Beauty from Ashes

September 17, 2018 adoption realities, attachment challenges, disruption, first weeks home, mobility issues, Newly Home, parent-to-child attachment, rages, trauma, wheelchair user 1 Comments

This is a story of trauma and beauty and tears and hopelessness and hope. This is a story of my darkest moments, my greatest growth and the resulting joy. I cannot say that this will be everyone’s story, but I’m praying that you can see the hope in this story even in the darkness. Adoption …Read More

Joke’s on Me: Fibular Hemimelia

June 21, 2018 AFO, Family Stories, fibular hemimelia, June 2018 Feature - Orthopedic, leg length discrepancy, limb difference, medical trauma, Orthopedic, referral, should we adopt?, surgery, trauma, waiting for referral 6 Comments

If you have adopted, you know the overwhelming process of filling out the medical needs checklist (MCC). For those that haven’t, this is a piece of paper with a wide range list of medical needs, each having little boxes beside them, and your job is to check the ones you are open to within adoption. …Read More

Our Boy Forever

June 19, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, Megan V., older child adoption, rages, trauma 1 Comments

The end of the school year can do crazy things to us. Make us do and say things we cringe about later, our brains and hearts a haze of goodbyes and remembering to bring sprinkles to the Kindergarten Memory Day. And then there are the days afterward, in which no one is getting enough sleep …Read More

A Particularly Bad Day

May 17, 2018 adoption realities, attachment challenges, complex heart defect, food issues, hoarding, hypervigilance, Megan V., older child adoption, orphanage behaviors, trauma 1 Comments

There is a constant editing process that goes on when your adoption isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It is a dance between saying enough and not saying too much. Between protecting his privacy and helping others by sharing our experiences. We’ve just celebrated Abe’s three year Family Day this week and it’s triggered stuff in …Read More

When I Feel Like a Failure at Winning

March 11, 2018 a father's perspective, adoption realities, Dads, Randall 4 Comments

I’m training for a half marathon. Actually, I’m starting today. And what I mean by that is, I downloaded an app today that tells me what I need to do. I look at Pins of runners and what forty-year-old dads can look like if they put in the work. I know how I want to …Read More

Their Brave and Precious Stories

March 5, 2018 adoption realities, embracing their story, telling their life story 1 Comments

When my biological son was 4, his arm got caught in an elevator door. Adults nearby were able to pry his arm free. No permanent damage was done, but it shook and scared him. Fast forward a few years, the same son and his older brother were in China, on an adoption trip with us. …Read More

Everyone Has A Plan

February 26, 2018 a father's perspective, adopting as first time parents, adoption realities, albinism, China trip, Dads, Family Stories, Gotcha Day, Skin Conditions 17 Comments

Elsie and I had very different ways of preparing for our China adoption. She spent the better part of a year setting up a nursery in our home, buying clothes, and watching other “family day” videos on Youtube. She is an optimist and a planner, which makes her the perfect counterpart to a cynical procrastinator. …Read More

Questions from Strangers: How in the World?

February 7, 2018 adopting again, adopting later in life, homeschool, large families, questions from strangers, Sharon 1 Comments

People ask all the time, “How in the world do you do what you do?” Psalm 105:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.” This verse sums up exactly my response every time I’m confronted with this question. “It’s not me, It’s God!” …Read More

Glory Strength: A Gift For the Long Haul of Adoption

January 17, 2018 adoption community, adoption realities, Rebecca 2 Comments

You stepped up boldly in faith to adopt, so I am going to venture to say that you are strong. Probably brave too, though you might not feel it. You most likely hold it all together for a whole band of people. But, I also know that adoption is a long haul. A journey that …Read More

Afraid of the Dark

December 9, 2017 adoption realities, Brandie, first year home, Lifelong needs, Medical Momma, Newly Home, November 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, undiagnosed SN 0 Comments

I was never a fan of haunted houses. I didn’t like the lack of control or the dark spaces flooded with loud, foreboding music. I didn’t like the strobe lights that gave me small glimpses of what I should fear. I didn’t like the anticipation of what was lurking around the corner, eagerly waiting to …Read More

Unintentional Twinning

December 6, 2017 December 2017 Feature - Making Room for a Sibling, developmental delays, Developmental System, siblings, speech therapy, trauma 0 Comments

The terms virtual or artificial twinning are common terms in the adoption world for when a family brings a child home that is born in the same year as a child already in the home. But have you heard of unintentional twinning? It’s OK if you haven’t, because as far as I know I just …Read More

Shining Light on the Dark Parts of Our Story

November 25, 2017 adoption community, adoption realities, disruption, November 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, trauma 2 Comments

Disruption. It is a word that sends a chill down my spine. It’s also one with which I am all too familiar. When I heard the November focus was “Preparing for Adoption” I knew I needed to share my family’s story. I knew… and yet I hesitated because, although I don’t hide our story and …Read More


November 19, 2017 adoption community, adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, first year home, Megan V., Newly Home, rages, trauma 6 Comments

We are not the poster children for adoption. Our process was so different from many of the moms I followed on facebook that I shut by computer one day and walked away from it, determined to not check in again until things were going better. That resolve lasted approximately 4 days and then I was …Read More

Pulled in Two Directions

November 14, 2017 adopting a boy, adoption realities, China trip, first year home, Gotcha Day, Newly Home 0 Comments

The day we met our son is a day that we still remember like it was yesterday, and yet sometimes forget because it’s hard to believe that he hasn’t been with us forever. The anticipation and excitement of that moment juxtaposed with the deep grief of him saying goodbye to all he knew, his safety …Read More

It’s Okay to be the Weak One: Preparing Emotionally for Adoption

November 3, 2017 adoption realities, November 2017 Feature - Preparing for Adoption, post-adoption depression 3 Comments

I’ve always considered myself to have a pretty large capacity. I tend to lean towards challenges and I often wear multiple hats. Sure, I know my limits, but I’ve always had high expectations for what I think I can handle. So when I found myself in a deep, dark pit a couple years after the …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

Even Still

July 20, 2017 adoption realities, orphanage realities, Realities, Rebecca 3 Comments

“We must learn to realize that the love of God seeks us in every situation, and seeks our good.” 
- Thomas Merton Sometimes things just don’t make a bit of sense. 
 Sometimes, often actually, God allows things to happen that I don’t get.
 Sometimes, in the story, rules change, and I’m confused.
 Sometimes, in …Read More

In Grief and Joy: Why We Need Each Other

July 14, 2017 adoption community, adoption realities, Attachment, Kelley B., parent-to-child attachment, trauma, Uncategorized 8 Comments

“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued – when they can give and receive without judgment.” – Brene’ Brown …… Long after the helium in the balloons from the airport homecoming is gone; long after the meal train has dried up, the cocooning has subsided, and …Read More

What I Wasn’t Prepared For

June 29, 2017 a father's perspective, adoption realities, Dads, June 2017 Feature - Thoughts From The Dad, rages, trauma 5 Comments

In honor of Father’s Day, the month of June is dedicated to Dads. During our Thoughts from the Dad series, we’ll feature stories written by fathers sharing their unique perspective on the journey of adoption. ……… The email came in the middle of the night. Only halfway awake, I did one of those early morning …Read More

Adoption Is…

June 15, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, Megan, orphanage behaviors, rages, rejects mom, self-harming, trauma 6 Comments

I would like to begin this post by saying that I understand my experience with my son and his adoption is by no means universal. Every child and family is different. While some issues may resonate with certain people, with others they may not. This post is not meant to be an exclusive or all …Read More

Adoption: A Dad’s Honest Viewpoint

June 13, 2017 a father's perspective, adoption realities, Courtney, Dads, June 2017 Feature - Thoughts From The Dad, parent-to-child attachment, Perspectives 4 Comments

As a part of our Thoughts from the Dad series, I sat down with my best friend and husband of 15 years and asked him a few questions about our adoption of our daughter, Callie. I hope his answers will be helpful to you whether you are just beginning the adoption journey or are already …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

My Hero

May 15, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, cerebral palsy, first year home, Megan, Newly Home, orphanage realities, self-harming, trauma 3 Comments

My hero is tiny but larger than life. Tan skin, black hair and the most beautiful dark chocolate eyes you have ever seen. He is 33 inches tall and weighs 33 pounds. A perfect little pint of goodness. A little over a year ago, at age three, he left a cold gray building with my …Read More

So Thankful: Thoughts From A Big Sister

May 8, 2017 adoption realities, sibling perspective, siblings 8 Comments

As I sit here thinking how much my life has changed over the past five years I am flooded with so many thoughts and emotions. As a fifteen year old there are many things I have experienced that so many never will. I have seen firsthand the amazing change in my three siblings from orphan …Read More

From Death to Life

April 18, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, Attachment Disorder, indiscriminate affection, older child adoption, parent-to-child attachment, rages, rejects mom, therapy, trauma 5 Comments

I glanced at the clock. It was 2:50. I felt my shoulders tighten involuntarily and a sick feeling start in my stomach. In 15 minutes, the most difficult part of my day would start: my daughter would walk through the door. It was the part of the day I dreaded the most. I wasn’t an …Read More

Deeper Than My Feet Could Ever Wander

April 15, 2017 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, first weeks home, first year home, Megan, parent-to-child attachment 1 Comments

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” – Hillsong I am sure that many of the readers of this post …Read More

This is Us, Adoptive Families

March 23, 2017 adoption realities, Rebecca 2 Comments

I am thankful for my family. I’m thankful that we’re all safe 
and there’s no one in the world that I’d rather be too hot or too cold with. – Jack Pearson, This is Us Time’s been storytelling with us. Our family life is a sitcom and a drama. Our script has been sweet and …Read More

Three Simple Words

March 12, 2017 adopting a boy, adoption realities, Attachment, attachment challenges, Central Nervous System, cerebral palsy, cocooning, Family Stories, older child adoption, rejects mom 0 Comments

We often hear the term “leap of faith”. Three simple words. Saying these three simple words is easy, but truly living them out is a different story. My husband and I always joke with each other saying that nothing in our lives comes easy or goes as planned. We are okay with this, because what …Read More

This Is What I Know

March 3, 2017 adoption realities, Whitney 0 Comments

This is what I know… I know that time doesn’t heal all wounds. I know that, sometimes, intentionally seeking out help is necessary. I know looking different isn’t a bad thing. I know that hearing a word of encouragement has more impact than I dreamed it could. I know adoption can be hard. I know …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

The Anniversary Blues and Saying Yes All Over Again

February 3, 2017 adoption realities, Whitney 1 Comments

For those of us on Facebook, the Facebook Memories pop-up might just be one of the favorite parts of having an account. It’s fun to see what happened on “this day, X number of years ago.” Sometimes the memories make me giggle, like the picture of my third child sitting in the dishwasher. Sometimes that …Read More

Adopting a Child with Unpredictable Special Needs

January 31, 2017 adoption realities, bronchiectasis, dysphagia, Family Stories, medical needs checklist, referral, swallow study, undiagnosed SN 1 Comments

When you visit a carnival, some rides are very predictable. The frog hopper, bumper cars, flying elephants, and even the tea cups come with a high level of predictability. You hand over the ticket and, with almost 100% certainty, you can foresee what the outcome of the ride will be… steady, smooth, and timely. Then …Read More

The Skating Rink

January 25, 2017 adoption realities, Andrea Y., Attachment, attachment challenges, cocooning, large families 1 Comments

We walked out of church — baby in the arms of daddy… a few bigs walking behind him and I trailed behind with my two little loves born across the ocean with their hands folded in mine. We jumped in the van — and out of no where I just said, “Who wants to go …Read More

The Nativity

December 11, 2016 adoption realities, Amy A., birth family, Christmas, telling their life story 2 Comments

Christmas. The word alone evokes so many memories, so many emotions from my childhood. Smells, tastes, laughter, and songs fill my mind, and the little girl inside me can feel the excitement and anticipation of Christmas drawing near. I can close my eyes and remember the sprinkles upon sprinkles being poured over sugar cookies doused …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

Questions from Strangers: A Mom’s Response

November 21, 2016 adoption realities, Kelley B., questions from strangers, trauma 2 Comments

Just a few months ago I was at our local children’s hospital checking in for my son who was to have surgery that day. The lady that was taking my information was busy asking all the normal questions we parents get from medical professionals. My son was not by my side but a good distance …Read More

Changed By Our Children

November 17, 2016 adoption realities, Andrea Y., large families 0 Comments

I sat at the red light waiting patiently and the sign caught my eye. “Tour of Homes”… an event most of our towns have during the holidays, and I imagined for a moment what those homes might be like. I pictured myself going with friends — something the mom with just one or two little …Read More

Adoptive Mama Overthinking

November 5, 2016 adoption realities, Attachment, epidermolysis bullosa, Whitney 4 Comments

Raise your hand if you tend to overthink things. Now, raise both hands, jump up and down, throw your head back and yell, “Yes, this is me!”, if you’re an adoptive mama and you tend to overthink things. Overthinking is a habit that can be dangerous in the best of situations. Overthinking when you’re processing …Read More

Adoption – The Beautiful Paradox

September 15, 2016 adoption realities, books, Family Stories, Parenting Special Needs 5 Comments

I just flew back from South Carolina. I went there to reunite my daughter with a friend that she had not seen in almost four years. The last time the girls saw each other, they were in an orphanage halfway around the world. The nannies who had raised them pressed the bewildered little girls into …Read More

Adoption Changes Everything

September 5, 2016 adoption realities, Whitney 2 Comments

Now, you know. Not just know with your eyes when you see pictures online. Not just know with your heart as you pray. Not just know with your mind, “Yes, there are orphans”. You. Know. You’ve stood in the rooms full of cribs full of babies. You’ve strained your ears to hear cries that have …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

Letter to my Chinese Birthmother

July 12, 2016 adoptee perspective, adoption realities, adult adoptee, Perspectives, telling their life story 1 Comments

Ni Hao and hello! I’d like to introduce myself. I am the Happy Panda from Europe. I was adopted when I was two from Sichuan. I am now 24 years old and just graduated as a social worker. I studied social work and during the lessons we learned to create/stimulate awareness. My goal is to …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

Dear Younger Me, You’re Braver Than You Know

July 6, 2016 adoption realities, Attachment, Carrie, July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, parent-to-child attachment 4 Comments

Each month at No Hands But Ours, we feature a topic to provide insight, encouragement and/or wisdom for fellow travelers on this beautiful and sometimes arduous journey of adoptive parenting. This month’s topic is sure to be full of all the aforementioned, and then some. Join us as seasoned moms share what they would say …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

On This Mother’s Day

May 8, 2016 adoption realities, Amy A., Attachment 4 Comments

The second Sunday of May carries such incredible significance for women around our country. For many, Mother’s Day is a time of celebration – a time to sleep a few extra hours in morning and a time to receive breakfast in bed, gifts, hugs, kisses and words of appreciation. Church services celebrate mothers and their …Read More

One Day

May 5, 2016 adoption realities, Attachment, first weeks home, first year home, Newly Home, Whitney 1 Comments

Dear little boy of mine, We knew before we brought your sister home you might struggle a bit. We prepared you for this transition as best we could, using all of the information we could obtain. We talked using big words you couldn’t yet fully understand, words your heart wanted to understand. We prayed for …Read More


April 19, 2016 adoption realities, congenital blindness, Katie, Sensory System, vision loss 5 Comments

I was once afraid of what my reality has become. I hear it voiced in so many others taking the risk of adopting a child with possible cognitive delays. What if this child can never live independently? What if they need to live with me for the rest of my life? What if their need …Read More

Not the Same

April 5, 2016 adoption realities, Whitney 24 Comments

I feel like there are many people in the lives of adoptive families who want to try to downplay the differences our adopted children have from those who have grown up in a more stable, loving, safe, home environment. The downplaying? It’s not malicious; in fact I wholeheartedly believe that many of these friends want to …Read More

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