Dragons and Snakes

February 17, 2013 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 1 Comments

Xin nian kuai le! Happy Chinese New Year! A week ago today, we rang in the Year of the Snake (oh joy) with our kiddos. I hung up our paper lanterns, decorated the table with Lunar New Year plates and cups from Pottery Barn Kids (check your nearest store now or the website…items are on …Read More

Self-soothing

December 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 9 Comments

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we have faced with our 4-year-old daughter is helping her find a new way to self-soothe. One crucial piece of information that her caretakers failed to tell us on adoption day was that Grace (and presumably all the babies in her orphanage) sucked on a scrap of cloth in …Read More

Identity Crisis

November 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 6 Comments

Last night, my husband and I joined about 180 folks from our city of Birmingham to view the documentary Somewhere in Between, a film that follows four Chinese girls adopted into American families. The movie articulates their challenges with feeling neither completely Chinese, nor totally American. The girls, now in their teens, conclude that they …Read More

Let's Talk Communication

October 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 0 Comments

One of the most common questions we are asked about the adoption of our older child is whether she spoke any English when we brought her home and/or how we’ve dealt with the language barrier. There are many ways to communicate in those first days, weeks, and months. From playing charades (which didn’t work so …Read More

Fresh Starts

September 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 2 Comments

There’s something about fall that renews my mind and soul. The crisp air that blows in at sunset, the comfort of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice lattes, the anticipation of new activities and routines. I was that dork in college who loved buying new school books at the beginning of the semester. Unmarked pages, unbattered notebooks, unused pens. It’s that …Read More

Spread Your Wings… But Don't Fly Too Far

August 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 2 Comments

On Monday, Caroline (our adopted 13-year-old) will experience her first day of middle school. While she’s admitted to being nervous once before, she now seems confident and ready. She’s decorated her locker, memorized her schedule, and organized her school supplies. We’re fortunate to be carpooling with another family (who incidentally has an adopted daughter Caroline’s …Read More

An Adoptee's Reflection on the 1st Year Home

July 20, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 5 Comments

On June 27th, our family celebrated our 13-year-old’s first “Gotcha Day” anniversary. As I was writing out my thoughts that day to share on my personal blog, I wondered what might be going on in Caroline’s head as she reflected back over the last 12 months. I explained my blog to her and asked if …Read More

The Overlooked "Special Need"

June 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 5 Comments

The last twelve days have been filled with joy, awe, gratitude, and love as our family welcomed its sixth member, baby Maryn. We haven’t even reached a year since Caroline’s “Gotcha Day” and another little one has joined our family! Four kids in four years. A friend recently joked that it isn’t a requirement to …Read More

Getting Connected

May 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 1 Comments

I honestly believe that one of the most difficult parts of the adoption journey is that waiting period between being matched with your child and receiving approval to travel and meet your son or daughter face to face. Weeks seem like months as you check off the number of days passed for each step of …Read More

Beauty Will Rise.

April 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley 3 Comments

Two years ago this month, my husband and I were on a plane to China to adopt our beautiful baby girl, Xue Hua. Her Chinese names literally mean “snow/purity” and “beauty.” As I passed the time on the seemingly never-ending flight across the world, I listened to a beautiful song that Steven Curtis Chapman wrote …Read More

Measuring Progress

March 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 7 Comments

In just a few weeks, we will celebrate two years since our 3-year-old daughter’s Gotcha Day. In almost every way, it feels like Grace has been in our family since the very beginning of her life. She is not only fluent in English but has an advanced vocabulary (which she shows off in her Southern …Read More