A Christmas Love Story

December 29, 2018 Attachment, Christmas, Mandy, telling their life story 1 Comments

I often hear adults proclaim that as we grow older, the magic of Christmas fades. When I think about past Christmases, there were many where I felt despair and loneliness. Christmas didn’t feel magical; it was a reminder of a missing loved one, family conflict, a recent divorce, financial stress, infertility, rejection, medical issues, and …Read More

We Found My Daughter’s Birth Family: What I Wish I Had Known

May 29, 2018 birth family, birth family, birth family search, DNA and genetic testing, Mandy, Post-Adoption contact, telling their life story 10 Comments

Over the past five months, I’ve been reflecting on our young daughter’s successful birth parent search. Were there things I wish I had known or I’m glad we did? Are there regrets I have? This article will be adoptive-parent centric, because it is written from my perspective as an adoptive mom who lived through a …Read More

Making Self-Care a Reality: How to Find a Nanny

April 30, 2018 Childcare scenarios, Mandy, nanny, Trust Based Parenting 1 Comments

Over the past year, my husband and I have made a commitment to take better care of ourselves. One of the key ways we’ve made self-care a reality is by hiring a nanny to help our family. Most weeks, our nanny works 10-20 hours helping our family. Our nanny helps our family in a variety …Read More

Chinese New Year Crafts: Creating Memories Together

February 5, 2018 Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, February 2018 Feature - Honoring China in the Everyday, Mandy 0 Comments

Each year, my kids and I work together to decorate our home with Chinese New Year crafts that we make. They are little artists who love to create, and so, it is one way we attempt to make memories around the Lunar New Year and embrace their heritage. Though many of the crafts we do …Read More

We Traveled the World for Her Twice: How We Found Our Daughter’s Birth Family

December 29, 2017 birth family, birth family, birth family search, DNA and genetic testing, embracing their story, heritage trip, Mandy, orphanage, Post-Adoption contact, telling their life story 32 Comments

“An adoptee’s curiosity about one’s past is not a rejection of one’s present nor a sign of unhappiness or dysfunction. It’s exploring what should be the adoptee’s already — knowledge of one’s personal history and family members.” – Tara Vanderwoude, Social worker, advocate, educator For Christmas this year, my five-year-old daughter asked for a special …Read More

A Lesson in Beauty and Brokenness from My Daughter

September 29, 2017 limb difference, Mandy, September 2017 Feature - Visible Special Needs, visible special need 1 Comments

We were walking along the shore on the final night of our family vacation. I marveled at her beauty as she stood along the shore staring out into the sea. A storm just passed through and the emerald green waves swirled with the most picturesque foam. Seeing her standing there so confident, I took in …Read More

Attachment Q & A: Co-Sleeping After Years Home

August 29, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, August 2017 Feature - Attachment Q & A, co-sleeping, Mandy, parent-to-child attachment, trauma, Trust Based Parenting 9 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

Speaking Blessings

June 30, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, Mandy, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 2 Comments

My first semester teaching full-time as a university professor, I felt in over my head and was sure that I was not equipped to successfully fulfill this role. I was closer in age to most of my students than my colleagues and could list 1,001 reasons why I wasn’t qualified. It was easy to get …Read More

Embracing a Traumaversary

May 29, 2017 adoption realities, attachment activities, Mandy, parent-to-child attachment, TBRI-based therapy, Theraplay, trauma, Trust Based Parenting 6 Comments

For me, there is something about the month of April. The grass in Oklahoma seems to grow in neon green, the dark tree branches of winter are graced with life, the redbud trees begin to blossom with delicate purple flowers, and the sunshine starts to kiss my skin with hints of summer. I can literally …Read More

Twice as Lucky: Adopting a Child with Bilateral Limb Differences

April 29, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting again, limb difference, Mandy, Orthopedic, symbrachydactyly 1 Comments

“How does your son do it?” I am frequently asked this question by loving, curious, and experienced friends in the special needs adoption community who want to know how our son navigates the world with bilateral upper limb differences. Having already adopted one child with unilateral limb differences, we also wondered how our son would …Read More

My Daughter, The Teacher

January 29, 2017 limb difference, Mandy, symbrachydactyly, visible special need 3 Comments

We were in the waiting room at our kids’ new pediatrician’s office when another little boy saw my daughter’s limb difference and ran away to his mom because Lydia’s limb difference scared him. Five minutes later, a little girl ran up to Lydia and Barrett, and with a grotesque look on her face said, “What …Read More

A Doll Like Me: One Adoptive Family’s Story

December 18, 2016 Mandy, port wine stain, Sturge Weber Syndrome, Vascular System, visible special need 0 Comments

As the mom of two children with visible differences, I am always looking for books and toys to help my kids celebrate their differences. This week, my mom called to tell me all about a story she saw on television of a beautiful little girl named Corina who was adopted from China. My mom said …Read More

Coming Home During the Holidays

November 29, 2016 adoption realities, China trip, first weeks home, first year home, holidays, Mandy, Newly Home 2 Comments

To the family coming home during the holidays, During the past several months you have longed for and dreamt about those first precious moments when your child would join your family. You’ve dreamt what his hair would feel like and you have imagined kissing his kissable cheeks. And now, your family is plus one in …Read More

When Mom Works: A Working Mom Who Paused Her Career

October 31, 2016 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Mandy, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, Theraplay, Trust Based Parenting, working mom 4 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

When Mom Works: You Know You Are a Working Adoptive Mom When…

October 29, 2016 Mandy, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, working mom 0 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

Top 10 Signs it’s Back to School

August 29, 2016 adoption realities, Education, IEP, Mandy, pre-school, private school, public school, trauma 2 Comments

Trauma mamas and babas, our kids are headed back to school. And this season of life causes us to rejoice that summer is over while also fearing the change in routine for our kids from hard places. You know it is back to school time when — 10. You debate what to share, if to …Read More

Dear Younger Me, Joy Comes with the Morning

July 29, 2016 Attachment, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, Mandy, Trust Based Parenting 3 Comments

Dear Younger Me. There you are, flying across the country to learn from Dr. Karyn Purvis and driving to Alabama to complete adoption training. There you are, reading every adoption book you can get your hands on. There you are, doing what you always do when approaching something new, you learn everything you possibly can. …Read More

Books as Tools for Adoptive Families: My Family’s Favorites

June 29, 2016 books, June 2016 Feature - Books, Mandy 2 Comments

My colleague Maxie once told me that carpenters carry hammers, doctors carry medical tools to bring healing, but the tools of professors are books. As I have morphed from professor to “mommy professor” as Lydia calls me, this statement has stuck with me, and I have found that books are important tools to help our …Read More

Do They Look Like Siblings?

May 27, 2016 adoption realities, limb difference, Mandy, siblings 4 Comments

Lots of people are curious about Lydia and Barrett’s relationship—a brother and sister relationship formed through adoption. “Do they look like siblings?” I never know if this means whether they resemble each other or what. “Are they real brother and sister?” Well, here is big sister Lydia encouraging little brother Barrett that he can climb …Read More

Preparing Big Sister for Our Second Adoption and the Trip to China

March 29, 2016 adopting again, attachment activities, China trip, February 2016 Feature - Siblings, Gotcha Day, Mandy, prepping for China, toddler adoption 4 Comments

Two years ago, my daughter Lydia walked into our hotel room in Nanchang, China and became our daughter. She was our first child. In that moment, three lives changed forever. When we made the decision to write a Letter of Intent to adopt our son 22 months later, I knew we would need to be …Read More

Meet the Contributors: Mandy and Bryson

February 28, 2016 a father's perspective, Bryson, Contributor Q and A, Mandy, Meet the Contributors 3 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

Tackling Food Issues: My Family’s Experience with “Love Me, Feed Me”

January 29, 2016 Attachment, food issues, Mandy, orphanage behaviors 12 Comments

“Knowing deep within us that someone is going to feed us when we are hungry is how trust and love begin…” – Mister Rogers (as cited by Rowell, 2012, p. 2). I want you to be very candid with me. When you think about meal time with your children, what words or phrases initially come …Read More

A Plan to Survive the First Weeks Home

December 29, 2015 Attachment, China trip, cocooning, first weeks home, Mandy, Newly Home, prepping for China, Theraplay, toddler adoption, waiting to travel 11 Comments

Adoption is hard. The first few weeks home can be brutal or not. For us, it is hard, but I am not super mom. I am so tired. The kind of tired that makes your bones ache and makes you laugh when things aren’t really that funny. We adopted our second child, a son, 21 …Read More

My Mind is in China

November 9, 2015 China trip, Mandy, prepping for China 16 Comments

I am of little use to you, dear one, because my mind is in China. My body is in Arkansas and my mind is half a world away thinking about a little boy who is about to become my son. My son! My sister speaks of this thing called “pregnancy brain” and I am convinced …Read More

It Takes a Village: A Heartfelt Thank You

October 30, 2015 2015 Featured Fundraising Families, fundraisers, fundraising for adoption, Mandy, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village 4 Comments

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep …Read More

Tag His Bag

October 26, 2015 2015 Featured Fundraising Families, Bryson, fundraisers, Mandy 2 Comments

**we are overjoyed to update with this post with the news that this precious family is FULLY FUNDED – thank you so much to everyone in the NHBO community who donated to help bring the littlest Moore home!** We would love to introduce you to the Moores! Actually, if you read No Hands But Ours …Read More

Embracing Loss

September 29, 2015 adoption realities, embracing their story, infertility, Mandy 0 Comments

It’s something about the weather — that point where I know the hot and humid days of summer are coming to a close, and yet the cold days of fall have yet to greet me. It is as if summer and fall coexist briefly. The slightly chilly air and the warm sun dance across my …Read More

Intimacy in Marriage When Co-Sleeping and Cocooning: How We Are Approaching it Differently for our Next Adoption

August 9, 2015 Attachment, co-sleeping, cocooning, Mandy, marriage 5 Comments

  image by Main Street Studios An adoptive mom recently sent me a message. “Hey Mandy, I know this might be private, but has co-sleeping with your child taken a toll on the intimacy between you and your husband?” I am so grateful my friend asked the question I did not have the courage to …Read More

What Should I Pack for China?: My Best Attempt at a Comprehensive Packing List

July 29, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Mandy, packing list, travel tips 9 Comments

One of the questions I see most often in China Adoption Facebook groups is “What should I pack for China?” Naturally, I had this question the first time I adopted from China. When I approached this task, I did what I always do: I researched. Every time someone posted in a DTC Facebook group a …Read More

Let’s Hear it for the Dads

June 29, 2015 Attachment, Dads, Mandy 0 Comments

Baba. Daddy. Dad. Your name is worthy of celebration. You are worthy of celebration.   Your name is powerful. For our children, your name means comfort, safety, strength. Perhaps you were the daddy that our child was scared of, and so lovingly and patiently, you pursued our little one. It took time, lots of time …Read More

My Daughter’s Red Thread

May 29, 2015 adoption community, adoption realities, Mandy 3 Comments

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.” – Unknown The day Lydia was placed in my arms (what many call “gotcha day”), I had so much excitement and anticipation. I was about to become a mom for the first time and see …Read More

Making The Decision to See an Attachment Therapist: How Theraplay is Helping My Family

April 29, 2015 April/May 2015 Feature Attachment, Attachment, attachment activities, first year home, Mandy, Theraplay, Trust Based Parenting 4 Comments

My phone rang and it was a call from my adoption agency’s post-adoption team.  “So Mandy, how is it going?” the post-adoption social worker asked.  We had been home just a couple of months from China, but it felt like so much longer.  Everything was hard in those early days.   “We need help,” I …Read More

Love is Patient

March 29, 2015 Attachment, first year home, Mandy 6 Comments

“You are such a good mommy,” she whispered in her sweet little voice as her head melted into my shoulder and her fingers delicately twirled my hair.  I could feel in that split second, her guard was completely down, her back was not stiff, she felt my love for her, and was brave enough to …Read More

How Children’s Books Helped My Family

March 1, 2015 Attachment, books, first year home, Mandy, Trust Based Parenting 1 Comments

Dr. Karyn Purvis said, “If you didn’t teach your child something then don’t assume he knows or understands it.” We have found this to be very true in our family. When my daughter joined our family last year, people were often curious about how her English language was progressing. Some assumed this would be the …Read More

My Oxygen Mask

January 29, 2015 adoption community, first year home, Mandy 7 Comments

Excited to share the first post from Mandy, our newest contributor on No Hands But Ours. Mandy shared her family’s story about a month ago and has joined NHBO as a monthly contributor for 2015. She and her husband Bryson have one daughter, Lydia Grace, and are now in the process to bring home another …Read More

She is Perfectly and Wonderfully Made

December 31, 2014 Family Stories, guest post, limb difference, Mandy, symbrachydactyly 6 Comments

My husband Bryson and I knew we would grow our family through adoption when we got married 12.5 years ago. His family served as a foster family welcoming 18 children into their home during his childhood, and I spent time volunteering at an orphanage in Southeast Asia as a teen. These experiences were transformational in …Read More

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