Caring for her heart

March 25, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Kelly 6 Comments

Lydia March 3

I rarely seem to get the significant conversations when I try to start them. But, I try anyway. I don’t try everyday; neither of us need it everyday. In fact, there have been weeks that go by with no real attempts on my part to open those doors. But, every once in a while, when …Read More

I don’t get it.

February 25, 2015 by nohandsbutours Chinese culture, Kelly, one-child policy 8 Comments


I get it. There was a big crisis. In 1979, facing a huge and growing population, Chinese government officials created the “family planning policy” as the solution. Things were turned upside down as families who years before had been encouraged to build China by adding to their family were now told they could have one …Read More

the practice of saying no

January 31, 2015 by nohandsbutours Kelly, referral 2 Comments


I clung to the steering wheel as if it was a floatation device and I was drowning. It seemed fitting. I felt like I was drowning. There I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store. Mothers with babies on their hips casually walking past my parked car to go pick up milk and …Read More

He was here

December 26, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Kelly 0 Comments


It’s his first Christmas home, his first Christmas with a family. It will take but a few minutes for him to learn that ripping pretty paper leads to special treasures. I’m sure his little Christmas jammies, sticky candy cane lips and fingers, and the smile that fills his face will speak of only delight. We …Read More

We’re good

November 25, 2014 by Kelly adoption situations, Kelly, Uncategorized 2 Comments

Coats were on and heads were being counted when she shared it with me.   “Mommy, I have to tell you something. A girl in my class said, ‘Is your mom Chinese?’ I said, ‘No.’ Then, she said, ‘Well, you have Chinese eyes so your mom has to be Chinese.’ But, I told her, ‘No, …Read More

two boys in China

October 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours Kelly 0 Comments


Two boys in China right now. Separated by many miles and many years. Both of their stories are only known to me in pieces, in a few words shared by the oldest’s teacher and in a few smiles with the sweetest little chicklet teeth from the other. As I lay awake, trying to convince my …Read More

Spicing it up

October 13, 2014 by nohandsbutours Kelly, marriage 2 Comments

Remember that time you gathered your things and tiptoed out of the back of a classroom hoping no one would notice because you discovered you were in the wrong class? Sit back down. You aren’t in the wrong place. This is not the typical post you find here, but it’s written for you. It was …Read More

Brave New World

September 13, 2014 by nohandsbutours Kelly 3 Comments

She’s living her childhood dream. I can still hear her squeaky little 3-year-old voice saying, “I do! I do! I do!” It’s been her mantra really over the years. And, now, it’s her turn. She’s finally part of the club whose membership card is a backpack. She’s a school girl. While her brothers and sister …Read More

Eye contact {tips for your toolbox}

July 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours Kelly, tips for your toolbox 12 Comments

We received a surprise gift the day we received our daughter 4 years ago. Dimples. Not just any dimples, the most adorable little dimples. The kind that show up even before the smile breaks, giving away that she’s about to lose the staring contest. I love them. While we got to see them that first …Read More

The adoption process isn't really the hard part

June 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 18 Comments

Picture it—a roomful of adoptive and preadoptive mothers. It’s a little quiet, and you’re in charge of getting some conversation going. Likely, the easiest way to start a buzz is to open up the floor to (1) odd things people have said to you about adoption or (2) the red-tape, long wait, and high costs …Read More

Land of the free

May 26, 2014 by nohandsbutours Kelly 0 Comments

Memorial Day. Pools everywhere open for the season. Grills are fired up. Sparkles are sparkling. That’s what it’s always been—a day off and a homecoming party for our good friend summer. I wouldn’t say I grew up without a patriotic heart; I knew all the words to the national anthem and belt out the alto …Read More

The Adoption Tetrad

April 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours Kelly 7 Comments

I still read them, the blogs of families traveling in China meeting their children and bringing them home. The images of their first moments together and a mother’s first words after meeting her child never fail to draw me in. But, this blog was different. This post was the first of what I hope is …Read More

Yes, No, Maybe*

March 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 7 Comments

Neatly laid out in Times New Roman in alphabetical order are a list of labels, special needs, what China calls diseases. Albinism…Anal atresia…Cerebral palsy…Cleft lip/cleft palate…Club foot…Congenital heart disease…Delayed development…Down syndrome…Hemofacial macrosomia…Hemangioma…Microtia…Syndactyly… Some of them you’ve heard of. Others you struggle to pronounce, and you wonder if they’re even in English. Little “x”s in columns …Read More

Children’s Adoption Books

February 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 6 Comments


I may hesitate a little when I part with teeny tiny onesies and sneakers that have run one too many miles. But, our children’s books? They aren’t going anywhere. In fact, we converted one of our bedrooms into a “library” to house them all. They are overflowing and really need a good purging. But, I …Read More

An Advocate

January 25, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 0 Comments

It had been a rough few days. I had advocated for a little boy once. A family stepped forward for him, traveled to China for him, and came home without him. Then, there I was, advocating for him again in a post on a Friday afternoon, after which I spent the following several days dealing …Read More

He is there

December 23, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Kelly 0 Comments

Christmas 2009. Four Christmases ago. I was a wreck. We were so close to finding our new daughter. I just knew it would be a few weeks after Christmas; I hoped it would be a few weeks after Christmas. I was filled with expectation that Christmas. And, that meant that though I didn’t know who …Read More

The need for adoption talk never expires

October 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 5 Comments

A family for only a few months, I took my toddler daughter with me to visit a friend, an older women, a faithful woman I loved and respected. While Lydia was mesmerized with the dust in the air visible in the sun light, my friend shielded her mouth and whispered: Are you going to tell …Read More

Why you may hear me singing daily

September 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 9 Comments

I love shiny. Shiny is pretty. I love shiny…. She’s the finder of pennies. Everywhere she goes, she manages to find a penny. Today’s found treasure led to a song. Your turn to sing a song, Mommy. You make up a song. Not feeling particularly like a Maria this morning, Oh, I don’t know what …Read More

Disclosure Within Reason {Adoption and Back to School}

August 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 4 Comments

There are backpacks lined up in my dining room today. When backpacks are hanging on chair backs with zippers bulging with supplies and tissue boxes, even they look excited about a new year. Lydia doesn’t start kindergarten until next year. But, she’s joining me two mornings a week at a women’s Bible study. And, based …Read More

about a boy {a glimpse into the experience of advocating}

July 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours advocating, Kelly 6 Comments

I introduced him as Bo right before Christmas. People shared the post as they do. But, most families were spending their time wrapping gifts and baking cookies. But, just when the holidays were over, we got an update on him. I still remember opening those pictures for the first time and seeing his beautiful big …Read More

A letter to my four-year-old on her birthday

June 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 0 Comments

My sweet, You are such a big girl now. 4 years old. Wow. You remind me all the time of what a big girl you are. And, I know I always agree with you. But, now that you’re 4 years old? You are really big. When I put you to bed last night, I talked …Read More

Another parenting epiphany at the fair

May 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 6 Comments

He had to take her to the emergency room. We had been waiting in line at the fair for our tickets. I had told her to stay still too many times. Up and down, jump, up and down, jump. And, every time, the rickety metal steps leading up to the ticket trailer would rattle and …Read More

"What's fair {for the brother or sister of a child with special needs}"

April 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 33 Comments

“Tell your mom I need to talk to her before you leave.” Please tell me I’m not the only mom who receives that message from her child and sinks a little. Come on. I figure either (a) someone wants me to do something (which I likely won’t want to do) or (b) my kid did …Read More

Dear Teachers {what I wanted to say and what I actually said}

March 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 5 Comments

I was tracking with her. Lydia runs away. She can’t stay still. She’s not listening. I nodded my head, identifying with her sympathetically, “Yeah, I know what you are seeing because we see that at home too.” “Well, it’s not okay here.” (Apparently, time outs are though.) Okay, no longer tracking. It was dismissal, moms …Read More

the counted

February 25, 2013 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Chinese culture, Kelly 3 Comments

Forever changed by the experience of being adopted and adopting, Kelly Raudenbush is a stay-at-home mom to 4 children and a professional juggler, juggling her calling as wife and mother with her secondary callings (editing professionally and serving adoptive families through The Sparrow Fund). You can learn more about their adoption story, how they’ve been …Read More