Post Adoption: Month 18

On Monday, July 4, we celebrated 18 months with this sweet girl.

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I know I say it all the time, but it’s really hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that we’ve only had her 18 months.  I feel like she’s been ours forever.  And…if I stop and really think about it, it breaks my heart.  How did my precious baby live alone in an orphanage for 2.5 years?  Now that I know her…know her so well…I just can’t fathom her not being a part of a family.  Friends, this girl needed to be a part of a family and I am so blessed God called us to do it.

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I took this picture after a doctor visit last week.  Health wise, Ashby is doing okay.  We’re about to start a series of procedures later this month…and of course I’m nervous about it.  Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome is so rare and each case so different that a lot of what we do/have done/will do is trial and error.  Rarely does Ashby complain (and by rarely, I mean never hardly at all!) about her physical limitations but lately, there have been moments and it breaks my heart.  The other day, we were walking and I reached down to hold her hand and she said “not my big hand”.  It took everything in me not to cry right then and there.  It was the first time she has ever commented on it being big.  I’m a crying mess right here at my desk typing this because as a mama you just want your kids to feel happy and I know that there is so much pain in her future.  The doctors always tell us that the hardest days are in front of us and that’s not what a mama wants to hear.  I love this little girl so much.

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Last month, we celebrated sweet Ashby London turning four!  Just last week in speech therapy, the therapist asked her how old she was and she said eight.  So…there’s that ;).

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Over the last three months, I would say that Ashby’s language has blossomed the most and that she now talks non stop.  And by non stop, I mean she like never, ever, ever, EVER stops talking to us.  The other day at lunch, the three kids and I were sitting at the bar and I was on one end with Ashby next to me and Smith and Kensington on the other side of her.  Well, Ashby was in the middle of telling me something when I heard Kensington look over at Smith and say, “How does she do that without taking a breath?”. Ha!  Friends, Ashby has a lot to say!

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Kensington and Ashby have slept together every single night since October.  For some reason one night last fall, Kensington got into bed with Ashby and never left.  Ashby adores Kensington.  Everything Kensington says/does/wears/watches/plays with is what Ashby wants to be doing.  If Kensington wants to ride bikes, Ashby does.  If Kensington wants to wear shorts, Ashby does.  Sisters.

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Ashby is so funny, so full of personality, so sweet, so cute, so witty and such her own little person.  That being said, she had her first little sassy moment the other day at the mall.  My mom and I were shopping in Williams-Sonoma and Ashby was touching the martini glasses.  I told her to stop and she whispered something in her cute little voice.  I said “what?” thinking how precious she is and was probably saying something so sweet.  She repeated her whisper but I still couldn’t hear her, so I squatted down to her level and said “what did you say sweet pea?” and she said, “I can touch whatever I want.” Um, yeah.  No.  Love the fact that she can now say big English sentences like that…but no to the sass little lady. #fouryearolds

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Ashby LOVES her friends!  Griffin and Bowen are two of her very favorites but she does have other little friends who she talks about frequently.  She misses school this summer and asks daily when she gets to go back.  I love raising girls who love their friends.


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Speaking of school, here is the comparison between her first day of preschool last September and her last day this past May.  She’s grown so much both physically and emotionally.  What a blessing this year has been.

Things we’re looking forward to between now and her 21 month post-adoption update:

1. Starting preschool again (she loves going to school two days a week!)

2. Starting dance lessons!  She cannot wait to take dance this fall (ballet and tap).

3. Getting ready for Halloween.  She’s already talking about her costume.  Hello Cinderella ;).

4. Learning how to ride a bigger bike with training wheels.

So, 18 months in and she is more of a joy than I ever could have imagined.  I know there are some of you who have thought about adopting or fostering and I sincerely ask you to pray about it.  There are so many children just like Ashby in orphanages and foster homes across the world that need homes.  Sweet, loving, affectionate kiddos that need a place to call home.  Adoption is hard, it’s complicated, it’s expensive, it’s full of unknowns…but oh my goodness, it is AMAZING.  Adoption is absolutely amazing.

To see more about our journey to adopt Ashby, see below:

Post Adoption: Month 15

Ashby’s Gotcha Day {First Anniversary}

Post Adoption: Month 11

Post Adoption: Month 10

Post Adoption: Month 9

Post Adoption: Month 8

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

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  • Erika Slaughter July 6, 2016 at 5:32 am

    “I can touch whatever I want”-hahahaha!!! That is hilarious! If she was with me, I would have let her play with the glasses. It’s so hard to tell that girl no!

  • Sheaffer Sims July 6, 2016 at 6:54 am

    I came to say what Erika said! You want to touch the martini glasses? GO AHEAD! 🙂 But my goodness, the “not my big hand” comment gave me a big ol’ lump in my throat.

  • Narci Dreffs July 6, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Love this precious girl to pieces! She has so much joy in her sweet, little heart! We love you, Ashby! Xoxo

  • Christi July 6, 2016 at 7:07 am

    As a mom who adopted one child from foster care I appreciate this post. We are just learning of medical issues our son has and it’s heartbreaking. Even though you prepare yourself for these types of things when you adopt it’s still hard because the love for that child is no different than the love for your other children and you don’t want to see then struggle one bit. My thoughts are with you and your family this month during her medical appointments.

  • Katrina Goodman July 6, 2016 at 7:11 am

    She is so sweet! Praying for her, her procedures, and you!

  • Sara July 6, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Hi Shay! Im 19 years old and have been following your blog for quite some time now (found it through Sean/bachelor stuff), and every time I read a blog post re Ashby/adoption I end up in happy tears. Adoption is never something I was against but never something I said I would definitely do until I started reading your blog. When I was little and played games with imaginary friends I remember sometimes having an adopted sibling/friend/or being adopted in those games. Its only now I realise that this means I’ve always had adoption in my heart.

    Whilst I don’t plan on having kids anytime soon – I know that atleast one of my kids will be adopted. So thank you for making me realise that. You have a beautiful family! xxx

  • Brooke Richardson July 6, 2016 at 7:34 am

    So I just totally started crying while reading this!!! Ashby is so so special and I just love her! Sass and all!!! 😉

  • Paula July 6, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Only 18 months? You’re right! Even to us reading, it feels like forever! Ashby is just darling and fits in so perfectly!

  • Kelly Giles July 6, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I have loved following your adoption journey. Ashby London is such a beautiful little girl. She seems like such a little character.

  • Kristen Gerdel July 6, 2016 at 8:16 am

    I just love her (and I don’t even personally know her) 🙂 Such a beautiful family you have Shay.

  • Lindsay D. July 6, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Thanks for sharing! She has been a blessing to me just reading about her life over the internet. I can’t imagine what joy she brings to your life!! Let us know of your prayer request for her procedure later this summer.

  • Leigh July 6, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Love this update and seeing her GLOW!! Cracking up at Kensington’s comment!!

  • April July 6, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Ashby is just precious! Continued prayers for her and her medical procedures this month! God’s got this!!!

  • carol July 6, 2016 at 8:46 am

    OOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo….she looked so sad and lost her first day.
    She was planted and she has bloomed!!

  • Jaren July 6, 2016 at 8:47 am

    She has brought such a joy to my heart too! I love her story! Continued prayers for her!

  • Shanna Johnson July 6, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I love this! Reading about Ashby and seeing how adorable she is, both inside and out, is wonderful! The way you talk about her is beautiful. You can tell you really love her more than words can describe, and it’s obvious to me that she was meant to be a part of your family all along! I’m a recent follower to your blog, so I look forward to going back and starting at the beginning to read about Ashby’s journey into your lives, and I also really look forward to everything that is to come for all of you!

  • Megan July 6, 2016 at 9:12 am

    I’m dying that she told you “I can touch whatever I want!!” Hilarious!!

  • DeLana Mullins July 6, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I have only recently (4 months) joined in on following your blogs (Love them!) and I wanted to tell you that I have never even noticed Ashby’s hand…All I saw was a sweet baby girl who looks SO HAPPY and loved. After reading your 18 month blog on her is when I even discovered she had any health issues…that is a testament to you and your family. I just wanted you to hear that because I know that hurt in a momma’s heart…please know that there are people out there who will look right past it because while it’s part of her, it’s not who she is. Good job momma!

  • Elizabeth Valdez July 6, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Shay! Tears are streaming down my face as I am sitting at my desk. Ashby is such a sweet girl and I love getting to see her blossom through your posts! xoxo – Elizabeth

  • Elizabeth July 6, 2016 at 9:44 am

    The thing the doctor said about the days ahead are going to be the hardest… I disagree. Ashby is going to be great! Her future amazing! She is going to be surrounded by family and friends that love and protect her. She is a confident girl with a special hand..so what! She’s perfect! She will have procedures.. But will be able to handle them. And if anyone makes fun of her or kids are mean to her she has an army of bffs that with protect her. Let’s only bring positive thoughts Asbys way.. It’s amazing what that will do. So I repeat the days ahead are no harder for ashby than they are for all of us!!! Her hardest days are over. She is out of the orphanage!!!!

  • Crystal Alvarez July 6, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I love Ashby so much! What a blessing she is for everyone. I’m so glad I got to see her the other day. I’ve missed her this summer!!

  • Kristin Tate July 6, 2016 at 10:04 am

    It’s strange how you can love a family & little girl that you’ve never met. It’s pretty special the way God connects people. Through your blog and sharing your family, so many people come pray and love is shown. Thank you for the real and for the raw.

  • Amy July 6, 2016 at 10:11 am

    What a lovely post about sweet Ashby! Aren’t you so blessed to be her mama! And the sass . . . I kind of love it coming from that cute little thing!!!

  • Vesti Wyatt July 6, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Just looking at pictures, she has blossomed! As the mother of a child with some physical disabilities, it only gets harder as they get older. When they are finally able to verbalize what they’ve been thinking all along, it is heartbreaking! My son is 6, and has had 26 surgeries, most with multiple complications. We are currently on day 15 of another hospital stay. Before he went to sleep the other night, he asked “why doesn’t God just listen and fix me?” Oh my goodness…broke my heart! Prayers for your sweet girl, and for you guys as you navigate that “world” in the coming weeks, months, years…

  • G July 6, 2016 at 10:51 am

    What a beautiful blossoming girl!

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World July 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Gosh, she is just growing like a weed. She looks so much older in these pictures for some reason! What a shining light she is!

  • Angela Ellingson July 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Love her! And you are such a good mama!

  • Melissa July 6, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    HI! I’ve been reading for a few months and have never commented. I never even noticed Ashby’s hand! Every photo of her has been dominated by her adorable smile and personality. I was confused at first when you mentioned a disorder and the big hand…it wasn’t until I got to the pool picture (which I had seen before in a previous post) that I realized what you were talking about!

    I hope to adopt, too, someday, so thanks for the inspiration! And I hope it soothes your mama heart to know that strangers don’t look at your sweet girl and see a defect—we see a happy little girl exploding with sass and energy!

  • Carly July 6, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    You simply must, MUST read Wonder (with the Julian chapter included). My youngest has both vascular and lymphatic malformations, one so rare it cannot even be found on Google (WHAT?!), and 2 summers ago they did a miraculous procedure that caused a blood clot in her neck. It was huge, and noticeable, and I spent the summer watching people stare, ask questions, cry when they saw her and be scared of her. She was only 2, though, and oblivious to it all (Thank God!) and she just went about her days. I have never been more in awe of a child. I read Wonder that same summer and cried my way through it. It is just so good! She is 4 now; her neck will always be a bit bigger and she is starting to notice and realize it. It is hard on a mama’s heart!

  • sarah July 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    I really love all these precious moments of Ashby. Just love them! She is full of life and sooo cute!!! It makes me feel sad knowing that she had bottled up so much of her personality and bubbly self when living in a orphanage. Maybe thats why she has soo much to say because she couldn’t channel those feelings to anyone at the orphanage really. I think it is amazing you guys brought out the best in her . Of course God did amazing things too!! Omg her little sass moment . lol hahaha
    Praise God for her progress! It is so cute that she talks about Jesus at such a young age. What does she say? I am curious! lol Thanks for sharing these special moments.

  • Hanna July 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I absolute love these adoption posts! I had never thought about adoption but through learning about Ashby through your blog over the past few years I’ve been praying and discussing with my husband and we feel like God is calling us to adopt too! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Brigid July 6, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    I’m sure she has so many more happy times coming to outweigh those hard times + her smile’s so big I don’t even notice a “big hand”! She’s the cutest!

  • Joanne July 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Ashby is a beautiful little girl! I have not ever noticed her hand; just that adorable smile!

  • Jeanie July 6, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I so enjoy these updates.

  • Monica July 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    I just love that Ashby knows that you love her so much that she can sass you. It shows how deep the love is between you two. She is just so darling!

  • Holly Romero July 6, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    The world needs more people like you and your family, Shay! I just started reading your blog and I’m addicted 🙂

  • Ruth July 6, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    It does seem like Ashby has been a shull for forever. When I read your posts I see a sweet girl who was made for and meant for your family. God is good.

  • Jennifer Jackson July 6, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Bless you and your sweet family. Thank you for sharing your joy with us!!! I can’t tell you how often I laugh, cry, and learn from your words!

  • Kelly Stamps July 6, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Oh she is JUST the cutest thing EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Melissa July 7, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Shay, prayers for Ashby’s hand, that made me so sad to read too, bless her tiny heart. She’s in the best if hands, that is for sure!

  • Andrea M July 7, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Shay!!! She gets cuter EVERY month!!! Y’all are going to be in TROUBLE in a few years 🙂 I still get a little lump in my throat every time I see her wave those flags (and eat salsa!) Love you, friend!!!

  • Hilary July 7, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Ashby seems like such a sweet little girl that bubbles over with joy wherever she goes! Praying for you guys as you continue in this journey with her, praying God’s guidance, doctor’s wisdom, and peace and comfort for you guys! Love ya!

  • Southern & Style July 10, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Her telling you not to take her “big hand” just broke my heart into pieces! But on the other side, I’m so thankful that you’re the type of Mama that God sent her! I also love that her friends don’t seem to see anything different about her, that’s the beauty of young children.

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style