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

Attaching as a Sister

May 13, 2015 by nohandsbutours 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 by nohandsbutours Attachment, first year home, Whitney 0 Comments

View More: http://minttobe.pass.us/julianne

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

bluebonnets 5

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 by nohandsbutours 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 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

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

March 5, 2015 by nohandsbutours 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

How Children’s Books Helped My Family

March 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, books, first year home, Mandy, Trust Based Parenting 1 Comments


Dr. Karyn Purvis said, “If you didn’t teach your child something then don’t assume he knows or understands it.” We have found this to be very true in our family. When my daughter joined our family last year, people were often curious about how her English language was progressing. Some assumed this would be the …Read More

out of the darkness

February 27, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, birth family, Carrie 3 Comments


I don’t think I will ever be the mom who believes God’s original and best plan for my daughter was for her to be in my home. I realize that’s a controversial statement, and perhaps many of the people reading this will feel something bristle inside of them as they think about their own precious …Read More

A Letter to My Daughter

February 5, 2015 by nohandsbutours adoption community, adoption realities, Attachment, Carrie 0 Comments

Darling Girl, I walked into your room the other night, well after you had gone to sleep. I could hear your quiet breathing and the whole room smelled like you. There’s something about the way my babies smell that makes me feel peaceful and comforted and deeply at home, and when it dawned on me …Read More

Jen’s Cliff Notes Review: TBRI DVD series part 3

February 4, 2015 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Jennifer, TBRI DVD Series, Trust Based Parenting 2 Comments


Chapter 4:  Connecting Principles To recap, I am reviewing a lengthy DVD series on your behalf and giving you the “Cliff Notes” version (part 1 here, part 2 here).  Because when you are parenting a child from tough places and in tough places, ain’t nobody got time to do a literature review and hunt down …Read More

Adoption Allergies

January 21, 2015 by nohandsbutours adopting as a single mom, Attachment, Desiree, Down syndrome 0 Comments


“He’s been home for over two years. Isn’t it time you stop thinking about attachment?“   I stared dumbfounded at the face in front of me that had just uttered those hurtful words. I knew in my heart, they were said both in overly-asserted kindness and in ignorance, but I kinda wanted to scream back …Read More

He is Here

January 1, 2015 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Attachment, Carrie 10 Comments

November 2014

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a …Read More

A Beautiful Mess

December 7, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Amy, Attachment 19 Comments

grace bw

“Imagine the exhaustion of Christmas, Thanksgiving, a wedding, a funeral, and childbirth in one day, and that would almost be Gotcha Day.” This is how I recently described Gotcha Day on a friend’s facebook feed, mostly for the benefit of their family and friends to get a perspective beyond the dramatic and romanticized “Gotcha Day” …Read More


November 11, 2014 by nohandsbutours co-sleeping, cocooning, Kristi 2 Comments


Thump. pitter pat, pitter pat, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, pitter pat, pitter pat. Glancing at the clock I note it is 3:57 AM, a little later than usual. In automatic response to the oh so familiar sound of little feet jumping to the floor and then making their way across the house to my room, …Read More

Daddy Issues

November 7, 2014 by nohandsbutours Amy, Attachment 3 Comments


When we first met our little one in Urumqi, a northwestern city in the XinJiang province, she quickly attached to our oldest child, our then 14 year old daughter. Next in line was me, then our then 12 year old son, and coming in dead last was my husband. We fiercely loved this child for …Read More

What Happens When It Doesn’t Work?

November 4, 2014 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Jennifer, Trust Based Parenting 5 Comments


So I’m taking a brief break from reviewing the Trust Based Parenting DVD series just because I can’t help myself. I will get back to it but I aspire towards transparency so here we go… ”What happens when it doesn’t work??” I am convinced that there is an adoption cam at my local grocery store. …Read More

Jen’s Cliff Notes Review: TBRI DVD series part 2

October 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Jennifer, TBRI DVD Series, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments


Trust Based Parenting DVD series – Chapter 3 Empowering Principles: Laying the Foundation for Change As promised, here are the cliff notes for a longer (but excellent) DVD series produced by TCU Institute of Child Development. When you’re in the trenches, you need help and you need it fast! If you haven’t read my first …Read More

The Fruits of Attachment Labor

September 17, 2014 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Nicole 4 Comments

While we were waiting to bring Sunshine home back in 2010 and 2011, I learned as much as I could about fostering attachment. I tried to memorize all of the attachment advice. Build trust by meeting needs quickly, check. Be the only ones to meet all of her needs, check. Love unconditionally, check. Don’t let …Read More

In the Miry Clay: Trust Based Parenting

September 3, 2014 by nohandsbutours Attachment, cl/cp, Jennifer, TBRI DVD Series, Trust Based Parenting 6 Comments

I was thinking about parents in the adoption trenches today, those stuck down deep in the mud – you know who you are and this one’s for you.  I have had a little time in the trenches, not nearly as much as some of you, but I know that when you are in the muddy …Read More

Sometimes Love Is War

August 27, 2014 by Carrie Attachment, Carrie, first year home, journey to adoption, microtia 48 Comments


She’s been clawing – literally, until I cut her fingernails – at my legs all day long. Whining and whimpering and the hours go so slow I sometimes wonder if the clock is moving at all. Cora entertains herself, like she does almost every day lately, and I squelch the feelings that I’m letting her …Read More

a mom’s struggle with attaching

July 31, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Attachment, guest post 18 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

I like you be my mommy

June 11, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, Kristi, Trust Based Parenting, vision issues 2 Comments

“I like you be my mommy.” Those six little words, spoken with a beaming smile no less, from my four year old nearly made me come undone recently. Her heartfelt statement spoke volumes about the positive change in our relationship over the nine months we’ve known one another…because on September 2 of last year, things …Read More

like rain in the desert

April 20, 2014 by Carrie Attachment, Carrie 1 Comments

It seems fitting to me that it’s raining in the desert the night before Easter. I can’t remember the last time it rained, and I’ve opened the windows wide in our house. Propped the back door open. I’m inhaling the scent of the air washed clean of all the dust it usually carries; listening to …Read More

Bonding Goes Both Ways

February 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Jean, older child adoption 3 Comments

The literature on children bonding to their new parents is plentiful but it falls short when it comes to the parents bonding with the child. With our first adoption I didn’t even consider it an issue. After all she was 16 months old and completely helpless. I had bonded to her before I had ever …Read More

the greatest special need of all

February 7, 2014 by nohandsbutours Amy, Attachment, scoliosis, Tetralogy of Fallot 8 Comments

Welcome to Amy, mom to Grace adopted from China 8 months ago, and our newest contributor at No Hands But Ours. Amy blogs at Stops Along the Journey. Special needs. We hear those words so often in so many places; schools, adoption agencies, the work place, fast food restaurants, and facebook. Adoptive parents who choose …Read More

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