Ahhhh! These two pics are from yesterday but I thought they were worth repeating :).
Today, we had our appointment with the US Consulate to finish up our very last piece of adoption business. No phones, cameras or whatnot are allowed inside the Consulate, so we left everything in the hotel and therefore…I don’t have any pics from today. That being said, for my own records, I want to document a few things from today and from our trip altogether.
When we arrived in the Consulate, Andrew and I got to raise our right hands and take Ashby’s US citizenship oath on her behalf. Not going to lie but it was really emotional…one of us even teared up (not me ;)…). After that, they explained that her US Social Security Card would be mailed to us within the next 6 weeks and we received her Certificate of Adoption that listed us as her parents and also officially changed her name to Ashby London Shull. From here on out, that will be her legal name :). We signed a few last things, had fingerprints taken and received our immigration folder. This folder cannot be opened until we land in the US. Once we arrive in San Fransisco (we layover there on our way to Dallas), the immigration office there will open her folder and immigrate her into our country. That moment right there officially makes her a US Citizen. My heart is already so full.
So, that about wraps up China. We’ll begin our journey home tomorrow after we pick up Ashby’s passport that will now have a US Visa inside.
I also want to jot down a few things that I’ll want to remember about Ashby and our time in China. As much as I would like to say I’ll remember these details forever, the odds are, I will probably forget some.
-As of today, she can say Mama, Dada, Smith, uh-oh, yay and stroller.
-Speaking of said stroller, she does not like it when either Kensington or Smith hop in. She has laid claim to that stroller and fusses at them if they sit in it.
-The very first day, Ashby saw me pull antibacterial out of my bag and immediately knew what it was for. They must have used it a lot in the orphanage because she’s always so proud that she knows how to use it. She’s super in love with my Bath and Body Works scented ones and smiles really big when she smells her hands.
-The very first time we put Ashby in the tub, she started washing herself. She must have learned that in her foster home. She also knew what we were doing when we brushed her teeth too.
-When Ashby wakes up from a nap or in the morning, she just opens her eyes and doesn’t move. We think she must have gotten in trouble in the foster home if she got out of bed because she will not budge…she just lies there.
-Ashby loves Kensington! She will talk non-stop to K (especially at night).
-Ashby loves to eat! She is so cute at the table and is always happy to try new things. We gave her tomatoes today and she ate them up!
-Ashby loves getting dressed in the morning. She squeals when we pull out her clothes and she holds really still while we get her dressed. She always seems so proud to have her clothes on.
My friend Courtney is a mama to a boy adopted from Uganda and has really been my biggest cheerleader during the last several years. Her advice to me the day before we left was to set really low expectations and then I would have the time of my life. I did just that…and I did have the time of my life. Our time here in China has been fabulous. Andrew and I have loved this 24/7 time with our kids that we don’t get at home. It’s been so nice to be forced to be in the same room with these little people day in and day out…it really has bonded us even more as a family.
Our road to parenthood hasn’t been easy. Infertility. Miscarriage. Really sick pregnancies. Adoption. We began the journey to become parents eight years ago and it’s been pretty emotional and stressful…but it’s been so worth it. I really don’t know if Ashby is the end of this journey or merely step three in four? We’re going to go home, pray about our future and let God work out the details.
We’re excited to be home, to get into a new routine and start our journey as a family five. We know that the so called “honeymoon” phase of adoption will end and reality will set in for all of us. Ashby’s health issues need to be addressed first thing and as far as we know, they’re going to be complicated and long term. We also have to work on Ashby’s speech and help her learn the English language along with all of the other things kiddos her age already know.
Thank you so much for sharing in our journey. Again, from the very bottom of our hearts, we are so overwhelmed and blessed by your words of encouragement and most of all prayers.
I am the Mix and Match Mama and I’m so blessed God has made us a little mix and match family. He always knows how to align the perfect pieces.
Much love from China!