Post Adoption: Month 1

Well, one month ago we met this little peanut :).
It’s crazy to me how quickly this month has gone by.  One month ago, we were in Xi’an, China sitting in a room waiting for our lives to change forever.  Then all of a sudden, they brought in this precious little girl (who was screaming her head off), handed her to us and left.  That was it.  She was ours.  And she is amazing.
Honestly, Ashby is the perfect little addition to our family.  Sometimes, I look at her and think, “what if we wouldn’t have done this?”.  What if we had gotten scared?  What if we thought we weren’t called for this?  What if we played it safe and just remained a family of four because it was easier?  What if?  If we wouldn’t have adopted, Andrew, Kensington, Smith and I would have missed out on the real blessing…Ashby.  Everyone keeps saying how lucky she is to have us…but no, that’s not it!  WE are so incredibly blessed to have her.  She has already changed our lives for the better.  I think we are all equally blessed.
So, each month, I’m going to just review (for my own documentation more than anything) what happened over the prior 30 days.  Progress, set backs, accomplishments, struggles and things like that need to be documented so that we can always remember this journey.
I read so many adoption books last year and one theme that kept popping up in so many was this…when you bring your child home, instead of worrying about all of the things you need to teach them to get them caught up to where other kids are their age, you just need to show them that they are loved.  Many authors suggested that the first year is all about showing love…the learning will come later, but the love needs to come first.  So, we’re really trying to stick with that.  Ashby needs to know she is loved.  That has been our biggest goal this last month.
Language: It is amazing to me how quickly she is picking up the English language.  Right now, she has a base of around 15 English words that she uses regularly (many times, she’ll string them together…like “hi dada!” or “no Smith”).  Even though she is only saying a handful of words, she understands many, many, many more.  We can say things like “put your shoes in your room” and she will do exactly that.  Or I can say “take daddy your drink” and she’ll do that too.  I feel very confident that she understands most of what I say.  She answers yes and no questions really well.
I am very grateful that one of my very favorite people on earth is a speech therapist because Ashby has already started working with her and is doing really well.  When I hear Bowen talk to me (who is 5 months younger than Ashby), it reminds me how far we have to go (that kid can really talk!), but I know her language will come too.  I love that I can say things like “it’s time to take a nap” and she will say “no”…that sounds like a typical 2 year old, right? πŸ˜‰

Physical Development: We went to the pediatrician for Ashby’s 2.5 year well visit…her first appointment in the US…and learned several things:
1. She hated it and screamed the entire time.
2. It’s going to be a long year of doctor visits if this doesn’t improve.
3. I cancelled her dentist appointment in early February because I can only imagine how terrifying that would be now that I’ve seen a basic well visit.
She was not a fan of the doctor, so that’s something we’re going to pray gets better over the next few months (she has many visits in her near future).  Her height right now is in the 25th% percentile for kids her age and her weight was just below the 5th%. These numbers are pretty common for kiddos coming from her background.  Other than the constant screaming, health wise, she checked out just fine.  We weren’t able to do vision or hearing screenings because of her screaming…but we’ll  try again next time :).

 Sleeping: Right now, Ashby is sleeping and napping in our bed.  We are working on attachment and sleeping together helps with that.  
During nap time, I will put her down and then fold laundry in my room while she falls asleep (so I’m there and she can see me but I’m not lying down next to her).  They gave us her daily schedule at the orphanage and we’ve really tried to stick with it. She napped there at noon each day which works out great for us too.  I put her down at noon and then wake her up when it’s time to pick up the big kids from school.  At night, she goes to sleep at 7:45 when Kensington and Smith do.  I typically take a shower, put on my pjs and such right after I put her down and she falls right to sleep.  She likes to sleep with lights on, so this works out great because I don’t have to worry about the bathroom light bothering her and then I can read or watch TV in bed with her and she’s not disturbed.
It will be nice when she can sleep in her own bed, but for the moment, I’m enjoying having her with me…

Food: Going into adoption, I was nervous about her eating habits.  I’ve heard this can be really hard and kids often times won’t eat, but so far, she has been a champ in this department.  Ashby eats three meals a day plus at least two snacks and she drinks a lot of water throughout the day (they told us in her orphanage that she likes to drinks a lot of water).  Ashby is eating whatever we’re eating and her diet has quite the variety.  The only thing I’ve found she won’t eat are blueberries (but she’ll eat them when they’re in things like a waffle).  Her favorite foods are proteins like eggs, pork, sausage and chicken, but she eats everything.  
Our favorite parts about eating with Ashby are that she now puts her hands together and bows her head when we pray before saying a big “Amen” at the end :)…and that she loves to have a tidy eating space.  She requires a napkin with everything she eats (even when she’s just eating a snack) and wipes her hands after each bite, and then we know when she’s done eating a meal because she’ll push her plate away and wipe off the table where her plate had been sitting.  It’s the funniest thing!

Attachment: Ashby is attaching really well.  Right now, she’s most attached to me.  She love, love, loves Andrew and goes running and shrieking towards him after work each day or when she sees him but she is most definitely a mama’s girl.  She likes to know where I am and if I leave (like to get out of the car and run in somewhere while Andrew stays in the car with her), she’s not relaxed until I come back.  

Poppy: Well, Ashby met Poppy (our little 7 pound dog who does nothing but lay around all day) and was absolutely terrified.  She screamed and cried and threw a fit so much that I just knew we would have to give the dog away…and then like four days later she was over it.  Now, she just ignores Poppy and they both go about their business.
Potty Training: If you looked up “world’s worst potty training parent” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of me.  I tried to blame Kensington for being a difficult potty training child until the following year when Smith came along…and then there was no denying it was me.  Yes, I’ve tried the 3 Day Method and no, it never worked for a Shull kid.  That being said, Ashby was potty trained in China (except for at night), so Andrew and I have really tried to keep up that momentum.  It’s going okay.  The part that is hard is that Ashby doesn’t have the verbal skills to tell us when she needs to go (like they said she did in China).  We even learned Chinese potty phrases to use with her (thanks to her foster mom), but she looks at us like we’re crazy when we use them :).
I worried, fussed, cried and felt defeated through two rounds of potty training (at one point, I was potty training Kensington and Smith at the same time…ugggg) with my big kids and refuse to do it again.  No matter how bad I stink at potty training, eventually my older kids figured it all out, so I know Ashby will too.
Going out: We’ve been spending most days at home, but occasionally we’ll go out for an errand or lunch before returning for that 12:00 PM nap.  She has been a trooper in the car and really good out.  I’ve taken her to the grocery store twice and both times, she did great!
Playing: Ashby’s favorite things to do at home are read books and push around toy strollers full of goodies.  I was looking for a ramekin the other day (it had been sitting on the counter and then I looked down and it was gone) and she was pushing it around :).  She also loves playing with whatever Smith and Kensington are playing with.  Smith is really into swords and now, so is Ashby :). 
Other random things:
1. Ashby loves to sit on the counter and watch me/help me cook.  It took her all of one day to realize cooking in our house is a big deal (and common recurrence).  Any time I’m in the kitchen, she’s right in there with me.
2. Ashby has a “witching hour”.  Right around 4:45, Ashby gets fussy until about 5:30.  She has a snack at 3:30 after the big kids are home from school but I think she’s already hungry again at 4:45.  I’ve started giving her some milk and turning Mickey Mouse on for her during this time period to help it pass more quickly (and quietly).  It’s helping.  She’s just done at 4:45.  She doesn’t want to play, be held, do anything…so, our new routine is working (so far).
3. She loves to color.  If you give her a piece of paper and some crayons, she will color her heart out and then say “ta-da”.  It’s so cute!  We color a lot over here :).
Well, one month down…the rest of our lives to go :).  We’re just so blessed to have this sweet girl.  She is the perfect little addition to our family.

Speaking of girls…

…on my foodie blog today, I’m showing you my Little Girl Valentine’s Party.  It’s so simple and sweet…and perfect for a weekday lunch.

XO

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  • Brittany Medland February 4, 2015 at 11:06 am

    It's so nice to hear things are going well πŸ™‚ how are the big kids adjusting to having Ashby around? What does Smith think about being the middle kiddo?

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} February 4, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I love everything about this post. Ashby is such an amazing little thing, and it's been so awesome to see her as a Shull. I love how easy going she is and her smile just lights up a room! And smart? Man that girl is SMART! I forgot to tell you this, but I loved hearing all the sweet things Smith had to say about her when he was over earlier this week. He said "Yeah, I play with her ALL the time. She's doing really good." πŸ™‚

  • Jenny M February 4, 2015 at 11:39 am

    AWESOME recap of the first month. Way to go Shull family (and Ashby!).

  • Kristen Wood February 4, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Love this post!! So glad to hear how awesome she is adjusting! Your family is amazing!!

  • Johannah February 4, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I'm so glad to hear that you guys are getting into a routine and that Ashby is doing well. She is just the cutest little girl ever!! I love the updates =)

  • Michele @ The Joyful Home February 4, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I'm so glad to hear Ashby is doing so well!

  • Sara Lynn February 4, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    I am so happy to see/hear Ashby is doing so well. I think that is just amazing! Your family seems so great and I think she fits in just perfectly!

  • Narci February 4, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Aw! Such a great testimony that she is doing so well!! So happy for your family of 5! Xoxo love you! πŸ™‚

  • Blue-Eyed Bride February 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    What a fantastic post. You know your sweet girl so well and I cannot wait to read about what happens over the second month! Y'all are doing great!! Xoxo

  • Erin Friedman February 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Loved this post. She is seriously the cutest little girl!! Glad everything is going well for you all. πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Would love to hear how the rest of the family is adjusting to having a new kiddo. I know you mentioned that Smith was extra clingy wanting his Mama, and Kensington was really taking on a big sister role with Ashby right away. How are they adjusting now, one month in?

  • Erika Slaughter February 4, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    This was so fun to read! Miss Ashby is adorable!! We can't wait for her to come play at our house!! πŸ™‚

  • "B" February 4, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    This makes my heart so happy to see your family doing so well, especially Ashby! We have been talking of adoption but worry with all of the requirements. My friend just adopted two (a sibling set) from Haiti and is amazed at what a wonderful experience her family it having. I wish I could adopt all the babies that need homes EVERYWHERE!!!!

  • kimm atwood February 4, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    So wonderful to read this ! So happy things are going so great !!!!

  • Lindsay Dunagan February 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I loved reading the update and loved reading the part about Ashby praying at dinner!!

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Shay, as always we love hearing about your beautiful little family. This post is very exciting and really neat to see inside your home and to see how things are going with your new little blessing. My favorite thing about this post is how you said she is a blessing to us not so much that we are a blessing to her. And that is so refreshing and makes me just love you!!! Because when I adopted a baby everyone said how much we were blessing our new child. However, we did not feel that way. We felt as though we were so blessed by God that He gave us this little gift!
    May God bless you more abundantly on this wonderful journey we call Life. Love you! Xo

  • Holly February 4, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    We are just in the first thoughts of adoption. My daughter is 2.5yrs and I would love to hear how your kids are. Honestly I think you should write a book on this whole experience & then a 2nd book once you get farther along :).
    Any book suggestions on adoption would be greatly appreciated especially ones with other siblings and toddler adoption.
    As for the potty training it sucks my daughter was doing great then randomly regressed I suck at it too..
    I love that you are focusing on love. Keep up the good work Mama! Xo

  • Stephanie Jennings February 4, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    So happy for you all. You are doing a great job. Blessings!

  • April Parrish February 4, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I am so glad Ashby is adjusting so well! Thanks for sharing this amazing journey with others. Continued prayers for you and your family.

  • Paula February 4, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    What a great update! Sounds like everything is going well. Thank you for your willingness to share!

  • Kristin February 4, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Hi!! I got to you about a year ago through Sheaffers blog and read daily, but never comment. Today's post was so sweet that I had to. I realize that you are doing this for you to look back on as a wonderful rememberance of your journey, but thanks for sharing it with us as well.

    The biggest difference I see is that great big smile. It's clear that she loves bring a Shull just as much as you love having her.

    Great job and thanks for the updates. God Bless You and your wonderful family as you continue on this wonderful journey together.

  • votemom February 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    what a fun update to read!
    definitely don't pressure potty training now – she is still under so much stress. and diapering is really good for attachment!

  • Angela Ellingson February 4, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing!! Love Ashby! What a sweetheart. And you are such a sweet mama!

  • Dawn February 4, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    So awesome Ashby is doing so well. Love that you are documenting everything. My mom did the same thing when she adopted my brothers and I. When I taught kindergarten, I had a lot of students come from overseas and came here with no English skills. Their little brains are like sponges. Your right, they understand so much more than they can speak. They usually go through a silent stage where they are just learning the language and culture they are in. Then, one day, they just start saying all these new words in English. Amazing! I also am the worst at potty training, lol. Currently potty training my almost three year old and I'm pretty sure it's the worst job a mom has to do, lol!

  • melissabunny100 February 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Great Post!!!

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Hi- you don't have to publish comment. Love hearing about Ashby, on another note, I had a quick question.. I never really ever hear much about poppy, is she a big part of your lives? I am looking to get a puppy and Poppy's breed looks like the perfect choice..thoughts? Thanks.

  • Karen Ward February 4, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I just can't get enough of her! Her smile just lights up the room!

  • Natalie Zambreski February 4, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    These updates are so fun! Your whole family seems to be thriving and loving the new addition. She is so precious and such a blessing to us all with her sweet smile!

  • Kristen February 4, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Loved reading this update! Her little smile is just contagious!
    My two favorite things you shared were her prayers before mealtime and how she uses her napkin! So heartwarming!

  • Sarah February 4, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Love, Love, Love this post! She is such a sweetheart and that smile, melts me every time!

  • Chelsea @ Married Filing Jointly February 4, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    You are such a great mama and totally an inspiration to me! Thank you for sharing you life and precious family!

  • Darcy February 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Sounds like things are going well! Hope the momentum just steam rolls from here and things keep clicking along. Thanks for the update – I don't normally comment, but read your blog daily and it's so fun to see all of the blessings happening!

  • Mother Henn February 4, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I truly appreciate your openness about sharing this journey. It touches my heart and I look forward to your updates.
    Seeing your family share your love so freely has opened our hearts to the possibility of adoption. Thank you for your honesty and faith.

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I love hearing how you all are doing. Glad adjustment is going so well!
    Jan Fisher

  • Sara Laverty February 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Thrilled for y'all that it's been such a great month! It's so encouraging!! You 5 are a perfect fit for each other. All the best as you embark on month 2 of forever! πŸ™‚

  • Liz/ February 4, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    What a great and sweet post! You are so sweet for sharing your life with all of us and letting us all in on how Ashby is doing! So happy to read that she is doing so great! Love your family and so happy for all of you!

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    My daughter screamed bloody murder at the doctor's too. She rarely got sick so only really visited for her needle. What I found worked extremely well for her is getting her a doctor's kit! It had things like a stethoscope, reflex hammer, toy needle, blood pressure arm cuff and thermometer. We played with it daily and made the doctor seem like a good guy and now I have no problems. She now says she loves the doctor! Good luck!

  • Karen February 4, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I loved reading this update. You guys are doing a great job! My youngest girl is a very spirited and intense child. After having two easy girls we were thrown for a loop. I know your challenges are for different reasons. I let potty traing slide with my youngest and it was the best thing ever ~ no problems after the fact. She was about 36 months. We had major drama with doctor visits also……sigh. The dentist was a straight up nightmare. After a failed visit we decided to wait and just take really good care of my daughter's teeth. She was around 5 when we found a great dentist and my daughter could relax ~ I don't even go back with her, and she let them do sealants with a little gas. We've come so far! Hang in there ~ time changes so much! Blessings!

  • Life Superb February 4, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Loved reading this! She is a sweetie for sure. She is a few days older than my little boy (my oldest) and I absolutely love how many similarities there are. This age is so fun!

  • Haute Mommy Blog February 4, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    She is just so darn cute! I love the little antecdotes like praying, playing swords and ta da after coloring. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    With my daughter I out a little potty chair in one upstairs bathroom and one downstairs. I bet that if you take her in there about 15 minutes after a drink or meal she will go, then in a few days will take herself to potty. Hang in there mama, but it sounds like the hard part is already done. πŸ™‚

  • Jen February 4, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    This was a great update! As an adoptive mama myself I loved what you said about blessings. I could not agree more that THEY have blessed US–not the other way around! Best of luck in this new transition stage and thank you so much for bringing a beautiful, honest and open picture of adoption. It doesn't have to be scary!!

  • Haley Southey February 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Love this sweet update!! Thanks so much for sharing! She is such a cutie and I'm so happy she is adjusting well!

  • Debbie February 4, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Loved this post! I'm so glad things are going well!

  • Morgan February 4, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    This just makes me smile! I'm so glad everyone is adjusting well (Poppy included!).

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    What a lovely post. You're family is a blessing to us your blog readers. Inspiring and full of love. Thankyou!

    Fondest regards,
    Jane

  • laura jo February 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I NEVER comment on your blog, but I read all your posts. Jennifer Takala is a friend of mine from college. Anyway, I am so touched by how Ashby seems to be absolutely perfect for your family. I am so thankful that you all get to be hers! You are doing a fantastic job with her.

  • Isaiah 55:8-9 February 4, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    How beautiful – she is such a sweetie! We get that comment too about how "lucky" our kids are. Nope, we're the lucky ones. It makes me think of the quote from the movie The Blind Side 'You're changing that boy's life'….. 'No, he's changing mine.'

    Loved reading the update! πŸ™‚

  • Katy Oswalt February 4, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Shay,

    I think Ashby is a doll and a perfect fit for your family! An idea came to mind as I was reading your update and I wanted to share it in case it might help – you have mentioned that Ashby likes watching what Kensington and Smith do and copies them. What if you took one of them to her next doctor visit and asked the dr to use them as a model? For example, the dr would look in Smith's ears first while Ashby watched and then in Ashby's ears. With the language barrier/delay, some of her tantrum may be related to fear of the unknown. If she can see her big sister/big brother go through it and be happy, it might help her too.

    You can also play dr at home – just to familiarize her with things like stethoscopes, otoscopes, etc. Take some of the fear out.

    Ask Shaeffer about creating a social story for going to the doctor – that may help too.

    She is darling and I am thrilled she has adjusted so well this past month. Keep up the updates!

  • Rebecca Jo February 4, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Maybe I have a witching hour… I need to warn my husband of that πŸ™‚

    I'm glad life is getting settled in & routines are happening. I know she's already feeling loved πŸ™‚

  • Two Babies and Me February 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Such a blessing for the whole family! Thanks for sharing the experience with us!

  • Candace February 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    LOVE THIS!! Thanks so much for sharing! I am excited about the monthly updates. She's such a precious little girl and it's fun to get to learn a little about her personality.

    As I think about you guys and your adoption with Ashby, it just adds to the gazillion reasons I think you are super amazing! I have such respect for the way you guys try to keep the main thing the main thing. Things like your heart for adoption, putting your phones away at 8pm so that you have time to hang with Andrew, getting up at the crack of dawn to have time with Jesus and get your work done, savoring the time with you children, keeping Christmas from getting crazy, minimizing gifts and maximizing giving, focusing on your health, and on and on. You are such a beautiful person!

  • Leigh February 4, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I love reading about Ashby! She's just precious. I'm so glad things are going well with her and your whole little family. I just want to say I stink at potty training too. You're not alone. My oldest is 3.5 and we are still trying to get him potty trained. He knows when he needs to go and he'll tell us, he just flat out refuses to use the potty. It's a work in progress. All in time I guess.

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey (the good and the bad). I've been wondering how you were adjusting also. Everything about babies and adoptions always seems so romanticized, but as a mom of 3, I know the day to day is so much more difficult. And you're definitely right…all of you are blessed. I hope she continues to feel the safety, security and love you want to provide her. What an awesome inspiration you and your family are to the rest of us!

  • Laurie S February 4, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I can't believe it's been a month, already. Thank you for sharing what's been happening with your family this past month, the good and the struggles. The underlying factor is that there is LOTS OF LOVE, and Ashby doesn't need to fear being rejected. When her security/confidence level goes up, she will "blossom". It takes time, and a lot of patience. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Mary February 4, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Love love love this update! Ashby is adorable!

  • Jaclyn Johnson February 4, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Shay! I LOVED this post and have been looking forward to it and already can't wait for the next update! Thanks for all the detail, it's been so great to hear all about this journey!

  • Jaren February 4, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Love hearing how she's doing!! I wish you luck with the potty training! It's my least favorite parenting task as well! I think we've FINALLY made head-way with our almost 3 year old. FINALLY! And we are all too familiar with the 5:00 meltdowns!

  • Jessica S February 4, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Beautiful, I love hearing your families experience Ashby's adoption.

  • Anonymous February 4, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    If you are just focusing on letting her acclimate to life at your house and feeling loved why are you making her work with a speech therapist?

    • Mix and Match Mama February 4, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      We want her to feel comfortable in her own home with her family. I can't imagine how scary/hard/confusing it would be not to be able to articulate to my caregivers when I was hungry, thirsty, tired, needed to potty or was hurt. Being able to communicate will only reassure her of our love (she'll be able to understand us expressing it) and make her feel more confident and safe. And bonus…her speech therapist is my BFF who we see multiple times a week, so it's not an inconvenience for anyone :).

  • Polka Dot Blossom February 4, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Love hearing how you guys are all doing! Thank you so much for sharing with us. Happy for you all!

  • Jeanie February 4, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    That was a great summary of how Ashby's doing. She seems to be doing great, thanks mostly to her mama. I'm so glad the dog situation got straightened out. As a dog lover, my heart just dropped when you said you thought you'd have to give Poppy away.

  • LBGifford February 5, 2015 at 12:28 am

    If you would be willing to share, I would absolutely love to hear about the books you have read and the steps you took to start the adoption process and how you chose an adoption agency.

    My husband and I are fertile, but have a huge heart for adoption. Been married six years and we are ready for our babies. Any info. would be so appreciated.

    So glad to hear how greatly Ashby has changed your life in such a great, positive way. Best of luck to you and your family.

  • Whitney @ Work it Mommy February 5, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Has it been a month already?! I loved reading about your adoption journey and seeing the sweet pictures of your expanded family. Many blessings to you all.
    Whitney

  • Anonymous February 5, 2015 at 4:42 am

    Ashby is just adorable and I love her outfit (leopard & leather jacket!) She is one stylin' little girl…like her mama!

  • Deena February 5, 2015 at 4:55 am

    I've been enjoying hearing about your journey through the adoption and now at home with your adorable Ashby. It sounds like it's going very well so far. Potty training wasn't easy for me either. My boys were a tad over 3. The only thing that ended up working was stickers on a calendar.

    I look forward to your monthly installments. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Lana February 5, 2015 at 5:51 am

    I love this! Years ago my husband and I felt called to adopt, but due to unforseen circumstances we weren't able to. It makes me so happy to read about your journey with little Ashby. She is so beautiful and her joy just shines through. All of you are lucky and blessed to have found each other!

  • sarah c February 5, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I love this post!!! Ashby is such a cutiepie ! These little stories are so beautiful and cute. Soooooooo adorable! When she lived at the orphanage did she not go out at all or maybe not that much? I think Ashby will progress in the language and speech department faster rather than later. Kids learn languages faster than adults. So happy for yall!

  • Anonymous February 5, 2015 at 11:22 am

    So happy u didnt give ur dog away

  • Chic Coastal Living February 5, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Sounds like everything is going well! Thank You Jesus! I don't blame her about the doctors. I don't like going either… LOL! One of my boys used to scream his head off too when we went to the Dr. especially the dentist! Praying that settles soon for you, because I know how important it is to take them. I can tell she has blessed your life! Makes me want to adopt a little girl, too! I have three boys πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great day! God bless you and your sweet family!

  • Anonymous February 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I love hearing about your adoption and love seeing Ashby fitting right into your family. Her smile just lighten up the room.

    I hope this may help you with potty training but when my sister was younger, she was having trouble with night potty training. So my dad would wake up in the middle of the night or just early in the morning and take/show her to the potty so that she can use it. After a couple tries she would get the hang of it and wake up and use the restroom on her own.

  • Krystal February 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Oh Shay, I love this post so much! The part where you said what if you'd gotten scared or played it safe…it spoke right to my heart. It's exactly what I needed to hear during this season of discernment for our family. Thank you for being so open and sharing your adoption story with us!

  • Jenny Morgan February 5, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing this post and your beautiful journey in making Ashby a part of your family!

  • Leslie Seror February 6, 2015 at 5:06 am

    This post just made me smile. So happy for the Shull 5 ❀️

  • Elizabeth Koproski February 6, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Our families have some things in common. We have 2 biological children (Olivia is 9 and Turner is 7) and we adopted our son, Quinn, in Xi'an 5 years ago. He was from a State run orphanage in Xian Yang (outside of Xi'An). He is now 7. Quinn and Turner are 3 months apart. Now, I can't even remember a time our family was without him. Congratulations to you and your family.

  • Kathy February 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    The "what-if" part hits me hard! I'm wondering if you are willing to share which agency you went through. The choosing seems very intimidating, and I'm just beginning a tiny bit of research.

  • embraced by grace February 7, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    We brought home our daughter one month before you, although from another Asian country. Our daughter also laughs at us when using her first language. I thought my daughter the sign language for peepee and poop. She started using that some and mostly while she was actually going potty. But we've turned a corner now. She just grabs her bottom and we take her potty. And now she is in panties. Don't worry it will come. Do what works for you but I totally get the language barrier. Also, you will notice her words will double the second month home. It's so fun to watch! And I agree we are the ones blessed by our adopted children πŸ™‚

  • Aubrey February 9, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Love this update! All the love, humor, and patience you bring to the table has got to be the perfect recipe for a beautiful adoption story. I love that Ashby is a part of the family. Such a lucky girl!

  • Aubrey February 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    P.S. Perhaps my children are from a Chinese background? All three of them are lower than the 5th percentile in height and weight. πŸ™

  • Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 1:38 am

    Hi Shay,

    I've just discovered your blog. And I love it!! But I especially love reading about Ashby, not because she's super adorable but because like her I'm also adopted. I was adopted as a baby from South Korea. Like you my parents struggled with getting pregnant and decided to just skip the long struggles and adopt.

    Thank you. You might be wondering why I'm thanking you. And it's because you are giving a child a home she wouldn't have had otherwise. She gets to experience what being safe is, what being care for is like, but most importantly what love feels like. Every child deserves that! I read all your blogs about your adoption process. And I love your commitment and how open you were about it all.

    I want to adopt someday so I can give back to the adoption world and provide other kids those same feelings I was given and what you are giving Ashby.

    Thank you and God Bless!

    -Leah

  • Anonymous March 5, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Ive really enjoyed reading about your experience of adopting Ashby. I don't know if this will help, but when I lived over in China I noticed on multiple occasions that mothers had a way of training their babies to go to the bathroom on command. When they were ready for the baby to go they would whistle softly, repeatedly. I guess its Pavlovian, because eventually the babies would just go when they were whistled to. I don't know if that's something that she experienced back in China, but couldn't hurt to try? πŸ™‚