find my family: Claire

October 2, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

Meet Claire!


Claire was born in January 2012 and is a quiet, introverted little girl. She was diagnosed with a heart condition when she was admitted to the orphanage at nine months old, but a later ultrasound showed her heart to be normal. Her development has lagged behind, and a CT scan reveals a brain difference. However, she is progressing more as time goes on! When she was first admitted she could not stand, and would not react when caregivers teased or talked to her. Slowly though, she came out of her shell. Now she gets excited when she sees familiar food or toys, and will reach her hand out for them. She would turn when someone called her name. Though previously she did not react when strangers held her, she has become attached to her foster mother, and prefers her to strangers. As of December 2013, she was able to stand on her own, and take toys out of a cup. Claire needs a family prepared for developmental delays, who will help her reach her full potential.


Currently Claire’s file is with WACAP. There is a $2000 Promise Child grant for families who qualify. WACAP would also be happy to request an update for an interested family. You can read more about her at Red Thread Advocates. For more information on bringing Claire home, please contact the Advocacy Team or email WACAP.

aging out child: Tula

September 30, 2014 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments

Thirteen years.

Most of us remember where we were 13 years ago this month. And although some of those memories are still very vivid in our minds, in reality we see 2001 is pretty far in our rear-view mirror. Thirteen years was a long time ago. Now add another 6 months to that.

Thirteen years and six months. The amount of time Tula has waited for her family to find her.


With her only special need being a cleft lip and palate, which was repaired in 2003 and 2005, Tula is a healthy girl.


And yet still waiting.


Her time is running out. She has exactly 6 months for her family to reach her. On her 14th birthday, she will age out and no longer have the chance to have a family of her own. They need to see her face SOON!

So we need your help. Please share this post and help us find her family.

Tula’s file is on the Shared List. This means that any agency with a China program is able to access her file. Additionally, Tula has a $10,000 private grant to be applied to her adoption fees. For more information on starting this expedited journey to Tula, please email the Advocacy Team.

Hydrocephalus and Baby Hope

September 29, 2014 by nohandsbutours 3 Comments

In the world of adoption advocacy, I’ve kind of become the mom that everyone asks about hydrocephalus. When a parent is reviewing a file of a hydro baby and has questions or is looking for a medical team to take a look, I always seem to get tagged in their advocacy post. “Kelli has a hydro baby and lots of info.” I try to tell the good, the bad, and the ugly of hydrocephalus and pass along the information of our amazing neuro team at the Mayo Clinic. I forward a list of questions to ask with every update and a checklist of how to do a medical expedite as it’s imperative that hydro babies be treated immediately. I’m not a medical doctor. I’m a journalism professor. But I did listen carefully to everything our neuro team explained to us and continue to do research on hydrocephalus. For us, the farm is full of kiddos and animals and busy-ness, but I always feel like I’m doing something for the greater good of one less orphan in the world if I’m able to help just one hydro baby come home to a loving family and top-notch medical care.

Only a few days ago I was tagged in a post from a mom considering a beautiful little hydro girl who was untreated. In the world of hydro babies with pooled cerebrospinal fluid, “untreated” isn’t the best of terms to see in a file. We talked and I forwarded the info to our amazing neurosurgeon at Mayo. I later heard back from this mama that the neurology folks took a look at this baby’s file, MRI images, and they had a really good prognosis for her! Praise God! This family sent in their Letter of Intent to adopt her! One less orphan! One less hydro baby awaiting surgery! I was ecstatic! As a family, we prayed for this growing family and for this little girl. I woke up this morning over the moon knowing that yet another hydro baby had found a chance at love and life.

Yet I go to bed tonight grieving. To be quite honest, I choked back the tears when I put my six babies to bed. I cried as I loaded the dishwasher and these tears don’t seem to want to stop as I type this.

Another friend in the adoption community sent me a message today asking me about a little girl with hydrocephalus. A video was included with her file and this 14-month old beautiful little girl was happy, walking, smiling, and talking! I was amazed at how busy she was for being untreated! She was beautiful! She deserved a mama and baba! And guess what! Someone was considering her to be their baby!


But then an update came.

This beautiful little girl, whom Lifeline Adoption Services has named Hope, can no longer sit on her own, or giggle that silly baby giggle, or even suck on a bottle. She was left untreated and without anyone to fight for her, and she suffered what is believed to be a massive stroke caused by her special need. Now, baby Hope, has little hope at all. Half a world away in an orphanage, nannies feed her by dropping milk into her mouth. Every drop is difficult to swallow. According to the update, she has complete loss of function.

Baby Hope has little hope. A beautiful little girl who only a few months ago was giggling and talking and walking down her orphanage’s hallway wasn’t treated for her special needs while she waited for her mama and baba to find her. She had no one to fight for her. And so now, I cry for her. I know that my friend who sent the message is crying for her as well. She deserves that much. She deserves someone to cry out for her!

And so tonight, half a world away, two adoptive mamas and an adoption advocate sat down and via social media messaging discussed how we could get her the very best care in her final days. A little girl that none of us know and here we were trying to find a hospice home for her. In all reality, I think any of the three of us would have jumped on the next flight to her province to hold her, cuddle her, and whisper in her ear how loved she is in these final days of her journey here on Earth.

Baby Hope deserved hope! I will forever shout it from the mountain tops! These children matter! Children like Hope…..they matter!

We don’t know if the orphanage will allow Hope to be released into a hospice or special care facility, but we’re praying that they will. Please join us in praying as well. Please pray that baby Hope knows just how loved she is even if we are half a world away.

Hydrocephalus babies need to be treated sooner rather than later. The longer they wait for a shunt or for a simple surgery that allows for the cerebrospinal fluid to be naturally absorbed, the more difficult and the more problems that can occur….the more chances there are that things like this will happen. The fact that our beautiful MeiLi survived 2 1/2 years untreated is a miracle in and of itself. Hydrocephalus babies need to be treated as soon as possible and they need to be medically expedited just like thalassemia babies and heart babies. Baby Hope needed a medical expedite and she needed someone to fight for her.


So now, WE will fight for her. Please join us in our fight and join us in prayer for this little girl. She deserves that much.


~Guest post by Kelli, a Hydrocephalus Mentor Mom

find my family: Timmy

September 28, 2014 by nohandsbutours 0 Comments

This little guy is Timmy. He was born July of 2009. He has been in an orphanage since he was 5 months old. This young man is developing well. He is a great sleeper and eater. He is talkative and loves to sing and play games. He enjoys playing with other children. He has multiple …Read More


September 27, 2014 by nohandsbutours 1 Comments


I’ve been in America since May, which means that I haven’t been to an orphanage since April, which means that it’s been many months since I last took pictures of orphans. Because of this I’ve had some extra time (ha! Is there any such thing?) to go through old pictures. Y’all, I’ve taken a lot …Read More

Adopting a Toddler with Hemophilia

September 26, 2014 by nohandsbutours 2 Comments


Our household looks a lot like the average family; a coupe of kids, a beloved pet and constant chaos.  We ever so skillfully (insert sarcasm) navigate pre-school, after school activities and a whole lot of fun.  By all accounts our life is pretty “normal”.   A new addition to our normal has been the management …Read More

God’s Calling (And He’s Using a Megaphone)

September 24, 2014 by nohandsbutours 16 Comments

We adoptive parents are a feisty, powerful bunch. We are in pursuit…on mission…active…hoping…
dossier building…finger-printing…connecting….fundraising…hurdle jumping…praying…planning…
counting-down…conferencing…reading…packing…travelling…bonding…adjusting…teaching…nursing… care giving…loving. But are we listening for God’s voice? Many claim that adoption starts with a calling. God speaks and we respond. And for a glorious moment, our ears are perfectly tuned to His voice. Sometimes though, somewhere along the …Read More

She Smiles

September 22, 2014 by nohandsbutours 15 Comments

Late one Monday night, I incessantly hit ‘refresh’ on my computer screen hoping for an email. Longing for THE email. The minutes felt like hours and then suddenly something popped up. The subject simply had a name – my daughter’s name. A flood of emotions overtook my husband Chris and I as we opened that …Read More

Mothering Together

September 21, 2014 by Desiree 4 Comments

When I learned my boy was in foster care, I found myself praying for the woman who was caring for my child. She was doing her job and I was appreciated her. When I heard that she co-slept with my boy keeping him safe by her side at night and that Isaac’s favorite activity was …Read More


September 20, 2014 by nohandsbutours 11 Comments

My adoption story is a common adoption story. It began in South Korea. Through a sequence of unknown events and decisions, I spent time in both an orphanage and foster home before I was adopted at the age of five months. I was welcomed into a family in Michigan with two parents who longed to …Read More