jiǎozi: Making Chinese New Year a Family Affair

January 14, 2017 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

I learned to make dumplings a few years ago when we hosted an exchange student from China. Everyone in the family enjoys eating them, and the process is so fun! Making dumplings, or jiǎozi, is definitely a social affair – it’s meant to be shared as a group. We enjoy making and eating them to …Read More

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