Post Adoption: Month 8

Eight months with this sweet face.
How blessed are we?

This month, forever has been on my heart a lot.
Adoption is forever.
When you adopt a child…it’s forever.  They’re yours.  And as much as I knew this going into getting Ashby, I didn’t really understand it until I got her.  She is mine forever.  
Forever.
I saw this quote on Pinterest this month and it spoke to me…
I think it’s important that Ashby understands this quote growing up. I know my bio kids are never going to question whether they’re mine for now or forever, so I really need to make sure Ashby doesn’t either.  You don’t get to pick the tough stuff with any of your kids…and they’re all going to have some degree of tough stuff…but through it all, no matter what, I never want that sweet girl to question our commitment to her.  She is ours forever.  Adoption is forever.
We just love this sweet girl so much.
As for Ashby this month, one thing stands out more than any…Ashby and Smith are a great big giant MESS!  That’s what month eight has taught me :).

These two are peas in a pod.  Kensington and Smith have always been close…and Kensington and Ashby love playing together and are so sweet with each other…but Smith and Ashby?  They give me a run for my money!  They are ALWAYS together.  They are ALWAYS touching each other.  They are always either pushing/cuddling/shoving/playing/tattling/loving each other.  We dropped off Kensington at dance the other day and Smith asked for a picture on this little bench…

…and then they kissed.  Ahhhh…so sweet, right?  And then later in that very same week, Andrea texted me a picture she took of them at the pool together…

…I mean to tell you.  They are a MESS!

So, month 8 has provided us with many moments of joy, happiness and delight…but also with a little bit of trouble too.  These two.

A few random facts about Ashby this month:
1. She visited the dentist again for her second time and totally rocked her appointment!  She even let them do a complete cleaning and take x-rays!  Woohoo!
2. Her new favorite thing to say is “fine” with an attitude.  I’ll say, “Ashby, can you put your shoes away?”, and she’ll say, “fine” with her hand on her hip and everything.  Needless to say, her English is coming along quite nicely.
3. Ashby has been having nightmares this month, which is new for us.  She’s only had about four and they’ve all been around the same time at night…but it’s sad because she’s unable to articulate exactly what’s wrong, but you know something scary happened in her dreams.  After we love on her, she always goes back to sleep peacefully for the rest of the night.  As amazing/adjusted/happy as she is today…we have to remember that she spent 2.5 years in an orphanage, so who knows what she saw/felt/heard during that time.
4. Ashby is the slowest eater ever.  I mean…ever.  If they were handing out gold medals for slow eating, Ashby would win.  The four of us hang out at the table as long as we can after dinner…but sometimes, I excuse the other two kiddos because Ashby’s marathon eating can last a good long time.  One reason it takes her so long?  She talks too much instead of eating :).
5. She loves doing anything outside!  Blowing bubbles, swimming, playing on the playground, and especially riding her little tricycle.  She’s an outdoor girl for sure!
6. Ashby is our night owl…not our morning person.  Ashby likes to stay up late and even blossoms more the later the night get.  She gets an extra boost of energy while the rest of us are all winding down.  And then in the morning, my big kids like me to wake them up early so that they have a lot of time before school (because they don’t like being rushed out the door…they’d rather wake up early and have a slow morning)…but Ashby would rather sleep in and then wake up and go straight into the car or wherever.  She does not enjoy waking up early for any extra time.  She wants to sleep :). 

This little pumpkin is so much joy!  She has her own BIG personality and holds her own in our house.
I mean…I just can’t imagine doing life without her.  She is ours.  Forever.
To see our other posts on adoption:
Post Adoption: Month 7
Post Adoption: Month 6
Post Adoption: Month 5
Post Adoption: Month 4
Post Adoption: Month 3
Post Adoption: Month 2
Post Adoption: Month 1
Meeting Ashby for the first time: here
All of our China travel posts: here
All adoption posts: here

And because I’m celebrating September…

…today, I’m featuring some of my favorite Cozy Fall Food.

xo

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  • Kimberly September 2, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Ashby is such a darling little girl! I remember your photos from China when she was trying to hold back her smiles, and now she shows so much joy in your photos! It is wonderful that she is doing so well. I'm looking forward to seeing photos of Ashby's introduction to the Shull Family Autumn and Christmas traditions! πŸ™‚

    Kimberly
    Very European

  • Lauren McGreevy September 2, 2015 at 9:46 am

    What a precious baby! She is so adorable. What a blessing her whole story is. Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren
    http://www.postgradinprogress.blogspot.com

  • Not A Mom September 2, 2015 at 9:52 am

    I am not a mom but I SO enjoy reading about her growth and how she is adapting SO well with your family! It's so inspiring and I am dying over her and Smith!

    Linds @ Not A Mom

  • Erika Slaughter September 2, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I've said it before and I'm saying it again…adoption is amazing! It's so awesome to see this little girl thrive! Ashby was meant to be a Shull. She fits in perfectly!! Makes my heart so happy to watch. πŸ™‚

  • Jen September 2, 2015 at 10:11 am

    love reading the little details about how Ashby's sweet personality is shining through.

  • Elizabeth September 2, 2015 at 10:16 am

    She seems to be such a precious angel! But I do want to say…my husband might disagree with you and say that I am the slowest eater… I have even slowed down since getting pregnant ?? he didn't know that was possible!

  • Narci September 2, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Adoption IS amazing. The Dreffs love that little girl to pieces!! I love reading these updates!

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} September 2, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Another reason it takes her so long to eat? BECAUSE SHE EATS SO MUCH!!!! πŸ™‚ Watching her at lunch yesterday was hysterical! Two tacos stuffed with eggs, bacon, and avocados… potatoes… and salsa. Carter literally takes like 5 bites and starts asking "How many more bites until I'm done?" Ashby has been such a blessing to all her who know her for the last 8 months, and I've absolutely loved having a front row seat for the entire process! Love you Ashby!

  • kelsey @ so much life to live September 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Aww, what a sweetie:) Thanks for sharing! My family has adopted 4 kiddos, and it's so fun to see Ashby's journey!

  • Tara G. September 2, 2015 at 11:13 am

    #2! Just continuing to rejoice with you!

  • C Zuck September 2, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I cant believe that its been 8 months, I feel like every other day im seeing a new monthly update on her. Time is flying crazy fast. She is beautiful as is you entire family πŸ™‚

  • Meagan Ruse September 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    You know I love this! Ashby is precious and such a sweet friend to Sadie. She has so much love to give! Adoption is beautiful and it IS forever and always, no matter what. Thank you for the constant encouragement you give me as my family takes this step! Love you!

  • Emily D September 2, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I love Ashby's Halloween pajamas! Where did you get them?

  • Wendy September 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I think Ashby was born again the day she met you. I don't mean that in the religious sense. There is no doubt when looking back on the pictures when her eyes were so sad and distant, that now she is a totally new little girl. You have given her forever and her sparkling eyes confirms she knows this in her heart. I don't think Ashby will ever doubt that she is loved fully and completely by you.

    • Michelle N. September 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Agreed! She's home and she know it!

  • Andrea K September 2, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I love reading updates about Ashby & she does seem to fit so perfectly into your lives. Esp when her & Smith fight, nothing more brother & sister than that! β™‘ God bless your hearts!

  • dresselfamily.blogspot.com September 2, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Shay…the night terror thing…my daughter started around Ashby age..and it ended up been nightly and pretty much the exact time every single night.. I took her to the docs and he Saud it's almost become a habit for her. so every night 10 minutes or so before they happend he had me gi into her room and move her into a different position. not wake her.. but if she was on her side then roll her over etc.. just to make a shift in sleeping patterns.. and it worked.. they stopped!!

    I love the pics of her and Smith… awesome!
    families are forever .. I just love that Ashby is yours x

  • April Parrish September 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Love this post!!! Thanks so much for sharing your adoption journey!!! Ashby is precious and continued prayers for her and your family!

  • Tracy September 2, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Love your Ashby updates! She's precious!

  • Mission Regan September 2, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Great post! Couldn't be happier to see the Shull party of 5 doing so well!!!!!! It's a beautiful thing only God could do! β™₯️

  • Allison Ezell September 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Hey, Shay! Longtime lurker, first-time commenter. πŸ™‚ I'm a Frisco mom who started following your blog after you spoke at my MOPS group last year. I saw your plea for others to consider adoption on Instagram and wanted you to thank you for sharing your heart. Although my husband and I considered ourselves "done" after two bio kids, our hearts broke looking at pictures of those sweet babies in the orphanage and began to research and pray about adoption back in January. We had always though of adoption as a plan B or a back-up plan to bio kids, but it absolutely doesn't have to be. Eight months later, we are in the home study process pursuing a China adoption, too…our new plan A. We are so thankful for families like yours who share their hearts for orphans and cannot wait to bring home our precious #3! πŸ™‚

    -Allison
    ahotblessedmess.blogspot.com

  • Ashley September 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Love your blog and updates! I might secretly be crossing my fingers that Whitney B. will introduce me to you and Erika some day πŸ˜‰ Peanut butter works wonders with nightmares. I work at an adoption agency and we always recommend a spoonful of peanut butter before bed. There's research showing children who are adopted have a blood sugar swing at night which can spur on the nightmares. Ashby is pretty precious! Love reading about how she has completely become part of your family.

  • Three Gals and a Guy September 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Shay, I so enjoy reading your updates about Ashby and how post adoption life has been going. I was also adopted, but from Korea, at 8 months old. I have two biological children currently but there has always been the thought at the back of my mind that I would love to adopt. There are so many children that need loving homes, it hits close to home, as I once was one of those kiddos! πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing your journey with us, it serves as great inspiration.

  • Grace September 2, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    I cannot believe it's been less than a year since Ashby has become a Shull! It seems like forever ago! (days are long, months are short!!?) I'm glad she is doing so well!!

  • Deena September 2, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I've enjoying seeing how Ashby has progressed over these 8 months and I always have a smile when I see her adorable face. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us.

  • Leigh Clark September 2, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    HA! I laughed out loud at Smith and Ashby in their puffer jackets!! What a pair!!

  • Jennifer Ericksen September 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Ashby is beautiful and its a joy to watch her blossom. You guys are doing a great job with her.

  • Mackensey Stang September 2, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Your story with Ashby truly just makes my heart swell. To have seen her first pictures with your family, and then pictures now..it is so clear, even to someone across the country, how much she has blossomed and how blessed and happy she is. So happy for your family!

  • MorganizewithMe September 2, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    LOVE seeing the joy in her precious face. She looks like such a fun girl!!!

  • A Midnight Wonderland September 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    As a reader, those 8 months have absolutely flown! Glad she's settled in to your family so well, what a sweet little girl.

  • Leah Eaton September 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    @mixandmatchmama I love following your adoption story. I was adopted from South Korea, and I can not wait to adopt my own children when that time comes in my life. I was blessed to be placed in a loving amazing home. I never felt like I wasn't theirs. That Pinterest piece from your blog was awesome. Look up "Legacy of an Adopted Child" my sister who's also adopted from that poem and I still remember it because it's true. It's the best way an adopted child can express their feelings about being adopted.

  • Meghan September 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    My youngest brother Ryan and I are a lot like Smith & Ashby, where we either are fighting like cats and dogs or we are best buds, and he's almost 14 and I'm 23 πŸ™‚

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt September 2, 2015 at 11:03 am

    I love reading these! Hopefully these posts are changing what people think adoption is.
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  • Megan September 2, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    We have entered the "can't stop touching each other" phase too! It's interesting. And I love that it takes her so long to eat….bc she can't stop talking!

  • Leanne September 2, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I love reading your blog and I think when she gets older and has a chance to read these she's really going to understand how much you do love her. It's pretty awesome how you chronicle your life and theirs! You have a beautiful family!

  • Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld September 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    What a sweet relationship Smith and Ashby have! She is so blessed to have y'all, and I know that y'all feel every bit as blessed to have her!

    And I have to say, I agree with Ashby on sleeping… I'd much rather sleep to the last possible minute, and then scramble to get out the door. I don't, though, since I have little people to worry about. ;o)

  • Erica @ Whimsical September September 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I so look forward to these updates every month! Thank you for always sharing them with us.

  • Kendra Powell September 2, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Shay, I don't know if you watch Dancing with the Stars but Paula Deen will be a celebrity on this season that's premeiring in September πŸ™‚ I saw her and thought of you!!

  • Erin Ressler September 2, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I love these updates and I know it is going to be a great thing for you (and Ashby) to look back on in the future. I know the night terrors could totally be a phase, but I also found with my 2.5 year old that she will have a night terror if she eats sugar right before bed! Certain fruits (strawberries and pineapple especially) have an effect one her more than artificial sugar! Just something to pay attention to in case it is something small like a bedtime snack that is causing them. Have a good one!

  • Cristina September 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I love following your story. Ashby reminds me of my five year old. Full of Joy and personality! Thanks for sharing…we are all blessed to witness this journey!

  • Catherine Silver September 2, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Re: night terrors. I think you said you've been potty training? I found with both of my kids, who both did this after being potty trained, that they needed to pee. I know bizarre, but I'd lead them to the bathroom, put my daughter on,(my son just aimed, lol!) and they always went. Woke them up enough to calm down , but went right back to sleep. Love watching her grow up, as a friend of mine also adopted, from China, just a month after you. Love your foodie blog too!

  • Kelli @ A Deeper Joy September 2, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I am sure you've heard of this book a billion times, but I'm reading "The Connected Child" by Dr. Karyn Purvis. We plan to foster/adopt in the future and I'm learning so much already. We will do domestic, which I know is different from an international adoption, but this book is really helpful with both situations. Your comment about nightmares really reminded me of what I'm reading in it. I love your love for sweet Ashby πŸ™‚ Thanks for the updates!

  • Aubrey September 2, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Ella Mae and Ashby London should face off for slowest eater ever (also perhaps the biggest talker ever). I have a feeling the competition would be fierce. πŸ™‚ Love her sweet face. What an amazing kiddo!

  • Linznoel September 2, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Love this! I just love that sweet precious face. My sister is looking into starting the process of adopting a special needs child from China. I just can't wait to see who God puts in our family. My sister and I are both adopted from Korea. My mom told me once that she hopes one day I adopt a child so I'll know how much she loves me. I'll forever remember that. It breaks my heart when I hear people struggling with infertility say they will never consider adoption because they want to have their "own" kids. I'm nothing but grateful towards my biological mother for giving me up because I know I was meant to be my parents.

  • Lindsey September 2, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Wish we lived closer so our little girls could be friends! I mean seriously they sound so similar (Jillians a slow eater, very talkative, just turned 3, also adopted from China this year, bigger brother is in Kinder and is also her BFF, loves being outside). I mean really – it's crazy! Love your adoption posts. Thanks again for sharing your journey. I try to blog ours at lindsey-allen.com/blog and am hoping to get adoption resources updated on the site soon. God Bless!

  • Laura Parsons September 2, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    She is seriously such a joy to watch blossom into a Shull! Her personality just keeps getting more pronounced and I LOVE it! I had to laugh when you said her English was coming along just fine!
    Thank you for sharing your family with us all – it is slightly odd but I feel like I know you guys and could meet you at the pool with my own two kids lol!

  • Beautifully Seaside // Formerly Chic Coastal Living September 2, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    So sweet! I love your sweet kids! You are one blessed Mama that's for sure! XOXO

  • Michelle September 2, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Love reading her monthly updates! Was surprised to see one today because usually you do them on the 4th of each month. Ashby is just the cutest little girl. So happy her forever home is with the Shulls πŸ™‚

  • Michelle N. September 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    My son (biological) went through a time where he had a version of nightmares/sleepwalking/night terrors. It never really truly fit what any of those 3 are, it was his own unique version. It happened in the spring of kindergarten on and off for a couple of weeks and then again in the spring of first grade and intensified in the spring of second grade. It was every other night always exactly one hour after he went to sleep. It got to the point in second grade that I sat outside his door and watched the clock and would be waiting for him. He used to come out half crying but not really awake saying "I want my mommy" and I was right there. He didn't want to be touched and acted so scared. I woke him up, I know "they" say not to, but I did. Every time I would talk to him until he snapped out of it and knew who I was and then I could hold him and comfort him. He never could say what was wrong and always seemed confused and never remembered it in the morning. It's worrisome I know. Just love on her, that's all you can do. I will be praying for your sweet Ashby and for you little mama.

  • Jeanie September 2, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I can't believe it's been eight months. She fits into your family perfectly and just radiates happiness!

  • Amanda September 2, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    My 2nd and 3rd kids are the same way!! (4 year old boy and 14 month old girl) Sometimes they are so in love, and other times all they do is get on each other nerves. With my oldest just starting kindergarten on Monday, it's a whole new world around here. SO love reading your updates and SO glad to see that Ashby is doing well!

  • Karin C September 3, 2015 at 5:22 am

    I read another mom of an adopted daughter say that her daughter "was" adopted, not "is" adopted because for them it was a one-time event like birth. I liked it because it just further solidified that there was no difference between their children, regardless of how they joined the family.

  • yuni min September 5, 2015 at 1:54 am

    awwww i loved this post so much! that pic andrea took of ashby and smith cracked me up so badly!!! hahaha i love it!!

  • Jaren September 6, 2015 at 1:13 am

    She is so cute! I can't believe it's already been 8 months! She sounds so much like my 3 year old who I compare to a teenager…she likes to party at night and sleep late in the morning!

  • Shayna @ The Fancy Yancey September 14, 2015 at 2:56 am

    I crack up reading this post – in her pictures alone you can tell just how much personality she has! And don't worry, I was a really slow eater too when I was a kid… because I talked so much!! I'm much better now!! LOL!