Dear younger me, True love is a choice

July 15, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting again, Attachment, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, large families 2 Comments


If you had met me when I was a little girl, and asked me, “What career do you want when you grow up?” I would have instantly told you, “A mother.” Even though infertility played a part of our early story, it wasn’t the beginning nor the ending of our desire for adoption. Adoption has …Read More

Dear younger me, Love wins

July 9, 2016 by nohandsbutours Amy A., Attachment, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, parent-to-child attachment 0 Comments


Dear younger me. Where do I start? I know your knees are shaking, but I am so proud to see you step forward totally devoted and with an obedient heart to say yes to adoption. Believe me when I say that this will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. The house …Read More

Dear younger me, You’re braver than you know

July 6, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Attachment, Carrie, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, parent-to-child attachment 4 Comments


Each month at No Hands But Ours, we feature a topic to provide insight, encouragement and/or wisdom for fellow travelers on this beautiful and sometimes arduous journey of adoptive parenting. This month’s topic is sure to be full of all the aforementioned, and then some. Join us as seasoned moms share what they would say …Read More

What exactly is “smart parenting”?

June 27, 2016 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Kelly, movies, Parenting Special Needs 9 Comments


I figured when I shared here on NHBO about our decision to wait to see Finding Dory on DVD that it would be a well read post. The movie had just come out which meant that there were a whole lot of mamas and dads perusing the web for reviews and the like before a …Read More

Reading with your Toddler: China-themed Board Books

June 7, 2016 by nohandsbutours attachment activities, Faith, June 2016 Feature - Books, Newly Home, toddler adoption 0 Comments


I love to read, and was so excited to share that love with our boy when we brought him home. He’s two, so we are reading board books and picture books, and there are tons that feature China themes and Chinese people. We also like books that show both the English and Chinese word for …Read More

We Love the Llama

June 5, 2016 by nohandsbutours attachment activities, June 2016 Feature - Books, older child adoption, Whitney 0 Comments


Our June featured focus is books. Books that teach us about our children’s homeland. Books that help us understand our children’s past. Books that resonate with our kids once home. This month we’ll be featuring all kinds of books. It’s sure to be fun. And if you have some recommendations for our readers, please be …Read More

Sign Language and Adoption: A Reason to Sign

June 2, 2016 by nohandsbutours ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, autism, China trip, Down syndrome, Guest Series, hearing loss, non-verbal, prepping for China, profound deafness, Sign Language and Adoption, speech delay 6 Comments


You might think that sign language is only for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We’d like to encourage you to reconsider. Signing is an incredibly valuable tool in ANY adoptive parent’s tool belt. It makes communicating with your newly adopted child exponentially easier – no matter their age or special need. And …Read More

On This Mother’s Day

May 8, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Amy A., Attachment 4 Comments


The second Sunday of May carries such incredible significance for women around our country. For many, Mother’s Day is a time of celebration – a time to sleep a few extra hours in morning and a time to receive breakfast in bed, gifts, hugs, kisses and words of appreciation. Church services celebrate mothers and their …Read More

One Day

May 5, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Attachment, first weeks home, first year home, Newly Home, Whitney 1 Comments


Dear little boy of mine, We knew before we brought your sister home you might struggle a bit. We prepared you for this transition as best we could, using all of the information we could obtain. We talked using big words you couldn’t yet fully understand, words your heart wanted to understand. We prayed for …Read More

Blessings in Disguise – My Journey with Sensory Issues

April 22, 2016 by nohandsbutours April 2016 Feature - Sensory Processing, Attachment, Family Stories, Sensory Processing Issues 5 Comments


If you ask most of my friends what their first memories are, they might say something like…“first baby dolls” or “bike rides.” Mine all have one thing in common – a feeling of fear and being out of control. One of my very first memories was standing in the nursery of a small church while …Read More

In Loving Memory of Dr. Karyn Purvis

April 14, 2016 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Carrie, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments


Last night as Cora went to bed, she was fairly short-tempered with Alea and hurt her feelings. Alea got over it rather quickly, but I harshly told Cora I was disappointed and walked out of the room, tired after a long day. A few minutes later, I came back to bring Alea a drink of …Read More

Painting White Walls White

April 13, 2016 by nohandsbutours Attachment, older child adoption, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments


When I was 14 years old my family moved to a new state. This was a good move for me personally, as I had struggled both academically and socially where we were and it was good for our whole family. The town we were leaving was struggling, and as a result about half the town …Read More

Siblings and Adoption: 30 Ways to Ease the Transistion

March 30, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting again, attachment activities, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, older child adoption, siblings 0 Comments


We have seven kids, four bio and three adopted. Our three children whom we have adopted are older kiddos with special needs. We’ve been home for only three months with our newest child….. so we are pretty much hands on at the moment. I have compiled a list of different things we did to help …Read More

Creating a Book to Help Children through Transitions

March 30, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting again, Attachment, attachment activities, China trip, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, pre-adoption, prepping for China, waiting to travel 3 Comments


Children love books. The exciting pictures! The imaginative stories! The interactive tabs and hidden illustrations! The textures of a touch and feel! Typically, books allow a child to peek into an alternate reality filled with adventure but books can also be used as a tool to help guide a child through their own adventure. My …Read More

Preparing Big Sister for Our Second Adoption and the Trip to China

March 29, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting again, attachment activities, China trip, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, Gotcha Day, Mandy, prepping for China, toddler adoption 4 Comments


Two years ago, my daughter Lydia walked into our hotel room in Nanchang, China and became our daughter. She was our first child. In that moment, three lives changed forever. When we made the decision to write a Letter of Intent to adopt our son 22 months later, I knew we would need to be …Read More

Treasure in Darkness

March 27, 2016 by nohandsbutours Attachment, cocooning, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories 2 Comments


“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” – Isaiah 45:3 It has been said that most, and I would say all, adoption journeys begin out of loss. Perhaps that is …Read More

Rupture and Repair

March 27, 2016 by nohandsbutours Attachment, parent-to-child attachment, Whitney 0 Comments


Rupture and repair is how, in the adoption world, we describe relationships when they experience a breaking and need to be mended. In some cases, it’s the child who is trying to understand the boundaries that are set, and whether or not we as the parents will still use the words, “I love you” if those …Read More

A Tale of Two Stubborn Wills

March 18, 2016 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Down syndrome, Family Stories, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, Trust Based Parenting 1 Comments


This is a tale of two stubborn wills – one refusing to accept new and unfamiliar love, and the other refusing to stop giving it. In May of 2013 my lifelong dream of adopting a child with Down syndrome finally came true. I was 110% sure that this was the right thing to do. My …Read More

This is Real Life

March 13, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Amy A., Attachment, attachment activities, first weeks home, first year home 2 Comments

When my husband and I stepped across the chasm – our old life on one side and our new life on the other – we had no idea what awaited us. Three and a half years later, we have a better understanding of the world we entered after saying Yes to adoption. So, in honor …Read More

A Baby Sister But Six Months Older: Adopting Out of Birth Order

March 3, 2016 by nohandsbutours adopting out of birth order, adoption realities, Attachment, Family Stories, first year home, March 2016 Feature - Special Circumstances, parent-to-child attachment, virtual twins 6 Comments


Adoption has always been on my heart. Always. China? Not quite as long, but still in 2014 we found ourselves traveling around the world to meet and bring home our daughter from China. But before we talk about homecomings, siblings, bonding and all, let me back up a bit. When we found that getting pregnant …Read More

Beauty from Ashes

February 19, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, Katie, parent-to-child attachment, siblings 0 Comments


“I was so angry for so long. I felt real hate, Mom!” A child in my home recently confessed in the privacy of our conversation. They were speaking about the time when adoption trauma made its way into our home. When siblings were physically injured by a new addition, when lying became a part of …Read More

Victories from the Valley: An Unexpected Journey in Adopting a Child with NF1

February 18, 2016 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, cocooning, Family Stories, first weeks home, glaucoma, neurofibromatosis, NF1, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment 2 Comments


We had been home from China with our first daughter almost five months when we saw her picture: a sweet face with a deep downcast shown in her eyes. She was six years old. Her file had been passed over by a few families already because of the uncertainties of her medical condition. One eye …Read More

Rock-a-Bye, Baby

February 7, 2016 by nohandsbutours Amy A., attachment activities, first weeks home, first year home, head banging, orphanage behaviors 5 Comments


I love how furniture has a history – how it tells a story – and nursery room furniture is no exception. When I was pregnant with my first child, I received a rocking chair from my sister-in-law, who had used it to rock her three babies. So many middle of the night feedings have taken …Read More

Tackling Food Issues: My Family’s Experience with “Love Me, Feed Me”

January 29, 2016 by nohandsbutours Attachment, food issues, Mandy, orphanage behaviors 11 Comments


“Knowing deep within us that someone is going to feed us when we are hungry is how trust and love begin…” – Mister Rogers (as cited by Rowell, 2012, p. 2). I want you to be very candid with me. When you think about meal time with your children, what words or phrases initially come …Read More

A Plan to Survive the First Weeks Home

December 29, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, China trip, cocooning, first weeks home, Mandy, Newly Home, prepping for China, Theraplay, toddler adoption, waiting to travel 11 Comments


Adoption is hard. The first few weeks home can be brutal or not. For us, it is hard, but I am not super mom. I am so tired. The kind of tired that makes your bones ache and makes you laugh when things aren’t really that funny. We adopted our second child, a son, 21 …Read More

Love is a Universal Language

December 27, 2015 by nohandsbutours ASL, cochlear implants, December 2015 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, hearing loss, Sensory System 0 Comments


Like nearly every adoptive parent in today’s international adoption realm, my husband and I began our adoption process with the (dreaded) Medical Conditions Checklist – a list of conditions that we felt prepared for and would be willing to review files for. Birthmarks, check. Missing digits, check. Sensory processing needs, check. As an autism specialist, …Read More

New Ears For Ellie Kate

December 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours ASL, attachment activities, cochlear implants, December 2015 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, hearing loss, profound deafness, sedated ABR, Sensory System 0 Comments


When we started the adoption process for the second time, we knew things would look differently. Adopting a child through the Special Needs program in China was a huge step of faith for us and we had no idea what the next few months or even years would look for our family. While we were …Read More

My Wounding

November 27, 2015 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Attachment, Carrie, parent-to-child attachment 28 Comments


“I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are yours. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it means to be human.” – Frederick Buechner Be gentle with me, dear reader. Please …Read More

Just One Thing

November 17, 2015 by nohandsbutours Andrea Y., Attachment, attachment activities, China trip, first year home, prepping for China 3 Comments


It was a rainy Sunday. A day of rest. I told the children to go grab books and have “reading and rest time” after church. All was quiet — and then our littlest who is now four and a half came quietly in my room. He came home when he was just over 2 years …Read More

A Prescription for Holiday Success

November 5, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, cocooning, first weeks home, first year home, holidays, Whitney 0 Comments


This is our first round of fall/winter holidays with our daughter. If Halloween was any indicator at all, I know that the next two months are going to be filled with wondering… • what should we do? • how should we celebrate? • how do I explain to others why we do or don’t do …Read More

It Takes a Village: A Letter From a Newly Home Family

October 13, 2015 by nohandsbutours cocooning, first weeks home, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, supporting adoptive families 7 Comments


Dearest Family and Friends, As you may know, we are about to deplane. Yes, we have returned with our precious cargo. We cannot wait to take a shower see you. You may not recognize our tribe at this point, as we have just survived the travel version of the Spartan race. This is what’s left, …Read More

It Takes a Village: “Dear Church…”

October 10, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, supporting adoptive families 3 Comments


Dear Church, From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you! Thank you for praying for us during our adoption wait. Thank you for buying our fundraiser t-shirts. Thank you for donating some of your bazaar earnings to our family. Thank you for allowing us to use your fellowship hall to host our …Read More

Coming Home: Sleeping Arrangements

September 30, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, co-sleeping, cocooning, first year home, hearing loss, Nicole, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 0 Comments


Finishing out September with our last post in our Coming Home series. We’ve covered a lot of ground this month, from siblings, to discipline, to friendships, to finding joy in the struggle. You can find all 14 posts here. So grateful for all the wisdom shared by our regular and guest contributors, it is our …Read More

Coming Home: Balancing Their Biggest Needs

September 29, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, China trip, Kelly, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 0 Comments


Heartache. There’s a lot of that in adoption—the recognition of hard things that can overwhelm us. The images of families receiving their children for the first time often capture it as deep emotions rise to the surface responding to the juxtaposition of loss and gain, of broken relationships and the birth of new ones. Oh, …Read More

Coming Home: There is a Season

September 28, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, cocooning, first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 3 Comments


Bringing our little girl home from China was all that we had thought it would be: hard, messy, loud, heart-breaking, joyful, hopeful, exciting, exhausting, and worth it! Adoption is born out of tragedy. It is gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, and HARD. Our babies come from a place filled with unspeakable loss and trauma. Yet, God takes all …Read More

Coming Home: A Letter to Friends and Family

September 21, 2015 by nohandsbutours adoption community, Andrea Y., Attachment, cocooning, first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 0 Comments


To help our friends and family understand attachment and our transition, we sent this letter to friends and family just before traveling. Please feel free to personalize if for your family if you are preparing to bring home a little one too… …… Dear Family and Friends, After so much preparing, hoping and waiting – …Read More

5 Things I Wish I’d Known 10 Years Ago

September 14, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, TongguMomma 3 Comments


I used to blog several years ago, but I dropped off the face of the earth when my oldest asked me to cease and desist. Since I want her to still love me when she’s thirty, and since my husband and I don’t want to have to pay for extensive therapy when she’s in her …Read More

A Letter From Us

September 13, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, first weeks home, first year home, Rebecca, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, siblings 1 Comments


When newly home two years ago with three year old, Eli, and one year old, Evelyn, life felt turned upside down for such a very long time. A few months in, I found myself focusing more heavily on the changes I was feeling and experiencing than on how my two little ones, who had been …Read More

Coming Home: With a Sick Child

September 11, 2015 by nohandsbutours Amy, Attachment, cocooning, Medical Momma, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, surgery 0 Comments


We all imagine what it will be like when finally the paperwork is complete and we can see the face of our new child and begin to prepare for him or her. Then, after referral (if that is the order for you, it was for us) we make plans, consult specialists, send photos or stuffed …Read More

Coming Home: Cocooning

September 9, 2015 by nohandsbutours Amy A., Attachment, China trip, cocooning, first weeks home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 2 Comments


You’ve made the exciting decision to adopt. Congratulations! At this stage, you are either waiting to be matched with a child, or you are longing to hold your son or daughter each time you see your child’s precious pictures. The adoption journey is two-fold. First, you paper chase and wait to bring your child home. …Read More

Coming Home: Discipline or Behavior?

September 7, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, attachment activities, cocooning, discipline, first weeks home, first year home, hoarding, orphanage behaviors, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments


Continuing our September Series: Coming Home, today Sharon, mom of six from China, shares her thoughts on discipline vs. behavior. Amy shared on the Joy and the Struggle of the first weeks and months home, and Jenny shared on Helping Siblings Bond. You can find all posts in this series here …….   Our family has been to China …Read More

Coming Home: {the Joy and the Struggle}

September 4, 2015 by nohandsbutours cocooning, first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 1 Comments


A feeling of peace and anticipation washed over me as we began our decent into Nashville, Friday, March 25, 2011. Our time in China was hard physically and emotionally and we were ready to be home. Due to several flight delays, it was almost midnight when we landed, yet we knew that a small group …Read More

He Calls Me Mama

August 23, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, first year home, Nicole 0 Comments

It’s been 9 months since Dumpling has been in our arms. It also marks about 6 months of him seeking me out as “mama” and “mom” and “mommy.” I had to work hard for those titles though, they didn’t come easily. For the first couple months, he didn’t refer to me or DH as anything. He simply walked over …Read More

Going to China: Orphanage Behaviors

August 20, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, first year home, hoarding, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, orphanage behaviors 1 Comments


With both of our adoptions, we knew that parenting these children would look a bit different than parenting our biological children. Despite all the trainings and reading prior to the adoption, we ended up desperately re-reading “The Connected Child” on the flight home, trying to piece together some of the strange “orphanage behaviors” our children …Read More

Bonding Tips While in China

August 15, 2015 by nohandsbutours attachment activities, China trip, Jean, orphanage behaviors, travel tips 0 Comments


Here I am writing about bonding while in China when the truth is…. I’m not so good at it! When we are in China there are so many emotions swirling around for our newly adopted child as well as myself that initial bonding is not my first priority… survival is! So maybe this is more …Read More

Intimacy in Marriage When Co-Sleeping and Cocooning: How We Are Approaching it Differently for our Next Adoption

August 9, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, co-sleeping, cocooning, Mandy, marriage 4 Comments

side by side

  image by Main Street Studios An adoptive mom recently sent me a message. “Hey Mandy, I know this might be private, but has co-sleeping with your child taken a toll on the intimacy between you and your husband?” I am so grateful my friend asked the question I did not have the courage to …Read More

Let’s Hear it for the Dads

June 29, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Dads, Mandy 0 Comments


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

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

June 23, 2015 by nohandsbutours a father's perspective, Attachment, Bryson, Dads, first year home, June 2015 Feature - Let's Hear It For Dads 12 Comments


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

Your Permission Slip

May 25, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, first year home, Kelly 11 Comments


When I asked you how things were going, you started to cry. Through your tears, you told me how great your new son’s eye contact is, how he likes to be held, how he lets you know what he wants. You told me how everything is really so good, so much better than you were …Read More

a dirty secret in adoption

May 14, 2015 by nohandsbutours April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, parent-to-child attachment, Stefanie 34 Comments


My heart is naturally bent toward encouragement. Focusing on the good stuff. And as an adoptive mama, I can’t even begin to put into words all the ways that the Lord has blessed me through my children. The work He has done in them, and in me… good stuff. But I have learned that sometimes the …Read More

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