China 2016: Days 10-12

Whew.  We’re almost home.

By the time you’re reading this, it will be Monday morning in America (Monday night in China).  At this point, we’ve completed the adoption process at the United States Consulate here in Guangzhou and sworn to love and care for this precious child the rest of our days.  We’re waiting out the 24 hour stay period and are headed home on Wednesday.  Praise Jesus.  We’re ready to be home.

Yesterday, in my One Year Bible, the scripture readings included Galatians 4 where Paul talks about how we are adopted by God through Jesus Christ.  Such a powerful reminder to me how adoption binds two things together.  Us to God and us to Madeley.

Adoption is a beautiful thing that I think I understand even better now than before.  When I walk around here with Ashby and see and hear how she knows me as mommy…how she understands we are her family…how she completes us in such a special way…it excites me to think of all that is in store for our Madeley back home.  We’re obviously in the “honeymoon” phase of adoption.  We’re basically on vacation here, so when we get home and get back to our normal (plus one), things will change.  I’m sure we’ll have many hard days ahead because adoption comes from brokenness and with brokenness there is heartache…but I am so confident that God has put us with these girls for very specific reasons.  We were at lunch just yesterday and Andrew and I were looking around at these four kids and it was like…wow!  Two years ago, we didn’t even know we weren’t complete but we were!  These girls have added more to our family than words could ever say.  We feel incredibly blessed that God has allowed us to know and love them.

I am praying for so many of you who are considering adoption.  I love you, I’m blessed by you, and I am praying for you.  I am also praying for those of you trying to conceive because I know that road too and it can be so heartbreaking.  I’m praying for you too.

Okay, here are photos from our last two days of “vacation” here in Guangzhou (Saturday and Sunday) plus one pic of us from today.  After today, we’re wrapping things up in China and heading home.  I’ll be back here on Monday with my usual…Meal Planning Monday (oh how I’ve missed cooking!!!) and some other post…probably a little more on adoption 🙂 .

I’m honored and blessed to share not only this journey with you but the rest of my life too.  Thank you for allowing me into your homes.  I know you’re busy ladies and I’m honored you take the time to read.

xo

img_7465

How sweet is this?!  I told you before that we had originally set out this time to adopt a boy from India and then God made it clear we needed another Chinese girl.  We had already been talking to our kids about a boy, so when we felt the calling, we asked Smith what he thought about another sister and he said that would be pretty cool too.  He’s a great brother to all three of them.

img_7428

On Saturday morning, Smith made a friend after breakfast and they played football together.  This little boy was also six and on vacation here in Guangzhou.  He is from Hong Kong but said he knew a little about American football, so they played.  Smith enjoyed his company so much!

img_7439

My lap was full…and my heart was too.

After we cleaned up, we headed to the museum.  The Shulls are always up for a museum trip!  We got into a cab at the hotel and told the driver where we wanted to go.  A little while later, he pulled up in front of the US Consulate to drop us off.  Apparently, he didn’t understand where we wanted to go but thought dropping us off at the Consulate was a good second choice ;).  Thankfully, we were able to explain (with hand motions for the most part) that we didn’t need diplomatic help…just the museum ;).

img_7442

Walking into the museum with this squirt.  We spent the day at the Guangdong Museum and it was so cool!  It was huge and covered everything from Chinese history to dinosaurs and such.  Very fun!

img_7444

See how big it is?

 

img_7451

Madeley’s first museum trip!

img_7456

They were pretending like they were scared of the animals.

img_7459

Dinosaurs floor me every.single.time.  They never disappoint!

img_7461

 

img_7463

We enjoyed the kids’ area…

img_7464

…the Lego animals were our fave :).

So, that was how we spent day 10 and then on day 11…

img_7467

…we went back to the Chimelong Safari Park!!!  Woohoo!  This is basically like Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World with a zoo too.  Last year, when we went…it was freezing cold and pouring rain.  This year, it was very hot.  It didn’t matter though because we were so pumped!

img_7468

Well, five of us where pumped…one of us was not super impressed.

img_7470

This is our “it’s so hot here” face.

img_7472

First stop, the safari ride that takes you around to get up close and personal with the animals.

img_7477

 

img_7480

I mean…I could eat her up.

img_7485

 

img_7487

We rode around and took approximately 4 billion pictures.  Thankfully, I will not show you all of them :).

img_7489

 

img_7495

 

img_7507

We were watching him throw meat to the tigers.  They were so close to us!

img_7516

 

 

img_7532

After we exited the safari ride, we were walking to the dinosaur part of the park and these monkeys were just swinging right above us.  They were close enough to touch!

img_7536

A random picture from our lunch break.  We ate and had ice cream to cool down.

img_7541

Because I can’t stop taking pictures of her.

img_7548

So, a week ago, we couldn’t get Madeley to eat scrambled eggs or yogurt and now, she can eat an entire sausage on a stick. #goals

img_7550

I have never been in a better snake exhibit than this one.  Here I am standing on them (they were under the floor) and at other parts, they were on the ceiling above us.  Seriously, they nailed the snakes here.

img_7553

We walked up to the giraffes and Madeley instantly started pointing at them.

img_7559

See how she’s pointing?  I wonder what she’s thinking???  The three big kiddos loved feeding them!

img_7565

 

img_7574

Lots of love for the koalas!

img_7577

And Ashby’s favorite part was the panda exhibit!  This zoo is known for their pandas and once again, they did not disappoint.

img_7581

Watching the pandas.

img_7583

 

img_7585

 

img_7593

 

img_7594

We let the kids all pick out a stuffed animal at the gift shop and the lady said we earned three free things: two cowboy hats and a horse.  I mean…do we look like Texans now or what?!?

img_7596

Kensington “rode” the horse back to the van and both girls have claimed our free hats. #darn

And then this is a picture of us from this morning…

14374275_205011386584910_1784464023_n

…we were headed to the US Consulate to finish things up.  You can’t take phones inside the Consulate, so I left my phone at the hotel and therefore, have no pics.  It was a sweet moment being back there with another precious girl.

And…here are some random thoughts for your Monday (because apparently, it’s my goal to make this the longest post ever)…

1: Madeley is loving bath time now!  At first, she cried when we bathed her but last night, she was so excited to get into the tub.  She squealed and waddled over there when it was her time.

2: Attachment wise, I think things are going well.  She reaches for both Andrew and myself and not to other people.  Now, when I get up from the table or something and sit back down, she smiles really big when she sees me “like, hey, I know you!”.  I think she’s starting to figure out that we’re her people 🙂 .

3: I would kill for a pumpkin spice latte right now.

4: Madeley has been sleeping like a champ between Andrew and me in the hotel.  She’s been napping in the crib in the room but sleeping with us at night.  Ashby slept with us for a while and I think it helped with bonding.  She snuggles up and goes right to sleep.

5: I keep trying to sing Madeley songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars and Ashby keeps interrupting me saying “teach her Let it Go”. Every. Single. Time.

6: A lady in line today tried to take Madeley away from Andrew and hold her.  She was pulling her away from him like “hey, I’ll hold her for you”.  Andrew is tall and looks rather intimidating, so I admired her courage 😉 .

7: Madeley is eating like a champ!  In one week, she has come so far!!  She can eat some things with her own two hands and then I spoon feed her the rest.  For instance, at breakfast this morning, she ate a little pancake and cut up turkey sausage herself and then I helped her with scrambled eggs and yogurt.  She’s also moving around so much more and going from sit to stand and back down on her own (she wasn’t doing that last Monday).

8: Ashby has said “I miss Bowen” 5,769,834 times.

9: Rumor has it that if you pre-ordered my new cookbook Eats, your copy will arrive this week (early!).  I am SO PROUD of this book friends!  It’s 12 chapters of recipes (everything from appetizers to desserts with all of the other stuff in between) broken down by months of the year.  You can cook your way through the year in this book.  I’ve been in adoption world for so long that I haven’t even thought about work back home, but I am so excited about this book release! Pre-order it HERE.

10: I have always loved chili sauce but now that I’ve had access to it for 2 weeks at all three meals a day…I’m obsessed.  Chili sauce makes everything better.  Eggs, chicken, shrimp, rice, noodles, french fries…it would probably be good on pancakes too. #obsessed

11: Every single day, I am moved by adoption stories here.  Since all Americans must go through Guangzhou to get their kid’s US Visas, we see so many of them here and I’m constantly amazed.  I see these families and these kids (some of them with SEVERE health problems) and am so moved by their love and faithfulness.  It’s overwhelming actually.  So many amazing people are here adopting and they’re ministering to my family’s heart so much.

Whew!  Okay…gotta go now.  Time to head back home.  A HUGE thank you to our friends and family who have babysat our dog (Slaughters, we LOVE you!), called us, texted us, sent us funny things, sent me pictures of pumpkins and other fall stuff and most importantly prayed for us.  We’ve had a long road getting here over the last 18 months and it really probably wouldn’t have happened without the love, support, encouragement and prayers of our friends and family.  See you next week…I’m sure I’ll be a hot mess, but that should be fun to watch ;).

xo

If you missed my other posts from over here…

Meeting Madeley James post

Days 5-7

Days 8 & 9

Print Friendly
  • Maureen C. September 19, 2016 at 12:47 am

    I LOVE these adoption posts! What a sweet picture of them sleeping. I also love how Ashby’s visiting the country she came from 🙂 It would be so cool if Ashby, Madeley, and the whole family learn Chinese, to embrace that part of their beautiful culture! Thank you for inspiring us with God’s truth and letting us take this journey with you. Much love to your beautiful family! Looking forward to seeing your family of six transition from vacation to home life! It’ll be fun to see your next “Day in the Life of…” post!

  • Cassandra September 19, 2016 at 12:47 am

    Thank you for sharing your life with us!!! It’s amazing what God can do!!! She is a beautiful addition to your family!!! Can’t wait till next week for more updates. Make sure you grab a pumpkin spice latte the minute you are back. You deserve it!!!!

  • Elisabeth September 19, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Thanks for sharing your story with us! I always enjoy reading your bog. This is no different. And what a beautiful addition to your family, Madeley is! 🙂 I’m praying for you all as you head home with your latest precious addition and for the transitions to come!

  • Grace September 19, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Love Ashby wanting to teach her “Let it go” and Madeley’s progress in such a short period of time! So great the big kids are with yall on the trip! I imagine it helps Madeley with transitioning! Thanks for sharing your lives with us!

  • Susan Jeffries September 19, 2016 at 4:37 am

    I have really enjoyed reading your adoption posts. Madeley is so precious. Blessings for a safe trip home.

  • Erika Slaughter September 19, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Eek!!!! Only two more sleeps until you’re back! We have missed your faces! In my house, it’s as if Bowen forgets where you guys are so every time we go somewhere he asks, “Will Ashby be there?”. Every time. 🙂

  • Sheaffer September 19, 2016 at 4:55 am

    I know I’ve said it at least 23 times, BUT THOSE CHEEKS. And I think that pic of M and S is just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. Glad y’all are about to be home!!!!

  • Jade September 19, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Thank you for sharing your adoption journey! We are in the process of adoption ourselves, we have a little girl from Texas that was in the foster care system there. I honestly can’t remember how life went with just my two bio-kids…?!? Love the post you guys are amazing, love from Missouri 🙂

  • Jess September 19, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Love your family! Thank you for sharing! It’s amazing how attached you get from reading a daily blog. Can’t wait for you all to get home and back to your daily life. Safe travels and prayers for you all in this transition.

  • Narci September 19, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Aw!! Love reading all about this, my friend!! Madeley is precious and that zoo is so fun!! So excited to have you back home soon!! Xo

  • Lindsay Freeman September 19, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Can’t wait to see pics from your welcome home celebration at the airport!!!!! I distinctly remember bawling my eyes out over Ashby’s airport pics. You could see pure JOY on your family and friends faces! Travel safe. Welcome “HOME” Madeley!

  • Regine Karpel September 19, 2016 at 5:53 am

    Love.
    http://www.rsrue.blogspot.com

  • KayVonne September 19, 2016 at 6:27 am

    With that sausage stick, Madeley is ready for the State Fair of Texas!
    Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  • Kathleen September 19, 2016 at 6:44 am

    I could barely look at the picture from the snake exhibit. You lost me there….. I hate snakes!
    Safe travels on your trip home!!

  • Laura September 19, 2016 at 6:54 am

    You need to frame the pic of you and Andrew with the cowboy hats! It will bring a smile on a hard day, I’m sure. And, a stranger lady tried to take Miss M from him? She sure is brave!

  • Paula September 19, 2016 at 7:26 am

    It brings me so much joy to read this update! I do hope you chose to write a book!

    Madeley and all the Shulls look like they have had a wonderful bonding honeymoon. Praise God!
    Praying for the next 3 days to go smoothly & uneventful! I pray all flights are on time & quick. I know the next month or two, the hard starts. Praying for the details & mundane life stuff because that is what will matter most!

    Excited for your book! Should be here Wednesday! 😀
    My twins had a birthday just recently and I make them the Chocolate Mississippi Mud Bundy turned into 2 6in cakes….they said it was the BEST CAKE EVER! Score with the 6 years olds! 🙂

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams September 19, 2016 at 8:09 am

    This whole post was so sweet, the picture of Madeley and Smith is just adorable 🙂 Happy you guys are headed home!

  • Jenny September 19, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I’m so glad you guys are on the final stretch and will be back home soon. Thanks for keeping us updated. So fun!

  • Karen Ward September 19, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I can’t wait to see how Madely adjusts to life in Texas!! Safe travels as you come home!

  • Brooke Richardson September 19, 2016 at 9:04 am

    EEK! Can’t wait to see you guys!!! Loved loved loved all these pics and was so excited to see a new post this morning! Prayers for safe and smooth flight on the way home.

  • Kara September 19, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I cannot wait to see you guys! I’ll say it again that I’m so proud of you for listening to Gods call on your lives. We love you!

  • Jeanie September 19, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I so enjoyed your adoption stories. Your babies are so lucky to have you as their family. Have a safe trip home.

  • Janet September 19, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. Prayers for safe travel home. Prayers for an easy transition to a family of six when you return to your daily activities.

  • haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine September 19, 2016 at 9:13 am

    so much happy in this post!! Love all the smiles!!! congrats, shulls!!

  • Natalie Clark September 19, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Oh this are just the best posts! I am sure y’all are so ready to be home, and I can’t wait for the posts that follow when Madeley is in all of your pictures at home! Have a safe trip home!

  • Jeremy September 19, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I’m a guy. A grandad! Lol! But I’m so enjoying your family blog. You are such a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing your adoption adventures. Wow!

  • Michelle N. September 19, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Longest post ever was also the sweetest post ever. Love you letting us “friends” from around the world share your joy. Congratulations!

  • Stephanie Anderson September 19, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Thank you for sharing both your adoption stories. It’s been a very informative journey! Could you please tell me where your white and black detailed top is from that you wore to the museum?

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World September 19, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I know you guys are just itching to get home and show Madeley her new space!! I hope you guys have an easy and safe trip home! I can’t wait to follow along with you for the rest of your journey!

  • Jamie B. September 19, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Hi! I have been enjoying your blog since you adopted the first time. I think & pray about adoption often. It’s such a joy to follow your journey. Congratulations on your new little blessing!! Also, that picture with the adorable koala statue is too cute!:)

  • Stacey September 19, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Love this, thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to hear more about her adoption. My husband and I have talked a lot about adopting one day (my dad was adopted so I’ve always been interested in it) and I love hearing adoption stories because each experience is different.

  • Charity September 19, 2016 at 10:36 am

    I am a Piano teacher and right now I have a student from China, who is here in the states for University. I love hearing his stories about China and about what it’s like there, I always think of you and Ashby and now Madeley!

    He said that Brother John, The Alphabet Song,and I think Itsy Bitsy Spider are songs they sing in China as well, only with different words! I thought that was so cool!

    He also said that their Spring comes much earlier in the year, and that’s when many people go on vacation. and then May and on it’s so hot outside that people try to stay inside.

  • Linda Stovall September 19, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I think this is my favorite post of yours EVER. The picture of Madeley and Smith with his little glasses askew is worth approximately one million dollars! The picture of Madeley in the stroller heading to her first museum trip, the unbelievable picture of her eating that sausage, that fabulous zoo, and well…all the other pictures. It has been so amazing for me to witness Madeley’s transition. I can’t imagine how exciting it has been for y’all. Love what you’re doing.

  • Ali September 19, 2016 at 10:46 am

    So glad things are going well with your new addition! Also, couldn’t help but notice your white patterned top you wore to the museum….where is that from?

  • Alicia September 19, 2016 at 10:54 am

    I just love these posts! I am SO curious about all the logistics! We are adoption from China (Waiting for our 1-800A approval) so the Guangzhou posts have been very interesting to us. I love all the details. These post have definitely increased our longing for our little one. Thank you for being so open about adoption. It is inspiring!

  • Kerri September 19, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I just got my Amazon Shipment confirmation on your new Book! Very excited! Love your updates, congrats on expanding your beautiful family!

  • Hanna September 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Shay, I’m so in love with your new little!! I followed your blog before you adopted ashby. I’m Chinese-American so when you went to China to adopt, my heart sang! Just out of curiosity, does being back in China and hearing Chinese have an effect on Ashby? Chinese was my first language and I learned English when I started school. I just think it’s crazy how quickly kids can learn and remember language!

  • Tiffany September 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Just love, love, love following along on your journey! Safe travels back home.

  • Jody T. September 19, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Hi shay congratulations on your new addition to the family. Please don’t take my questions the wrong . I just want to know what really happen for this adoption decision for adoptioning another girl. I want to know why you which agencies for adoption? If so why didn’t you pick a different country if India did not want your family to adopt from country. I mean what if there is really a child who is a boy and really wants to be part of a family and miss out on that child because you want back to China to adopt another girl. Are you sure that Smith didn’t really want a brother instead of sister ? Since Smith said that it’s pretty cool to have a sister again. That Smith is not disappointed since the boy adoption from India did come true. Because you don’t want Smith playing with his sisters and one day wondering. I wish I had a brother out play, bond and have a relationship with. Will ever consider adoption again and adopt twin boys from a different country ? So your family will have 3 daughters and 3 sons as children. Are you and Andrew officially done adding kids to your family? Will you continue Instagram posts as your children get order and talk about there lives ? Will you talk to your fans to consider about adoption from different countries and different states in your next post or will you talk about China only? Do you follow houseofrose on Facebook Mandy and Jeff who adopted a girl from Philippines? Will you ever consider doing a play date with Many and Jeff kids and your kids? Do you read a blog called www. ourlittlepearl.com/blog a couple Sarah and Kevin are adoptioning a baby girl from Ugada?

  • Elisabeth September 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing another inspiring adoption post!
    I was wondering about how Ashby has reacted to being back in China? Does she seem to remember or recognise anything? And how about the language? Does she remember that?
    I find being bilingual so faschinating and wondering how that works with adoption. And how quickly they forget.
    She is so clearly a Shull now and was so little when she moved from China so maybe she has forgotten that season of her life.
    But maybe she will have another understanding of what M is going though than the other kids?
    Anyway, thanks for sharing and can’t wait to hear more in weeks and months to come!
    God bless!

  • Melissa September 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I’m just loving this so much! Madeley is so precious! Heck, all of you are so precious! I love adoption. I would love to adopt one day too but God will have to make it a very clear calling for my husband. Appreciate your prayers!

  • Christy September 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I tear up every time I read your posts! I’m amazed at how quickly Madeley is taking to solids and the bath. How wonderful. We just had a sermon on Galatians 4 last week and it spoke to me in new ways because of your recent posts. Thank you for sharing your adoption journey with us!

  • Angela Ellingson September 19, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Love, love, love! Thanks for sharing! Ashby wanting Madeley to learn Let It Go is so so sweet! You have such a beautiful family! 🙂

  • Paige September 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Shay! The LET IT GO part made me laugh out loud!! haha!! Ok, I knowww this gets annoying, but I seriously stood in Ulta for like 30 min the other day google searching your nail polish colors. There are a lotttttttttttt of posts about it!!! haha!!! It’s the color on your toes in that Museum day trip I was trying to find! It’s not OPI Mod about you is it?? It looked so pink in the store, but looks more white in your pictures!! Let me know if you get a second!! Thank you!! 🙂

  • Megan Butler September 19, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I can’t get enough pictures of miss Madeley!!!!

  • Amy September 19, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I have so looked forward to your posts about sweet Madeley! Thank YOU for sharing your life with us . . . you are blessed! Godspeed on your return!

  • Elise Welch September 19, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I have loved reading about your journey and am so in awe of God and how wonderful He is! He is amazing! God bless and I will be praying for you guys!

  • Rebecca September 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    You are nothing short of amazing! Your beautiful family and you are a true inspiration. Thank you for sharing your life. I love love reading your blog and following along. Cannot wait to hear more about sweet Madeley and your homecoming.

  • Jaren September 19, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    I’m so happy that you guys have had such a great trip and that I could follow along! I’ll be praying for your safe return and a smooth adjustment at home!!

  • Kelly September 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing your adoption journey with us. I know that I am not the only one who looks forward to the updates. I also respect your desire to keep some things private and how you strive to put your family first. Praying for you as you make your way home. For a safe trip and a smooth adjustment once you are home. Also looking forward to receiving your cookbook this week! Hoping to do most of my meal planning out of it.

  • Leanne September 19, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Love following your adventures! Congrats on your expanding family! What’s the real day to day like right now? Does Madeley seem sad, lonely, scared? Her whole world changed when she left
    that orphanage and as exciting and awesome as we know her life will now be (because let’s face it, you’re killing this mothering thing) it’s all so new to her. I can’t even imagine that she’s ever been to a zoo or out to a restaurant, has she? Just like I think sometimes society romanticizes having a baby that’s how I feel about adoption when I read your blog (even though you tell us repeatedly it’s hard). I want to go out there and adopt too but it is such a huge decision! Prayers for your family!!

  • heidi September 19, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing journey with us. There are so many people praying for you and your sweet family. Heavenly Father knew you would be such an amazing momma. I can’t wait to bring your family home x

  • Nicole ghea September 19, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    What an amazing family you all are!! I started following you a few months ago, love the blog btw, so I know you already had 1 adopted daughter but never read the past posts until the other night. It was like a great book that I couldn’t put down! It took me a few nights to read the entire adoption section, I have 3 kids also, but I loved every post. I’m not sure adoption is in our family’s future but it’s so wonderful that your family has now done this twice. Your family is truly amazing!

  • Karen September 19, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    I love your wit, grace and love for your precious family and God! Thanks for the updates!

  • April Parrish September 20, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Looks like Madeley is fitting right in. Praying for safe travels . There’s no place like home! What an amazing journey you get to share and inspire others! God Bless!!!

  • Lizzie @ This Happy Life September 20, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    What a whirlwind of a journey! I’ve said it before, but you all are amazing! Safe travels home!

  • Angie September 20, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Could you do a post on your travel to China? Which airline you used, how to get around, what to see, where to stay, etc. Is it a good place to vacation?

  • Kacy September 21, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Have been following you for the past few years (heard of this after watching Sean and Catherine on The Bachelor) and love love love you and your family. Every adoption post has made me cry. God’s really blessed you with a huge heart for these children and it’s amazing seeing them finding their forever home. Can’t wait to see more back in TX! Sending love from Houston!

  • cassie {hi sugarplum} September 21, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Love all the updates and pics…safe travels home, friend!! Praying for your sweet (big!) family!! xo

  • Janelle September 21, 2016 at 10:02 am

    so wonderful and so happy for your family! Madeley is adorable!

  • Nancy September 21, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Shay,

    I started following you right when you were in the process of adopting Ashby and just felt so moved because in my thirty I had also wanted to adopt a little girl from China, but those were not the plans for my life. So it has been such a joy to follow you on your journey of adoption and now with your new sweet daughter. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us! I love you positive attitude and your strong faith! I loved watching how the pictures of Ashby changes from her serious, sad face in the beginning to her joyful smile when she embraced your family! I look forward to see the same transformation in Madely. Enjoy the crazy, fun times of a young family. It is the best part of life!

  • Janice M. September 21, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Loved your adoptionsnd trip to China posts. Please post more pics when you get the chance of all four kiddos. Madeley looks so cute and happy as a Shull. Also, thank you for praying for those on the road to adoption and those who are trying to conceive. That means so much. ????

  • Vivian September 22, 2016 at 1:54 am

    I really hope you see this as this is such a heartat warming story… It really reminded me of you guys… And they are in Texas too! http://glbn.ca/1JbZyu (From Global News) or you can try Googling this title in case you are scared it’s a virus lol. “Best friends from Chinese orphanage reunited after each adopted by Texas neighbours”

    You guys definitely are amazing and all your kids are so lucky to have you both!!

  • Jeannette Webber September 22, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Shay, Andrew, you two are blessed and are a blessing. I sat across from you, family of six, on the plane from LAX-DAL and marveled at your composure and how amazing and comfortable were al four kids. I am a mom of 4 bio kids, have many friends who have fostered and adopted and appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Here in Dallas to see my “baby”, a 19 year old SMU sophomore, and also know this was easier for you all since you didn’t walk alone but with faith and with God. I surmised but wasn’t sure if the details of your family trip to China, made challenging to guess by the obvious bond Madely has to her daddy, clinging to him in sleep and wakefulness and whatever I was hypothesizing, I KNEW she was holding on to her daddy, physically, emotionally and lovingly. God bless you and keep you always in His arms. Psalm 16:8 “I keep my eyes on the LORD. With Hom at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

  • Heather Cooper September 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I received an Amazon delivery and didn’t remember what could be in it!! Your new cookbook is gorgeous and I poured over it last night. I cannot wait to cook next week after my girls weekend away. I have been so uninspired in the kitchen since going back to work teaching this fall. Thank you for the timing! After looking at the book last night I popped on to your blog. So so happy to see all the goodness happening with your adorable family. Safe travels!!

  • Kenna September 22, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Hi Shay! I recently started following you because I’m truly inspired by your adoptions of both Madely and Ashby! I do have to say, I was a little surprised by your infertility story and that you chose to undergo IVF procedures, considering IVF is controversial among the Christian community (lots of people consider it the same thing as abortion). I was wondering if you could maybe touch a bit on this topic? I was not raised a Christian, and I myself don’t find IVF or early-term abortions morally unacceptable, so I’m very curious about your take on it, given your faith in your religion.

    • Mix and Match Mama September 22, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      I never underwent IVF, I did IUI six times but was planning on IVF when I found out I was pregnant with Kensington. You know, we prayed about it and felt God’s blessing on our fertility path.

  • Kim September 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    I just wanted to stop by and say how beautiful your family is. Your recent photo of Ashby not wanting to leave you guys for school made me tear up seeing how far she has come with your adoption process. You guys are truly selfless, loving people and a great example to all. ????

  • Nikole H September 23, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Love your blog and your heart of obedience in serving the Lord through the adoption of your precious girls! My husband and I have 5 biological children and have adopted 4 from China, our oldest from the Shandong province! We are ready to head back for number 10 and are researching agencies. Would you mind sharing which one you used for Madeley’s adoption?

  • Erica September 24, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Welcome Madeley! I’m so thrilled to read about your family’s obedience to God and the opening of your hearts. I had a thought on her attachment process, I’m sure there are lots of experts with sound advice, so this may not be new to you. Have you considered babywearing? Kinderpack, Tula, and others make carrier sizes specifically for toddlers and I just wonder if wearing her on you or Andrew would help her attach, even for things as simple as a Target trip, family walk or unloading the dishwasher. Just a thought. Can’t wait to keep reading about your journey!