Ashby is FIVE!!


Today, our sweet Ashby London is FIVE!

Rarely can I talk about this girl without crying.  She is just such a special little girl, and the fact that the Lord has entrusted Andrew and me to be her parents is quite overwhelming.  Ashby is just sweet, sweet, sweet to her core.  She is upbeat, positive, happy, giggly, and loves deeply all while being such a fighter.  This girl loves to snuggle, is such a pleaser and never wants to disappoint.  This has been a HUGE year for Miss Ashby.  Over the last 12 months, she has become a big sister and undergone eight surgical procedures.  Ashby love, love, loves taking care of Madeley.  In fact, only one week into summer vacation, and I think she’s a little bummed that Smith and Kensington are around to help because she takes great pride in caring for Madeley during the day 🙂 .  Ashby’s health has been one of the main topics of conversation over the last year.  Our goal is to keep her healthy and safe…so, we’ve spent a lot of time seeing doctors, getting opinions and having procedures.  We’ve had our ups and downs, she’s worn a sling/soft cast/compression garment 80 days this year.  She’s had limited physical activity, missed out on some fun things and been in tremendous pain…all while smiling.  Ashby is my hero.

When I think about Ashby’s birthday, I always think about her birth mom.  I have to imagine that her mama is thinking about her today too and that leaving Ashby that fateful day was the hardest thing she has ever done.  The other day, we had been swimming in our backyard and while we were drying off, I told Ashby that she was just so pretty.  I said, I bet your China mommy is so pretty too because you’re such a pretty girl.  And do you know what she said to me?  She said, I hope she has a family too.  Wow.  I started crying and couldn’t stop.  What a sweet girl I get to raise.

So, today, she is FIVE!  We are once again celebrating Ashby’s birthday in a BIG WAY!  Yesterday morning, 18 members of my family boarded a plane and headed to Seattle for an Alaskan cruise.   We are PUMPED!  We have big plans to honor our birthday girl today.

Happy Birthday Ashby London Shull.  I just know in my heart that God is going to continue to use your life to further His kingdom.  I am so honored to get a front row seat to watch Him use you in big and mighty ways.

Here’s a little look back at Ashby this last year…

IMG_3602 (1)

June 2016


July 2016


August 2016IMG_7167

September 2016.  We found ourselves once again back in the exact same spot we had been just 20 months before.  In Guangzhou, China.  This time though, she wasn’t that shy girl who didn’t know who we were and what we were doing.  She was a growing, thriving member of our family excited to be a big sister.


October 2016


November 2016


December 2016


January 2017.  We celebrated her 2 Year Gotcha Day.  Look how much she has changed from the day we got her!


February 2017


March 2017


April 2017


May 2017


June 2017

Happy Birthday Ashby!

God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. -Ephesians 3:20

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog June 9, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Happy birthday to Ashby! The first photo is the cutest, she looks super happy!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Linda Z June 9, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Happy birthday, sweet Ashby. Five is fabulous! Wishing all of you a fantastic Alaskan adventure.

  • Debbie Hibbert June 9, 2017 at 5:10 am

    What a beautiful post for this beautiful and precious girl. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your family with us Shay.

  • Courtney June 9, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Happy birthday to Ashby! You can tell she has a heart of gold to make a sweet comment like that about her china mommy. Thanks for sharing, what a positive way to start the day! Have fun on your vacation!

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams June 9, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Happy Birthday to Ashby!! Her princess party looked so fun 🙂 Enjoy the cruise!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Laura June 9, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Happy birthday to your sweet Ashby! I hope she has a wonderful year. Enjoy your cruise!

  • Lynn June 9, 2017 at 6:13 am

    This amazing little girl pulls at my heartstrings every time you post a picture of her. That smile that’s just from her wee heart melts me. Happiest of happy birthdays sweet beautiful Ashby xx

  • Sheaffer Sims June 9, 2017 at 6:30 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ASHBY!!! Yes, this girl is like sunshine with skin on! She’s a fighter, the life of the party, and has such a sweet little heart. We love you, Ashby!

  • Amanda Yap-Choong June 9, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Happy Birthday sweet Ashby! She radiates pure pure joy! May you have a blessed and joyful year ahead xxx ❤

  • Narci Dreffs June 9, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Happy Birthday, Ashby!!! You are so sweet and precious! We love you so very much! XOXO

  • Katherine Darlington June 9, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Your little Ashby is just beautiful! I think it’s beautiful how when she smiles, her whole face smiles. You could take a picture of just her eyes or cheeks and you could tell she’s smiling. She is a beautiful little girl!

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt June 9, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Happy Birthday to Ashby! You can really see her personality shine through in every photo! I love it!

  • Angela Ellingson June 9, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Oh goodness, what a precious girl!!! Happy birthday Ashby! Have the best time on your big family trip. That is so special!

  • Amanda Wilson June 9, 2017 at 7:06 am

    These posts always make me cry!!! She is such a sweet girl what a blessing to this world!!

  • Ralinn June 9, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Happy Birthday Ashby!

  • Alexis deZayas June 9, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Happy birthday sweet girl!!

  • Jess June 9, 2017 at 7:23 am

    What a sweet post. Ashby is incredibly strong and kind – a true superhero. Thank you for sharing with us your sweet family. Prayers for safe travels and fun times!

  • Lesley McFarland June 9, 2017 at 7:27 am

    What a sweet brave and amazing little girl!!! Happy birthday Ashby

  • Kourtney June 9, 2017 at 7:36 am

    I’m reading your blog at work and I seriously just teared up at what she said about her birth mom! What a sweet, sweet soul you are raising. Happy Birthday Ashby!

  • Elaine Welte June 9, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I can’t believe she’s 5! I feel like y’all just brought her home!!

  • ann a June 9, 2017 at 7:45 am

    “I hope she has a family too” That is amazing!!! 🙂 God bless you Ashby.

  • Gabby June 9, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Happy Birthday Ashby! (This post had me in a puddle of tears! So thankful that we also get to see the Lord use Ashby in big and mighty ways through the means of your blog and also that we get to see and be impacted by your family’s joyful obedience to follow the Lord’s call on your life and be a beautiful and tangible reflection of how we have been adopted into God’s family and are now His children because of Christ!) Have a great day celebrating your beautiful, strong and brave girl and enjoy your family vacation!

  • Teresa Flahaut June 9, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Happy Birthday Ashby! Hugs to all your family Shay! Have the best time in Alaska!

  • heidi June 9, 2017 at 7:57 am

    The happiness shows in that beautiful face. She’s a gem.
    Happy birthday sweet Ashby.
    Have a wonderful holiday ☺

  • Michelle L. June 9, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Happy birthday to your sweet girl!!

  • Anne June 9, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Happy birthday, Ashby. Hope you have a truly amazing day with all of your family. Yes, you are pretty. In fact, I think you are going to be a beauty. You are also strong. Never forget that.

  • lilly June 9, 2017 at 8:07 am

    happy birthday to the sweetest girl! enjoy your wonderful day with family!

  • Sarah June 9, 2017 at 8:08 am

    She is just so precious! Happy Birthday Ashby!!

  • Jacqueline June 9, 2017 at 8:08 am

    This made me tear up and I don’t even know you!! Happy, happy birthday, sweet Ashby! Have an amazing time on your vacation!

  • Briana N. Lee June 9, 2017 at 8:09 am

    This post makes me so happy! Happy birthday, Ashby 🙂

    Briana |

  • Kristy June 9, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Happy birthday sweet Ashby!

  • Erin Sutch June 9, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Happiest of 5th birthdays, Ashby! Goodness she is such a doll and has a smile that lights up a room!

    Have so much fun on your Alaskan cruise! We did a family reunion type of trip and did a cruise, train, and bus tour through Canada and Alaska! It was spectacular and a perfect family trip!

  • Kayla B June 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Ashby is so beautiful! I can say, it is because of her and Madeley and reading your blog every single morning that I have seriously started to think, pray, and talk to my husband about adopting from China. We know that adoption is the way that we want to have a family, and your precious girls have shifted the direction of where we might want to adopt from. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Tara June 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

    She is my hero too! I’m so glad I get to see and hear about this precious girl! Thanks for sharing and happy birthday Ashby!!

  • April Caddis June 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Happy Birthday to you, Ashby!!!!

  • Nikki Lehman June 9, 2017 at 8:36 am

    This brought tears to my eyes. Ashby seems like such a sweet sweet girl yet such a fighter! I love the verse that says Do not look down on a child because they are young. Your sweet girl has a spirit that is totally being used by the Lord and this little 5 year old is making more of an impact than many adults! What a privilege to raise her. 🙂

  • Keisha M Dawson June 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

    What a beautiful, amazingly strong, sweet girl you have!

  • Rebecca Brittain June 9, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Happy Birthday Ashby! I love seeing the pics from when you first adopted Ashby to now. She is radiant and shining with happiness. Beautiful angel! I think it’s precious to celebrate their “gotcha” days too. God bless you and your sweet family!

  • April Parrish June 9, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Happy Birthday ASHBY!!!! Praying for God’s continued blessings in your life!!!

  • Jenny June 9, 2017 at 8:43 am

    This post brought happy tears to my eyes. It’s a joy to watch your beautiful kids grow through following your sweet blog. Much love to you!

  • Erika Slaughter June 9, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Happy Happy Birthday Ashby Shull!! We love you so much and hope you have the best birthday! XO

  • Lisa June 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

    This is the sweetest post! I love reading about your sweet family!! Have fun with your family!!

  • Elyse June 9, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Happy birthday, Ashby! Shay, your note about her brought tears to my eyes. She is amazing. God bless her!

  • Kristen June 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Big giant tears. How incredible of her to respond that she hopes her China mommy has a family!! That Ashby just seems like the sweetest girl. Happy Birthday Ashby!!

  • Ariadna June 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Happy Birthday to sweet, strong and inspiring Ashby!! She shares a birthday with my wonderful Grandpa, so I’m super emotional today. I’m about to go into a meeting and I’m trying to stop crying! After reading the sweet thing she said about her birth mom, I had to use all of my willpower to not start blubbering in my office. Thank you for sharing your kids with all of us, I know if must not be easy but reading posts like these make my day. Please know that we pray for all of you and all of the other kids who still need to be adopted. Thank you.

  • Jen Williams June 9, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Happy Birthday Sweet Ashby! You are such a special blessing!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick June 9, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Happy Birthday, to that beautiful girl! I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen her when she wasn’t smiling and happy! Have a great cruise!

    That Inspired Chick

  • Melissa June 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Oh my stars! She is just so precious. Thank you for sharing your adoption stories with all of us-I hope she has the most wonderful birthday!

  • Mary Jane McNeill June 9, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Beautiful, beautiful girl. You are both blessed!

  • Maria D June 9, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Happy Birthday to Ashby! It’s been quite the year for all of you. I hope you have a great time on you family vacay!

  • Marta June 9, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Happy Birthday Ashby!!! Wishing you the very best. Shay is it my imagination or does her little hand look better?

  • Ashley J June 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Oh my goodness…the China mommy quote made my heart burst. What a sweet girl! I would’ve cried too! Happy Birthday to Ashby and hope you all have a wonderful vacation!

  • Yuko June 9, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Happy Birthday Ashby! Just reading your stories and looking at her pictures, I can feel that she is full of joy. She is truly a gift from God. I love her smiles. I am very touched by it. My tears just don’t stop. It’s my first time leaving a comment, but I wanted to wish her very special birthday.

  • Julie Clark June 9, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Happy Birthday to sweet Ashby! You had me crying too. What a sweet thing she said. Have a blast on your cruise!

  • MICHELLE O June 9, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Happy Birthday Ashby! You are an inspiration to us all!

  • Liz Thorson June 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Happy, Happy Birthday to sweet, darling Ashby Shull! ??? You had me crying when you shared what she said about her birthmother.??. I hope your family party of 18 enjoys a delightful and interesting time on your Alaskan cruise.

  • Amanda Tieken June 9, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Happy birthday Ashby Shull!
    My husband was adopted from South Korea and recently found his birth mother, so that comment from sweet Ashby made just made me ugly cry. Bless her heart.

  • Janet June 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Ashby is just darling and truly inspirational. Gotta love that girl!! Happiest of birthdays, Miss Ashby!

  • jamie June 9, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    happy birthday, ashby! have so much fun on your {so much family} vacation! shay, i was thinking about you a bit ago. i was walking through my favorite local antique store and they always play the most beautiful music. today i asked what music was playing. madeleine peyroux. have you ever listened to her music?

  • Bethany June 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Happy Birthday! Adoption is the best!

  • Alyssa June 9, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Yay Ashby! I hope you love the cruise, I live in Juneau and it’s so beautiful, we always recommend cruises as one of the best ways to see the prettiest parts of Alaska!

  • Deena June 9, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Ever since you introduced us to Ashby on your blog, I’ve been smitten with her. Her smile just lights up her face. She has to go through so much yet she’s so strong at her young age. She’s lucky to have you but you’re lucky to have her also. Happy 5th, Ashby!

    Have a wonderful trip! We cruised out of Seattle also and loved Alaska. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

  • Barbara Parnell June 9, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    You are all very blessed. Enjoy her special day!

  • Carly June 9, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Happy Birthday Ashby! Thank you for inspiring me from so far away. Such a beautiful little girl with so much love to give. Enjoy your vacation Shulls. Can’t wait to see pictures of the kiddos and cousin Samuel!

  • Cori June 9, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Happy 5th Birthday, beautiful Ashby!

  • Heather June 9, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Aah! She is such a lovebug. I love to see updates of your kiddos.

    Have a blast on your Alaskan cruise. That is on my bucket list for sure!

  • Debbie Dunbar June 9, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    She doesn’t even look like the same little girl! 🙂

  • Shan Rocha June 9, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    This made me cry like a baby, I love this little girl and makes my heart so happy that God connected her to your beautiful family to love on her, makes me sad to think of so many others out there just waiting for the same…. it’s so great to know that Ashby is as sweet and fun as she looks, happy bday cutie pie!!
    P.s my son Ethan turned 4 today too! It’s a good day 🙂

  • Taeryn June 10, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Have you watched the movie Lion? I watched it recently and it made such a big impression on me. It is the most beautiful, true story about the wonders of family and adoption. I thought of your blog and of your precious and gorgeous girls, Ashby and Madeley. I highly recommend it!

  • Amy Rae DeVito June 10, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Happy 5th Birthday, sweet Ashby!!

  • Whitney Pegram June 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Happy Birthday, sweet Ashby!! And I got chills reading her response about her China mama. Oh my heart!! ❤

  • Shelly June 11, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Her sweet comment about her birth mom brought tears. Shay I think you are so amazing for being real and sharing Ashby’s story with her. She is obviously blooming in your home!

  • Claire Cozad June 11, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I can’t seem to locate the post where you mentioned your favorite powder SPF. I refer to your product suggestions a lot! I see several through Nordstrom, which is best?!

    • Mix and Match Mama June 12, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      It’s Supergoop!!

  • Erin Port June 11, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Oh my goodness. Well you had me at “Ashby is my hero” and then you told the sweet story of how she hopes her mommy has a family and I am a puddle on the other side of the computer screen. I hope you have a wonderful cruise vacation. We head to see my sister and brother-in-law in Seattle at Thanksgiving. Loved your gum wall pic, my kids believed me when I said you could sample the gums ; ). xoxo ERIN

  • Lizzie @ This Happy Life June 12, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Happy Birthday to your precious Ashby!!!

  • Jaren June 12, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    So so sweet!! As always, thank you for sharing her sweet story with us! We will continue to pray for her!