A Tale of Two Stubborn Wills

March 18, 2016 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 adoption community, Andrea Y., Attachment, cocooning, first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 1 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 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 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 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 Amy A., Attachment, China trip, cocooning, first weeks home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 3 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 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 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 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 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 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 Attachment, co-sleeping, cocooning, Mandy, marriage 4 Comments

  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 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 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 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 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, parent-to-child attachment, Stefanie 36 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

Attaching as a Sister

May 13, 2015 Attachment, Hannah, siblings 0 Comments

Ten days before my 10th birthday, my little sister was born. But I didn’t know her. I didn’t know what she looked like or how long it would be until I would meet her for the first time. For those first, long, ten years of my life, I prayed for a sister. I begged for …Read More

5 + 1 = so much more than 6

May 5, 2015 Attachment, first year home, Whitney 0 Comments

Is it okay to confess here that I’m not that great at math? Is this a safe place to let you know that my brain has just never fully comprehended the mysteries of equations and theorems? It’s too true. I have always felt more of an affinity for words because they can be changed and …Read More

Secure Attachment: If We Have It, We Can Give It

May 4, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

The most baffling event occurred today. A client who has lived in several foster homes and a group home, was asked by the court to return to counseling. I received a call from her foster parent saying that she needed to start family counseling and resume trauma counseling. I was puzzled. This child and her …Read More

Attachment: Parenting Through the Hard Stuff

April 30, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, attachment activities, Theraplay, Trust Based Parenting, working mom 1 Comments

A few weeks ago we read a post on Lauren’s blog and thought it would be an excellent resource to share here. Lauren was gracious enough to allow us to use it. There is so much good stuff, we broke it down into two posts, this is post two, post one is here. Thank you, Lauren, …Read More

Making The Decision to See an Attachment Therapist: How Theraplay is Helping My Family

April 29, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, attachment activities, first year home, Mandy, Theraplay, Trust Based Parenting 4 Comments

My phone rang and it was a call from my adoption agency’s post-adoption team.  “So Mandy, how is it going?” the post-adoption social worker asked.  We had been home just a couple of months from China, but it felt like so much longer.  Everything was hard in those early days.   “We need help,” I …Read More

Attachment: Room By Room

April 28, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, attachment activities, co-sleeping, Trust Based Parenting 4 Comments

A few weeks ago we read this post on Lauren’s blog and thought it would be an excellent resource to share here. Lauren was gracious enough to allow us to use it. There is so much good stuff, we broke it down into two posts, this being post one, with post two to follow shortly. Thank …Read More

Mama’s Not Feelin’ It: 6 Things I’ve Learned in My Journey to Attach

April 27, 2015 Attachment, Carrie, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 10 Comments

We just hit our one year anniversary with our daughter, and I have told more than one person that I think we all deserve medals. We didn’t have a dramatic first year full of major medical challenges or severe behaviors. Ours was the more everyday-garden-variety of adoption stress and trauma. I’m thankful we didn’t walk …Read More

How To Get Out From Under Our Expectations

April 24, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

Eryn shared with us last week in her post, The Burden of Expectations, that we all have expectations that we carry into our adoptions, and how these expectations can lead to significant parenting mistakes in we don’t recognize them. Today Eryn follows up her original post with five practical suggestions on how to get out from under these expectations. So what are some …Read More

The Most Forgotten Habit for Healthy Attachment

April 17, 2015 Andrea Y., Attachment 2 Comments

I set out to share with you how many years later I’m still working on attachment with my most precious children. Forming and maintaining healthy attachment is something as parents we will work a lifetime on with both our adopted and biological children. I wanted to share with you ways we have little “connection checks” …Read More

The Burden of Expectations

April 17, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment 2 Comments

I will always remember the first time I made an attachment blunder. My three children had only been home a week. It was a traumatic moment for both my daughter and myself. She was two and I was trying to “set limits” by telling her what she can and cannot do with the toys. She …Read More

Getting Closer

April 11, 2015 Amy, Attachment, co-sleeping, cocooning, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments

Our daughter was nineteen months and four days old when she was handed to us in an alley outside the Civil Affairs office in north west China. We read and prepared as much as we could to attach to each other in a healthy way. We followed all of the rules as best we could. …Read More

co-sleeping is king

April 10, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, co-sleeping, Stefanie, Trust Based Parenting 15 Comments

April is here and the focus at No Hands But Ours is attachment, so I thought I’d share our experience with attachment and what has worked for us. Because, having 12 children (8 children adopted from China in the last 10 years), we have lots of experience with attachment. Successes and failures, and everything in …Read More

Staying Present and Connected while Across the Ocean

April 7, 2015 adopting again, Amy A., Attachment, travel tips 2 Comments

When my husband and I left for China in October 2013, we left our two biological sons at home with their grandparents. We were very intentional in preparing them for our trip and took many steps to make the 17 days apart as comfortable as possible for them. Here we are, not even two years …Read More

Attachment: the first few months

April 3, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, first year home, Whitney 10 Comments

April is here and with it’s arrival we usher in a new series on No Hands But Ours. This month we will feature posts on attachment. Because bringing a new little person into an already established family isn’t easy. This month we will share real-life stories from mamas going through the attachment struggle at all stages of …Read More

Love is Patient

March 29, 2015 Attachment, first year home, Mandy 6 Comments

“You are such a good mommy,” she whispered in her sweet little voice as her head melted into my shoulder and her fingers delicately twirled my hair.  I could feel in that split second, her guard was completely down, her back was not stiff, she felt my love for her, and was brave enough to …Read More

Caring for her heart

March 25, 2015 Attachment, Kelly 6 Comments

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

Jen’s Cliff Notes Review: TBRI DVD series part 4

March 5, 2015 Attachment, Jennifer, TBRI DVD Series, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

If you have been following this series, congratulations! We just made it through Disc 1! Hopefully the minutes that you have scanned these posts have saved you the hours it took for me to watch it! Don’t fret – I’ve got your back all you parents in the middle of it all. I know you …Read More

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