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Let’s Hear it for the Dads

June 29, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Baba. Daddy. Dad. Your name is worthy of celebration. You are worthy of celebration.  


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Your name is powerful. For our children, your name means comfort, safety, strength.

Perhaps you were the daddy that our child was scared of, and so lovingly and patiently, you pursued our little one. It took time, lots of time – months, years even. But you did it. You pursued our child with a father’s love. You showed us all that love is patient.  

Or maybe you were the daddy our child had to be held by at all times. In the time before our child was ours, she learned that mamas leave. So in those early days, weeks, and months, baba was the one she clung to. Felt safety. Daddy, she felt safest with you and in your arms, so that is where she stayed.

You carried her in the baby carrier all over China when you would’ve felt more comfortable demonstrating your strength by carrying all of our luggage. But she wanted you, so you showed up and stepped into that role that she needed from her daddy, even though that was out of your comfort zone. You said “yes” for her, and in that yes showed real strength and vulnerability.    

You changed every diaper.  


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You were patient and calm when our child was scared. And whatever made her feel safe, you did it, because before love can bloom, felt safety is the soil that must be tended to. Tending to soil is such messy work, it is not glamorous, and sometimes, you want to rush that part to see the bloom, but that part cannot be rushed. You get that. But once love blossomed, that painstaking time tending to the soil made it more beautiful than you could’ve imagined.   

You lead our children in nightly prayers, and point the way to The Father.  

Daddy, that older child you adopted, you cradled him like an infant. You stepped into that gap that was, and filled it with your tender strength saying “yes” to rocking, saying “yes” to singing lullabies, saying “yes” to nurture. And even though your child might be too old to be cradled based on other’s opinions, you cradled him, because you know that is what your child needs. You know that your child missed out on all of those opportunities with us…with anyone, and so you do it now. You lovingly do that now, even after a stressful day at work.  

Daddy, you said “yes” to my idea to grow our family through adoption, even though at first, you were hesitant. You took on more projects at work to help us pay for our adoption too.  

You embraced adoption, the fear, the paperwork, the financial hurdles, the social worker visits, the questions and the detailed family biographies, the red tape, the unknown, the slowdowns, the adoptive training, the background checks, the foreign culture, the special needs, the surprise diagnoses. You embraced the child who was once an orphan and is now your beloved son, daughter.  

When I saw our son’s photo in the waiting child advocacy group, you said “yes” to becoming a daddy again. With fear in my voice, I said, “I think he might have more needs than what is listed in his file.”  You said, “That’s okay. When we say ‘yes’ to adopting him, we are saying we will love all of him – the known and the unknown. Saying yes to love and yes to family often means loving through fear, and saying yes despite fear.” And you were right. You realize his little life is precious and that he has been through so much.  


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You say “yes” to co-sleeping even though for years you swore we never would, but our child needs us close. During the night terrors – his cries for mommy and daddy – you knew that at night time, he needs us the most.  

You play with our children for hours.  

You read books on attachment and trauma. You say yes to “connected parenting.”  

You listen to me when I have a hard day and remind me that I am a good mom. You take days off work so that I can go to adoptive mom retreats or out with girlfriends for respite.  

Daddy, you say “no” to racist comments and “jokes.” When others say, “That’s just our generation” or “that was just a joke” you say no more. You remind people that we are a transracial adoptive family, and that means stepping into conversations about race, educating others, and setting firm boundaries. And because of love, you step into those conversations. You educate yourself about issues and topics you were ignorant of before our family grew through transracial adoption. You do this, because you know it matters for our children. You talk with our children about race, about racism, and help model how to handle such interactions. You do your best and push yourself to learn more and do better, because you know our kids’ experiences will be different than ours.

Dad, you make mistakes. It is okay, we know you are not a superhero. You aren’t perfect, and we don’t need perfection. But, you show our children the importance of repair when you lovingly say, “I’m sorry. I love you.” By showing them that you are human and make mistakes, you are teaching them important lessons. Lessons that demonstrate they do not have to be perfect to receive our love.  

You say “no” when people want to know private matters about our child’s history. You are protective of her story, her finding spot, her sensitive diagnoses. And in saying “no” to others, you are saying “yes” to protecting her.  

You said “yes” to embracing our child’s culture. You learned about Chinese culture, and you tried your hardest to learn Mandarin and Cantonese.  

You said “yes” to finding the best schools, doctors, therapists, support for our child. You traveled halfway across the world to adopt our children, and all over the country to give them access to the best care possible.  

You help educate people about the importance of language when discussing race, adoption, and special needs – and you do all of this in a loving, but firm way. You get that if people knew better, they’d do better. So, as their daddy, you help people know better.  

And in doing so, daddy, you make this world a better place, a kinder place for our children.  

Let’s hear it for the dads! What do the dads in your family do that is worthy of celebration?


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find my family: Katie

June 28, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Katie is, and always has been, a favorite at her orphanage! She was born in August of 2013 and found shortly after birth. Her file says, “the child is optimistic, has rich facial expression, the child has a ready smile, although there are so many small dark spots, this does not affect her lovely, she is like a flower, with the sunshine she can smile. Now the child can walk for a few steps without help, the child is very restless, and she has strong motor ability. In the evening the child likes standing in her bed to play. She can play with other children near her bed with babbling. If someone passed by, she will reach out head to have a look. When there is someone familiar she will call him/her, then she will reach out hands to ask for cuddle. We hope that she can have a wonderful family early to give her completed warmth.”


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Congenital nevi was her only special need originally, but a few months ago she experienced a rare complication and had acute hydrocephalus. She lost a lot of function. She had a shunt placed, but unfortunately was left with damage to her optic nerve and she is believed to be blind. Her recovery is going well with return of most of her abilities – she is talking, dancing, and singing! She is a happy girl again. She is still a favorite and was lovingly cared for by her nannies. They lavish attention on this precious girl but she needs a family that can be sure she gets the love and attention only a family can give, as well as the ongoing medical care to watch for potential complications.


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BAAS has her file until mid July. Please contact BAAS to review her file!

God of My Children

June 27, 2015 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments

Ever learn something, quickly forget it, and need to be reminded again? During our daughter’s extensive surgery last November, God tapped into my medical momma’s fearful heart, comforting me with the revelation that I don’t have to be God of my children. It was a breakthrough parenting moment. 

Little by little though, I again started mentally and emotionally picking that title back up. Now, I need again to let go and play only the role I’ve been tasked with. So, I am reposting this, which was published originally over at Ungrind Webzine to remind myself and hopefully you as well.

Courage, dear hearts. 

………………….

 

Nil per os. A Latin phrase meaning “nothing by mouth.”

For six days, an NPO sign has been on my daughter’s hospital room door. The sign will stay up for two more days. She is recovering from colorectal surgery, and her fragile system requires it. Dextrose, sodium chloride, and potassium flow from an IV bag to a PICC line to nourish and hydrate her tiny, 21-pound body.

It seems cruel and unusual punishment for a little person and this “show love with food” momma. With pleading eyes, she asks, “Loller? Mom, loller?” Her fingers make a W against her chin signing, “Water?” I melt inside, divert my eyes from her confused expression, and distract with stickers.

God sometimes allows our tender spots to be punctured. My heart is most fragile for my kids, and as much as I want them to be off limits, they aren’t. When they are vulnerable, this momma bear stands at attention. Slowly though, spurred on by adoption and medical parenting, I’m learning to trust and release my grip.

As a new parent, I lived contentedly with the illusion that I could protect my kids. That it was me, myself, and I who met their needs. I planned their days, fed their bodies, and claimed full control of their little lives.

I let myself believe that I was their God.


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Then, little by little, God pierced holes in my control bubble. First came surrenders to backyard scrapes and playground hurt feelings. Then to preschool classrooms and the deep end of the pool. I had to choose to release rather than hold tight. 

The Lord kept on pressing into my control illusion, increasingly asking for wider surrender. Next, a mission trip put an ocean between mother and her babies. I labored over leaving, and planned every activity, outfit, and meal they’d have. To board the plane, more control was severed. And when I returned? They’d made their own plans, had a ball and created a new grandparent bond. I wasn’t so vital after all.

Then came hurts that couldn’t be treated by Tylenol, infections not cured by Amoxicillin. First was elbow surgery for one daughter, then three bladder surgeries and a neurosurgery for another. Walking away from my child lying limp under anesthesia in operating rooms filled with computer screens, instruments, and doctors in sterile scrubs, left me utterly helpless and fully surrendered.

I had to consider who I think God is to my kids.

I tell people I trust the Lord, proclaim His miracles in our lives, but do I actually trust Him with my kids? Believe He’s a more powerful force in their lives than I am? In my head, yes. But in my heart, I can’t honestly say yes just yet.

He pushes my control buttons, but doesn’t just leave me floundering. He asks me to yield authority of my kids, but He makes His presence known. Weakness is replaced by strength and unexplainable peace comes. My small faith grows. It’s roots spreading wide and deep into my motherhood.

Now again, here, I must surrender deeper still. I’m sitting with my NPO daughter listening for God’s voice. Truthfully, my heart cries out, questioning why this. My girl is sustained from an outside source, fully beyond her parents. She’s suffering, and I’m stripped of control. I offer only arms to comfort. I blow bubbles, give sponge baths, push the IV on slow strolls, and take vitals on baby dolls. There is no fixing. There is only being.


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Though I’m rendered helpless, a sustaining source flows. She’s plugged into an IV bag steadily streaming strength. I see the lesson being whisper-shouted into my heart. There is a sustaining Source we can release our children to. One stronger than IVs and ourselves. We parents tend to spin our wheels, worry, hover anxiously, and scramble for plans, trying to be the God of our children.  We underestimate His role.

I’m not savior to my kids. I’m limited, weak and just don’t have it in me. 

I am put in my place this week. Reminded to unclench my fists. Reminded that her Father in Heaven carried her before we ever did.  Reminded that when she was born a preemie with multiple birth defects on the other side of the sea, He was there.  Reminded that He carried her through surgeries and hospital stays when we couldn’t. His grip is stronger than ours. His nearness deeper. His strength greater. And He’s always there. Just as near as the IV. Just as powerful. Enough, moment to moment.

Perhaps I can worry less, and let my role be band-aids, nail polish, chocolate chip cookies, prayers and hugs. Less fixing, and more being.

Jesus’ promise in John 6:35 means something new to me. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

And John 4:14, “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.

When I unclench my fingers, anxiety recedes, hope returns, and I can stop striving.


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The uncomfortable truth is that my children will face challenges that render me helpless. But my trust has deeper roots now.

Day six nil per os and her heart still beats. She still smiles and sleeps. So, when the NPO sign is removed, and broth and noodles served, I want to hold onto the lesson.

I’m not a stronger momma now, I am a decidedly weaker one.

God’s Plans are Always Best

June 26, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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God’s plans are always best… even when we fight them. After years of dealing with infertility and finally placing our desire for children into the hands of our Father, He revealed that His plan A for us was adoption. When my husband and I first started our adoption process, we told our agency that we …Read More

Night and Day

June 25, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

lanz

In the mid 1980’s our family adopted two biological brothers from the USA’s foster care system. Both were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Fast forward to 2013 when we first adopted from China, cerebral palsy was a special need that was familiar to us and one we were confident in handling. According to CerebralPalsy.org, “Cerebral palsy …Read More

I’m Ready to Adopt: Choosing an Agency (Part 8)

June 25, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

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Today we’re back with our I’m Ready To Adopt series with the eighth in a 10 post mini-series by Kelly – who blogs at Mine In China – on How To Choose An Agency. You can find links to the previous posts here.   Financial Considerations   If you have stayed with me through this series it is likely that by now …Read More

Maddox Waits

June 24, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Meet Maddox who waits for a family of his very own. Six year old Maddox. Look how cute and sweet he is. Maddox is newly listed with Madison Adoption Associates. Not only is Maddox super handsome, but his caretakers describe him as smart and lovely. He was abandoned at about 3 years of age and …Read More

Going Backward to Move Forward: A Dad’s Perspective on Attachment Challenges

June 23, 2015 by nohandsbutours 12 Comments

bryson

Of the many conversations we had with our caseworker from the adoption agency, I remember one much more clearly than the others. During this phone call, our caseworker (who, by the way, was amazing) was role playing and asking questions to help us prepare for the day we would meet our daughter, Lydia. One of …Read More

What You Don’t See

June 22, 2015 by nohandsbutours 4 Comments

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If you met my six-year-old daughter today, you would see right away is that she loves singing, dancing and all things girly. You would also see that she has the world’s best smile because she uses her whole face to show how happy she is. You would definitely see that she is one of the gentlest creatures …Read More

find my family: Cory

June 22, 2015 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Cory is a very cute, and very active little boy who is 3 years old! He has been diagnosed with probable muscular dystrophy (MD). Cory is on medication, and to date, has shown no physical signs of MD. However, his lab tests are indicative of MD. Cory has excellent gross and fine motor skills. His …Read More

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