On Bundling Babies and Snap Judgments

April 29, 2017 Carrie, Chinese Culture, orphanage realities, orphanage visit 9 Comments

The day we were set to leave the hospital with our newborn daughter, no one asked us about our car seat. She was our first baby, and so I didn’t understand at the time how significant this insignificant thing would become to me. At the time, I didn’t realize that had she been born on …Read More

Love Stories: Dear Nanny

April 28, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, Gotcha Day, orphanage visit, Rebecca 5 Comments

Dear Nanny, As soon as we walked away from our wildly brief time with you, I began to realize what I’d missed, what I’d failed to do. I didn’t say thank you as I wanted to. I saw you, spoke to you, took photos with you, but I know I didn’t truly look into your …Read More

Love Stories: More Than I Hoped For

April 13, 2017 adopting a boy, April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, Family Stories, foster care, large families, orphanage visit 0 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

Love Stories: Remembered

April 10, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, China trip, Gotcha Day, orphanage realities, Uncategorized 2 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

Coming Home During the Holidays

November 29, 2016 adoption realities, China trip, first weeks home, first year home, holidays, Mandy, Newly Home 2 Comments

To the family coming home during the holidays, During the past several months you have longed for and dreamt about those first precious moments when your child would join your family. You’ve dreamt what his hair would feel like and you have imagined kissing his kissable cheeks. And now, your family is plus one in …Read More

Sign Language and Adoption: The 10 Signs You Need To Know

August 31, 2016 ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, China trip, prepping for China, sign language, travel tips 1 Comments

My name is Becky Lloyd and God called me “to coordinate the adoption of deaf orphans in the world” on March 18, 2008. Signs for Hope, Inc. (SFH) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that was established to carry out that call and exists to share the hope of Christ by providing care for deaf orphans …Read More

Sign Language and Adoption: The Gift of Communication

August 23, 2016 attachment activities, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, Developmental System, Down syndrome, prepping for China, sign language, speech delay, waiting to travel 1 Comments

You’ve made the decision to adopt. Your homestudy is underway or maybe even finished. You’ve taken adoption classes and read book after book. You’ve worked hard to prepare your home, your family and your hearts to bring your little one home. But what about communication? Have you prepared to communicate with your child? For most …Read More

Going Through It: Navigating Scary and Hard Things

August 12, 2016 Amy, Attachment, China trip, sign language, Trust Based Parenting 6 Comments

We met in an alley in XinJiang. For her, the 14 days prior to our meeting consisted of 12 days in a Beijing hospital, 10 of them being in ICU alone. No nanny, no person, no mama. Just alone. IV in the head, arms restrained, and a diaper rash that was really a bedsore when …Read More

Sign Language and Adoption: A Reason to Sign

June 2, 2016 ASL, Attachment, attachment activities, August 2016 Feature - SIgn Language and Adoption, autism, China trip, Down syndrome, hearing loss, non-verbal, prepping for China, profound deafness, speech delay 7 Comments

When adopting internationally, almost every waiting parent worries, “How will I communicate with my new child?” Whether your new child is a year old or thirteen years old, if your child was not born in an English-speaking country, there will be some type of language barrier. This is even more true if you are adopting …Read More

I Never Felt Called to Adopt

April 27, 2016 adopting again, Family Stories, orphanage realities, orphanage visit, should we adopt? 4 Comments

I never felt called to adopt. For me, adoption was simply the way God chose to build our family. In 2011 we adopted our son Sean who is now seven years old. In 2013 we adopted our daughter Elliana who is now five. When people first started saying that adoption was a beautiful thing for …Read More

Mine In China: Your Comprehensive Guide to Adopting from China

March 31, 2016 books, China trip, pre-adoption, prepping for China, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 3 Comments

Talking today with Kelly, who authored our 10-part series I’m Ready to Adopt: Choosing an Agency as she shares about her new book Mine in China: Your comprehensive guide to adopting from China, which is available now for pre-order and will be released April 4th. Q: Tell us a little about your family. A: My …Read More

Creating a Book to Help Children through Transitions

March 30, 2016 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 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

China Trip: When Brother and Sister Travel, Too

February 26, 2016 Andrea Y., China trip, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, siblings 6 Comments

It was the best decision we made concerning travel for our last adoption. It would double our travel cost — but as we prayed about it, we felt certain we should extend the offer if they were ready. We sat our seven year old daughter and eight year old son down and simply asked if …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

Embracing Their Story: Going Back

November 23, 2015 adoptee perspective, embracing their story, heritage trip, November 2015 Feature - Embracing Their Story, orphanage visit, telling their life story 0 Comments

Their story with us didn’t start at the beginning. I think we jumped in around chapter 3 or 4. Much like opening a book midstream and trying to piece together a plot, our adoptions began with many unanswered questions and many holes that I knew we could never fill. Yet at some point, I knew …Read More

Tears In Your Bottle

November 21, 2015 Desiree, Gotcha Day 0 Comments

I caught myself staring at my little Chinese boy tonight as he fell asleep in my arms. So much has changed in our three plus years together. He is a whopping five years old now, has gained 15 pounds and grown 10 inches among other things. Our life together is so normal now, it’s almost …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

My Mind is in China

November 9, 2015 China trip, Mandy, prepping for China 16 Comments

I am of little use to you, dear one, because my mind is in China. My body is in Arkansas and my mind is half a world away thinking about a little boy who is about to become my son. My son! My sister speaks of this thing called “pregnancy brain” and I am convinced …Read More

The What, Why and How of International Adoption Clinics

November 4, 2015 China trip, first weeks home, International Adoption Clinic, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, referral 0 Comments

International Adoption Clinics (IACs) were initially founded by a group of adoptive parents who were also physicians. We saw a huge gap in the health care given to our own internationally adopted children. Before IACs opened their doors we were trying to see international adoptees by squeezing them into the 15 minute or less appointment …Read More

From the Pediatrician: 10 Things Parents Should Know

October 27, 2015 China trip, first weeks home, Newly Home, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, travel tips 0 Comments

When we traveled to China in September of 2014 to adopt our son, we took a car seat and a vest that can be used as a restraint device for car travel – the guides loved the extra 10-15 minutes we took loading up our kids. I took along so much medication that I almost …Read More

Good Father

October 23, 2015 China trip, disruption, Gotcha Day, Whitney 1 Comments

…………… Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like but I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night You tell me that you’re pleased and that I’m never alone …………… In the months preceding our travel to China for our daughter, I had a lot of fears …Read More

Dear Parents-To-Be: Advice From the Front Lines

October 22, 2015 adopting two at once, adoption realities, China trip, disruption, Gotcha Day, guest post, older child adoption, orphanage behaviors 13 Comments

There’s been a rash of disruptions lately, both while still in China and shortly after the families are back in America. I’m not here to pass judgment on people, or talk about families who disrupt months or years into the process. I’m here to talk about the beginning, and to give some advice. Real advice. …Read More

It Takes A Village: Thoughts on Adoption from Gramma

October 21, 2015 adopting as a single mom, China trip, Desiree, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Gotcha Day, grandparent's perspective, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village 2 Comments

For every nuclear family that is forever changed through adoption, there are grandparents somewhere in the mix. Hopefully, they are the family foundation for which the adoption is built on, but generationally, there may be relational, cultural, racial or even spiritual issues that hinder healthy adoption support. Even the bureaucracy of adoption can overwhelm and …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

An Uncertain Journey with a Certain Guide

September 27, 2015 Carrie, China trip, Gotcha Day, Parenting Special Needs 2 Comments

I’m writing this to my fellow Jesus-followers who are adopting. I understand and respect that might not apply to everyone, but I have to take a moment to speak to those of you who share my fundamental faith.   “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who …Read More

Coming Home: All the Feelings

September 25, 2015 China trip, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 1 Comments

I was once told that your life after adoption can be compared to a child’s mobile hanging over a crib. When the mobile is bumped, it’s path becomes unpredictable and out of balance as it spins recklessly with no sure path. As time passes, the mobile will become stable again and maintain a smooth circular …Read More

The Making of a Family

September 25, 2015 a father's perspective, Bryson, China trip, Dads, Gotcha Day 17 Comments

Bryson, dad to 3 year old Lydia and husband to Mandy, shared several months ago on the challenges of attachment. We loved his post so much we asked him to come back and contribute regularly. Today he shares with us a true labor of love, his documentary film of their adoption journey. I encourage you …Read More

Coming Home: Cocooning

September 9, 2015 Amy A., Attachment, China trip, cocooning, first weeks home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 4 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

Going to China: Gotcha Day Expectations

August 31, 2015 China trip, Gotcha Day, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Stefanie 4 Comments

Today is the last day of August, which means it’s the end of our two-month feature, Going to China!, as well as our final post in the series. We’ve spent July and August covering everything from travel tips to orphanage behaviors – 23 posts in all. We hope it’s been a great resource, whether you …Read More

Going to China: Feeding Concerns

August 28, 2015 China trip, feeding challenges, first weeks home, first year home, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Katie, oral-motor delays, refusing food 1 Comments

When we were adopting our two new daughters we were not really well prepared for what they could or could not eat. We knew one of the girls was severely malnourished, but we did not understand that it was entirely possible that nobody taught them how to eat or drink. Neither of our new daughters …Read More

How Going to China Changed My Life

August 24, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Whitney 0 Comments

We have been home for six months and this is the first time that I’m actually sitting down and processing our trip to China. For a while, it was just too fresh, you know? The thought of any attempt in organizing my thoughts made my brain hurt, and so I just didn’t. But now, I …Read More

An Unconventional Thing To Do

August 19, 2015 China trip, Chinese Culture, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Katie 3 Comments

If you are in the process of adopting from China or have been in the past you know all about the dreaded holidays that seem to happen every month. You think you have a good timeline of when adoption/gotcha will take place and then you slam smack dab into the Autumn season of the beginning …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

It’s not about you

August 11, 2015 Amy, China trip, siblings 2 Comments

This month we are highlighting time in China and coincidently, dear friends of ours are in China right now as I write, hours away from traveling to their daughter’s province and seeing her face to face. By the time this posts, they will have her and will almost have finished their time in China. So, …Read More

Going to China: Taking Siblings Along

August 3, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Nicole, siblings 2 Comments

Continuing into August with our Going to China series, because one month just isn’t long enough to cover all things China-trip related! Today Nicole shares how she successfully traveled to China as a family of 6. Upcoming topics include orphanage behaviors, undisclosed special needs, different ways children react at placement, and how to cope with feeding and attachment issues …Read More

Going to China: the Long Flight Home

July 31, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Rebecca 0 Comments

The China trip looms large in our adoptive parent hearts and minds. We daydream about Gotcha Day, pray for the moment we can snuggle in the hotel with our little love, hope for that once in a lifetime walk along the Great Wall, plan for an afternoon spent shopping in Guangzhou, and imagine ourselves eating …Read More

Contributor Q and A: Moments!

July 30, 2015 China trip, Contributor Q and A, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China! 0 Comments

At some point on your China trip, something silly, something embarrassing, or something crazy will happen. You are away from home, out of your comfort zone, adopting a new to you child, and traveling in a unique culture. You can bank on some family giggles. The No Hands But Ours contributors have accrued their share …Read More

What Should I Pack for China?: My Best Attempt at a Comprehensive Packing List

July 29, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Mandy, packing list, travel tips 7 Comments

One of the questions I see most often in China Adoption Facebook groups is “What should I pack for China?” Naturally, I had this question the first time I adopted from China. When I approached this task, I did what I always do: I researched. Every time someone posted in a DTC Facebook group a …Read More

Going to China: Carry-On Only

July 27, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, packing list, prepping for China, travel tips 0 Comments

Being that my husband is in the airline industry, we have been a family that takes full advantage of the flight benefits. Therefore, since we fly stand-by, we hardly ever check bags – because one is never totally quite sure IF we will get on the said flight until the last minute – major bummer if your …Read More

#ohChina

July 27, 2015 China trip, Chinese Culture, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Kelly 9 Comments

China. Whether you’ve been there and back again 10 times or are anxiously awaiting that call telling you it’s time to call your travel agent, you can feel very much a foreigner in a foreign land. As we’ve been those foreigners, there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that may be helpful …Read More

Contributor Q and A: “I Wish I’d…”

July 26, 2015 China trip, Contributor Q and A, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China! 0 Comments

With more than 50 adoption trips behind us collectively, our contributor team reflects on their journeys and what they might have done differently. The consensus? Less worrying, less formal touring and more soaking up authentic daily life in China. And, we wish we’d bought a few more coffee mugs!   I wish I’d spent more time… Desireé: Visit your …Read More

Going to China: Hao Chi

July 25, 2015 China trip, Chinese Culture, Hannah, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China! 1 Comments

Hao chi (好吃) is how someone in China is going to affirm, “This is yummy!” It’s pronounced “how chur” and all you have to do is add a “ma?” to the end to make it a sentence. Chinese food. Either you love it or you hate it, right? And then maybe you love the food, …Read More

Beyond Ourselves

July 23, 2015 adopting two at once, adoption realities, China trip, Gotcha Day, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Rebecca 7 Comments

It’s the pinnacle of the adoption journey. We build a beautiful image of what gotcha day will be, and hold hard to that as we wait. Much preparation goes into readiness for caring for the child we’ve seen only in pictures. We study bonding techniques and possible reactions, and pack and repack little backpacks. But …Read More

Contributor Q and A: Gotcha!

July 22, 2015 China trip, Contributor Q and A, Gotcha Day, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China! 0 Comments

In this edition of our Contributor Q and A, we share gotcha tips, feelings on orphanage visits and ideas on how to get through meetings and tours with transitioning kids.   What is one thing you were most glad you had along with you for gotcha?   Liberty: Snacks, bottle because he was super thirsty, …Read More

Going to China: Gotcha Day 101

July 20, 2015 China trip, Gotcha Day, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China! 2 Comments

It’s 3:00AM and I’m laying in bed staring up at the ceiling. My mind is reeling and way too excited to sleep. I am mentally checking off my list of every question that I could think of to ask the caregiver and going over each item I have laid out and prepared for this special …Read More

A Less Than Stellar Guide

July 19, 2015 China trip, Katie 1 Comments

We arrived in Zhengzhou late our first night and saw our names on a sign and waiting for us was a man and a woman. I wasn’t sure which one was our guide, I assumed it was the stylish looking lady. As we stepped closer to our guides the overwhelming smell of alcohol side slapped …Read More

Contributor Q and A: General Travel

July 16, 2015 China trip, Contributor Q and A, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China! 1 Comments

Continuing on through our month long series, in this round of our Contributor Q and A, our blog authors share some of their collective China travel experiences and wisdom. They share which provinces they travelled to, lament about lack of sleep and reflect on memories at favorite tourist sites. Also included are travel tips such as helpful Smartphone …Read More

Contributor Q and A: Packing!

July 13, 2015 China trip, Contributor Q and A, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, packing list 0 Comments

Oh, the packing. Some of us do it last minute. Some of us make packing list spreadsheets. Whether you glide into the airport with just a carry-on, or arrive with a trunk full of jumbo suitcases, packing is an essential aspect of your China bound prep. Our No Hands But Ours contributors had fun reflecting …Read More

When it all hits the fan in China…

July 11, 2015 Amy, China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China! 3 Comments

I’m a planner. I plan ahead. I troubleshoot before there is trouble to even shoot. Clearly, setting out on the journey of adoption is like shock therapy, am I right? If this is true, you would think I’d be cured by now. Before we went to China to bring home our daughter Grace, I had …Read More

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