Attachment Through the Years: 7 Years Home

August 29, 2018 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Contributor Q and A, July 2018 Feature - Attachment Through the Years, Nicole, parent-to-child attachment, Trust Based Parenting 0 Comments

Attachment. It’s a word that, at some point of the adoption journey, will bring every parent to their knees – either in frustration over all that seems to be lacking or gratitude for heart-shaped milestones reached. This month we are focusing on attachment over the long(er) term… not weeks or months home. But years down …Read More

Honoring China in the Everyday: Books

February 18, 2018 books, Chinese Culture, Chinese history, February 2018 Feature - Honoring China in the Everyday, Nicole 0 Comments

With the Lunar New Year holiday in full swing, it’s a terrific time to add a few titles to our China library!   Especially given that we were just studying a little bit of Chinese history during the Middle Ages, these new titles are perfectly timed. We read through all but the last of these …Read More

Honoring China in the Everyday: When Simple is Just Right

February 15, 2018 Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, February 2018 Feature - Honoring China in the Everyday, Nicole 0 Comments

I had an uh-oh moment last week when I realized that Chinese New Year was just over a week away and we still hadn’t made any plans to celebrate. It didn’t sneak up on me. In fact, China’s biggest holiday has been marked on the calendar since before the new year. But truthfully, this has …Read More

Honoring China in the Everyday: Vegetarian Dumplings

February 1, 2018 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, February 2018 Feature - Honoring China in the Everyday, Nicole, recipes 0 Comments

Happy Year of the Dog! February 16th marks the start of the Chinese New Year and this February at NHBO we are focusing on ways to incorporate our children’s birth culture into the everyday. We’ll be sharing posts from parents who are doing this in big, elaborate ways and some in simple, small ways… but …Read More

Weaving In Chinese Culture: Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

September 28, 2017 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Nicole, recipes 0 Comments

Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is quickly approaching – this year it falls on October 4th! As we send our children off to school with love (or in my case, send them to the dining room table), I can’t help but reflect on all for which I’m thankful. During this incredibly busy season, the famous Moon …Read More

Celebrating China: Homemade Bāozi

September 21, 2017 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Nicole, recipes 2 Comments

Chinese Bāozi is a much-loved dish in our family, so I was really looking forward to making it from scratch! Homemade always tastes more delicious than store-bought, at least in my opinion. There’s something special about freshly-made homemade dough, though it can be somewhat time consuming to pull together. Stuffing the buns could be a …Read More

Attachment Q & A: Reaching for Strangers

August 24, 2017 Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, August 2017 Feature - Attachment Q & A, baby-wearing, cocooning, first year home, indiscriminate affection, Newly Home, Nicole 0 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

It’s Children’s Day!

June 1, 2017 Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Nicole 0 Comments

Értóng Jié Kuàilè! Happy Children’s Day! On June 1, the Chinese celebrate Children’s Day. Internationally, it is celebrated on several different days. It’s a day to remember and celebrate children, the future custodians of the country. The holiday’s origins date back to a 1925 international conference, with the intention to bring about child welfare awareness. …Read More

Celebrating China: The Dragon Boat Festival

May 30, 2017 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Nicole 0 Comments

My first introduction to Duān Wǔ Jié, or Dragon Boat Festival, was in June of 2011 when my husband and I were in China to adopt our daughter. It was the first time I had ever stepped foot on Chinese soil. I knew very little about Chinese holidays and even less about Chinese culture. So …Read More

An American-Chinese Treat: Fried Crab Wontons

January 26, 2017 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Nicole, recipes 0 Comments

Although Fried Crab Wontons are not authentic Chinese food, they make an appearance at many of our family gatherings, especially the ones celebrating Chinese holidays. We’ll definitely be making them for Spring Festival, coming up in just a few days! A friend taught us how to make his recipe years ago, and we’ve been using …Read More

Homemade Jiǎozi: Making Chinese New Year a Family Affair

January 14, 2017 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, Nicole, recipes 3 Comments

I learned to make dumplings a few years ago when we hosted an exchange student from China. Everyone in the family enjoys eating them, and the process is so fun! Making dumplings, or jiǎozi, is definitely a social affair – it’s meant to be shared as a group. We enjoy making and eating them to …Read More

Making the Grade: Choosing a Classical Approach

September 23, 2016 attachment activities, attachment challenges, cocooning, Education, homeschool, indiscriminate affection, Nicole, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

Our decision to homeschool began like many other families’ journeys, I’m sure. We wanted to give our children a Biblical worldview, be a bigger part of their lives (no parents ever regret spending too much time with their children!), and have the freedom to choose our studies based on individual interests. We also hoped to …Read More

Celebrating Mid-Autumn Moon Festival: A Mooncake Alternative

September 6, 2016 Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Nicole, recipes 8 Comments

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is the second most celebrated Chinese holiday, falling on the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar. This is the date of the Autumn Equinox, when the moon is at its farthest point from the earth and appears to be at its fullest and brightest. In China, …Read More

Celebrating Mid-Autumn Moon Festival: Books

September 4, 2016 books, Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Nicole 0 Comments

This year, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival falls on September 15. It is a day of Thanksgiving and gratitude for the Chinese, when families reunite and give thanks for the harvest and family unity. It falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month (in September or October) when the moon is bright and full …Read More

Sensory Bins 101

April 28, 2016 April 2016 Feature - Sensory Processing, Nicole, Sensory Processing Issues 0 Comments

Over the years, we’ve had a lot of fun with sensory bins. A few of my little loves are sensory-seeking (often craving sensory input of all kinds), so these bins can be a super interesting way to get them what they need. The great thing about sensory bins is that the possibilities are absolutely limitless. …Read More

Egg Drop Soup Success

April 1, 2016 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Nicole, recipes 0 Comments

I’ve had a few Egg Drop Soup failures in the past, but this recipe has redeemed my attempts. I love it because it’s simple, easy to make, and still adds Chinese cuisine to our menu. Plus, I almost always have the ingredients on hand. This version is a little Americanized I think, but the additions …Read More

15 Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year

February 8, 2016 Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, January 2016 Feature - Celebrating China, Nicole 0 Comments

Lunar New Year is here! Our celebrations have morphed over the years, especially depending on the season of life and ages of children. Some years are more festive, while others simply get a “Happy New Year” and a nice meal for recognition. Although we’re trying to establish a few traditions for the children, we don’t …Read More

Celebrating China: Trimming the Tree

January 18, 2016 Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, January 2016 Feature - Celebrating China, Nicole 1 Comments

  January marks a new year and a new feature here on No Hands But Ours. This month is all about Celebrating China and how you can incorporate more Chinese culture into your home, especially during the most celebrated Chinese holiday of the year, Chinese New Year. You can read the other posts in this …Read More

Celebrating China: Decorating for CNY

January 8, 2016 Chinese Culture, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, January 2016 Feature - Celebrating China, Nicole 0 Comments

  Happy New Year! January marks a new year and a new feature here on No Hands But Ours. This month is all about Celebrating China and how you can incorporate more Chinese culture into your home, especially during the most celebrated Chinese holiday of the year, Chinese New Year.     Our family has …Read More

Celebrating China: Preparing for Chinese New Year

January 1, 2016 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, January 2016 Feature - Celebrating China, Nicole 0 Comments

  Happy New Year! January marks a new year and a new feature here on No Hands But Ours. This month is all about Celebrating China and how you can incorporate more Chinese culture into your home, especially during the most celebrated Chinese holiday of the year, Chinese New Year.     As Christmas activities …Read More

Meet the Contributors: Nicole

November 25, 2015 Contributor Q and A, Meet the Contributors, Nicole 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

It Takes a Village: Showering the Adoptive Mom

October 2, 2015 adoption community, Nicole, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, supporting adoptive families 0 Comments

Last year, when I was asked to help plan a sprinkle shower for my sweet friend, I was happy for the chance to celebrate another special child coming home from China! I didn’t take many pictures at the event unfortunately, but we had a great time celebrating with my dear mama friend. I pulled out …Read More

Coming Home: Sleeping Arrangements

September 30, 2015 Attachment, co-sleeping, cocooning, first year home, hearing loss, Nicole, September 2015 Feature - Coming Home 0 Comments

Finishing out September with our last post in our Coming Home series. We’ve covered a lot of ground this month, from siblings, to discipline, to friendships, to finding joy in the struggle. You can find all 14 posts here. So grateful for all the wisdom shared by our regular and guest contributors, it is our …Read More

He Calls Me Mama

August 23, 2015 Attachment, first year home, Nicole 0 Comments

It’s been 9 months since Dumpling has been in our arms. It also marks about 6 months of him seeking me out as “mama” and “mom” and “mommy.” I had to work hard for those titles though, they didn’t come easily. For the first couple months, he didn’t refer to me or DH as anything. He simply walked over …Read More

Going to China: Taking Siblings Along

August 3, 2015 China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, Nicole, siblings 2 Comments

Continuing into August with our Going to China series, because one month just isn’t long enough to cover all things China-trip related! Today Nicole shares how she successfully traveled to China as a family of 6. Upcoming topics include orphanage behaviors, undisclosed special needs, different ways children react at placement, and how to cope with feeding and attachment issues …Read More

Her Journey.

July 7, 2015 Education, Family Stories, IEP, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, Nicole, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

I recently looked back at my blog archives and noticed that I hadn’t blogged about Sunshine’s cleft journey in over a year! Although that is representative of surgeries, it surely isn’t representative of all the work she’s been doing. My sweet girl has been putting forth so much effort in speech therapy. So although the …Read More

The Fruits of Attachment Labor

September 17, 2014 Attachment, Nicole 4 Comments

While we were waiting to bring Sunshine home back in 2010 and 2011, I learned as much as I could about fostering attachment. I tried to memorize all of the attachment advice. Build trust by meeting needs quickly, check. Be the only ones to meet all of her needs, check. Love unconditionally, check. Don’t let …Read More

10 Tips for a Successful Adoption Yard Sale Fundraiser

June 30, 2014 affording adoption, fundraisers, Nicole 4 Comments

After weeks of planning and organizing taking over a good portion of my time, we hosted our yard sale fundraiser on Saturday!  I know many, many, many adoptive families have done yard sale fundraisers with great success who can also give you awesome advice.  But for what it’s worth, here’s my 2 cents on planning …Read More

During the process

May 29, 2014 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

During the adoption process, there are few things more fierce than the determination of an adoptive mama (or baba) to get to her baby. She has a strange, indescribable love for her child that carries such intensity, it’s often overwhelming. The “my-claws-will-come-out-if-you-get-in-my-way” mama bear protective instincts kind-of-love are ferocious and very real. Anything that stands …Read More

I fell in love.

April 29, 2014 adoption realities, Nicole 0 Comments

I have been trying to write this post in my head for a month now.  Words seem terribly inadequate, but today I want to share a small piece of how my heart was changed in China.  Being invited into the amazing work that He is doing was overwhelming.  Working in the orphanages alongside nannies to …Read More

it's different

March 31, 2014 Nicole 3 Comments

One of my friends recently shared on Facebook that she was struggling with being newly home with her second Chinese son.  She received so many encouraging comments, it was beautiful!  But she also received a hurtful comment implying that parenting biological and adopted children is exactly the same, and she should roll with the punches …Read More

Her Birth Heritage

January 30, 2014 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

I can remember our China trip to adopt Sunshine like it was yesterday. If I close my eyes, I can remember stepping off the plane, smelling “China,” and hearing people speak Mandarin everywhere. The food, oh the delicious food. Making a fool out of myself trying to eat with chopsticks. The hustle and bustle of …Read More

This Girl

November 29, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

This little beauty has been hungry for knowledge since the end of last school year. She is so much more interested in “cool work” (as she calls it) than Angel and Lovebug ever were. I think after seeing them work hard and learn all last year, she was so ready to jump on the bandwagon. …Read More

Big girl

August 29, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 5 Comments

My feisty three-year-old was still in a crib up until a few weeks ago. I know that’s a little on the older side, but it was easier to stick with a crib because she didn’t try to get out. We didn’t switch Angel to a toddler bed until she climbed out at 2 1/2 years, …Read More

The Ripple Effect

July 30, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

rip′ple effect` n. A spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event. As we guided our weekend Chinese exchange student through Washington D.C. on Saturday, I heard him say multiple times with a big smile on his face, “I have seen these places in American films so many times. And …Read More

Verbal language … it’s a lovely thing

July 1, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

After using sign language almost exclusively for the first year and a half of Sunshine’s life with us, it is absolutely amazing to see such progress in her verbal communication now. Her cleft palate was repaired just about a year ago, and her verbal explosion since then is nothing short of miraculous! She started weekly …Read More


May 29, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 0 Comments

As we sat around my house earlier this month celebrating Mother’s Day (my 8th, whoa!) with family, I took a moment to meditate on the blessing of motherhood. Sometimes I cannot believe that God trusts me to raise these three precious beings whom I have the privilege of calling “mine.” All three of them are …Read More

If feels good to be heard

April 29, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 2 Comments

Almost two years ago, we took Sunshine to her first cleft clinic day. It was a very long day (smack dab in the middle of nap time, mind you) filled with seeing lots of doctors who poked and prodded my child … the child who had only been home from China for a month and …Read More

Nature versus nurture

April 7, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 2 Comments

Sometimes as I rock Sunshine to bed at night, I think about her first mother. I mostly grieve for all that she will not have the privilege of experiencing with our special girl. I wonder what she is doing now and if she thinks of our daughter. I wonder if she knows how loved Sunshine …Read More

Her story

January 29, 2013 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

I returned from the Created 4 Care retreat late Sunday night. Wow, my head is spinning with all of the information I took in. I still have a lot to sort out, but one theme that really stuck with me is telling Sunshineʼs story in a way that is respectful and considerate to her. Telling …Read More

Give them grace

November 30, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 6 Comments

We’ve been pretty fortunate in avoiding the awkward public questions about adoption. We certainly get some odd stares here and there, along with lots of smiles. But we don’t get offensive questions. We get questions, sure. And there have been a couple times when I wanted to make a sarcastic comment, but of course I …Read More

502 days.

November 3, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

That’s the number of days it took Sunshine to feel comfortable enough to stay in the church nursery without me. After staying with her in the nursery off and on for months, I tried a few times unsuccessfully to leave her there by herself. I never pushed, just left for a few minutes until her …Read More

Celebrating differences

October 2, 2012 Nicole 4 Comments

I posted a few weeks back on my personal blog about my son’s giving heart and how he helped his sister buy a doll at Target. What I didn’t mention in that post was that the doll is not an ordinary baby doll. Angel saw it months back and was instantly attracted to it. Despite …Read More

Pre-speech Therapy

August 30, 2012 cl/cp, Education, Nicole, speech delay, speech therapy 5 Comments

Did you know that playing with straws in the bathtub is actually speech therapy? Who knew?!? We had Sunshine’s post-palate repair/cleft clinic appointment on Monday and I spent some time with the team’s speech pathologist. It’s still a little too early after the palate repair for speech therapy, but she did give me a few …Read More


July 31, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 5 Comments

I often use many different adjectives to describe my 2-year-old daughter. After her most recent palate repair surgery a few weeks ago, the top adjectives have been strong, brave, courageous, graceful and pretty darn amazing. I have also called her loving, affectionate, beautiful, smart, clever, happy, funny, silly, spunky and feisty. She is one of …Read More

One year

June 29, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

One year ago on June 7, 2011, our baby girl was placed in my arms. Our lives were forever changed. Looking back over the pictures from that day, my heart hurts for the loss that she endured, having no certainty in her life and not knowing what was happening. She was so incredibly brave and …Read More

It's the little things

June 5, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 1 Comments

It really is the little things that mean the most, don’t you think? I remember being in China last June and just studying Sunshine … all of the little bits and pieces of her that I didn’t have memorized. I didn’t realize that I had taken this for granted with the 2 older kids … …Read More

A letter to her first mother

May 29, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

To her first mother: You are one of the most important people in my life, and I have never met you. You live somewhere halfway across the world, in a Chinese city called Fuzhou. You are our daughter’s first mother. You carried her under your heart for a precious 9 months, gave birth to her, …Read More


April 29, 2012 cl/cp, Nicole 3 Comments

Not the high school kind of graduation. Or even the middle school or elementary type. But this is a graduation that I am ecstatic to be celebrating with Sunshine – she has officially graduated from Physical Therapy! Although we expected she’d be somewhat physically delayed when we brought her home last June, we truly weren’t …Read More

a child's perspective

March 29, 2012 Nicole 3 Comments

Even after being home from China for over 9 months, we still get the question, “So, how did your other kids handle the adoption?” Of course there was an adjustment process, I’d say there is still an ongoing adjustment process even now. But truthfully, in the beginning, the 2 older kids were infatuated. Obsessed even. …Read More

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