It turns out that chicken fried rice does not count as culture

November 19, 2014 by Mike adoption community, adoption realities, adoption situations, Chinese culture, Faith International Adoptions, Family Stories, Homeland, large families, marriage, Mike, siblings, transracial adoption 9 Comments

I am the textbook definition of a white guy. Beyond simply a scarcity of melanin, I have almost every other stereotypical characteristic that one might associate with my race – a general lack of rhythm, limited vertical leap, a “John Cougar Mellencamp” playlist on my iPod, an unhealthy relationship with ketchup, and a generalized ignorance …Read More

I’m Just Sad

October 28, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Kam 2 Comments

Kam

September is always a big month for our family. Both of our sons came home in September {2009, 2012} and our 8 year old, Joel’s, birthday is on the 4th. So we generally just have lots of good talks and eat tons of yummy food in celebration all month. One evening, after having celebrated Gabe’s …Read More

everyone stared

October 7, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Amy 14 Comments

Grace3-5291

There was a time when I had two children ages 3 and under. They were born healthy with no delays of any kind. They were held from the moment they were born, I nursed them both, I was a stay at home mom until they were in school, and for the most part they were …Read More

Overexposed

September 27, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Hannah 1 Comments

IMG_0478

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

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

September 24, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Rebecca 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

I’m Pretty Sure My China Mommy Cried

September 19, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Mike 10 Comments

As an adoptive parent, I sometimes forget that my adopted children had a life before me… that their life did not start when we met in a Chinese Civil Affairs building. The following essay was written last year by my 9 year old daughter, Mia, as part of a class assignment on “A Place I …Read More

changing the world

August 13, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Hannah 1 Comments

I’ve often sat in front of a blank computer screen and wondered what in the world to write. What do I have to say to you? Each and every one of you readers: pre-adoptive parents who are wading through the trenches of paperwork and up to their necks in notarizations and acronyms; traveling families who …Read More

a mom's struggle with attaching

July 31, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Attachment, guest post 16 Comments

I was given a deadline for this post of the end of July – mostly because I asked for one.  That was a month ago.  As I write this I am now only one week out from the deadline, and I’m just now sitting down to put my thoughts on paper.  Although I am a …Read More

Cora's story

July 13, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Hannah 2 Comments

Twenty-three years ago she made her mother-in-law angry. Cora had just given birth to her first child, a daughter, and the news did not bring any celebration into the household. Her husband’s mother was angry; the older woman fumed and refused to hold her new granddaughter. As the weeks past she finally agreed to hold …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

Loaves, Fishes, and Bedrooms

June 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, affording adoption, Mike 13 Comments

As a dad, one of the most common concerns from prospective adoptive fathers is on the finances relative to adoption and larger families. This provides some perspective on our experience: This month will be the 10th anniversary of when we moved into our current house. We built this house, and it was the perfect size …Read More

making a difference

June 13, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Hannah 1 Comments

Making a difference is one of those things that everybody aspires to do. I sure want to be one of those people… someone who is dynamic and passionate and yet caring and sweet-and-happy-all-of-the-time, all at the same time. Don’t you? It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. Sometimes I can hit three-out-of-four. I can be dynamic …Read More

You’re not in Kansas anymore

May 17, 2014 by nohandsbutours adopting SN: the process, adoption realities, birthmark, Chinese culture, hemangioma, Kayla 3 Comments

I’ve told the editors of this blog that I am running out of things to write about regarding the special need that Jubilee (that’s my daughter) has. It simply doesn’t matter to us any more that she has a skin deformity on her torso. It will matter to her one day, no doubt, but we …Read More

I know that she was loved

May 11, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Hannah 2 Comments

Over the past ten months I have watched baby after baby arrive at the orphanage we work in. In my first four years of orphan care work in China we were working with a foster home – a place of healing and hope, where orphans with medical needs that the orphanage could not handle arrived …Read More

I fell in love.

April 29, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Nicole C. 0 Comments

I have been trying to write this post in my head for a month now.  Words seem terribly inadequate, but today I want to share a small piece of how my heart was changed in China.  Being invited into the amazing work that He is doing was overwhelming.  Working in the orphanages alongside nannies to …Read More

10 Things Adoptive Parents of Medical Needs Kids Want You to Know

April 23, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Rebecca 8 Comments

Our plane from China touched down just five months ago. With our two newly adopted kids, both with emotional and physical needs, we stepped out into new lives, all things from before suddenly family history. Life now is both harder and more blessing rich. Six hospital admissions, two surgeries, and a thousand tests and appointments …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

Upheld

March 24, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Rebecca 12 Comments

We are connected, you and I. Our stories different, our kids’ needs unique, but I’m guessing we’re on a similar trek. Is your family being refined and blessed by a medical needs child? Yep, mine too. Are you worn out, and a bit fragile? Uh, huh. Feeling deep gratitude for the care of friends and …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

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

Re-entry

March 26, 2012 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Journey to Mazie, Nancy 6 Comments

In the middle of the night, between the screeching and the pinching and the hitting… …the sweetest moments happen. Since coming home, Mazie and I have been awake 4-6 hours every night with only 1 exception. In the middle of the night while we sit on the couch, without knowing it, my head falls backwards, …Read More

March 7, Wednesday: {grief}

March 7, 2012 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Journey to Mazie, Nancy 4 Comments

If the posts recently have been hard to read, you may want to skip this one. I put it out there for those who might be in our shoes next. Our girl is grieving so hard. I mean very hard. So much harder than Tess or Jude ever did. Harder than the other babies in …Read More

cries in the night

March 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Kam 2 Comments

Our Joel never mourned his losses in the same way a lot of children do. He came to us the day we met him, having just turned three years old, all smiles and hopped right into his daddy’s lap. When we left with him, he had a quite serious look on his face. Fear, I’m …Read More

I am the Abductor

February 16, 2012 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Journey to Mazie, Nancy 0 Comments

This might come off sounding awful, but here it goes. When my new daughter comes into my arms, {17 days from today!} I think it’s ok if she cries. Screaming, wailing, flailing… it’s all ok with me. And here’s the awful part, part of me is hoping there will be “a reaction” or some kind. …Read More

A SISTERHOOD

February 9, 2012 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Gwen 0 Comments

I am going to try and help you under something that may SEEM a bit odd, but I am finding it occurs more and more these days and before you get knocked over w/ the EMOTION of it perhaps I can make you aware of it, so that is can be ignored … One of …Read More

Why Hello Spinabifida…

August 21, 2011 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Adrian, Parenting Special Needs, spina bifida 0 Comments

Ping:  Dad!  Dad!  DAD! Me:  What’s up baby? Ping:  Can you take my picture?!Me:  Of course!  Let me get the camera. Ping:  YAY!… a few seconds later … Me:  Okay baby, smile for Daddy! Ping:  What?  No.  I no smile. Me:  But you gotta smile for the picture.  You gotta look cute.Ping:  I want you to take a picture of my …Read More

His heart

July 11, 2011 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, heart defect, Kristi 0 Comments

I’ll never forget meeting our Daniel for the very first time.  We had met both Caleb and Darcy around the same age and while Ian and I were thrilled, it could be said that neither of them were…  I was prepared for a similar reaction from our youngest. As we approached the courtyard, the red …Read More

I am a Coward

June 21, 2011 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Adrian, Parenting Special Needs, spina bifida 0 Comments

Hello, my name is The Yeti…… and I am a Coward. Ping enjoying a horse ride, even with Spina Bifida Now, I’m not ALWAYS a coward.  There are many many things in life which I face bravely.  I can wrestle with bears wrapped in bacon… but for the life of me, children scare me. Now …Read More

New perspective on loss

April 11, 2011 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Kristi 0 Comments

It has been almost a month since my grandfather died.  Long past the the initial shock, and the trip “home” to Ohio for the funeral, the tears have continued to come, usually at unexpected times.  Most recently it was over selecting a bunch of asparagus at the grocery.  Standing there in the produce section I …Read More

Sink or Swim

January 21, 2011 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Adrian, older child adoption, Parenting Special Needs, waiting children 0 Comments

Our daughter Ping has Spina Bifida.  Normally her Special Need doesn’t impact her day to day activities.  There have been the odd emergency trip to the Spina Bifida Clinic… and the numerous check ups, and test, and MRIs, and neurology type things… but other than that… her Spina Bifida has not been on the forefront …Read More

The A Word in Adoption

December 27, 2010 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Wife of the Prez 0 Comments

Abandoned. Webster’s defines abandoned as “given up, forsaken.” And Webster’s defines forsaken as “to renounce or turn away from entirely.” The questions have begun crashing in for our little girl. My Mom asked me if I thought her overhearing our talks with her older brother about his China Mommy had brought this about more quickly …Read More

Parental Disappointment

November 21, 2010 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Adrian 0 Comments

Doctor:  Congratulations!  You’ve got a son!Me:  Wow!  A son!Wife:  Oh look at him!  He is beautiful! Me:  He sure is!  Handsome!  Rugged!  He is going to be a star Athlete!Wife:  He can be anything he wants to be…Me:  So long as he is Athletic!  And rough and rugged like his Dad!Wife:  Ummmm… I don’t think …Read More

I prefer "Emotionally Challenged"

October 21, 2010 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Adrian, pre-adoption 0 Comments

Wife:  So, what are you looking forward to most when we get our new baby?Me:  Uh…  I donno.Wife:  Okay, um, what colour do you think we should paint in their room?Me:  Uh… I donno.Wife:  Okay… what do you think about the new chainsaw?Me:  OH!  The new Huskvarana 21″ with dual clutching system?  With the bigger …Read More

Adoption Reality #2: Special Needs Do NOT Define Children

August 30, 2010 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, heart defect, Wife of the Prez 0 Comments

This post is a bit of a detour for me from my original plan for my #2 Adoption Reality. I feel the need to share this though, and to add a disclaimer that these Adoption Realities I’m sharing are MY realities. They may not be the same for all of us, but for me this …Read More

Adoption Reality #1: When Your Vision Is NOT Your Reality

August 8, 2010 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Wife of the Prez 9 Comments

Bear with me for a few lines while I share with you about this post and hopefully a few more to follow. I mentioned in my last post on this blog that I was taking a break from posting at my personal blog … and I still am. For now. I received so many beautiful …Read More