Knit Together

October 13, 2016 Amy, complex heart defect, Heart System, kyphosis, scoliosis, surgery, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula 5 Comments

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your eyes saw my unformed body when I was knit together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139 I can count on two hands the physical diagnoses our little Chinese warrior princess has in her medical history: tetralogy of Fallot (repaired) tracheoesophageal fistula (repaired) stricture of esophagus tracheomalacia chronic …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

Dear Younger Me: Five Things I Want You to Know

July 11, 2016 adoption realities, Amy, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula 1 Comments

I have been a mother for eighteen years because I count pregnancy as motherhood. Our oldest daughter is 17 1/2, currently college shopping, and heading into her senior year of high school. Our son is a 185 pound football-and-basketball playing, learning to drive, almost 16 year old. Then in May of 2013, after a 12 …Read More

All for One, One for All

March 9, 2016 Amy, pre-adoption, should we adopt?, sibling perspective, waiting for referral 2 Comments

I remember several times over about 5 years talking to Jesus about adoption. I remember telling Him that I would if I could, but… my husband wasn’t on board. it was too expensive. it wasn’t the right time. the kids are too old. the kids are too young. our house doesn’t have any more room …Read More

Her History Matters

February 11, 2016 Amy, protecting their story, telling their life story 1 Comments

We have been highlighting ideas for ways to honor Chinese heritage while celebrating Chinese New Year (and Chinese holidays). I have some goals as the mother of a four year old Chinese daughter. I hope to have a dumpling making day with our family and extended family and feast on homemade dumplings, and oranges, and …Read More

Right On Time

December 11, 2015 Amy, referral, waiting for referral 6 Comments

I was messaging with a friend who is in the paperwork portion of their adoption. I love being a resource for people who have questions or need encouragement because those people for me were lifelines during a time in our life where we sometimes needed one. Sometimes I just needed someone who had gone before …Read More

You Came Home on an Airplane

November 11, 2015 Amy, birth family, November 2015 Feature - Embracing Their Story, telling their life story 0 Comments

I remember talking with our social worker almost four years ago about things that would come up in conversation with our adopted child someday; more specifically – “what will you tell her about how she came to be yours?” At the time we were 9 months away from receiving her referral, therefore we didn’t know …Read More

Not Okay

October 11, 2015 adoption community, adoption realities, Amy 1 Comments

I think a good lot of us have a little habit of telling un-truths. Specifically, when asked a common question such as, “how are you?”, we respond with “I’m ok” or “I’m good” or “I’m fine” – when in fact, we are not. Sometimes we are not ok. It might be a day, a week, …Read More

Coming Home: With a Sick Child

September 11, 2015 Amy, Attachment, cocooning, Medical Momma, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home, surgery 0 Comments

We all imagine what it will be like when finally the paperwork is complete and we can see the face of our new child and begin to prepare for him or her. Then, after referral (if that is the order for you, it was for us) we make plans, consult specialists, send photos or stuffed …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

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


June 11, 2015 Amy 7 Comments

Things kind and well meaning people say to, about, or in front of our adopted daughter: “What a lucky little girl to be in your family.” “She is very lucky that you adopted her.” “Aren’t you so lucky to live here?” “She is really lucky to have you.” “You are so lucky, Grace. Do you …Read More

Mothers Day

May 11, 2015 Amy, birth family 2 Comments

I know it’s really spelled “Mother’s Day”. Everyone knows that. The apostrophe means it’s a day for a Mother. It’s her day. It’s the day to reflect on what a Mother means to their child. It’s a day to remember a Mother or a Grandmother who is no longer with us and how her life …Read More

Getting Closer

April 11, 2015 Amy, Attachment, co-sleeping, cocooning, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments

Our daughter was nineteen months and four days old when she was handed to us in an alley outside the Civil Affairs office in north west China. We read and prepared as much as we could to attach to each other in a healthy way. We followed all of the rules as best we could. …Read More

Golden Time

March 11, 2015 Amy, referral 1 Comments

I was texting with a friend yesterday who is a few months away from one year anniversary of her LID (log in date). She still has no referral. Their story is very different than ours because we sent the dossier on a Monday and 10 days later had our referral call. We weren’t logged in. Our entire …Read More

My Warrior

February 11, 2015 Amy, heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheoesophagel fistula 0 Comments

“She is a fighter. It’s what kept her alive. We love it when our heart babies are fighters. Her body has adapted wonderfully for as long as she has lived without this surgery.” ~ Pediatric Cardiologist I knew Grace was a warrior before we even laid eyes on each other in person. I knew enough …Read More

All Things New

January 11, 2015 Amy, toddler adoption 1 Comments

It seems as though it’s becoming popular to claim a “word” for the new year rather than a resolution. I get it. There have been some years where I was certain that a word cycled intentionally through my soul from Jesus Himself. I would encounter it in music and feel that stirring in my soul. …Read More

A Beautiful Mess

December 7, 2014 adoption realities, Amy, Attachment 19 Comments

“Imagine the exhaustion of Christmas, Thanksgiving, a wedding, a funeral, and childbirth in one day, and that would almost be Gotcha Day.” This is how I recently described Gotcha Day on a friend’s facebook feed, mostly for the benefit of their family and friends to get a perspective beyond the dramatic and romanticized “Gotcha Day” …Read More


November 24, 2014 Amy, kyphosis, scoliosis, tethered cord, Tetralogy of Fallot 7 Comments

I knew to be prepared for undiagnosed needs when we set out to adopt. We prepared for the reality that a heart condition would be worse than we originally anticipated it would be. While we went through the list of needs that we would consider or not consider we had to imagine that what we would believe would …Read More

Daddy Issues

November 7, 2014 Amy, Attachment 3 Comments

When we first met our little one in Urumqi, a northwestern city in the XinJiang province, she quickly attached to our oldest child, our then 14 year old daughter. Next in line was me, then our then 12 year old son, and coming in dead last was my husband. We fiercely loved this child for …Read More

everyone stared

October 7, 2014 adoption realities, Amy 14 Comments

There was a time when I had two children ages 3 and under. They were born healthy with no delays of any kind. They were held from the moment they were born, I nursed them both, I was a stay at home mom until they were in school, and for the most part they were …Read More

This too shall pass

August 7, 2014 Amy 11 Comments

We have been so blessed with a latent case of “the terrible twos”. We have survived post adoption adjustments, attachment business, health-related-drama, and we have settled uncomfortably into some terrible-two kind of living. Lord have mercy. And when I say terrible – I mean terrible, horrible, nogood, very bad. I’m talking screaming, throw down tantrums, …Read More

More than I could bear

June 7, 2014 Amy, esophageal stenosis, scoliosis, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula, VACTERL 6 Comments

Sometimes I forget that we have a child who is a “heart baby”, a lifelong cardiac patient, a survivor. I see her scars everyday. Scars from a surgery I wasn’t present for, scars from one I was; and, I have come to love what they represent. They are a daily reminder of healing, a unique …Read More

become a Mentoring Mom

June 2, 2014 Amy, Mentoring Moms, Rebecca, Stefanie 7 Comments

I am so. excited. This project has been in the *dream* stage for a long time. But with a website overhaul pending, and realizing our need for more organizational and informational supports to make NHBO all it can be, the time to turn this dream into reality is now. Joining me on this adventure are …Read More

Surviving Gotcha Day

May 7, 2014 Amy, esophageal stenosis, scoliosis, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula, VACTERL 4 Comments

A year ago today we had spent only one day with our daughter. After arriving in China, we spent 3 days in Beijing, visited the place she called Home for almost a year and met the women she called “mama”. Then we traveled to XinJiang, her province, tried to sleep on Gotcha Day Eve, and …Read More

“but it said repaired”

April 7, 2014 Amy, esophageal stenosis, scoliosis, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula, VACTERL 0 Comments

I vividly remember reading our referral paperwork. I remember first reading the descriptions of her developmental milestones and evaluated her development through mom and teacher goggles… “she follows objects… she is tracking… she is grasping things… she is babbling and forming simple sounds… she turns her head when there is a noise… she can hear …Read More

TEF, TOF, and VACTERL, oh my

March 7, 2014 Amy, esophageal stenosis, scoliosis, Tetralogy of Fallot, tracheo-malacia, tracheoesophagel fistula, VACTERL 4 Comments

Don’t you love those acronyms? I have come to really appreciate the time they save, the space they save, and that I can safely dodge oodles of mispronunciation. For example, until 2012 those letter sequences meant nothing to me. If someone would have told me years ago how much I would come to know about …Read More

the greatest special need of all

February 7, 2014 Amy, Attachment, scoliosis, Tetralogy of Fallot 8 Comments

Welcome to Amy, mom to Grace adopted from China 8 months ago, and our newest contributor at No Hands But Ours. Amy blogs at Stops Along the Journey. Special needs. We hear those words so often in so many places; schools, adoption agencies, the work place, fast food restaurants, and facebook. Adoptive parents who choose …Read More

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