Home.

After 18 days in China, we came home on Thursday night.  Opening the door to the baggage claim area in Dallas and seeing all of our friends and family waiting there for us was one of the sweetest moments in my entire life.  Words cannot even begin to describe the love.
Our friends and family have been on this journey to adoption with us every step of the way.  They have been praying for us, encouraging us, educating us (several of them have adopted children), supporting us and cheering for us.  While we were gone, each and every one of them sent us text messages and emails every single day.  Some were really encouraging and spiritual and some were just flat out funny (which was awesome because we needed to laugh!).  I love these friends and family so much and count myself rich to have them.
No words today, just pictures of our homecoming.  Thanks to everyone for sending me pictures from their phones and especially thank you to Narci who just so happens to be an amazing professional photographer for capturing so many sweet moments.
Don’t forget, I’m back in the kitchen on my foodie blog!  A three week trip to China and new toddler can’t stop me from cooking.  I have your Meal Planning Monday today…lots of comfort foods that are perfect for January (or for when you’ve been away from home on a long trip and just need a bowl of goodness for supper).
Tomorrow, I’m back to my Shades of Shay answering your adoption questions (thanks to your emails!).  Happy Monday!

XOXO

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  • Jen January 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

    It's so beautiful to see the joy on so many faces in these photos! You have such a wonderful support system. I hope you enjoyed your first days with Ashby at home.
    Looking forward to tomorrow's post about adoption!

  • Brittany Medland January 19, 2015 at 11:10 am

    It warmed my heart so much seeing all the IG posts the night you arrived home! I can only imagine how truly blessed you must feel πŸ™‚
    I cannot wait to see Ashby's new room!(I hope we get to see it πŸ˜‰ )

    • sarah c January 19, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Yes I want to see her room too!! Hint hint.

  • sarah c January 19, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I love these pictures! !!! So precious! I β™‘ Ashby's facial expressions " mom who are these people" ? Lol Praise God for Ashby and your safe journey home! Looking forward seeing more Ashbys posts.

  • Stephanie Jennings January 19, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Love, love, love those pictures! Did you know everyone was going to be there? You are truly blessed. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Kristin January 19, 2015 at 11:51 am

    What wonderful friends and family you have!! Blessings as you adjust to your new "normal" as a family of 5!!

  • Erika Slaughter January 19, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Finally!!! The Slaugjters are so happy you're back! It was so much fun being part of a night so special. XOXO

  • Kelly @ Familiar Joy January 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    These pictures give me goosebumps. What an incredible journey. I've been praying for your family every step of the way. I love that Ashby looks so happy….like she's been a part of your family forever. Congratulations, mama!!!

  • Rebecca January 19, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    So happy for you all!

  • Emily H January 19, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Welcome home to all of you! All of those smiles are so contagious. Praying for all of you as you transition to your new normal.

  • Narci January 19, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Watching your family walk through adopting your sweet girl has been such a blessing. I am so happy for you all! Love you!!!

  • kimm atwood January 19, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Welcome home!!!!!!

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} January 19, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I just loved how comfortable and safe at AT HOME Ashby was on your hip all night. Lots was going on, and tons of loud people were there, but as long as she was on your hip she was just fine!

  • Lisa Jones January 19, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Such a SWEET moment!!! So glad I got to be a part of it. Ashby is adorable and it makes my heart so happy knowing what an awesome "forever family" she has now.

  • Jenn January 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Loved seeing this on Instagram as it was happening and now really loved reading and seeing ALL of the amazing pictures of your family and friends welcoming your new addition! Ashby is adorable!! πŸ™‚ Congrats to your family!

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Wow, so much love, you can feel it! Welcome home!

    Jan Fisher

  • Tara G. January 19, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Perfect!

  • Amanda Bajin January 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Welcome home to your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your journey with your blog family. xoxo

  • Lyndsey Harms January 19, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Every time I read about your experience or see posts, etc. Brings tears to my eyes, congrats on the new addition to you family. It really looks as if she was a Shull all along. Even if it took 2 years to get her home.

    Enjoy!

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    What a wonderful welcome home from family and friends! Loved seeing all the terrific pictures that your family and Ashby will be able to treasure forever. I have really enjoyed following your journey in China, and looking forward to reading all about that Shade of Shay. πŸ™‚

    Kathy Lang

  • Leigh January 19, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Welcome Home! I have loved seeing your pics on Instagram. I hope your first few nights at home have gone well.

  • Angela Ellingson January 19, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    This is amazing!!!! I love it! You are truly blessed to have so much support and love! Soooooo happy you are all home!

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    FAMILY and LOVE!

  • Jen January 19, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful journey with all of us strangers. Ashby is beautiful and she will be much loved. It is almost overwhelming to think of how different her life will be now that she is a Shull. God bless y'all! Have a great week!

  • kristen January 19, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    These pics are worth a thousand words! They are BEAUTIFUL!!

    (also, off topic, but I'd love to find that red cardigan that one of your friends is wearing – it's kind of an aztec print…?)

  • Michele @ The Joyful Home January 19, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Congratulations, Shulls! What a blessing!

  • hannah friend January 19, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Such a georgous family of five you have!!! Thanks for sharing your inspirational story ????

  • Michelle Nobbe January 19, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    No words needed! The pictures say it all! Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing so much of your adoption journey with your readers! I hope Smith had a wonderful fifth birthday!

  • Haley Southey January 19, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! These make my heart so happy! Lots of prayers for y'all and your sweet Ashby! πŸ™‚ So encouraged by your story!

  • Whitney S January 19, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    These pictures are absolutely precious! You all have an incredible support system, and the cutest group of friends. So glad you are back home & settling in!

  • She's a big star January 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    That last picture just completely melts me! The Shull 5, your parents, brother, SIL, and so many smiles… love love love! <3 Welcome home!

  • Jessica Andrusko January 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Praise God for taking your family on this journey, bringing all 5 of you home safe and being welcomed by so much LOVE!!! Sending a big hug your way!

  • Elizabeth Park January 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Mix and Match Mama Shay!!!

    Welcome back to the States!!! I was waiting for this post all weekend! =) It literally brought so many tears to my eyes seeing all these pictures. So much love, it truly is overflowing!!! Wow God is so good. =)

  • melissabunny100 January 19, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I am so happy you are home and everything worked out great!!!

  • TorontoSAM January 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Every time I see pictures of this homecoming I get a little teary! The love of your friends and family is exceptional! You always look nice in your pictures, but you looked so beautiful in these ones. Nothing is more lovely that pure joy. I'm so looking forward to seeing Ashby grow into this new family, although it looks like she's already a perfect fit!

  • jojo January 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    love Love LOVE!! Welcome home Shulls!

  • Slightly Askew Designs January 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    So Sheaffer's comment made me tear up. SO TRUE!!! I think one of my favorite parts of the night was watching strangers coming off their flights figure out what was going on and then hang out to wish y'all congratulations as well. So much love!

  • Liz/ January 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    LOVE this post…welcome home sweet Ashby!!! She sure looks happy to be in your arms! The happiness on everyone's faces in these pictures is just priceless! Blessings to your family of 5!!!

  • Dianna January 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Wow I got so teary-eyed seeing the pictures and reading this post. You can just feel the love and excitement in the pictures. What a wonderful blessing!

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I got huge tears in my eyes. That is one amazingly lucky little girl. Tons of family and friends, just like that.

  • Sara Laverty January 19, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    So wonderful!!!! πŸ™‚ Congrats to y'all — hope the transition home continues to go well.

  • Kristin January 19, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog through Shaeffer's blog and this post just warms my heart. The last picture just probably sums it up the best and Ashby's life is forever changed. Looking forward to reading more as you adjust to your new routine as a family of five.

  • Macy Strozier January 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    So sweet. Looking at all these makes me want to adopt. Everyone looks so happy here. You did a great thing, something god will always remember.

  • Kim January 19, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Sitting at my desk at work in happy tears. Continued prayers from Alabama! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashley January 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Crying happy tears for y'all! It has been so fun watching your journey to bring Ashby home on Instagram, and seeing this beautiful homecoming here today was just perfect! Happy y'all are home and can start your life together as a family of five!

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Great post–these pictures just show the love!

  • The Yarbrough's January 19, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    THIS TOTALLY MELTS MY HEART!!!!! Love it!!! Thanks for sharing this special moment with us. I saw one of your friend's blog last night and had tears in my eyes looking at these same pictures. Such a happy exciting time. You are blessed with alot of supportive wonderful family and friends. God is soooo good!!! Wish I could wrap my arms around all of you.

  • Bethe @ Texas Lovely January 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    It has been such a blessing to get to follow along with you in this journey. As a mama who plans to adopt at some point, it has been so great to get to watch you navigate this process. Praying for peace as you five settle into your home together and during the coming transitions. Thanks for including the rest of us in your story!

  • Alexis January 19, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Awe, what a beautiful homecoming and lovely family reunion! I am happy that your family of five is now complete. You all look SO happy in these photos! I am happy for you! πŸ™‚ Your family is in my prayers. God bless ya'll! πŸ™‚ *Jeremiah 29:11*

  • Katie January 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Welcome home! Will you be sharing anything more about your last day in China? I'd love to hear how Ashby did on the way home and her official immigration in San Francisco.

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Tears, tears, tears! Can't stop crying. God is in every moment. Blessings! Laura R.

  • votemom January 19, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    welcome home and congrats to all five of you for finding each other! as mom to two internationally adopted children, i can't encourage you enough to do super intentional attachment parenting and do it for a long time. it pays HUGE dividends later as they grow and begin to understand their loss. do it longer than you think is necessary – you'll never regret it!

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Shay-you are radient in every picture, your love for ashby shines!

  • Bonnie January 19, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Will you be updating your closet anytime soon? I love that plaid top!!

  • {Hi Sugarplum!} January 19, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Her shy smile, and your happy faces, make my heart clinch. So much joy and love there!!! xoxoxox

  • shopwithpippa.com January 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing such an intimate but one of the happiest moments of your life with us! I have been following your journey on Shay's blog. Very, very happy for you! pippa

  • Anonymous January 19, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Awww …. what a beautiful, beautiful sight to see! Sometimes, I can only smile when I see God at work and how He uses us in various ways. Know that God is truly using you and Andrew and because of your love, obedience, example, and faithfulness more children will be adopted. And little Ashby will finally have a place to call home with loving parents. God is Good!! Thank you again for allowing all of us to share in your excitement! xo

  • Marty January 19, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    SO.MANY.SMILES! God is good. Love seeing this post!

  • Ashli January 19, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Totally bawled with joy and I don't even know you! Praise God for your sweet heart for the orphaned! Blessed me to see your support system so happy for your family!

  • Jeanie January 19, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Such heartwarming pictures. You have a wonderful family and friends. I see someone even coaxed a little smile out of Ashby.

  • Mary Malaguti January 20, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Oh my goodness !! My heart is filled with joy to see your family and friends at the airport to greet your new family of 5 !! Ashby just melts my heart whenever I see the "holding in a smile" face. It is absolutely adorable and she has such an awesome personality already! God bless you and your family.

  • Anonymous January 20, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Beautiful photos – so thrilled for you and your family! Ashby is so cute and its lovely that she's now part of such an amazing family.

    The New York Times recently published a very relevant piece on adoptees' stories concerning race identity in the towns they grow up in. Just thought I'd post it here in case you are interested in reading it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/18/magazine/why-a-generation-of-adoptees-is-returning-to-south-korea.html

  • Isaiah 55:8-9 January 20, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Congratulations! As a fellow adoptive mom, I've come to realize adoption is just another word for LOVE and it shows in these photos!!!! So happy for your family! πŸ™‚ Praying for you as you settle in and adjust to life as family of five!!! πŸ™‚

  • Lauren January 20, 2015 at 2:48 am

    This is just awesome! What a homecoming! So, so happy for you guys. Welcome home and I pray that your new life as a family of 5 is transitioning so smoothly! Ashby looks like she just fits right in no problem at all!! Hugs from Amarillo!

  • amoveableme.com January 20, 2015 at 2:59 am

    So happy you are all together at home! Finally! The love is so beautiful to see in the pictures!

  • Anonymous January 20, 2015 at 3:12 am

    love reading your blog! Bless your family and your sweet heart!! Can't wait to read more!!

  • Jaren January 20, 2015 at 3:18 am

    As I saw all the Instagram posts, I couldn't help but think how that has to be one of the best moments in your lives! You have a wonderful group of friends and family. So glad you are home safe with a precious addition! I was also thinking yesterday in church how this week was the perfect week for you guys to be home because it is time for the March for Life and people are being reminded of choosing life and encouraging adoption.

  • Elizabeth Birenbaum January 20, 2015 at 4:50 am

    SO happy for you all and SO happy you are back home as a family of five. You can truly see the love you all have for Ashby, the love your friends and family have for you all, and the love Ashby has for you too! So much happiness!

  • Andrea Worley January 20, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Congrats again! So exciting for your family, thank you for sharing it all with us!

  • Rebecca Carl January 20, 2015 at 6:23 am

    I am crying! What a sweet homecoming! What a blessing!
    Love, Becky

  • Haley Southey January 20, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I've absolutely loved reading about your adoption experience and love your hearts and trust in the Lord during this process! Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Meghan January 20, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    What a wonderful homecoming!

  • Denise Ross January 21, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Happy homecoming. How wonderful to have so many loving on you guys through this journey. You truly are rich beyond measure. Beautiful photos. God go with you xo