Our Greatest Adventure

July 8, 2019 cl/cp, Craniofacial, Family Stories, July 2019 Feature - Craniofacial, orphanage realities, speech therapy, velopharyngeal Insufficiency 2 Comments

A little about us – we both got married for the first time in our 40s. I think of ourselves as late bloomers. Although we both had nieces and nephews, neither of us had a lot of experience with children. So, each of us entered the adoption process with trepidation and thoughtfulness. Our process took …Read More

More Than We Ever Expected…

May 18, 2019 albinism, developmental delays, Developmental System, Family Stories, global developmental delays, older child adoption, orphanage realities, Skin Conditions 7 Comments

We entered into this adoption full of hopes and dreams just like most people. However, we also understood the realities, especially when adopting from China. We knew the gambles, had read all the blogs and books and articles we could get our hands on. We knew to expect the unexpected… or so we thought. We …Read More

What to Expect in China: Things We Wish Adopters of Our Little Ones Knew

March 31, 2019 March 2019 Feature - In China, orphanage realities, What To Expect 18 Comments

For so many brand new parents of Chinese adoptees, the time spent in China is the most anticipated and intimidating portion of the adoption process. You’re finally able to hold your child in your arms; to emotionally and legally welcome them into your family. But, well…it’s China. It’s pretty different. As we adopted our beautiful …Read More

The Other Side of the Mountain: Surviving the Death of a Child

November 4, 2018 adopting again, adoption realities, Down syndrome, Family Stories, Lifelong needs, medical expedite, orphanage realities 3 Comments

It was a horrible stomach flu that took us down one by one. The kids were both sick. Ken and I were horribly sick. It was one of those “fend for yourself and hope to see you on the other side” type of illnesses. When the phone rang that morning, I had no strength to …Read More

Saying Yes to God

October 11, 2018 Developmental System, Down syndrome, Family Stories, October 2018 Feature - Developmental, orphanage realities 1 Comments

As he walked into our post delivery recovery room, he closed the door behind him. He walked over to my bedside to give us an update on the birth of our preemie twin girls. They had been born 6 weeks early and delivery was tough for Isabelle, twin two. The evening before was spent holding …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

A Thousand Prayers

February 19, 2018 Megan V., orphanage realities, referral, waiting to travel 2 Comments

Time hop on FaceBook is making me emo. Today it reminds me that four years ago today, we were separated from our baby girl by 7,000 miles and several months. That she was celebrating her birthday without us, again, and that, apparently, I thought Matilda was the perfect name for her teeny self. All these …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

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

On Bundling Babies and Snap Judgments

April 29, 2017 Carrie, Chinese Culture, orphanage realities, orphanage visit 10 Comments

The day we were set to leave the hospital with our newborn daughter, no one asked us about our car seat. She was our first baby, and so I didn’t understand at the time how significant this insignificant thing would become to me. At the time, I didn’t realize that had she been born on …Read More

Love Stories: My Happily Ever After

April 19, 2017 adoptee perspective, April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, birth family, foster care, older child adoption, orphanage realities, telling their life story 4 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

Love Stories: Remembered

April 10, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, China trip, Gotcha Day, orphanage realities, Uncategorized 2 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

Love Stories: Underneath are the Everlasting Arms

April 7, 2017 April 2017 Feature - Love Stories, foster care, Little Flower, NGOs, orphanage realities 1 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

When Mom Works: Infinitely Better Off

October 16, 2016 congenital blindness, Education, non-verbal, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, orphanage realities, pre-school, Sensory System, vision loss, working mom 1 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

I Never Felt Called to Adopt

April 27, 2016 adopting again, Family Stories, orphanage realities, orphanage visit, should we adopt? 5 Comments

I never felt called to adopt. For me, adoption was simply the way God chose to build our family. In 2011 we adopted our son Sean who is now seven years old. In 2013 we adopted our daughter Elliana who is now five. When people first started saying that adoption was a beautiful thing for …Read More

When Jesus Tells You What To Do

April 25, 2016 orphan prevention, orphanage realities, Randall, should we adopt? 3 Comments

A Hot Mess This week I got into a conversation about these two big ideas called expiation and propitiation. Sounds fun, right? Don’t worry, I’m not going to open up the discussion here. It’s really boring unless you’re a theology nerd. For sure, it’s an important doctrine, but how important? Important enough to argue over? …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

Stitched Hearts

October 12, 2015 Hannah, orphanage realities 1 Comments

I have a rather comical relationship with one of the nannies at the orphanage. I’ve been back in the USA for about five months now (getting a 2nd degree in nursing, in case you were wondering) and this nanny (I’ll call her M Ayi) and I have had many a chat on weixin, a Chinese …Read More

Orphanage vs. Foster Care … What’s Best?

July 15, 2015 foster care, Jean, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, orphanage realities 2 Comments

We have experienced both options with our children from China. When first starting our adoption journeys I had the impression that one was better than the other. Foster care was better and I should want my child to be in foster care; but somehow, as we found our children the most important thing was that …Read More

Going to China: Visiting the Orphanage

July 9, 2015 Amy A., China trip, July/August 2015 Feature - Going to China!, orphanage realities 1 Comments

For the past 3 years, I have been a member of numerous Facebook groups specific to adoption. One question that arises time and time again is whether or not a family should visit their new child’s orphanage during their trip to China. This is an important question to ask, but because experiences vary greatly, everyone …Read More

to love one

April 13, 2015 Hannah, orphanage realities 1 Comments

She stands in the middle of the room, children at her feet. Some are fighting each other for her, the rest are begging to be picked up. A little girl with albinism sees me standing in the doorway and runs over, arms spread wide and high. I bend down and pick her up and within …Read More

disruption: 3 things for parents to consider

March 26, 2015 adoption realities, disruption, guest post, LWB, March 2015 Feature - Disruption, orphanage realities 4 Comments

Today we finish out our month-long series on disruption with a post by Amy Eldridge of Love Without Boundaries Foundation. We are so grateful to include her voice of experience here, as she has spent years working on behalf of orphans in China and has witnessed the wake of disruption on families and children – …Read More

Recovering a Childhood

March 15, 2015 Jean, older child adoption, orphanage realities 7 Comments

Recently our oldest adopted daughter from China celebrated her 15th birthday. She wasn’t excited about this birthday because she didn’t want to be fifteen. She liked being 14 and to her 15 felt too old. You see she feels a bit cheated… Her childhood began at the age of 8 yrs 8 month and 18 …Read More


February 13, 2015 Chinese Culture, Hannah, orphanage realities 1 Comments

We were advocating domestic adoption around the table. Somehow I had been seated to the Director’s left – the most important seat, and one much too auspicious for comfort, and our chopsticks clinked upon the same plate of celery and mushrooms. He turned to me and looked me square in the face. Of course I …Read More

going back and paintbrushes

January 13, 2015 Hannah, orphanage realities 0 Comments

January 4, 2014… I mean 2015. Where does the time go? I have my ticket. I’m flying back to China on the 9th, a Friday afternoon. By the time you all read this I will have been in the good ol’ PRC for about three days, and will hopefully be sleeping soundly (why are you …Read More


September 27, 2014 adoption realities, Hannah, orphanage realities 1 Comments

I’ve been in America since May, which means that I haven’t been to an orphanage since April, which means that it’s been many months since I last took pictures of orphans. Because of this I’ve had some extra time (ha! Is there any such thing?) to go through old pictures. Y’all, I’ve taken a lot …Read More

I know that she was loved

May 11, 2014 adoption realities, Hannah, orphanage realities 2 Comments

Over the past ten months I have watched baby after baby arrive at the orphanage we work in. In my first four years of orphan care work in China we were working with a foster home – a place of healing and hope, where orphans with medical needs that the orphanage could not handle arrived …Read More

When Enough is Enough

July 3, 2012 heart defect, large families, older child adoption, orphanage realities, Realities, should we adopt?, Sonia 104 Comments

I’m confused. I’m heartbroken. I’m left feeling selfish. And in a perpetual state of prayer and wonder. I remember when John and I were discussing Joshua’s adoption and John felt like Joshua needed to be the last one and I completely agreed. We had been home only 3 months with Jacob and Joey and we …Read More

Restored Hope

October 25, 2010 Chinese Culture, guest post, Katherine, orphanage realities 0 Comments

Guest contributor Katherine is back this month. She is currently working as a teacher in China, and also has the unique opportunity to spend time volunteering at a local orphanage. Katherine blogs over at Life of a Pilgrim and, though not an adoptive mother, she has invaluable (and profound) insights into life in China. I’m going …Read More

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