No Boys?

September 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 1 Comments

That’s what we were saying back in 2006. We had 4 biological sons and felt like that was a good number. We had one daughter and felt like the Lord had perfectly planned it… we needed more girls! I had always dreamed of a sister for Katie. Of course not one that was 20 years …Read More

Ready or Not…Kindergarten, Here I Come

September 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 2 Comments

I’m no novice when it comes to parenting. And I’m definitely not a novice when it comes to sending my kids off to Kindergarten. But this year, there was something different about the three times I’d done it previously. This time it was my China babies. Nothing could have fully prepared me for the first …Read More

“Cold Feet”

August 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 4 Comments

After adopting 13 children you would think I have it all down to a science! But I don’t… Once again I have suffered from the feelings of “cold feet”… Am I sure that it will work out adding to this large crew that somehow seems to work well together? Was it just me that thought …Read More

To the Traumatized Family

August 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 9 Comments

A few days ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and saw a comment on a link for a ministry to traumatized children that broke my heart. An adoptive parent was asking where the ministry was for families who have been traumatized by bringing a traumatized child into their home. This is something I …Read More

Somewhere to Run

July 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 9 Comments

In my adoptions circles, there is a little bit of a running joke about all the things that start going wrong once a paper chase and the commitment to adopt a child (or children) begins. Somewhere along the journey to China, an adoptive parent can guarantee that an appliance…or three…will break, the car will need …Read More

waiting child highlight: older girls

June 12, 2014 by nohandsbutours advocating, Children Who Wait, girls, older child adoption, special focus 0 Comments

Autumn is twelve years old and inching dangerously close to her 14th birthday with every passing minute. She has repaired CL/CP. She loves to sing and dance and is active, outgoing and considerate. She has been spoken to about adoption and says she would love to have a family to call her own! Autumn is …Read More

Then and Now

June 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 3 Comments

As an adoptive parent there is definitely one thing that I stress over more than anything else. One might think it would have something to do with doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, surgeries, or something else of that nature. But those things come easily to me. I’m usually sipping my cup of coffee and enjoying my …Read More

A Silent Event… A Near Drowning

May 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 4 Comments

And it was awful… it still haunts me… I don’t think I will EVER forget about it… the image is forever ingrained in my mind… In all of our 30 years of parenting it has happened just once. AND once is ENOUGH… I am not going into specifics. It’s private and it will always be …Read More

The Best Mama

May 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

I’ll never forget the first time it happened. She threw her arms around me and exclaimed, “I love you, Mama! You’re the best mama I’ve ever had!!!” And every time it’s happened since then is carved on my heart as well. Every. Single. Time. The day I met my sweet Cora…just over a year-and-a-half ago…was …Read More

Expecting

April 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 1 Comments

We just had our first grandchild! It is so exciting AND such an amazing feeling having her HERE! Our daughter talked to me every day (from Germany) before her delivery. The anticipation was riveting! When would she arrive, how would the delivery go, who would she look like? It was a happy moment when I …Read More

Completely Natural

April 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara, Uncategorized 1 Comments

My virtual twins are thick as thieves. And they act like an old married couple. The bond they share is amazing to behold. They actually have the same type of relationship that biological twins do. The way God has grafted their two little hearts together is most amazing. With this relationship comes lots and lots …Read More

How To Find Your Child

March 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, heart defect, Jean, older child adoption 2 Comments

At least, this is how we found our children! We started with prayer. Prayers for strength, perseverance, guidance, grace and for the child that HE was leading us too. Once we felt God’s presence we proceeded. This is a good place to start! The NHBO site is filled with information on different special needs, parenting …Read More

Timing is everything

March 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

There’s an old saying that “timing is everything.” And it’s true. The moment at which something enters our lives does make a difference in how it is received. For better or for worse. My “baby” just celebrated his fifth birthday, which is his fourth birthday with us. This one was bittersweet to me. After nearly …Read More

Bonding Goes Both Ways

February 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, 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

Holidays and Celebrations

February 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 2 Comments

I’m not exactly what you’d call a “holiday” person. I know people who have decorations ranging from Christmas trees to pumpkins to shamrocks to pink and red hearts that they put up as the seasons rotate. Bu I’m not one of them. I’m a minimalist. The only holiday I decorate for is Christmas and that’s …Read More

My Reflection

January 15, 2014 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, Jean, older child adoption 2 Comments

God works in mysterious ways… Sometimes I don’t always understand why HE does the things HE does BUT I do know how much HE loves me and just knowing that makes me want to trust HIM even more. In the summer of 2010 God gave us a gift. It was an unexpected gift but nevertheless …Read More

One Giant Leap Forward

January 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 1 Comments

It’s been three years and one month since I stood in the Civil Affairs building in Zhengzhou and took the sweetest boy into my arms. It was the end of 13 long months of waiting, and the love I felt for my son during all those agonizing months was nothing compared to the explosion that …Read More

waiting child highlight: older girls

January 4, 2014 by nohandsbutours advocating, Children Who Wait, Family Stories, girls, large families, older child adoption, shared list 5 Comments

To open your heart to a child who may or may not remember her biological parents. Or is attached to an auntie. To be bringing home a child who has already developed a personality and habits. To be bringing home a child whom you may have chosen to name after yourself (Ruthi) only to have …Read More

Who Do They Love More?

December 15, 2013 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, Jean, older child adoption 10 Comments

I have been a mom for 30 years. Yes, our oldest son just turned 30! It is hard to believe how fast the time has gone. It was just yesterday our dear baby boy was born. We spent our time… just staring at him, in awe, completely amazed at this tiny miracle that God created! …Read More

Her New Forever

December 5, 2013 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

One of the hardest things…for me, at least…about being an adoptive parent is knowing that I missed out on my child(ren)’s life in China. And I’ve found that the older the child is when they join our family, the harder it is to deal with that loss of knowledge about my child’s past. Our early …Read More

Loving Children… That Are Hard to Love

November 15, 2013 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, Jean, older child adoption 5 Comments

Many adopted children are so easy to love. They may have a vibrant personality, a good sense of humor, a smile that lights up the room, a positive attitude or other characteristics that attractive! They may remind you of yourself, your beloved husband or siblings or someone else you love. It is easy to love …Read More

Sickness and Snuggles

November 5, 2013 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

There’s been some kind of virus floating through our house for the past week or so. And as I predicted it would, the illness is slowly making its rounds through the family. Last night we got hit with a “double whammy”. As my husband and I were tucking our sweet China babies into bed we …Read More

Always

October 5, 2013 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 0 Comments

I am the proud mama of four-year-old virtual twins, both adopted from China. And while they were adopted in two separate adoptions, 23 months apart, they are every bit as much of brother and sister as they can be. This has its benefits. The two of them always have a built-in playmate. As their mother, …Read More

Free to Dream

September 15, 2013 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, Jean, older child adoption 5 Comments

What a joyful noise it is when we hear our children tell us what they want to be when they grow up! It was only a few months to a few years ago when words like that would have been completely futile. There was no future and there were no dreams. Life was purely an …Read More

Dealing With Grief

September 5, 2013 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 6 Comments

As pre-adoptive parents prepare to bring our children home, we go through hours upon hours of parent training. Not to mention meetings with our social worker, and any reading we may do on our own to help prepare for the day our new son or daughter joins their forever family. One of the topics that …Read More

Done Or Not?

August 15, 2013 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, Jean, older child adoption 11 Comments

We have brought home 11 children in 5.5 years. We have 2 more still waiting for us in China and we hope to bring them home in November or December. I thought at this point I’d feel peaceful. That somewhere down deep inside of me I would know that we did all that we could …Read More

A Few of My Favorite Things

August 5, 2013 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 3 Comments

It all started nearly three years ago. As soon as we brought our first son home from China, I began scheduling appointments at our local children’s hospital to have specialists review the needs listed in his file. Initially there were four doctors we were working with…then three…and finally we were left only with two as …Read More

We Can’t Do That

July 15, 2013 by nohandsbutours cognitive disability, Jean, older child adoption 2 Comments

When Hubby and I first began our adoption journeys we talked about which special needs we could do and which ones we felt that we couldn’t do. Of course as time went on we changed our minds and brought home children with needs that we had previously said no to. There was one need in …Read More

The One

July 6, 2013 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 1 Comments

It’s hardly been a month since we finalized our son’s adoption. We’re still in the getting settled in and trying to discover our “new normal” phase. The jetlag has passed, we’ve had our first post placement visit with our social worker, and bonding through movies and board games is a key focus of mine. Our …Read More

Gotcha Day

June 5, 2013 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 12 Comments

It was two-and-a-half years ago that I approached the very same building and found a precious baby boy already inside waiting for me. That was the moment I had dreamed of for so many years…I was finally adopting from China. Today was a different scenario. I found myself waiting (not so patiently) in that room …Read More

Your Waiting Child?

April 16, 2013 by nohandsbutours dual adoption, Jean, older child adoption 2 Comments

Welcome to Jean – our newest contributor at No Hands But Ours! Jean and her husband have been married for 31 years and have raised 5 biological children. In 2006 God called them to adopt and he hasn’t stopped calling them. They now have 11 treasures home from China in addition to their 5 older …Read More

Dragons and Snakes

February 17, 2013 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 1 Comments

Xin nian kuai le! Happy Chinese New Year! A week ago today, we rang in the Year of the Snake (oh joy) with our kiddos. I hung up our paper lanterns, decorated the table with Lunar New Year plates and cups from Pottery Barn Kids (check your nearest store now or the website…items are on …Read More

Self-soothing

December 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 9 Comments

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we have faced with our 4-year-old daughter is helping her find a new way to self-soothe. One crucial piece of information that her caretakers failed to tell us on adoption day was that Grace (and presumably all the babies in her orphanage) sucked on a scrap of cloth in …Read More

Identity Crisis

November 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 6 Comments

Last night, my husband and I joined about 180 folks from our city of Birmingham to view the documentary Somewhere in Between, a film that follows four Chinese girls adopted into American families. The movie articulates their challenges with feeling neither completely Chinese, nor totally American. The girls, now in their teens, conclude that they …Read More

Let's Talk Communication

October 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 0 Comments

One of the most common questions we are asked about the adoption of our older child is whether she spoke any English when we brought her home and/or how we’ve dealt with the language barrier. There are many ways to communicate in those first days, weeks, and months. From playing charades (which didn’t work so …Read More

Between a Fork and a Chopstick

October 5, 2012 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Sonia 21 Comments

That’s where I find myself. Between a fork and a chopstick. And that’s where I come to you today asking for some momma advice. I love the way these boys eat. ok in truth….I could do without the slurping…..gag but other than that I have no problem with it. But here’s where I am stuck… …Read More

Keeping the Past in the Present

September 27, 2012 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 5 Comments

“It is kind of almost like a pseudo-open adoption,” the adoption professional said to me as I shared with her about our reunion with our 12-year-old son’s foster family. Absence may not have made their hearts grow stronger—I don’t think the love could be much stronger than it already was—but absence definitely made the hearts …Read More

Fresh Starts

September 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 2 Comments

There’s something about fall that renews my mind and soul. The crisp air that blows in at sunset, the comfort of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice lattes, the anticipation of new activities and routines. I was that dork in college who loved buying new school books at the beginning of the semester. Unmarked pages, unbattered notebooks, unused pens. It’s that …Read More

The Myth of the "New Normal"

September 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Sonia 28 Comments

That’s what it feels like to me. A myth. “New” normal? Normal? Whaaa? I’m completely unfamiliar with that word at the moment. The feeling of being normal is elusive to me. Does “the new normal” really even exist? I wonder this because I cannot, for the life of me, find it. Nothing about our life …Read More

The Surgery That Wasn't

August 27, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 2 Comments

At 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, I was preparing trying to prepare for surgery #14, which was scheduled for the following day, Wednesday, August 22. Yes, that is not a typo. Fourteen surgeries since we brought Li’l Miss home and waited during her six-hour, open-heart surgery on September 30, 2008. Tomorrow was to be the …Read More

Spread Your Wings… But Don't Fly Too Far

August 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 2 Comments

On Monday, Caroline (our adopted 13-year-old) will experience her first day of middle school. While she’s admitted to being nervous once before, she now seems confident and ready. She’s decorated her locker, memorized her schedule, and organized her school supplies. We’re fortunate to be carpooling with another family (who incidentally has an adopted daughter Caroline’s …Read More

He Didn't Get the Memo

August 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Sonia 17 Comments

Have you ever seen the TV show Parenthood? I have. I like that show. Nay. I like-like that show. I love watching family dynamics play out in front of me that I don’t have to stress about or worry over or problem solve It’s a bit like how I learned to be a parent by …Read More

An Adoptee's Reflection on the 1st Year Home

July 20, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 5 Comments

On June 27th, our family celebrated our 13-year-old’s first “Gotcha Day” anniversary. As I was writing out my thoughts that day to share on my personal blog, I wondered what might be going on in Caroline’s head as she reflected back over the last 12 months. I explained my blog to her and asked if …Read More

When Enough is Enough

July 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Sonia 93 Comments

I’m confused. I’m heartbroken. I’m left feeling selfish. And in a perpetual state of prayer and wonder. I remember when John and I were discussing Joshua’s adoption and John felt like Joshua needed to be the last one and I completely agreed. We had been home only 3 months with Jacob and Joey and we …Read More

The Overlooked "Special Need"

June 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 5 Comments

The last twelve days have been filled with joy, awe, gratitude, and love as our family welcomed its sixth member, baby Maryn. We haven’t even reached a year since Caroline’s “Gotcha Day” and another little one has joined our family! Four kids in four years. A friend recently joked that it isn’t a requirement to …Read More

Recalculate

June 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Sonia 14 Comments

When you go on your adoption trip expect it expect to meet Jesus there. I did. And then I walked right past Him. A year and a half later and I am still haunted by my choice. A year and a half ago we had gone to a park one day, you know the one …Read More

Some Things You Just Can’t Get Over

May 27, 2012 by nohandsbutours cl/cp, heart defect, older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 1 Comments

My post is late. My brain feels like mush much of the time. Life is just plain hard right now. For many reasons. I have really struggled with this post. Even going back and forth on a possible topic. I thought it was going to be about foster care. Then attachment. Then our new normal …Read More

In the Palm of My Hand

May 23, 2012 by nohandsbutours albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 8 Comments

Last month, I spent ten days with my three sisters and our mother. Just the five of us. No kids. Cheeky was quite worried about who would cook dinner, do the laundry, clean her new ear piercing, drive her to dance while I was gone. In the weeks before I left, she asked me dozens …Read More

Getting Connected

May 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 1 Comments

I honestly believe that one of the most difficult parts of the adoption journey is that waiting period between being matched with your child and receiving approval to travel and meet your son or daughter face to face. Weeks seem like months as you check off the number of days passed for each step of …Read More

Ripples

May 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours older child adoption, Sonia 9 Comments

I took Jacob down to the bay a few days ago and it was as he tip toed into the water and began to play that I saw it ripples. And it occurred to me how his presence there and then in that moment on that bay was affecting change in the water. There were …Read More