The Fruits of Attachment Labor

September 17, 2014 by nohandsbutours Attachment, Nicole C. 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

10 Tips for a Successful Adoption Yard Sale Fundraiser

June 30, 2014 by nohandsbutours affording adoption, fundraisers, Nicole C. 2 Comments

After weeks of planning and organizing taking over a good portion of my time, we hosted our yard sale fundraiser on Saturday!  I know many, many, many adoptive families have done yard sale fundraisers with great success who can also give you awesome advice.  But for what it’s worth, here’s my 2 cents on planning …Read More

During the process

May 29, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

During the adoption process, there are few things more fierce than the determination of an adoptive mama (or baba) to get to her baby. She has a strange, indescribable love for her child that carries such intensity, it’s often overwhelming. The “my-claws-will-come-out-if-you-get-in-my-way” mama bear protective instincts kind-of-love are ferocious and very real. Anything that stands …Read More

I fell in love.

April 29, 2014 by nohandsbutours adoption realities, Nicole C. 0 Comments

I have been trying to write this post in my head for a month now.  Words seem terribly inadequate, but today I want to share a small piece of how my heart was changed in China.  Being invited into the amazing work that He is doing was overwhelming.  Working in the orphanages alongside nannies to …Read More

it's different

March 31, 2014 by nohandsbutours Nicole C. 3 Comments

One of my friends recently shared on Facebook that she was struggling with being newly home with her second Chinese son.  She received so many encouraging comments, it was beautiful!  But she also received a hurtful comment implying that parenting biological and adopted children is exactly the same, and she should roll with the punches …Read More

Her Birth Heritage

January 30, 2014 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

I can remember our China trip to adopt Sunshine like it was yesterday. If I close my eyes, I can remember stepping off the plane, smelling “China,” and hearing people speak Mandarin everywhere. The food, oh the delicious food. Making a fool out of myself trying to eat with chopsticks. The hustle and bustle of …Read More

This Girl

November 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

This little beauty has been hungry for knowledge since the end of last school year. She is so much more interested in “cool work” (as she calls it) than Angel and Lovebug ever were. I think after seeing them work hard and learn all last year, she was so ready to jump on the bandwagon. …Read More

Big girl

August 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 5 Comments

My feisty three-year-old was still in a crib up until a few weeks ago. I know that’s a little on the older side, but it was easier to stick with a crib because she didn’t try to get out. We didn’t switch Angel to a toddler bed until she climbed out at 2 1/2 years, …Read More

The Ripple Effect

July 30, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

rip′ple effect` n. A spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event. As we guided our weekend Chinese exchange student through Washington D.C. on Saturday, I heard him say multiple times with a big smile on his face, “I have seen these places in American films so many times. And …Read More

Verbal language … it’s a lovely thing

July 1, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

After using sign language almost exclusively for the first year and a half of Sunshine’s life with us, it is absolutely amazing to see such progress in her verbal communication now. Her cleft palate was repaired just about a year ago, and her verbal explosion since then is nothing short of miraculous! She started weekly …Read More

Blooming

May 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 0 Comments

As we sat around my house earlier this month celebrating Mother’s Day (my 8th, whoa!) with family, I took a moment to meditate on the blessing of motherhood. Sometimes I cannot believe that God trusts me to raise these three precious beings whom I have the privilege of calling “mine.” All three of them are …Read More

If feels good to be heard

April 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 2 Comments

Almost two years ago, we took Sunshine to her first cleft clinic day. It was a very long day (smack dab in the middle of nap time, mind you) filled with seeing lots of doctors who poked and prodded my child … the child who had only been home from China for a month and …Read More

Nature versus nurture

April 7, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 2 Comments

Sometimes as I rock Sunshine to bed at night, I think about her first mother. I mostly grieve for all that she will not have the privilege of experiencing with our special girl. I wonder what she is doing now and if she thinks of our daughter. I wonder if she knows how loved Sunshine …Read More

Her story

January 29, 2013 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

I returned from the Created 4 Care retreat late Sunday night. Wow, my head is spinning with all of the information I took in. I still have a lot to sort out, but one theme that really stuck with me is telling Sunshineʼs story in a way that is respectful and considerate to her. Telling …Read More

Give them grace

November 30, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 6 Comments

We’ve been pretty fortunate in avoiding the awkward public questions about adoption. We certainly get some odd stares here and there, along with lots of smiles. But we don’t get offensive questions. We get questions, sure. And there have been a couple times when I wanted to make a sarcastic comment, but of course I …Read More

502 days.

November 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

That’s the number of days it took Sunshine to feel comfortable enough to stay in the church nursery without me. After staying with her in the nursery off and on for months, I tried a few times unsuccessfully to leave her there by herself. I never pushed, just left for a few minutes until her …Read More

Celebrating differences

October 2, 2012 by nohandsbutours Nicole C. 4 Comments

I posted a few weeks back on my personal blog about my son’s giving heart and how he helped his sister buy a doll at Target. What I didn’t mention in that post was that the doll is not an ordinary baby doll. Angel saw it months back and was instantly attracted to it. Despite …Read More

Pre-speech therapy

August 30, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 5 Comments

Did you know that playing with straws in the bathtub is actually speech therapy? Who knew?!? We had Sunshine’s post-palate repair/cleft clinic appointment on Monday and I spent some time with the team’s speech pathologist. It’s still a little too early after the palate repair for speech therapy, but she did give me a few …Read More

Strong-Willed?

July 31, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 5 Comments

I often use many different adjectives to describe my 2-year-old daughter. After her most recent palate repair surgery a few weeks ago, the top adjectives have been strong, brave, courageous, graceful and pretty darn amazing. I have also called her loving, affectionate, beautiful, smart, clever, happy, funny, silly, spunky and feisty. She is one of …Read More

One year

June 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

One year ago on June 7, 2011, our baby girl was placed in my arms. Our lives were forever changed. Looking back over the pictures from that day, my heart hurts for the loss that she endured, having no certainty in her life and not knowing what was happening. She was so incredibly brave and …Read More

It's the little things

June 5, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 1 Comments

It really is the little things that mean the most, don’t you think? I remember being in China last June and just studying Sunshine … all of the little bits and pieces of her that I didn’t have memorized. I didn’t realize that I had taken this for granted with the 2 older kids … …Read More

A letter to her first mother

May 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

To her first mother: You are one of the most important people in my life, and I have never met you. You live somewhere halfway across the world, in a Chinese city called Fuzhou. You are our daughter’s first mother. You carried her under your heart for a precious 9 months, gave birth to her, …Read More

Graduation

April 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 3 Comments

Not the high school kind of graduation. Or even the middle school or elementary type. But this is a graduation that I am ecstatic to be celebrating with Sunshine – she has officially graduated from Physical Therapy! Although we expected she’d be somewhat physically delayed when we brought her home last June, we truly weren’t …Read More

a child's perspective

March 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours Nicole C. 3 Comments

Even after being home from China for over 9 months, we still get the question, “So, how did your other kids handle the adoption?” Of course there was an adjustment process, I’d say there is still an ongoing adjustment process even now. But truthfully, in the beginning, the 2 older kids were infatuated. Obsessed even. …Read More

Cleft lip and palate as a "minor" special need

March 1, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 6 Comments

Her special need really wasn’t a “need”… in the beginning. Her cleft was quite minor and utterly adorable. Eating was terribly messy, and we had a lot of nonstop drool. And, I suppose when we were out in public, her cleft lip became more obvious and apparent as people stared. But I truly did not …Read More

Communicating through ASL

January 31, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C., Parenting Special Needs 0 Comments

This has probably been a familiar scene at some point in your home … your young toddler child is sitting in the middle of the floor throwing a temper tantrum. Tears are streaming down her face, her nose is running and her hair is matted to her face. She’s kicking the floor and screaming … …Read More

welcome to Nicole

January 6, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, Nicole C. 0 Comments

 I am excited to introduce our newest member of the No Hands But Ours team, Nicole. She is the mom of three, one from China with cleft lip and palate and, well, let me let her tell you herself… ___________________________________________________________________ I am so thrilled to be joining the No Hands But Ours guest blogger team!  …Read More