The Power of Touch

August 7, 2019 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Kelly, parent-to-child attachment 0 Comments

Touch is a powerful thing. It can hurt tragically, and it can heal supernaturally. It makes neurons fire in our brain like the fourth of July. Touch is a remarkable God-given tool to build relationship and connection from the neighborly casual to the most intimate. And, it’s something our children who have had hard starts often have …Read More

Giving Our Treasures and Joying Great Joy

December 25, 2018 Christmas, Kelly 0 Comments

…and behold, the same star that they had seen before reappeared, the star they had been watching for, planning for, waiting for. With amazement that all they believed was true was true indeed, they moved forward, and it led them, shining brightly above them and before them until it came to rest over the place …Read More

A Heart to Heart: Explaining Attachment to a Teenager

September 25, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Kelly, orphanage realities, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 5 Comments

A similar post about explaining attachment to a younger child can be found here. Parents talk about a lot of things with other parents. You know that already. Some kids might feel a little annoyed at all the talking. That makes sense to me. If kids think their parents are talking all about them and …Read More

Dear Daughter: Explaining Attachment to My Child

July 9, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Kelly, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 7 Comments

Parents talk about a lot of things with other parents. You know that already. Talking while we drink coffee together, talking over the phone, commenting on each other’s blog posts, commenting back and forth with friends on Facebook —believe it or not, all of that can help us help each other learn how to be …Read More

A Message to my Adopted Daughter after February 14th

February 25, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, Kelly, telling their life story 0 Comments

Dearest daughter, Something really bad happened on February 14th. I know you heard us talking about it. But, I want to explain what I know about it to you because it was a really big deal. It affected a lot of people, and you should know about it. In Florida, about 3 hours from Disney …Read More

While Shepherds Watched

December 25, 2017 Christmas, holidays, Kelly 4 Comments

…not far away, a group of shepherds were guarding the sheep in their care in the darkness of the night. Some rested, while some stayed awake, all of them ready to defend their charges if need be. All of a sudden, without warning, the darkness was replaced by light, glorious light unlike any light of …Read More

Preparing for Adoption: Therapist Q and A Part One

December 12, 2017 Attachment, first weeks home, first year home, Kelly, marriage, Newly Home, October 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption from the Experts, pre-adoption, prepping for China, siblings, TBRI-based therapy, therapy 0 Comments

You’ve dreamt for this day for months, years even. You’ve planned for it, are going to travel halfway around the world for it, and have played it out in your mind a million times. And yet, the reality of becoming a family through adoption is undoubtedly different. As we have focused on Preparing for Adoption, …Read More

Attachment Q & A: What can I do to try to attach myself?

August 26, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2017 Feature - Attachment Q & A, Kelly, parent-to-child attachment 2 Comments

Attachment. Not much more could not be packed into one single word, especially in the adoption world. We spent all of July focusing on this most-important topic and decided to continue into August – but with a bit of a twist. This month, we’re answering your attachment questions. Because we all have them – we …Read More

Answers to My Attachment Questions

July 25, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, first weeks home, first year home, July 2017 Feature - All About Attachment, Kelly, Newly Home, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 2 Comments

4am this morning. Lydia starts crying, not the kind of crying you can hope just quiets on its own. I mean screaming crying, calling our names, “I’m 100% awake” kind of crying. For the third night in a row, I somehow managed to remove myself from our bed to go in there. And, I wasn’t …Read More

What is Attachment?

June 25, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Attachment Disorder, Kelly, RAD, TBRI-based therapy, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

Attachment. It’s a buzz word. Outside the adoption world, people probably have heard it paired with the word parenting to refer to a lifestyle of co-sleeping with toddlers and discouraging mothers and fathers from the cry-it-out method to get their infants to sleep through the night. But, attachment at its core is way more than …Read More

Dear Driver… (and an update)

May 1, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, foster care, foster family, Kelly, Post-Adoption contact 6 Comments

Originally published at the end of December, regular NHBO contributor Kelly Raudenbush shared a letter to an orphanage driver who was searching for information about the child he had once fostered over a decade earlier. Given our April theme of Love Stories, we wanted to share this post once again as well as a remarkable …Read More

Love Stories: What I Saw When I Stopped Searching

April 25, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, Beyond Adoption, Kelly, orphan ministry, other ways to care for the orphan 11 Comments

We are so quick to fill in the blanks, aren’t we? We get one part of a story, and we use our imagination to complete the rest. But it’s too simplistic to do that with the care of orphaned children halfway around the world… to see an image and create a tragic narrative, hear a …Read More

Family Therapy: The Beginning

April 5, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Kelly, TBRI-based therapy, therapy, Trust Based Parenting, Whitney 9 Comments

Everyone said the first year was the hardest. They said that attachment takes time; relationships would grow; I needed to be patient. I listened. Year One passed, and I exhaled, a deep sigh, knowing that the worst was behind us. Except it wasn’t. Year Two progressed, and I became puzzled. Why wasn’t it getting better? …Read More

It Shouldn’t be This Easy

March 2, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, Kelly, parent-to-child attachment, trauma, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments

You spent hours in training. You learned about what trauma is and what it looks like. You probably even have a certificate to prove it. You spent more hours in another type of classroom, reading books that made you stop and catch your breath and blog posts that made you question what you were signing …Read More

It Shouldn’t be This Hard

March 2, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, Kelly, parent-to-child attachment, trauma, Trust Based Parenting 2 Comments

You spent hours in training. You learned about what trauma is and what it looks like. You probably even have a certificate to prove it. You spent more hours in another type of classroom, reading books that made you stop and catch your breath and blog posts that made you question what you were signing …Read More

When You Don’t Know How to Pray

November 25, 2016 Beyond Adoption, Kelly, other ways to care for the orphan 2 Comments

Our Father in heaven, your name is holy. You are a good Father. Reveal yourself in deep and simple ways to those who wait. Let them experience you, the only perfect and ever present Father. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. It’s hard to see your Kingdom …Read More

Meet the Contributors: Kelly

October 20, 2016 Contributor Q and A, Kelly, Meet the Contributors 0 Comments

Continuing today with our series in which we share a short Q and A with one of our contributors to give y’all, our faithful readers, a little more behind-the-scenes insight into the amazing group of writers assembled here. And it will also give each of our contributors a chance to share their heart in a …Read More

Making the Grade: High Fives and Fist Bumps Instead of Hugs, Please

September 25, 2016 attachment challenges, Education, indiscriminate affection, Kelly, pre-school, private school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

I still remember her. She was the best. My 1st grade self loved her big smile and her early 80s old-lady perm. Everyday, she’d stand by the classroom door at the end of the day and hug each and every one of us. I was excited to go to school everyday because of her and her …Read More

Beyond Folded Hands: Praying for China’s Orphans

August 24, 2016 Beyond Adoption, Kelly, orphan ministry, other ways to care for the orphan 0 Comments

I’m not an artist. I’m better with words. At least, that’s what I’ve always believed, that’s what I’ve always told myself. I feel at home with a pen in my hand. It’s familiar and comfortable. I know what to do with it, and I am confident that the ink on the page will eventually produce …Read More

Dear Younger Me, You are Enough

July 25, 2016 July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, Kelly 0 Comments

I’ve been thinking about you lately. Images of you have been coming to mind, and I’ve been remembering little things I heard you say here and there, moments when you said nothing at all, and sighs that said it all. All the memories led me to reach out to you. I think bridging the gap …Read More

What exactly is “smart parenting”?

June 27, 2016 Attachment, Kelly, movies, Parenting Special Needs 9 Comments

I figured when I shared here on NHBO about our decision to wait to see Finding Dory on DVD that it would be a well read post. The movie had just come out which meant that there were a whole lot of mamas and dads perusing the web for reviews and the like before a …Read More

Why We Won’t Be Seeing Finding Dory on the Big Screen

June 23, 2016 birth family, Kelly, movies, telling their life story 41 Comments

*updated to add: due to the wide readership of this post, and the resulting comments, a follow-up post can be found here. Debuting on the 17th, Finding Dory has blown box office records out of the water, making its debut the highest grossing one for animated movies ever. It’s as if the crowds have been …Read More

“I hope you can help me find a family soon…”

April 21, 2016 Advocacy, Children Who Wait, Kelly 1 Comments

Dear Uncle and Aunt, I am very happy to write this letter to you. My name is W____. I’m thirteen years old. I study in the senior class here, and my favorite class is Table Tennis. I desire to be adopted by an American family. When I see some other children going abroad, I really …Read More

The Right Words to the Hard Questions

March 25, 2016 Kelly 0 Comments

Her legs were swinging far from the floor where crumbs gave evidence to which was her favorite place to sit. She crunched away, surely making more to add to the lot. Mark and I chatted about our next trip to China, engaging her in the conversation when we could. There was no real agenda, no …Read More

Celebrating China: Children’s Books

February 2, 2016 books, Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, January 2016 Feature - Celebrating China, Kelly 2 Comments

In years past, I’ve scoured websites and bookshelves for every Chinese New Year/Spring Festival themed kids’ book around to read to our clan in anticipation of the holiday. We found some good ones and some not so good ones. Overthinker that I am, I hope my musings help you decide which ones are worthwhile for …Read More

Celebrating China: A Simple Chinese New Year

January 25, 2016 January 2016 Feature - Celebrating China, Kelly 11 Comments

It’s the single most important holiday of the entire year there. Businesses close and trains literally overflow as people all over China journey home for Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. Despite the rising number of Starbucks scattered about big cities and iPhones all over, traditions not all that different from stockings hung by the …Read More

‘Tis the Season for Hosting

December 25, 2015 Beyond Adoption, December 2015 Feature - Beyond Adoption, Kelly, Living Hope, orphan hosting, other ways to care for the orphan 0 Comments

We thought about it for a few minutes when we got the email from Living Hope about their new orphan hosting program. And, then we moved on. It was a neat thing; it would be great for the families who could do it. We weren’t one of them. We had a lot of reasons not …Read More

Just Three Gifts.

December 2, 2015 Christmas, Kelly 9 Comments

Americans spend about $450 billion on Christmas each year. Astounding really. Way back when, about 15 years ago, when we were expecting our first, we didn’t know anything about any $450 billion. But, we knew we didn’t want to get wrapped up in wrapped-up things and that we wanted to do gifts a bit differently. …Read More

Every Child is Our Child {the blessing of orphanage updates}

October 28, 2015 Kelly, older child adoption, orphanage realities 3 Comments

It was a 100-page labor of love. For months, in anticipation of my visit back to my daughter’s orphanage, I had been collecting updates. I hoped for 25 families to be a part of the update book. In the end, there were 50. I had asked them specific things: their child’s Chinese name and the …Read More

Coming Home: Balancing Their Biggest Needs

September 29, 2015 Attachment, China trip, Kelly, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 0 Comments

Heartache. There’s a lot of that in adoption—the recognition of hard things that can overwhelm us. The images of families receiving their children for the first time often capture it as deep emotions rise to the surface responding to the juxtaposition of loss and gain, of broken relationships and the birth of new ones. Oh, …Read More

Ayi for a Day: {50 for 50 in 5 weeks}

September 1, 2015 Kelly, other ways to care for the orphan 4 Comments

They are oft overlooked much like the children they care for. They live in a place where what you do and how much you make is everything which means they have very little. Watching over and meeting the needs of children with no known roots is hardly considered a career; it’s a job. Some of …Read More

The Back to School Post

August 29, 2015 Education, Kelly, public school 0 Comments

I don’t think our school district fully grasps the whole paperless concept. I’m staring at a stack of forms they’ve called “children’s homework” that I must complete. Somehow, the paperwork required to send our children to public school each year feels like we’re assembling an entire dossier. There’s even a fingerprinting form somewhere in this …Read More


July 27, 2015 China trip, Chinese Culture, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Kelly 9 Comments

China. Whether you’ve been there and back again 10 times or are anxiously awaiting that call telling you it’s time to call your travel agent, you can feel very much a foreigner in a foreign land. As we’ve been those foreigners, there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that may be helpful …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

Caring for her heart

March 25, 2015 Attachment, Kelly 6 Comments

I rarely seem to get the significant conversations when I try to start them. But, I try anyway. I don’t try everyday; neither of us need it everyday. In fact, there have been weeks that go by with no real attempts on my part to open those doors. But, every once in a while, when …Read More

I don’t get it.

February 25, 2015 Chinese Culture, Kelly, one-child policy 8 Comments

I get it. There was a big crisis. In 1979, facing a huge and growing population, Chinese government officials created the “family planning policy” as the solution. Things were turned upside down as families who years before had been encouraged to build China by adding to their family were now told they could have one …Read More

the practice of saying no

January 31, 2015 Kelly, referral 2 Comments

I clung to the steering wheel as if it was a floatation device and I was drowning. It seemed fitting. I felt like I was drowning. There I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store. Mothers with babies on their hips casually walking past my parked car to go pick up milk and …Read More

He was here

December 26, 2014 adoption realities, Kelly 0 Comments

It’s his first Christmas home, his first Christmas with a family. It will take but a few minutes for him to learn that ripping pretty paper leads to special treasures. I’m sure his little Christmas jammies, sticky candy cane lips and fingers, and the smile that fills his face will speak of only delight. We …Read More

We’re good

November 25, 2014 adoption realities, Kelly 2 Comments

Coats were on and heads were being counted when she shared it with me.   “Mommy, I have to tell you something. A girl in my class said, ‘Is your mom Chinese?’ I said, ‘No.’ Then, she said, ‘Well, you have Chinese eyes so your mom has to be Chinese.’ But, I told her, ‘No, …Read More

two boys in China

October 25, 2014 Kelly 0 Comments

Two boys in China right now. Separated by many miles and many years. Both of their stories are only known to me in pieces, in a few words shared by the oldest’s teacher and in a few smiles with the sweetest little chicklet teeth from the other. As I lay awake, trying to convince my …Read More

Spicing it up

October 13, 2014 Kelly, marriage 2 Comments

Remember that time you gathered your things and tiptoed out of the back of a classroom hoping no one would notice because you discovered you were in the wrong class? Sit back down. You aren’t in the wrong place. This is not the typical post you find here, but it’s written for you. It was …Read More

Brave New World

September 13, 2014 Kelly 3 Comments

She’s living her childhood dream. I can still hear her squeaky little 3-year-old voice saying, “I do! I do! I do!” It’s been her mantra really over the years. And, now, it’s her turn. She’s finally part of the club whose membership card is a backpack. She’s a school girl. While her brothers and sister …Read More

Eye contact {tips for your toolbox}

July 25, 2014 Kelly 12 Comments

We received a surprise gift the day we received our daughter 4 years ago. Dimples. Not just any dimples, the most adorable little dimples. The kind that show up even before the smile breaks, giving away that she’s about to lose the staring contest. I love them. While we got to see them that first …Read More

The adoption process isn't really the hard part

June 25, 2014 adoption realities, Chinese Culture, Kelly 18 Comments

Picture it—a roomful of adoptive and preadoptive mothers. It’s a little quiet, and you’re in charge of getting some conversation going. Likely, the easiest way to start a buzz is to open up the floor to (1) odd things people have said to you about adoption or (2) the red-tape, long wait, and high costs …Read More

Land of the free

May 26, 2014 Kelly 0 Comments

Memorial Day. Pools everywhere open for the season. Grills are fired up. Sparkles are sparkling. That’s what it’s always been—a day off and a homecoming party for our good friend summer. I wouldn’t say I grew up without a patriotic heart; I knew all the words to the national anthem and belt out the alto …Read More

The Adoption Tetrad

April 25, 2014 Kelly 7 Comments

I still read them, the blogs of families traveling in China meeting their children and bringing them home. The images of their first moments together and a mother’s first words after meeting her child never fail to draw me in. But, this blog was different. This post was the first of what I hope is …Read More

Yes, No, Maybe*

March 25, 2014 adoption realities, Chinese Culture, Kelly 7 Comments

Neatly laid out in Times New Roman in alphabetical order are a list of labels, special needs, what China calls diseases. Albinism…Anal atresia…Cerebral palsy…Cleft lip/cleft palate…Club foot…Congenital heart disease…Delayed development…Down syndrome…Hemofacial macrosomia…Hemangioma…Microtia…Syndactyly… Some of them you’ve heard of. Others you struggle to pronounce, and you wonder if they’re even in English. Little “x”s in columns …Read More

Children’s Adoption Books

February 25, 2014 adoption realities, books, Chinese Culture, Kelly 6 Comments

I may hesitate a little when I part with teeny tiny onesies and sneakers that have run one too many miles. But, our children’s books? They aren’t going anywhere. In fact, we converted one of our bedrooms into a “library” to house them all. They are overflowing and really need a good purging. But, I …Read More

An Advocate

January 25, 2014 adoption realities, Chinese Culture, Kelly 0 Comments

It had been a rough few days. I had advocated for a little boy once. A family stepped forward for him, traveled to China for him, and came home without him. Then, there I was, advocating for him again in a post on a Friday afternoon, after which I spent the following several days dealing …Read More

He is there

December 23, 2013 adoption realities, Kelly 0 Comments

Christmas 2009. Four Christmases ago. I was a wreck. We were so close to finding our new daughter. I just knew it would be a few weeks after Christmas; I hoped it would be a few weeks after Christmas. I was filled with expectation that Christmas. And, that meant that though I didn’t know who …Read More

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