Holidays and Celebrations

February 5, 2014 by nohandsbutours heart defect, older child adoption, Tara 3 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 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 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 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 Attachment, Jean, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment 6 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 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

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 delay, 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 adopting two at once, 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, large families, older child adoption, orphanage realities, Realities, should we adopt?, Sonia 104 Comments

sonia

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

He said IT

April 3, 2012 by nohandsbutours older child adoption, Sonia 10 Comments

He said it. Granted, he said it in rage. he said it anger. But regardless of why he still said it…. You are not my mama. Looked me right in the eye and screamed it into my face You are NOT my mama. Been home a little over a year and that is what came …Read More

Earrings (or Why I’m Not Ready for the Big 1-0)

March 24, 2012 by nohandsbutours albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee, Skin Conditions 3 Comments

cheekybirthday

I remember when my four older kids were babies. People would ask, “How old is s/he?”, and I would respond with the number of days or weeks or months. Eventually, my babies became toddlers, and my answer changed from the number of weeks or months to the number of years. The same happened when Cheeky …Read More

Measuring Progress

March 17, 2012 by nohandsbutours Kelley, older child adoption 7 Comments

In just a few weeks, we will celebrate two years since our 3-year-old daughter’s Gotcha Day. In almost every way, it feels like Grace has been in our family since the very beginning of her life. She is not only fluent in English but has an advanced vocabulary (which she shows off in her Southern …Read More

Adopting the Older Child: Questions Answered

February 29, 2012 by nohandsbutours older child adoption, Wife of the Prez 2 Comments

In the past 20 months since bringing home an older child, I have often been asked questions and a compilation of those along with my answers are below. I do answer emails sometimes, but when I don’t it is often lack of time. With this post, I hope to be able to answer some of …Read More

trust and pretty shoes

February 21, 2012 by nohandsbutours a father's perspective, Adrian, Attachment, older child adoption 1 Comments

Trust is a funny thing.  You kind of don’t notice it, until it is gone… or was never there. I think the sword and shield is the universal symbol for “I don’t trust you yet!” Me:  Okay Ping, we have to run into my work for a second, then we will go home. Ping:  Okay. …Read More

Sleepless in Beijing

November 21, 2011 by nohandsbutours a father's perspective, Adrian, older child adoption, spina bifida 0 Comments

So the wife is currently in China, and I’m still here in Canada.The Wife, BigD (our 2nd eldest son) and our new son Lukai are about 5 days away from coming home.There have been a great many thing which I’ve learned over the last few weeks.  Some of them related to adoption, most related to …Read More

Oh no, they are just like me!

May 21, 2011 by nohandsbutours a father's perspective, Adrian, older child adoption 0 Comments

Waiting at midnight for StarCraft II to be released… Son #2 (D):  Daddy!  DAD!!!Me:  What?  Is something wrong?D:  No.  I just need to know how to say something.Me:  Oh, sure.  What are you trying to say?D:  Your mother has a smooth forehead.Me:  Your mother has a what?D:  It’s Klingon!Me:  Yes, I know that.  It’s also …Read More

Dear Cheeky, I Love You

March 31, 2011 by nohandsbutours albinism, birth family, older child adoption, Shirlee 0 Comments

Nine birthdays minus seven birthdays equals two birthdays. And Cheeky counts them. Last year. This year. Just as she counted her gifts this morning and noted that she had two more than she did on her eighth birthday. Does that mean we love her more now than we did then? Probably didn’t even cross her …Read More

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Chaos

February 21, 2011 by nohandsbutours a father's perspective, Adrian, older child adoption, spina bifida 0 Comments

Wife:  I have to head back to Winnipeg for a couple of weeks.Me:  Sure, no problem.  Here, let me help you pack the bags for the kids.Wife:  Oh no, the kids are staying here.Me:  hahahaa… oh, for a second there, I thought you said the kids were staying here.Wife:  They are.Me:  hahaha… oh, that’s funny. …Read More

The Care and Keeping of the Broken Heart

January 25, 2011 by nohandsbutours albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 0 Comments

hearts

I planned a different blog today. I planned to write about the care and keeping of Cheeky’s hair. We’ve had issues, you see. Food in the hair issues. Marker in the hair issues. Paint in the hair issues. With the big day coming up (have I mentioned that Cheeky is a firefly in a ballet?), I …Read More

Sink or Swim

January 21, 2011 by nohandsbutours a father's perspective, adoption realities, Adrian, older child adoption, Parenting Special Needs 0 Comments

Our daughter Ping has Spina Bifida.  Normally her Special Need doesn’t impact her day to day activities.  There have been the odd emergency trip to the Spina Bifida Clinic… and the numerous check ups, and test, and MRIs, and neurology type things… but other than that… her Spina Bifida has not been on the forefront …Read More

Catch a Grenade For You

December 21, 2010 by nohandsbutours a father's perspective, Adrian, older child adoption 0 Comments

Daughter #1 (G):  Daddy, why did that man say Grenade?Me:  Huh?  What?G:  In the song Daddy.  Listen.  He says Grenade.Me:  Okay… let me turn it up… I’d catch a grenade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)Throw my hand on a blade for ya (yeah, yeah, yeah)I’d jump in front of a train for ya (yeah, yeah …Read More

Collision of Two Cultures

November 7, 2010 by nohandsbutours guest post, older child adoption 0 Comments

One year ago two worlds collided in Eastern China as a 13-year-old boy met his American parents for the first time. What was to follow would be a dance of sorts, some missed footing, some stepping on toes, loss of rhythm… and finally, a year later, a harmonious blend of steps we call life. To …Read More

Puddles

October 22, 2010 by nohandsbutours older child adoption, Shirlee 2 Comments

puddles

I admit, I’ve been hesitant to post this story. There are two reasons for that. First, I didn’t want to offend those of a more squeamish nature. Second, I didn’t want to embarrass Cheeky. After a couple of months of thinking it over, though, I realized that what happened that day isn’t about embarrassment. It …Read More

All The Things She Doesn’t Say

August 20, 2010 by nohandsbutours albinism, older child adoption, Shirlee 0 Comments

Sometimes the things our children don’t say are the most important. We went on a walk yesterday. Cheeky is much smaller than my other kids. Shorter legs, weaker body, sweet, sunny personality that gives her no need to move fast, those things make walking a little challenging for my youngest. She tries, though. Oh, how she …Read More

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