China: Days 1-3

Well, hello from China!
The Shull four are in route to becoming the Shull five :).

On Monday, we woke up at 2:15 a.m. and headed to the airport to catch a flight to San Francisco and then one to Beijing.  We were beyond excited!!  We don’t get to meet and get Ashby until this Sunday, January 4, so we decided to leave early and do a little vacationing before getting her.  Ashby is not near Beijing, so we decided to leave a week early and spend a few days in Beijing before flying to her province and getting her (after that, we’ll stay another 10 days while her paperwork is being completed and her US Visa is issued).  18 days in China…holy cow!

Here we are about to board our flight to Beijing.  I’m so glad Santa brought Kensington a camera because she has been taking pictures non-stop!

 FYI: read this on the way here and it’s really good!  I highly recommend it :).

We landed in Beijing at 4:30 in the afternoon on Tuesday, December 30.  After going through customs, collecting our luggage and driving to the hotel, we didn’t arrive until 7:30 pm.  After that, we bathed, ate room service and went to sleep.  This is us this morning (Wednesday, December 31) about to head out for the day.  It was 20 degrees when we left with the windchill making it feel like 10…pretty cold!
Our first stop was to walk to Tiananmen Square.  It was cold, but we were so excited to be there and see!

Hello China!

After our cold walk to the Square, we headed for hot chocolate and cappuccinos to warm us up.

And then we had a very authentic lunch.  I have been so proud of my kiddos because so far…they’re embracing the food.  My kids like what they like and we were nervous that the food would be an issue.  We told them going into this trip that it was 18 days of Chinese food (we didn’t bring any snacks), so they better get their mind right…and so far, they’ve enjoyed our meals.

Kensington liked two things about this meal…the fact that we had to use chopsticks and the fact that we drank soda (we don’t drink sodas at home…but our drink choices were limited here).

After lunch, we headed to the Beijing Zoo.  We thought Tiananmen Square and the zoo were good things to do on day one when everyone is still recovering from jet lag.

Even though it is the zoo’s off season, we saw a lot of animals out in the cold and it wasn’t crowded at all.  The perfect zoo day!

Me and a panda bear in the background.  My first time to see a panda :).

The kiddos loved the zoo and it was the perfect way to ease into our trip.
Ha!  Not exactly the best picture but I wanted to document the lovely Christmas tree and Merry Christmas banner in our hotel lobby.  They are also playing traditional Christmas music in the lobby.  Nothing makes me feel more at home than twinkle lights and Ella Fitzgerald singing :).
Whew!  Right now, it’s 3:54 a.m. at home and 5:54 p.m. on New Year’s Eve here in Beijing.  My wild New Year’s Eve plans?  Take a hot shower and go to sleep :).
We are blessed beyond words by your kindness, sweet thoughts and especially prayers.  This has been an 18 month journey that has finally come to an end.  The four of us honestly wouldn’t be here right now without the love, support, encouragement and prayers from our family, friends and you.  God has truly blessed us and we feel your love.
Our prayer requests right now…that everyone stays healthy, that paperwork is filed efficiently and correctly and that there is a little girl in a nearby province whose heart is getting ready to leave the only place she’s ever known and come with us. 
I’m ending 2014 tonight on the best note possible and so, so, so, so thankful to be starting 2015 as a family of five.
Happy New Year’s!
 Click here to see Day 4.
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  • Nicole December 31, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Have the best time Shull family! So many prayers for you all! Happy New Year!

  • Sarah Witowski December 31, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Thank you Shay for keeping us updated on you and your family. I will keep praying for all 5 of you. Wow, 18 days in China! What an experience for all of you!!! I hope everything goes smoothly and I can't wait till you get your little girl!!!!

  • Jamie Allen December 31, 2014 at 10:50 am

    oh golly it's 5:44am here in michigan and i'm crying tears of joy for you all. thank you for sharing this journey with us! you will be in my prayers. i have a friend that lives in georgia and followed her family's journey to get their son from korea! he traveled here and my favorite part was seeing karen see him and slowly, gently, taking him into her arms for the first time {via video}. i'm so excited for that first moment for you!

  • Ani December 31, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Glad you made it to China safely. Have a wonderful time and soak up Ashby's birth culture! Prayers for a happy and healthy New Year, can't wait til you have Ashby in your arms!

  • MandeeVK December 31, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I'm so stinking excited for your sweet family! Many, many prayers headed your way.

  • Molly Middleton December 31, 2014 at 11:22 am

    So exciting!! Have fun Shulls! πŸ™‚

  • Erika December 31, 2014 at 11:23 am

    So happy for you and your family! Safe travels abroad and can't wait to hear more about the trip and Ashby! Praying everything goes smooth for you all. Happy New Year!

  • allisonwest December 31, 2014 at 11:43 am

    So happy for you all and your start to 2015. Prayers for health, safe travels ans mission accomplished headed your way! So proud if your big kids. I know adults who probably couldn't get their minds right for 18 days of new cuisine!!! Good job guys!

  • Allison F December 31, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Congratulations!! What a wonderful thing ya'll are doing. Have safe travels and God bless! Prayers from back home in good ole McKinney!

  • Allison F December 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Congratulations!! What a wonderful thing y'all are doing! Have safe travels and God bless y'all! Prayers from back home in McKinney!

  • Becky December 31, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Congratulations! My son and his wife lived in China for two years as underground missionaries. Once they were out in the country, ate at a restaurant and returned a few days later. There was a huge poster of them on the wall because in that area, no one had seen 'round eyes' before! I think it is wonderful that you have your kids eating Chinese food. I truly do! Experience as much as you can of Ashby's culture. I am praying for you!

  • Rachel Goes December 31, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Shay & family.. You have been in my prayers and in my heart! Ashby is becoming part of an amazing family and i wish all sweet babies were as lucky as she is going to be!! Love to you all! Xoxo

  • Jenny December 31, 2014 at 11:59 am

    My heart literally skipped a beat when I read you were in China! We brought our daughter home from Xi'an two years ago. She was two when we got her. Enjoy this special time! These moments are ones you will never ever forget! Cannot wait for your gotcha day! Praying for your sweet Ashby now. May the Lord hold her close and may her heart be filled with peace as she transitions into you precious family!

  • Stacie Steward December 31, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I just teared up reading the prayer request for Ashby's sweet heart!!! Covering you all in prayer πŸ™‚

  • Amber December 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    So excited for you!!! I've been praying for your family…especially your health! Can't wait to hear Ashby is in your arms!

  • Blue-Eyed Bride December 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Oh so exciting! I'm praying!! Thanks for taking us all along on this adventure to y'all becoming a family of five!

  • Brooke @ A Retherford Realization December 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I'm incredibly happy for you all! God has a great plan for the five of you! I just know Ashby is so blessed to be able to grow up as a Shull! Many prayers to you guys so you get home safe, healthy and timely! πŸ™‚

  • Valerie Cox December 31, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    So so happy for your family! Praying for safe travels and the transition to Shull, Party of Five! Can't wait to see that sweet girl's face!

  • Kathryn December 31, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Love this so much! I'm just so happy for your family! Enjoy every minute that you are in China! We adopted our daughter 5 years ago and a little piece of my heart will remain there forever… hoping to go back soon to visit! Praying for you all and especially precious Ashby's heart. Can't wait to see her in your arms and her forever family loving on her!!! God bless! πŸ™‚

  • Christene Amy December 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Happy New Years. What a wonderful blessing to be able to spend a few days in China before you get your sweet Ashby. Praying for you and your sweet family. How exciting in a just days you will be holding your little girl.

  • Kaylyn Kruse December 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    This made me cry! There are no words. I am so beyond happy for you and your family. Praying for you all that everything goes well! I can't wait to see pictures of your beautiful girl!

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I've been praying for your family. It's so wonderful and exciting to see you are finally within days of adopting Ashby!! Safe travels and have a great New Year.

    Maureen

  • Dana Vissage December 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Praying for you all Shay! God is so good!!

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Prayers for you and your family!!! I yelled "yes" when I saw your instagram photo last night – my husband thinks that I am insane. Enjoy this journey – your almost at the end – but it is truly the beginning!

  • susan campbell December 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Congratulations! So excited for you all.

  • Erika Slaughter December 31, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I'm so glad you posted!!! Happy New Year friend!! I am so proud of your kiddos but some noodles and Coke I might be able to get behind that!! Praying for the Shull Five!! XOXO

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} December 31, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    So happy to see your post this morning and get to catch up on what y'all are doing. Praying for everything right now, but especially for Ashby's heart! Like you said, I pray that God is starting to prepare it. xoxo, Sheaffer πŸ™‚

  • Paige December 31, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    My family will be praying for you all. We have adopted twice from China and are blessed beyond measure. I can't wait to see what province Ashby is from. We loved Nanchang and Changsha! To this day I miss China! Hugs to your family!

  • lovejoy_31 December 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Praying hard for you guys that everything goes smoothly and everyone stays healthy.

  • Rebecca December 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Wow! So excited for you all! πŸ™‚

  • Haley Lauren December 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    So excited for you guys!!! Thank you for posting!! Keep them coming, I feel like I'm in this with you! haha Good luck with everything in the next few days! Great to see your smiling faces this morning!

  • Loni "The Healthie Foodie" December 31, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Wow – lovely pictures. It's so great that your kids are getting to experience so much culture. I've been to Niagra Falls, the Mexican boarder and Israel – that's my out-of-America adventures. I've been to many places in the US though (thanks mom!). I am so glad you're getting once last harah as a party of 4 and wishing you the best tonight on your last day of 2014. 2015 is going to be a wonderful year! Lots of Love Shay!

  • Hayley Chandler December 31, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I am so excited for all of you. That little girl has no idea how blessed she is! Thoughts and prayers for a smooth and safe journey!

  • Michelle's World December 31, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I am so excited for your family! What a blessing! Love the pics from China πŸ™‚

  • Loni "The Healthie Foodie" December 31, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Oh I wanted to add one more comment – I just commented (lol).

    Get some Chinese original recipes for the blog – not American "Chinese" but REAL Chinese! haha πŸ™‚

  • Dawn December 31, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    So excited for you all! Praying that everything goes smoothly.

  • Amy Heinl December 31, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    So glad you had a safe journey to China. How excited you all must be. Will prayer that the paperwork flows smoothly and that shortly sweet Ashby will be heading home with all of you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • melissabunny100 December 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Wow…I am so happy for you!!! Good Luck!!!!

  • Heather December 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    You will have an amazing time in China!!! I have done the trip twice, adopting a 2 year old, and a 12 year old…my favorite life experiences were those trips!!! SO excited for you guys!!

  • Rachel Embery December 31, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for the update! Prayers coming your way! What a wonderful and amazing thing you've been chosen to do:-)

  • Lauren Nelson December 31, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Praying for you and your sweet family and so happy to hear that everyone made it to China safely. Cannot wait for the next update!

  • Janelle December 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Prayers for you all. What a beautiful and perfect way to start the new year.

  • Katie Oman December 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    So happy for you and the time you will get to spend as a family of 5 before coming home. Praying for you all!

  • pleias December 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    And we are blessed by your kindness and your continuous inspiration in our lives.
    Lots of love from Athens, Greece!!!
    Happy new year to the Shull 5 and to all of us!

  • Lauren Truman December 31, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    My heart is so happy for your soon-to-be family of 5! I will pray for efficiency and for Ashby to feel comfortable with you all (how could she not?!) You are all her angels. Praise God for this extremely HAPPY New Year

  • Elizabeth December 31, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Shay, I am so excited for your family to be growing!! We are praying for a safe, fun and blessed journey for you and your family (of five!)

  • kj7 December 31, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Tears of joy for you Shull family of 5! God Bless you and keep you all well on this 18 day trek. Enjoy laughter, smile often. Prayers continuously for you and your precious family.

  • Cheryl December 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    You are an amazing lady with a beautiful family. I wish you the best New Year as you become "5." So looking forward to "meeting" your little angel. God is good!

  • amoveableme.com December 31, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    So, so happy for you all! You continue to be in my prayers… What an awesome way to start 2015, God is always SO good! Lots of love!

  • Shesabigstar December 31, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Truly amazing, Shay… every bit of it! <3 I love that you're taking a vacation there first with your kids, to really immerse yourself in the experience… and I shouldn't have expected anything less from you! You're truly an inspirational woman! I will be praying for those exact things you asked for… what an incredible experience for you all. I'm moved to tears just sitting here behind my computer, I can only begin to imagine the emotions you all are going through!

  • Claire @ Fashion + Feathers December 31, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    What a great way to ring in the new year! What an amazing family you are to bring another one into the mix. I would love to adopt one day and it's so inspiring to see the journey of another family!

    -Claire
    fashionandfeathers.com

  • Kim December 31, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Praying for you all.. To have safe travels and to all be healthy. So excited for you all and the beautiful little girl that is so lucky to be getting into a loving and wonderful family. I have two people that I work with that has made this same journey you are on now, adopting a little girl and also a son. Be safe…Your such a special family and i love your blog.. Thanks for sharing..

  • Tamara Rodrigues December 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing your trip, it is so wonderful to see that the culmination of your adoption journey. I will be praying for you! Safe travels and God bless! #oneless

  • Kathy Cohen December 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Congratulations! Continues prayers on you're journey!

  • Michelle December 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    We adopted our three daughters — two from China and one from Vietnam. For some reason, I had decided that you were going to Africa. What a surprise to find that you are in China! This adoption will be such a blessing for your family. Praying for you and especially for Ashby during this transition.
    Michelle from KY

  • Sarah Kuykendall December 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! So excited for your family!

  • Angela December 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Prayers for your family for health, safety and a smooth transition for Ashby!

  • Christine December 31, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Dear Shull Family,

    Our daughter was also born in China. We waited over 5.5 years for our blessing. What an amazing place to visit. Take it all in. We loved our time in China. Best of luck to you and your family. I look forward to following your journey. Happy New Year and Congratulations!!
    Christine
    http://www.ourjourneytohannah.com

  • Sara Lynn December 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I am so happy for you and your family!!! I hope Ashby has a smooth transition and knows just how loved she is!!

  • Brittany Medland December 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Wow! What an incredibly exciting time!! So nice to see your journey over the last few days! Your kids are such troopers!! Cannot wait to see this sweet little girl xoxo-from Canada

  • Jessica M December 31, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I cannot tell you how happy my heart is for you and your family. I am anxious to read more about your journey – as this is something I hope my own family is led to do as a part of our parenthood story. Best wishes to you all and much love coming from Wisconsin!

  • Gavan December 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Glad you made it safely! Prayers for a smooth trip, paperwork & return home as a family of 5!
    Melody

  • Lindsay D. December 31, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I am so very happy for your family!! I cannot wait to "meet' Ashby!! Your family is in my prayers!!!

  • Robin G. December 31, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    So excited to hear about your journey to bring Ashby home! Such a wonderful idea to go early and take in some sights along the way. Kensington and Smith are never going to forget this adventure and especially the food!lol Love and prayers to your sweet family!

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Praying for you and your sweet family!

  • sajero2 December 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    So great to see an update! Have a wonderful trip and best of luck with everything going smoothly!

  • Janet December 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    So excited to see an update this morning. Bless you and your family on this continued journey. Happy New Year.

  • Rebecca Jo December 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    So exciting!!!! Can't wait to see your new addition. Praying for a wonderful journey & experience.

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Prayers for you, your family, and Ashby as you embark on your new life as a family of 5!

  • Lynn December 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    This post just warms my heart as I read it early this morning! I love reading about your dreams coming true, in going to China to get your adorable Ashby. Will be thinking about you and praying for your sweet family in that everything works out smoothly to bring her home!

  • sayyestohappy December 31, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Shay, thank you SO much for taking us along on your adoption journey! It's so exciting and fun to follow along. My heart is so happy for your family. Ashby will be so loved and adored by your wonderful family and friends. I can't wait to see her sweet face and see your first family photo of the Shull 5. What an amazing way to start 2015!! Sending my thoughts to your family that the paperwork goes smoothly! Enjoy China with all 3 of your kiddos!!!!! Happy new year shulls!!!!

  • Kerry December 31, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you for the updates, please keep them coming! Sending lots of love and warm wishes from Red Sox nation:)

  • Corbie Baugh December 31, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Loved this post and your prayer… it made me cry!! I will be praying the same thing here in CA. What an amazing journey and I love that we get to be part of it too. Can't wait until the next post!!

  • Kerry December 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you for the update, please keep them coming! Sending warm wishes and good thoughts from Red Sox nation!

  • Ryan and Carrie December 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    We are SO happy for you guys!! We cannot wait to meet Miss Ashby and see your family of five!

  • Mandi Moore December 31, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful memory you are creating with your family! So so happy for you guys! Good luck getting Ashby, we can't wait to meet her!

    Blessings,
    Mandi
    Best Little Moore House in Texas

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace} December 31, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I'm so excited for you and your family Shay! What a blessing to bring this little girl into your lives, and what a blessing for her to have you all as her new family!
    Enjoy your time in China and Happy New Year!

  • Lana December 31, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Yay! So, so excited for all of you. Will be praying for a smooth trip and journey home. Can't wait to see your newest addition to the family!

  • Jennifer Goodwin December 31, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    It's so exciting to be sharing in this journey with your family! Know that you have a like-minded sister in Christ in Collierville, Tn (near Memphis) who is praying for all the Shull family. God is faithful! And happy new year. πŸ™‚

  • maureen December 31, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I am so excited for you all! And really happy that you will be posting during your trip! I will keep the prayers going for you all to keep healthy and to enjoy your mini-vacay before you get to "Gotcha" your sweet baby girl!!

  • DetroitDuchess December 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    What an amazing way to end 2014 and begin 2015. I can't wait to read the rest of your China adventures and to see Ashby! Congratulations on your new arrival!

  • Darcy December 31, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Prayers to you & your family! Have the best trip – God is good!

  • susie harrold December 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    My heart skipped a beat when I saw "China." I am so very happy for all of you and will pray for you each day. Ashby will be so blessed to be a part of the Shull family! How old is she?

  • Sara Laverty December 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Looks like y'all are making some fun final family of four memories!!! Hope the remaining days go smoothly and that your trip to/meeting/getting ashby is just the most wonderful and sweet moments. xo

  • Tanya December 31, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    So much excitement for you and your family, Shay! Safe travels and Happy New Year's Eve from the U.S. Praying for you, all.

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Glad you arrived in China safely! Prayers are with your family when you go get Ashby pretty soon. My heritage is Chinese, and for your remaining days in Beijing, try some hotpot. There is a great hot pot restaurant in Beijing, but I can't remember where(which is probably isn't that helpful, but eating hot pot is great for a day that is cold). Happy New Year, Shull family!!

  • April Parrish December 31, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    So excited for you and your family!!! Prayers for safety and that GOD's hand will be on every detail so that Ashby can make it home with her family. God Speed!

  • Mindy December 31, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    So happy for you and your family! Prayers for you guys!

  • Whitney Smith December 31, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    So happy and excited for your Family! Also very impressed Kensington can use chopsticks! Sending prayers to China.
    Whitney

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Shay,

    I am so happy to read your blog for today and that so far you are enjoying some time in China. One question is since the kids will be out of school for a couple weeks did you have to get some homework for them to do since there will be some down time. Hope you all have a wonderful New Year and 2015. I am another vacation probably at the beach you will need when you get back from all the traveling. Enjoy China and safe travels. Prayers that all goes well with the rest of your trip.

  • Marie December 31, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Yaaaaa!!! So happy for the Shull family, your are so blessed and hope and pray everything goes smoothly for your new family of five

  • Anne December 31, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    So happy y'all made it safely to China. Thanks for the update so we know how to pray for your sweet family. Such exciting days ahead and know that The Lord goes before you and has every step and detail worked out for you to bring Ashby home.

  • Shari December 31, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    What a wonderful way to start the New Year!! I just found your blog a day or two ago and look forward to reading your exciting adventures! We adopted our twins from Russia 11 years ago and that time in-country is priceless. Cherish every moment and take more pictures than you think you should πŸ™‚ God Bless!
    ~Shari

  • Kimberly December 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    What a trip to remember forever!!! Many prayers headed over the ocean to you all!

  • Macy Strozier December 31, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Yay!!! Here we come Ashby… So happy she is from China… Good luck with the food process, thank you soooo much for putting this blog up, it means a lot to me and I know y'all are safe…. Have a wonderful time and I hope Kensington enjoys the extra long break. Safe travels.

  • Ny December 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is so exciting! Sending prayers your way Shay!!! May God bless every step of the way just as he has done up until now! Happy 2015!!!

  • The Rohman Family December 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    So happy for you! Praying everyone stays well and the transition for Ashby is smooth.

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Not sure if I have ever commented before. I am so excited for your family! I have followed your blog for some time (Just love it). I have always had a heart for adoption. Can't wait to follow your journey as a family of five. God Bless & best wishes in 2015!

    Florence

  • Paula December 31, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    You are so sweet to share your journey! I feel like a blessed bystander! I am excited your kiddos are embracing China and where their little sister is from!
    Praying g for the rest of your journey and that all goes smoothly. I pray Ashby feels safe & an immediate connection!

  • Katie {The Mishaps & Mayhem of a Solitary Life} December 31, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Such a great post Shay!! Thanks for sharing each step of your journey with us…what a special time! Blessings to you all!

  • Ansleighsmom December 31, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    So happy for you guys! prayers for u and cant wait to see Ashby!! Happy new year!

  • Dena December 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    How exciting, Congratulations!! My brother and his family live in China and are here now in CO visiting all of us! Enjoy your time.

  • Emily December 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    I totally cried when i saw your instagram post!!!! BEYOND excited and thrilled for your family and can't wait to see Ashby!!!!!

  • Katie Stefko December 31, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Congratulations!!! How exciting to finally be taking Ashby home (soon!) I'm looking forward to reading all about your new chapter as a family of five. πŸ™‚ The Lord truly is faithful. Hip, hip, horray! πŸ™‚

    On a different note, I love your white hat and the colorful, striped bag…. if you don't mind answering, where are they from? πŸ™‚

    Blessings!

  • Annie December 31, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Long-time reader, 1st time commenter – so happy for you and your family! If you have time while exploring Beijing (and if your family likes dumplings), you should visit Din Tai Fung. It's a world-famous dim sum/dumpling restaurant that has a wide variety of dumplings & potstickers. I'd recommend trying the soup dumplings while you're in the area – absolute heaven.

    Congrats & Happy New Year to you and your family – can't wait to read about your newest addition πŸ™‚

  • Mary December 31, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Prayers for all of you! So exciting to finally meet your little one. Looking forward to hear all about this trip!

  • Anonymous December 31, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Sounds like your first day in China was a positive experience for the four of you! Praying that everything continues to go smoothly–especially meeting Ashby for the first time!

    Hugs,
    Kathy Lang

  • Denise Holthaus December 31, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing! Wishing you all the best on your trip and I pray all goes well with Ashby! I'm sure the whole family is excited!!

  • Debbie December 31, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Your prayer requests are on my list. I'm so excited for you and your family!

  • Amber Sanders December 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    So happy for your family. What a way to start a new year. Prayers for safe travels and sweek baby Ashby making a smooth transition

  • Faith Orlando December 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Beyond thrilled for your family! You all look like your experts at China already! Praying for your family of soon to be 5!
    God bless!!

  • tpatters5 December 31, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Happy New Year!! Safe travels and hope everything goes smoothly for your wonderful family!!

  • Jen R December 31, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    so exciting!! and even more fun that you get to travel China too πŸ™‚
    ☼ Jen
    A Splash of Life Blog

  • Debbie December 31, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Prayers for all of you!

  • Jason, Betsy, Jackson December 31, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Love the update! As a mom that has adopted a little boy, this makes me heart smile:) Blessings to your sweet family!

  • Flmgodog December 31, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    It sounds like so far you all are having an amazing time. I too pray that all goes smoothly for your family and for Ashby's arrival into your family. I would say I hope that there are no glitches but I know that something will go differently than planned. You will take it in stride (as you always have on this journey) and move forward. Here's to an amazing 2015 for you and your amazing family of five!!!

  • Jeanie January 1, 2015 at 12:17 am

    I'm so excited for you! Prayers for you all, along with a blessed 2015.

  • Kathy Olson January 1, 2015 at 1:03 am

    I was thinking of you today and am so excited for you and your family. Someday you will relate these days you are living right now to your daughter. Thank you for opening your heart and home and letting us all be a part! God bless!

  • Denise Ross January 1, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Thanks so much for keeping us updated. Praying for you all. God watch over you, and keep you xo

  • Dawn December 31, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Praying for you all!! A friend of mine and her family left for China on the same day as you to get her daughter as well!! I'm excited for both of these girls are they start their new life with such amazing families!!

  • CaitCoak January 1, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Thank you so much for including us in your adventure to get your little girl. Can't wait to read all about it!! Prayers for each and everyone of you. So happy for you guys!

  • Narci January 1, 2015 at 3:36 am

    So excited for you! Praying for Ashby's precious little heart and that God might make the transitions easy. Xoxo

  • Nina January 1, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Keeping the Shulls in our prayers. Can't wait to meet Ashby on the blog.

  • Jaren January 1, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Oh I'm so glad you were able to update us with a blog post while you are gone! What an awesome, incredible, and memorable experience for you, Andrew, and the kids! Thinking and praying with excitement and anticipation for all of you! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  • Wehbey Crew Momma January 1, 2015 at 4:47 am

    What a blessing to be able to spend time with your family in China before bringing your sweet Ashby home with you! I will continue to pray for safe travels, finished paper work and your family's transition into a family of 5! I have been following your blog for awhile now and am so thankful for all your amazing recipes you post. Your blog has been such a blessing for me to follow for many reasons, so thank you! It brought tears to my eyes to read you were off to China to get your sweet girl and then again today it was such a blessing to see all your great photos! Prayers from California!

  • Anonymous January 1, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Happy new year shulls! Wishing you all the best! Godspeed!

  • Elizabeth Birenbaum January 1, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Congratulations!!!! So excited for your family. 2015 is going to be the best year yet! Happy New Year!

  • Dawn Davis January 1, 2015 at 5:41 am

    I'm so grateful you are sharing this journey with your readers. I have been a reader for a long time and have never commented until recently. I have such a heart for adoption and have particularly considered China, so I'm so excited to read about your experience. Thank you for opening up this very private and special time in your family's life. I'm sending you all well wishes and positive thoughts!!

  • Leslie Roberts Clingan January 1, 2015 at 6:20 am

    So glad to have this wonderful update on this exciting chapter in your lives. I am so glad you are able to share this special time as a family. Sending up prayers that all goes well and you are soon holding Ashby in your arms. Happy New Year!

  • Andrea January 1, 2015 at 12:34 am

    What a great start to your trip! Have a wonderful time. Prayers for everyone and especially Ashby as her journey home begins!

  • kristinwithani January 2, 2015 at 2:58 am

    So incredibly excited for y'all!

  • Nina @ AccordingtoNina.com January 12, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Shay!!! I just caught up on all of your posts and I have to say it will be by far the highlight of my week! I've loved reading your real, honest, beautiful story of this journey! Wonderful photos and I'm just smitten with your sweet new baby girl! Love to you all and safe travels coming home! xoxo
    p.s. I just finished What Alice Forgot last night and it WAS SO GOOD!!