Madeley Post Adoption: Month 3

We’ve officially had our Madeley for three months now.

For so many reasons, this last month has been special, but one of the most important things we have done is complete the re-adoption process here in the United States.  We adopted Madeley is China and completed the process over there before we left and came back home.  Upon entering the United States, she was declared a US citizen in customs and then after that, you complete the US re-adoption process to get her a US birth certificate with her new name printed on it and then we can get her a social security card and passport.  On Friday, December 2, we had a fantastic time at the courthouse and completed everything.  We were pumped!  Here we are inside the courthouse about to go inside the courtroom.

I took this pic because it just made my heart happy.  I looked over and there sat four kids who really and truly have no business being together.  One was born after years of her parents struggling with infertility, one came a short sixteen months later and was a complete surprise to everyone, one was born in Xi’an, China and the other, Linyi.  And yet…there they all are together sitting on a bench discussing the contents of Smith’s lunch ;).  (We picked them up early from school and he didn’t have time to eat, so he brought it with him. 😉 ).

The judge could not have been nicer.  I mean…to say he was the brightest spot in our day would be no exaggeration.  He was such a blessing to us!  His enthusiasm and excitement for our adoption was infectious.  He asked that we all stand and be sworn in to take the oath of adopting this girl into our family.

We all raised our right hand…well, one of us raised their left but it still counts 😉 .

The judge asked for the three big kids to step around to his bench.  From there, he had each one of them put his robe on and type in the final words that needed to be typed to officially complete the re-adoption process.

Everyone working together to complete our adoption…

…and then sweet Ashby got to click the mouse that submitted everything.

The judge completed things by giving each kiddo a stuffed animal.  What a blessing he was!

The Shull Six!  We’ve gone to the other side of the world not once but TWICE to make this possible and it was worth every single bit of it!

To wrap things up this month…Madeley is flourishing.  She still doesn’t have a big vocabulary, but it’s getting bigger by the day. (Just yesterday, she pointed to Bowen and said “BoBo” really loud and then when she realized we realized she knew his name, she was super proud and said it over and over again.)  She has learned to climb the stairs (frightening but a skill she needed to know!).  She has her favorite foods (give her all the ground beef!) and her least favorite (go away raw vegetable of any sorts!).  She loves to get dressed and I find her at least 12 times a day in my closet trying on my shoes.  She likes to help me sort the laundry.  She knows to take her shoes off when she comes inside the house and puts them right where they belong on the bottom step.  She still gets so excited when she sees her bigger siblings after school and she gives THE BEST kisses and hugs.  She’s sassy (oh word!), she’s spunky, she’s full of energy, she never sits down, she’s always so curious about everything, she likes any toy you can push, she loves to sort and stack, she never sits down (did I mention that one already?), she goes with the flow, she’s FUN, FUNNY and oh so lovable!  We are incredibly blessed to have her.

Friends, I know adoption is a scary thought.  I was scared too!  There are so many unknowns, so many risks, so many things that could go wrong…but just look at my sweet girls’ faces.  They are amazing gifts from God and I’m so glad that I didn’t let fear get in the way of giving them forever families.  They have blessed me much more than I could ever bless them.  Adoption is amazing.  If you’re thinking about…might I encourage you to move forward?  Your kiddo could be out there waiting for you.

Next month, we celebrate Madeley’s four month post adoptin update AND Ashby’s 2nd Gotcha Day!

To see other posts on our adoptions, look below…

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 2

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 1

Meeting Madeley for the first time: HERE

All of our China travel posts: HERE

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

Post Adoption: Month 21

Post Adoption: Month 18

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

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  • Leslie Z. December 12, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Why does it seem like you’ve had Madeley FOREVER?! Three months sounds like such a short amount of time, but the way it feels (even to us readers), is that she’s been part of your family since the beginning! I also can’t believe Ashby’s 2nd Gotcha Day is coming up! TWO years?!? So happy that your sweet babies are doing so well! XO

    http://www.withlovefromgablog.blogspot.com

  • Kate H. December 12, 2016 at 4:50 am

    I love your sentiments in the last paragraph. As I was getting ready for bed last night, I was thinking about how amazing it will be when we (hopefully!) adopt our foster son in a few months. “It will be so great to have our life back! Not having to worry about CYS will be so wonderful!” and then I stopped. This was HIS plan. This is what He wants me to be doing with my time and life. And BAM, I think we may have another foster kiddo in our future 🙂

  • Sanna December 12, 2016 at 4:51 am

    That judge deserves “employee of the year”!!!

    • jamie December 12, 2016 at 5:52 am

      he absolutely does. that is a man living out god’s purpose for his life!

  • Susan Jeffries December 12, 2016 at 5:01 am

    It has been such a joy to watch your adoptions. We have an amazing 15 year old daughter, and then we experienced ten years of unexplained infertility and a failed adoption. I am at peace with God’s greater plan now – we adopt dogs and have a house full of teenagers(: But I have really enjoyed watching your family grow. Thank you for sharing. Your kiddos are precious and perfect.

  • Jenny December 12, 2016 at 5:10 am

    What a wonderful judge to have! He made it special for everyone–love that! So glad that Madeley is flourishing…

    ~Jenny
    http://www.introvertsguidetosobriety.com/shopping/2016-holiday-home-tour/

  • Marcie December 12, 2016 at 5:21 am

    I love this post! Congratulations to you and your family! My husband and I are considering adopting from China or Ssouth Korea. We have a five year old daughter and a two year old son. Fear has definitely been getting in the way. We are really praying and trying to discern what God is directing us to do. Would you please pray for us? Thank you so much! Marcie

  • Erika Slaughter December 12, 2016 at 5:24 am

    Apparently Bowen has a way with the ladies?! 🙂 Miss Madeley is such a JOY to be around. Her energy is infectious! This was such a special moment. So excited for you SIX!

  • Loren December 12, 2016 at 5:35 am

    I cry at every adoption post. I love reading these updates and see how much these kids have grown. God Bless you and your family!!

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt December 12, 2016 at 5:40 am

    I love these post-adoption updates! They are so encouraging and make adoption much less scary than some people think it is. I loved the picture you shared yesterday of Santa and Madeley’s reaction to him…too funny!
    MeetTheShaneyfelts

  • Sheaffer Sims December 12, 2016 at 5:46 am

    The judge’s kindness made me teary. He must absolutely love his job to put so much heart into it! Sweet pics of such an important day!

  • emily @ a little bit of emily December 12, 2016 at 5:48 am

    The judge sounds like he made a super special day even more so! Love to hear that Madeley is doing so well. She is precious!

  • Danielle Rigg December 12, 2016 at 5:50 am

    Wow, that judge was amazing to include your children in the process. How special. It brought tears to my eyes reading it. Something they will always remember. On another note, where did you get Asby and Madeley’s reindeer shirts, they are so cute?

    • Mix and Match Mama December 12, 2016 at 5:53 am

      Mud Pie 🙂

  • Lindsay December 12, 2016 at 6:00 am

    Tears…HAPPY tears!! First, I love your family’s story but second, this judge is an angel, I’m convinced. Seriously, I hope you write to whomever it is that placed him with this honor (assuming he wasn’t elected! ha) and to anyone else you can to let them know how wonderful he was. He let your big kids be apart of the “official” adoption process– how awesome is that?! Maybe one of them will be struck by his actions and be a judge someday?! I feel like it’s always stories like this that inspire others. The good in humanity never ceases to make me smile!

  • Narci December 12, 2016 at 6:04 am

    What a special day! Miss Madeley is just sweetness and sunshine wrapped up in a tiny body! Love her cute little personality!

  • Amanda @ Cupcacke N Dreams December 12, 2016 at 6:27 am

    It’s such a joy to watch from a far your whole family flourish from both adoptions. Madeley looks so happy in all of your pictures 🙂 That judge is a sweet man for including all the kids in the process!
    Xo
    Amanda
    http://www.cupcakendreams.com/weekending-giveaway-part-2/

  • Valerie December 12, 2016 at 6:30 am

    What a precious judge…love that the kids got to help submit her records. Congrats to the Shull Party of Six!

  • Kelly December 12, 2016 at 6:32 am

    A wonderful and momentous day in the shill famiky! Congratulations! And icing on the cake is that incredible Judge! !

  • Melissa December 12, 2016 at 6:44 am

    AMAZING! And what a precious gift for the judge to be so wonderful. That’s a great example of doing your job as unto the Lord…thanks for letting us tag along to see your adoption journeys. They remain my favorite.

  • Lizzie @ This Happy Life December 12, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Wow, that sure does seem like an amazing day! That judge could not have been nicer it seems!

  • Laura December 12, 2016 at 6:47 am

    wow, Wow, WOW!! I think Judge Dean should be on the Shull Christmas Card List! How awesome he is!

  • Kathy S December 12, 2016 at 6:49 am

    That judge is precious! I got teary seeing your children at his computer. How special!! Congrats to your sweet family!

  • Nancy December 12, 2016 at 6:56 am

    God bless you and your beautiful family. I am sitting here getting teary reading your post. In this time of such unrest in the world, your post always shows there still are very good people out there in the world. And your family is an example of that.

  • Holly Hopkins December 12, 2016 at 7:01 am

    What a wonderful day! You are pulling at my heart strings Shay Shull. Still praying. It takes alot of confidence I feel in yourself as a parent to adopt.

    • Allison December 12, 2016 at 7:29 am

      Take the leap Holly! Our Kate is our first child. We adopted from China in October of this year. It is so worth it! I had so many days of getting frustrated at the wait but God was working everything out in his perfect time!

  • Megan December 12, 2016 at 7:03 am

    The judge having the kids help type up the paperwork had me in tears. Our Q will be home 18 months this week. Oh how time flies!

    http://www.lettinginthelightblog.com/

  • Texannie December 12, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Even though it has been 27 years, I can still remember the feeling when our judge banged his gavel and said ‘Today, I declare you are a family’. It was an amazing moment.

  • Kristen December 12, 2016 at 7:25 am

    My husband and I are currently going through the licensing process to become foster parents. We are open to adoption but wanted to start with foster care first. God put being a foster parent in our hearts a couple of years ago but we were anxious and fearful of so many things. After a long struggle with infertility, we knew God just meant for us to Foster and we decided now is the time. We have so much love to give and would love to share it with any child that is placed with us.

  • Allison December 12, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Congratulations! Your adoption of Ashby spurred us to start the adoption process from China in January 2015. Our Kate joined us on 10/17/16 in Guangzhou and we arrived home on 10/27/16. She is absolutely perfect for us and so worth the wait! Merry Christmas to your family!

  • heidi December 12, 2016 at 7:28 am

    What a heaven sent judge to recognize what a special day it was not only for Madeley or you and Andrew but for all of you. I want to hug him!!
    Yeah shull 6!!

  • Jessica December 12, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Oh happy tears! That judge… so sweet. Love the picture of you standing as a family to take the oath. So special.

  • Ally December 12, 2016 at 7:33 am

    It’s a absolutely amazing that it’s only been three months for Madeley and two years for Ashby because it seems like they have been there the whole time.I would really love to adopt and add to my family but the exspenes seem to great.I hope your family has a very happy holiday!

  • Melissa December 12, 2016 at 7:40 am

    I will be 50 (ouch!) next month and my parents still celebrate my Gotcha Day by bringing me flowers. They also still get teary when they tell the story about the day they picked me up. Every. Single. Time. I am so lucky! Blessings to your family.

  • Alicia F December 12, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Oh man. The judge having the kids type in the final words brought me to full on tears. What a beautiful soul. What an big day for your whole family! Did you cry the whole time?!?! I am so afraid that I will just cry the whole time we are in China AND re adopting! You may need to do a make-up post on water-proof make-up 😉

  • Natalie Clark December 12, 2016 at 7:50 am

    How neat! My little sister is adopted, and I still remember sitting on that same bench waiting to go see the judge and then taking pictures with the judge. It was 22 years ago, so it was a different judge, but it was such a neat day! Congratulations! All of your kiddos are so adorable!

  • Tara Smith December 12, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Tears!! All of this is so special and wonderful!!

  • Marti December 12, 2016 at 7:55 am

    As an adopted child myself, I know what a blessing adoption can be! That judge! Wow! He is the best!

  • Francie@supersimpleways.com December 12, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Shay, this really made my day, what a sweet judge! Have a blessed day! http://www.supersimpleways.com

  • Kara December 12, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I love all the courtroom pictures and explanations. What a great day and how special for each child to be able to be a part of the finalization. The happiness among your family is such a blessing.

  • Paula December 12, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I love these updates! Madeley feels like she has been around forever! Only 3 months? She just looks like she fits as if she were thar puzzle piece! Perfect!

    Your judge is amazing! Allowing the Big kids/Ashby complete the process, so sentimental! Bravo to him!

    Merry Christmas Shulls! I know even with sadness & heartbreak around you, God’s goodness still shines down!

  • Angela Ellingson December 12, 2016 at 8:22 am

    What a special day!!! That judge was wonderful! Your big kids behind the desk were so sweet!

  • Ruth Ellis December 12, 2016 at 8:32 am

    That is the sweetest thing that the judge allowed your three older kids to assist with finishing the paperwork. What a way to make them feel really involved. I covered court proceedings in a former job and I would dare to say adoptions have to be such a positive thing during a judge’s day. Madeley is just so cute and she looks like she has settled right in with her family. I love the part you shared about her trying on your shoes! Sweet girl. Adoption IS amazing.

  • Courtney December 12, 2016 at 8:34 am

    I love reading all your adoption and post-adoption posts! What a truly remarkable judge! His heart for kids and adoption is so so special! I’m so happy for y’all! Total aside- where did you get Smiths cute snowman shirt?

  • Jacqueline December 12, 2016 at 8:36 am

    That judge just made me tear up! What a sweet man!!!!

  • Victoria December 12, 2016 at 8:46 am

    This touched my heart to the core. The way the judge treated your family is simply amazing! My heart is so happy for your family! Way to go for not allowing fear to get in the way of God’s plan!

  • patricia December 12, 2016 at 8:49 am

    We were lucky enough to get the same judge for the adoptions of both our grandkids. She had each child come up and bang the gavel down, making it all legal. Give a two or three year old a gavel and bam bam bam. The trick was getting the gavel back!

    I think judges love officiating at adoptions, it’s one of the really happy parts of being a judge. It looks like your judge loves it too.

  • cassie {hi sugarplum} December 12, 2016 at 8:59 am

    This post made me well-up a little bit!! I’m just so so happy for your precious family!

  • Megan Butler December 12, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Soooo much love in this post!!! Sweet Madeley!! She just belongs as a shull!!! Seems like longer than 3 months!!

  • Anna S December 12, 2016 at 9:32 am

    It brought tears to my eyes reading about the judge having the 3 older kids complete the adoption on the computer. He clearly has a passion for what he does! Also, I love your little reflection looking at your 4 blessings and thinking about how they all “have no business being together”. God is so good!

  • Kayla B December 12, 2016 at 9:34 am

    I LOVE these posts. I loved them with Ashby, and I love them just as much now. So, so sweet. After your adoption of Madeley, my husband and I really are starting to plan and consider adoptions from China. I know that you said you don’t want to list the specific agencies that you used, but maybe you could do a post on how you chose your agencies? Like, where did you start, what were you looking for, what are good signs, what are bad signs, etc. It’s difficult to know how to get started!

  • Sabina December 12, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Looking at these pictures brings tears to my eyes. Such amazing people you are. I truly enjoy reading your blog every day, it’s one of the highlights of my day! <3

  • Rebecca Jo December 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I honestly got weepy at the judge letting the kids help do the paper work.
    What a cool job he must have. I’m sure he’s paid his dues hearing some sad stories so I love he makes a joyous occasion even more full of JOY!!!

  • Maria D. December 12, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Such a wonderful post! The pictures of the kids are great and it’s hard to believe you’ve had Madeley 3 months already. You were blessed to have such a great judge! He really made the day special for your family – it would be nice to see more judges like this.

  • Kelsey December 12, 2016 at 9:58 am

    LOVE love love that the Judge made the whole family part of the process! What an amazing man!! Congrats for officially being a crew of 6!! Such a precious family 🙂

  • Cindy Beck December 12, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Such a beautiful family. Congratulations to all!!

  • Kate December 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Do we think this sweet girl is happy with you all? I mean, check out her face in that last pic! Joy personified! Congratulations to you all. How lucky you all are to have one another.

  • Kara December 12, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I practice law here and you are right, Judge Dean is amazing! So glad he was in Aux Ct. the day y’all did your adoption.

  • Heather Eppler December 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I am a long time reader of your blog and I just want to thank you for your adoption posts. Since your first adoption, I’ve been feeling God push me towards adoption/fostering. And I have SO MUCH fear about it!!! (I really need to trust Him but I’ve been struggling). I have a 15 year old daughter and we have struggled to have another for years and years. I have siblings who have questionable parenting skills so we do take our nieces and nephews under our wings and try to give him “normal” lives. I kept all my adoption/fostering hopes of to myself. When I finally shared with my husband I found he was on the same page. We are now taking baby steps and praying hard about This decision. Your posts encourage me so much. So thank you! (Oh btw my brother went to Irving high and graduated in 2000. He was a football player but was kind of a bad seed. so you probably don’t know him lol)

    • Mix and Match Mama December 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      First of all, your comment made me so happy!! And second of all, I don’t think I graduated with a single bad seed! What is his name?

      • Heather December 12, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        You are funny! Fidel Paredes. He was the fullback on the football team. Now I think about it, he went to school through January of 2000 then dropped out. So close! Love him but sometimes I just want to shake his shoulders. I actually went through Irving schools until I went to live with my mom in 8th grade. (Lively Elem & Austin JH). I am 2 years older though.
        your family is just precious and I believe God is using you to help find kids forever homes ❤️

  • Meg December 12, 2016 at 10:41 am

    What an amazing judge!

  • Janet December 12, 2016 at 10:50 am

    This post has the happy tears (sobs) pouring. I have loved watching your family grow.

  • Mandy December 12, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Love your scarf! Do you remember where it’s from?

    • Mix and Match Mama December 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      Yes! J Crew!

  • Shay December 12, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Oh my word! Sweetest judge, ever! I love that they were able to help with the process- how incredibly amazing is that?!

  • Marie December 12, 2016 at 11:52 am

    WOW!! This post just made the tears flow of joy for your family! I am at work and I think everyone thinks I am crazy, this is the sweetest God Bless you and your family. Love it!!

  • Courtney @ greywoodmama December 12, 2016 at 11:59 am

    How sweet was that judge!? Wow! It makes me so happy to hear stories like this one. Congratulations, Shull party of 6!
    Courtney

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World December 12, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Oh this post made me tear up! What a wonderful man your judge is! I love it!

  • Kelly W December 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    You speak to my heart every time you post about your adoption journey… so much fear about the process but your story reminds me of the joy, too!!

  • Mary December 12, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    I couldn’t make it through this post without crying. Is that judge for real? Congratulations Shull Six!

  • Genelle December 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for continuing to share the beautiful story that God is unfolding for your family. I am so encouraged by it and absolutely love your blog! I am sure you have likely read this book already, but I wanted to suggest Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman. It touched my heart as a new mom when I read it last year at this time, and I am sure it would touch yours as well as the adoptive mama of those two beautiful girls from China! 🙂

  • Kathy December 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    What a wonderful story and the Judge was just amazing for including all the other children in finalizing the adoption. Congratulations and may God continue to bless your family!

  • Nilda MacLean December 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Your adoption’s post are my favorite ones! Madeley looks sooo happy! She is smiling all the time! When you guys were at China, she was totally different, she was serious most of the time, but now her face glows of happiness!

  • Kaitlyn December 12, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    So happy for you and your family! I have a Netflix recommendation for you! You should watch The Crown! It has a Downton Abbey feel and is based on Queen Elizabeth’s life! It’s perfect for you!

  • Jeanie December 12, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    What a happy event. Love that judge.

  • Michelle stoker December 12, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    That judge is amazing!!! What a perfect role for him. So glad Madeley is with her forever family!!

  • Monica December 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    I just love everything about this post, such a great day! Congratulations to you and your beautiful family!!

  • Kathy December 12, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    That judge is Jesus with skin on…thank you for sharing!

  • Debbie Dunbar December 12, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Congratulations on the re-adoption. You all look so happy. Bless that judge’s heart! What a blessing!

  • Jaren December 12, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    So awesome! I’m loving that judge!

  • Erin port December 12, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    I love love love these posts! You are stirring many hearts!!!!

  • Bernadine December 13, 2016 at 1:55 am

    I would love to be like that Judge!! Did you post your birth/adoption announcement for Madeley? Just read the one again you did for Ashby in Month 2 🙂

    • Mix and Match Mama December 13, 2016 at 4:21 am

      Yes! I did! I’ll post it!

  • April Parrish December 13, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Girl, you are pulling at my heart strings!!! Love keeping up with your precious family! God Bless!!

  • Kensey Gosch December 13, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Oh my goodness. I am at work and took a few minutes of my lunch to catch up. I just couldn’t get past the judge letting them put the robes on. Big tears. Beautiful.

  • Danae Davis December 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I recently found your blog, actually it was while you were in China getting Madeley, and I have been enjoying it so much. My family is going through a very difficult time right now and this post put a smile on my face and warmed my heart. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  • Natalie C December 21, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing both of your adoption stories/updates and for advocating for adoption! I love reading about the adoption process and seeing updates on your growing family. It’s always an exciting day when I see a new post relating to adoption. 😀 We are also from the Dallas area (currently living in Grapevine) and have just started the process of adopting a girl from China! We are excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Do you have any good book suggestions that you would recommend? We have two boys (almost 2 and 4) and would love any recommendations you have for books/articles on adopting in general and/or anything relating to preparing children for a new sibling. Thank you!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 22, 2016 at 5:49 am

      My favorite book on adoption is Mary Ostyn’s Forever Mom. Congratulations!!!