My Hero

May 15, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, cerebral palsy, first year home, Megan, Newly Home, orphanage realities, self-harming, trauma 3 Comments

My hero is tiny but larger than life. Tan skin, black hair and the most beautiful dark chocolate eyes you have ever seen. He is 33 inches tall and weighs 33 pounds. A perfect little pint of goodness. A little over a year ago, at age three, he left a cold gray building with my …Read More

Deeper Than My Feet Could Ever Wander

April 15, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, first weeks home, first year home, Megan, parent-to-child attachment 1 Comments

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” – Hillsong I am sure that many of the readers of this post …Read More

Crying Over Cheerios: Overcoming Feeding Challenges

March 17, 2017 adopting a boy, Brandie, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, first weeks home, first year home, March 2017 Feature - Feeding Challenges, Newly Home, oral-motor delays 2 Comments

Where I grew up, food was a love language. I learned at a very young age that food was the center of any worthwhile gathering. I remember once in the sweltering heat of a Mississippi summer, we attended a family reunion. It was a potluck, and table after table was overflowing with plates of styrofoam …Read More

One Year.

March 2, 2017 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Family Stories, first year home, Megan, Newly Home, orphanage behaviors, parent-to-child attachment 9 Comments

We have been home one year as of January 10, 2017, and I can finally say that I love him. I can’t tell you when exactly it happened. There was not a lightening bolt moment. Nor was there an instant bond or attachment from the moment we met. I spent the better part of our …Read More

After the Honeymoon: Adopting a Child with Complex CHD

February 14, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting as first time parents, complex heart defect, Family Stories, February 2017 Feature - Heart, first year home, Heart System, heterotaxy, medical needs checklist, Morning Star Foster Home, pulmonary atresia, should we adopt?, surgery, waiting for referral 0 Comments

Prologue: In our son’s room, we have a picture that reads: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We chose this verse for him, but in reality it applies more to us. My husband, Derek, and …Read More

Confessions of a Former China Director Turned Adoptive Mom

January 24, 2017 adopting a boy, Attachment, attachment activities, cognitive delay, complex medical, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, first weeks home, first year home, low muscle tone, Newly Home, should we adopt? 8 Comments

Alternately titled: What I wish I would have known, and what I would like to share with other adoptive families I first started out with adoption in 2004 when I was just 21 years old. It was the summer before my senior year of college when I got a job as an intern at All …Read More

Family Makes a Difference

December 29, 2016 adopting a boy, age assignment, bone scan, cl/cp, Craniofacial, December 2016 Feature - Adopting a Boy, Family Stories, first year home, International Adoption Clinic, night terrors, Sleep issues, switching agencies 0 Comments

If you have read any adoption account they all contain transformation stories. Most are pretty dramatic. How could it be anything less? Family makes a difference. The love of family brings healing physical, emotional and spiritual. It is no different in our story. My family was in line to be matched with a child in …Read More


December 13, 2016 Attachment, Courtney, first year home, Newly Home 7 Comments

Adoption is not natural. There is great beauty but there is also incredible pain. It is the joining of two completely separate lives. One broken fearful child with another broken set of humans trying to very clumsily create this word “family.” For us it looked like entering a government building on a stifling hot August …Read More

How Adoption Changed our Christmas Card List

December 8, 2016 adoption community, first year home, Newly Home 2 Comments

Make fun of me all you want, but I addressed the last of my Christmas cards and sent them out the day after Thanksgiving. We missed sending them out last year in the midst of the last minute paper push. We had LID December 1, and were in the midst of sorting through files and …Read More

Love Beyond Sight

December 6, 2016 cataracts, congenital blindness, December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, first year home, hypoplasia, medical needs checklist, micropthalmia, Newly Home, prosthetic eye, referral, Sensory System, vision loss 1 Comments

I have always been a planner, always been cautious. I had even been planning this adoption since I was 12! What I hadn’t planned was that China would become a special needs adoption program by the time my husband and I were able to adopt. It was daunting looking over the Medical Checklist. I could …Read More

So Much More than His Diagnosis

November 30, 2016 first weeks home, first year home, hypospadias, Newly Home, November 2016 Feature - Urogenital, Urogenital System 0 Comments

I could write for days about our journey — our growth, the process, the joy, the tears, the worries, the peace. But for today, I’ll focus a little on the medical aspect of our story because there are so many unknowns, so much research, so much hope…..and knowing you’re not alone in it helps, if …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

When Mom Works: Working and Attachment

October 14, 2016 Attachment, attachment activities, Courtney, first year home, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, working mom 2 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

Making the Grade: Links for Parents of Kids with Special Needs Part Two

September 20, 2016 504 Plan, early intervention, Education, ESL, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, first year home, IEP, Jennifer B., occupational therapy, physical therapy, public school, Sensory Processing Issues, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, speech therapy 0 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

How to Find Your Tribe

August 25, 2016 a father's perspective, adoption community, Dads, Developmental System, Down syndrome, first weeks home, first year home, Newly Home, Perspectives, Randall 0 Comments

“Your people are my people, your God my God. Not even death itself is going to come between us.” Ruth 1:16-17 When we started the adoption process, we were not even considering Down syndrome. It was too scary. In fact, the irony of it, is we decided our cut-off for having bio kids was age …Read More

One Day

May 5, 2016 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

International Adoption Clinics: Services and Locations

April 29, 2016 first weeks home, first year home, International Adoption Clinic, Jennifer B., Newly Home, referral, waiting for referral, waiting to travel 4 Comments

I can still remember getting ‘the call’ during our first adoption process. Our agency coordinator was on the phone and they had a file for us to review. I remember the many different emotions I felt as we opened the file and photos and began to read. Within an hour of opening the file I …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

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

Kaleidoscope: One Year Home

February 5, 2016 first weeks home, first year home, Newly Home, Whitney 0 Comments

Today our family celebrates our One Year Home anniversary! I’ve often imagined what it would be like if I could travel back in time to those early days; what would I say to myself? What words of encouragement would One-Year-Home-Me have to say to Me-From-A-Year-Ago? This is how I imagine it would go… //// Hi …Read More

The Middle of the Road

December 5, 2015 first weeks home, first year home, Whitney 0 Comments

I survived a half marathon a few weeks ago. That’s right. SURVIVED. I trained for it for MONTHS. Really! Since July, a friend and I had been diligently setting our alarm clocks and waking long before the sun rose to hit the pavement. The morning of the race dawned warm and sticky. November in South …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

Adoption and How Neighbors, Friends and Family Kept Me Sane

October 17, 2015 Down syndrome, first weeks home, first year home, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, supporting adoptive families 3 Comments

While still in the baby steps of adoption, we stumbled into the realm of special needs adoptions, specifically Down syndrome. Although our initial plan was to adopt domestically, we discovered the Bamboo Project (a program committed to finding families for children in China with Down syndrome). And when I saw our daughter’s photo, I knew …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: 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: 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

Coming Home: Tips for Medical Needs Parents

September 23, 2015 first weeks home, first year home, Medical Momma, Rebecca, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, surgery 0 Comments

You are a newly home medical needs parent, and life might be feeling like triage. Your child needs to be catheterized, tube fed, dilated and medicated. They need therapy, glasses, wheelchairs, oxygen, blood transfusions, walkers, cochlear implants, casts, g-tubes and ostomy bags. They’ll need MRIs, IVs, ultrasounds, sleep studies, anesthesia, echocardiograms, X-rays, EEGs, CT scans, …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

Coming Home: Re-entry

September 17, 2015 first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 0 Comments

Launching a spacecraft into space is one thing. Bringing it back is another. Spacecraft re-entry is tricky business for several reasons. When an object enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it experiences a few forces, including gravity and drag. Gravity will naturally pull an object back to earth. But gravity alone would cause the object to fall …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: 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: Helping Siblings Bond

September 5, 2015 first weeks home, first year home, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, siblings 0 Comments

Lord, this humble house we’d keepSweet with play and calm with sleep.Help us so that we may give Beauty to the lives we live.Let Thy love and let Thy graceShine upon our dwelling place.– Edgar Guest I have that quote framed in our downstairs bathroom. I can’t tell you how many times a week I …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

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

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

Hoarding, Humility and Hope

August 5, 2015 first year home, hoarding, orphanage behaviors, Whitney 0 Comments

“If the child is older, he or she may hide toys or hoard food, because that is what they’d do in the orphanage if given the chance” – Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage “Hey, Mom?  I can’t find the container that has the hair clips in it.” My oldest daughter …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

In the Trenches

June 5, 2015 first year home, Whitney 2 Comments

How many of us on the finally-at-home side of adoption have thought this thought, uttered this phrase, typed it out on social media, or desperately scribbled it in a journal: “in the trenches today”? I’m guessing more than a few! Before we adopted our daughter, I hadn’t much heard this phrase related to child-rearing, but …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

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

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: 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

How Children’s Books Helped My Family

March 1, 2015 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

My Oxygen Mask

January 29, 2015 adoption community, first year home, Mandy 7 Comments

Excited to share the first post from Mandy, our newest contributor on No Hands But Ours. Mandy shared her family’s story about a month ago and has joined NHBO as a monthly contributor for 2015. She and her husband Bryson have one daughter, Lydia Grace, and are now in the process to bring home another …Read More

Sometimes Love Is War

August 27, 2014 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

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