Ashby’s Gotcha Day {1st Anniversary}

One year ago today, we got our Ashby.
We’ll never know for sure when Ashby’s birthday is, but we will know this date.  This is the date we became a family.
I wish I had the words to adequately describe what this last year has meant to our family…but I just don’t.  How do you put her into words?  
People say over and over again how blessed she is to have us, but I can assure you…we are the blessed ones.  
There were so many times over the last five years when we could have said no to adopting.  There were so many opportunities, road blocks and such that would have made it easy to just not adopt.  We had two healthy, happy kids already…we could have just said that was enough.  I am thankful beyond words that God continued to press adoption on our hearts even when we were weak and thinking it would be easier not to.  God continued to move us in this direction and I am so grateful that we followed.
The thing about Ashby is that she’s one in a million.  She’s one in a million to our family (precious, perfect, and meant for us)…but she was also one in approximately 150 million…orphaned.  
There are so many other kids out there in this world with big personalities, big smiles, big potential, big love to share…they just need a home to do that in.  My prayer is that some of you will be moved to care for those who do not have a home…who do not have a family.  Whether you reach out to kids domestically or internationally, my prayer is that so many of you just step out on faith and do it.  
Here’s a look back at this year with our Ashby London…
January 4, 2015 in Xi’an. China
We started the adoption process on June 30, 2013, so to finally meet and hold my baby was one of the best moments I will ever have.
She was 2½ years old, scared, sad, unsure, crying, then really quiet.  She had no idea who we were or what was going to happen to her, but I knew as soon as I saw her face that she was ours.  She might have been full of questions, but I can honestly say that the kind of peace that can only come from the Lord washed over Andrew and me as we received her.  It was very much like when they handed me Kensington and Smith for the first time…they were crying and confused too…but I knew when I reached out for them that I never wanted to let go.

 I remember so clearly bringing her back to the hotel room that first night.  She didn’t cry, she didn’t fuss…she was just quiet.  Her face was didn’t show any emotion…she was taking us in, but not letting us in.  

Over the next 10 days in China, she slowly started coming out of her shell.  We quickly realized that she had this big, beautiful smile that she had been hiding.  She had so much joy inside of her…and slowly but surely, she started sharing that joy with us…

…this girl.
End of January 2015.  Home in the US.
On our one month anniversary with Ashby, I answered these questions about her (see that post here), and now, here are the answers one year later…
Language: So, her language isn’t up to her age yet, but it sure is getting close.  I can understand 100% of what she says, but you would probably wouldn’t.  She has a hard time with blends, so things like Smith, blanket, drink and such sound a little funny.  That being said, she can ask, say, and discuss complicated things.  She also says things now like “that’s so cool” and “you’re so funny” which just makes my day because that’s her interjecting her little opinion into things.  She’s a big talker and I love hearing her little voice around my house.
Physical Development: She’s growing like a weed!  She’s still on the small side for US standards, but will most likely always be.  According to Chinese standards, she’s in the middle, but with US standards, she’s around the 8 to 10% mark.  She is 3½ and still wears a 2T and her shoe size is only a six, so she’s small but very healthy.
Sleeping: She naps every day from about 12:30 to 2:45 and then sleeps 11ish hours a night.  Back in October, Kensington started sleeping with her every night…and well, that pretty much ruined her ;).  When the day comes that Kensington wants to sleep in her own bed again, Ashby will be crushed.  She loves sleeping with her sister.
Food: She still won’t a blueberry…but will eat everything else.  And…this girl looooooves Mexican food.  I’m talking, OBSESSED with it. God knew she needed to live in Texas.
Attachment: This has been one of the coolest things to watch evolve.  Ashby is attached to all of us.  She knows who her people are and is very much attached to us.  If you ask her to name her family, she’ll name the four of us and sometimes…the dog.
Poppy: Speaking of the dog, at first she was petrified of the dog.  Before moving in with us, she had never been in contact with an animal before.  Now though…she loves the dog.  Our dog basically lives under my bed most of the day, but when she comes out and wonders around, Ashby loves to give her attention.
Potty Training: She’s got it during the day!  At night though, she still wears a Pull-Up.  
Going Out: When the big kids are at school and it’s just Ashby and me running around town, we have the best time!  I missed the first 2½ years with this girl, so I really try to soak in the moments with her now.
Playing: Ashby has always been good at playing with other kiddos, but now, she’s getting really good at independent play too.  While the big kids are at school, she’ll find babies, puppies, ponies, and such to play with during the day.  She loves to talk to them, love on them, push them around in her stroller or Cozy Coupe car.  She always, always, always has a purse on hand full of stuff (mostly things she’s stolen out of Kensington’s room) to get out and play with.  She loves Play-doh, coloring, puzzles and blocks too.
Other random things:
1. She loves pretending she’s a dog.  You’ll find her on all fours barking and grinning from ear to ear at any given moment during the day.
2. Ashby’s heart belongs to this guy right here
…one of the biggest lessons I learned this year was how important friends are for development.  This little three year old kid right here has had as much to do with Ashby’s development as her family.  I really don’t know where we would be right now if it weren’t for Bowen.  Bowen has taught Ashby so much, loved on her even when she wasn’t lovable and encouraged her.  We are all so thankful for sweet Bowen.
3. Ashby’s favorite show is Peppa Pig.
4. Ashby loves playing outside and especially riding her bike.
5. Ashby loves to help in the kitchen!  The minute I pull out the mixing bowls, she drags the stool over to the counter to watch and help.
6. Ashby is into anything girlie.  She loves purses, lip gloss, brushing her hair, lint rolling herself, trying on my shoes, wearing scarves…anything girlie.
7. As for Ashby’s Klippel-Trenaunay Sydrome, well, it’s going better than expected.  After the debulking surgery back in October, we have seen a big improvement which will (hopefully) keep blood clots and other aneurysms away.  Later this month, we meet (again) with her radiologist to discuss another procedure that they think is necessary, so that’s where we are.  This is something that will never be fixed or cured, just managed…and right now, we’re managing.
And for grins, here you go…12 months of Ashby…

I asked some of Ashby’s favorite people a few questions about having her this past year…

This year hasn’t been perfect.  Having three kids is hard.  Having a kid with health issues is hard.  Having a kid who is coming from an institutionalized setting is hard.  Having a kid who doesn’t speak English is hard.  Listen, it wasn’t easy…but oh my goodness, IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!  Twelve months later, I can say with every fiber of my being that when I look into her eyes, she is as much mine as the other two are.  She might have been born in China…but she was born to be my daughter.  I only wish her birth mama could see her now.  My prayer every day is that one day, we’ll be united in Heaven and she can see her precious girl face to face.  We’re doing everything we can to make that mama proud.
So, how are we celebrating this special day?  We decided our Gotcha Day tradition will be to give Ashby letters from each of us to be kept in a box for when she’s older.  Andrew, Kensington, Smith and I all wrote her one about how much she’s meant to us this year. (Y’all, you should see Kensington and Smith’s letters…they both made me tear up.)  And…of course, tonight, we’re going to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant and we’ll reminisce about our trip to China.  Finally, we wanted to do something BIG to celebrate our first year with Ashby…so the kids said Disney and we agreed :).  Shull party of five will be taking a Disney Cruise over Spring Break to celebrate.  Annnnnd…because Ashby can’t celebrate without her BFF, the Slaughters are coming with us.  Watch out Disney Cruise Line…we’re coming aboard with our crazies!

Praying this morning for those of you who also have hearts for adoption.  I know there might be roadblocks in your way too…but my prayer is that you have faith and push on.  There are just so many kids out with big smiles, big hearts, big love and big potential…they just need a family.

To see our other posts on adoption:
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
All adoption posts: here

And my foodie blog is up and running this morning with the first Meal Planning Monday of 2016! I’m making your life super simple this week with five meals I know your family will love.

Like my Taco Chili :).

To see Meal Planning Monday, click here.

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  • Katie Neff January 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Happy Gotcha Day Ashby! The last year was so fun to see how her process of becoming a Shull went. It is obvious it didn't take long for her to be right at home. Your family proves that genes do not make people your family, love does! Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • Jack and Kate's Mommy January 4, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Oh, my, goodness…I'm sitting here reading your post & bawling my eyes out. Thank you for sharing your sweet family with us.

  • Jo Biddick January 4, 2016 at 11:12 am

    It's been wonderful watching your journey with Miss Ashby over the last 12 months. Congratulations Shull family on your first Gotcha Day xxxxx

  • AbigailCarter January 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Love this post & Ashby is such a doll. Definitely born to be your daughter. Isn't adoption amazing?! I can't imagine life without our little Dane. Your Disney cruise sounds incredddddible! Happy Monday!

  • Danielle Mcdermott January 4, 2016 at 11:28 am

    The videos don't play for me for some reason! Upload to insta or Facebook please would love to see them!

    • Kathleen January 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      I couldn't get them to work either but I am on my phone so I was going to try my computer later!

    • Jennifer Cannon January 4, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Me either!

  • Dustie Day January 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Such an amazing journey and I've loved reading every minute. Blessings to your family!

  • Polka Dot Blossom January 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day, Ashby London Shull! Happy for all of you! God is so good.

  • Erika Slaughter January 4, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day to Ashby London (and to you too, Mama)!!! We were discussing this last night at dinner and Nixon said, "She's only been here a year? I feel like she's been here forever". I couldn't agree more. That sweet girl fits perfectly into your family and Bowen loves his "Ash" big. Today I'm thanking God for answered prayers and faithful friends who step out in faith so we can all see Jesus. XOXO

  • Not A Mom January 4, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day! Thank you so much for letting us follow along your journey because it really inspires me to one day adopt! I have loved the monthly updates on her and her development, I hope you keep us informed on the second year too! The videos are priceless and I know she will be SO happy to have those when she is older too! You're a great mama to a great baby girl!
    Linds @ Not A Mom

  • Narci January 4, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Wonderful!! What a sweet girl she is! Happy Gotcha Day to Ashby and the Shulls! We love her so very much!!

  • Kathleen January 4, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day! I have loved watching yalls adoption story unfold! Have fun celebrating that sweet girl today!!!

  • Kelly Sites January 4, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Beautiful. So fun to see her personality come alive through the months of pictures. Every child deserves this kind of love and home. Thanks for sharing the journey.

  • Marianiel Yu January 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Ashby London Shull! Praying for continued blessing and good health for this sweet girl and the rest of the crew!

  • Phi Mai January 4, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    HAPPY GOTCHA DAY ASHBY!! I have been waiting for this post since last week!! Thank you for sharing Ashby and your family with us! God works in amazing ways and she was definitely meant to be a Shull!!!

  • jennifer January 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Ashby! It's always amazing to see how much they grow in a year. Our second child adopted from child was 4 1/2 when she came home. It was amazing watching her change. Her sister was her everything as well. Her very first sentence was "I'm in jail" thanks to her sister…lol. Love your updates.

  • Jennifer Cannon January 4, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    What a blessing today is!!! Happy Gotcha day beautiful Ashby! Prayers for continued happiness and many blessings for the shulls!


  • Valerie Cox January 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day, Ashby London! Thank you, Shull Family, for answering God's call to adoption and continuing to advocate for adoption!

  • kelly January 4, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    For some reason the videos aren't playing?
    What an exciting year with your beautiful little Ashby! The Disney Cruise sounds sooo fun! Thank you for sharing your lovely life with us!♡♡

  • Brianna January 4, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    The videos aren't loading for me either – saying the address is invalid? But what a sweet, uplifting post about your sweet girl! Thanking God today for you and your family as y'all stepped out in faith and took in sweet Ashby a year ago. Her life and y'alls are forever changed for the better. And I just love seeing how comfortable she was month after month in those photos. So precious! She's definitely a Shull.

  • Regine Karpel January 4, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    This made me tear up!

  • Sandy P January 4, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    All you had to say is Kinsington and Smith wrote her a letter, and I had tears in my eyes. I can only imagine if I read it. I want to have my kids do this for each other.

  • Donella Dulworth January 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day to all of you!! Someday I hope to meet all of you. Welcome to the family Ashby.

  • Jason, Betsy, Jackson January 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Love Gotcha Days! We were there for our sons birth, but we celebrate "Jackson Day" when all was finalized in our home state. Have you all ever been on a Disney Cruise? We just booked our 3rd one and are so excited!

  • Melissa January 4, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    There really isn't another word besides precious…she is such a doll and watching this story unfold for your family has been such a joy to read. Thank you for all of your encouragement about adoption and for allowing all of us to come along for this ride. I can't think of a better way to celebrate than the "Mickey Boat" as our kiddos call the Disney cruise. Have fun!

  • Melissa January 4, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day!! My husband and I wanted to adopt for years. After Andrew wrote his post on adoption, I sent it to my husband and we got more serious. We brought our baby boy home November 10th this year! Thank you for being such a positive inspiration! Love your blog!

  • Amanda January 4, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    What a wonderful day! Happy Gotcha Day Ashby! God is s good! That is so exciting about your Disney Cruise also!

  • Emily Harrison January 4, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I loved the videos, especially Bowen and Nixon. What a testimony to the fact that her friends love her like family too. Happy Gotcha Day to sweet little Ashby. I pray that this day is always incredibly special for her.

  • Ann Marie January 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Oh sweet girl! She is SO lucky to have you, just as you are to have her. Happy GOTCHA day, Shay!!

  • The Hunters January 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Shay, your parents are my parents friends, Rob and Susie Ruth. They told me to follow your adoption journey, this was about 11 months ago. I've really enjoyed all your encouragement towards adoption, especially since we've been in the process for 2 1/2 years and there were many times I wanted to give up. But…we finally got out referral and we travel in March to China to meet our precious 12 month old daughter! I have truly needed to see others journeys and I thank you so much for blogging about yours! Blessings and thanks again!
    Shelly Hunter

  • Queen In Between January 4, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    It's so obvious she was meant for your family! She has grown up so much this year and it has been fun watching her bloom.

  • Elise @ Cheers Yall January 4, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    OOOO girl does this tug at my heart strings or what! Praying for God to show me His plan regarding my family and our open hearts toward adoption!!!! xx

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} January 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Those videos are absolutely precious. How lucky we have all been to get to know and love Miss Ashby!

  • Alicia Marie January 4, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Oh man, the tears. I loved reading this. We have hit a big financial roadblock with our adoption, but we are trusting the Lord (again, as always) to help make the way. This was such a perfectly timed post. Thanks for the encouragement. Happiest Gotcha Day!

  • Kim in RI January 4, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day! Great post and I loved the videos! So nice to hear your voice 🙂

  • Tricia Cole January 4, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Well, I couldn't think of a blog post I'd rather start the year off with,than this one. Bless her heart. Y'all are so lucky. She's absolutely precious. The March pic is my favorite. Adoption has never been on my heart (until I watched your journey unfold). I think about adoption more and more everyday. Thank you for sharing this piece of your world with us ( : Many blessings to you in 2016!

  • Katie Oman January 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I have loved being able to keep up with your journey of adopting Miss Ashby and so happy she has blessed your family. Those videos are so adorable! Blessings to you all in 2016!

  • Mandi Moore January 4, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Absolutely precious! What a beautiful blessing of this sweet girl!

  • kimm atwood January 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    It's been amazing to see her change over this past year. She fits right in. You are all so lucky! Happy gotcha day!

  • Bethany Bedford January 4, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day sweet Ashby and the entire Shull family! I have truly loved following your journey over this last year and watching your adoption story. It has truly inspired me to want to adopt. Adoption has forever been in my heart, but your story and journey has opened it more than I could have ever imagined. Here's to a wonderful first year and beyond.

    Much love and blessing.

  • Melanie January 4, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day! The videos are too cute, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Janet January 4, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day Ashby! I have happy tears for miles this morning. It has been a joy to watch Ashby's journey this last year. To me she was like a first in the chrysalis…then breaking out, spreading her wings and flying with beautiful colors.

  • Megan January 4, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Oh I love this sooo much!!!! Even the thought of those letters makes me tear up!!! How special!! And I wanna go on the Disney cruise too!!! How fun!! So glad Yall have had a great year with Miss Ashby. I can't wait to see that special little girl grow even more!

  • Jillian Iannicelli January 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I tear up every month reading these posts but this one especially 🙂 Happy gotcha day!!

  • Angela Ellingson January 4, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day! You've done such an incredible job documenting this whole journey! I know everyone who reads is so honored to share in your family's journey with adoption and I know Ashby will treasure being able to come back and read all about her adoption and how LOVED she is. I especially LOVED the videos!

  • Tracy January 4, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day! Thank you for sharing this journey with us! I've enjoyed "watching" your sweet girl come out of her shell this past year and really shine! She's precious! A Disney Cruise is the perfect way to celebrate! Enjoy!

  • Kelli Herrington January 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    this warms my heart and puts a huge smile on my face

  • Brittany B. January 4, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    I think to a lot of people (myself included) adoption seems big. Too big. We must remember that we can't do big things, but God can. Praying for my family's heart regarding adoption and also for others. Thanks for sharing Shay!

  • Alison January 4, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I don't usually comment on blogs but I just had to reading about your sweetie, Ashby. I have been following along for a long time now and I get tears in my eyes when I read about the adoption process and how wonderfully she is fitting into your family. She is so precious and i just love her! Thanks for sharing the adoption process and updates with us!

  • Unknown January 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Love this. I have 2 daughters who were adopted from China. They are now 18 (adopted at 2.5 years, special needs) and 15 (adopted at 13 months) so your blog brings back wonderful memories. ~Beth

  • Alison January 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I don't usually comment on blogs but after reading about Ashby and the first year update after getting her from China was just so sweet. I love hearing about how she is doing, she is so precious. I just love Ashby and can tell she is a special young lady who is bringing so much joy to your family. Thanks for sharing the adoption process with us!

  • Leigh (Balancing By Faith) January 4, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    What a great day to celebrate! Love your story and praise God for blessing both you and Ashby with a perfect gift from God!

  • crazymom January 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I feel like I'm part of the family! I've loved reading your blog and watching Ashby this year. Thank you for sharing!

  • Aleah Millburg January 4, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Reading your story over this past year and seeing the daily growth of ashby has been such a blessing. I've always felt in my heart that adoption was for me, but after reading your story my heart and soul truly feels the call to adopt. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • brookerichardson January 4, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    I love this post!!!! Happy Gotcha Day Ashby! I love the letters idea too. She will treasure having those.

  • The Nelson Happenings January 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

    This post has me in tears ! God is truly amazing and I'm so glad Ashby is yours. Your all truly blessed.

  • Elaine Welte January 4, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    I can't believe how much she's grown in the past year! Her hair has gotten so long! She's such a blessing!

  • Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld January 4, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    What a sweet little thing!! Happy anniversary to all of you!

  • April Parrish January 4, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Loved reading today's post!!! Ashby is beautiful and thanks for sharing this precious journey with so many of us!!

  • Paula January 4, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Precious recap! Made me cry happy tears! I love seeing the monthly pictures! You really see the progress of Ashby growing into herself & personality!
    Happy "Gotcha" Day, Shulls!

  • Andrea K January 4, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I have followed your blog since before Ashby's gotcha day & I must say I love seeing how perfectly she fits into your family. God bless!

  • Johnsons January 4, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I have so much admiration and respect for your family. Sending lots of love and prayers for you and your Ashby 🙂

  • Ani January 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Happy Family Day! Ashby is truly a blessing! Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • hannaschwee January 4, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    happy happy anniversary! I have LOVED following this blog and reading about her progress and new life with you guys! what a beautiful family 🙂

  • Nancy January 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Your just amazing. Thank you for sharing such a precious part of your life with us. I loved when you said you can't wait for the day in heaven when you meet her birth mom. I have no doubt she will wrap her arms around you and give her thanks for all you have done for her. In all the craziness that goes on in this world, it's nice to know there are faithful souls like you and your family/friends out there. I always enjoy reading your posts.

  • skmanning January 4, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    One of the coolest parts of watching your process was seeing Ashby's quite emotionless face blossom into complete smiley, joy. I didn't think it would happen as fast as it did but oh how wonderful that was to see!!!!

  • Michelle N. January 4, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day!

  • EdyeNicolesMakeup January 4, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    I was smiling the whole time I was reading this post! Ashby is so precious! I am only sixteen, but definitely hope to adopt one day when I'm a lot older. Happy Gotcha day! God bless <3

  • Aubrey January 4, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    I just love this so much. Love.

  • Molly Middleton January 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    I LOVE when you post videos and those were amazing!! Thank you for enlightening us about adoption and the process. I'm honestly considering it one day 🙂

  • Liz/ January 4, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Happy Gotcha Day to sweet Ashby and your entire family! She is beyond precious! Thank You for sharing your sweet girl with all of us. This last year has been an absolute joy watching her be a part of your family! You are all truly blessed!

  • Jeanie January 4, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    So wonderful to read this post. You are so lucky to have this beautiful child who you love so much, but she is very blessed, too. She couldn't ask for a better family.

  • Debbie January 5, 2016 at 12:08 am

    I loved this post! Thank you for sharing your amazing story!

  • Alyssa Lamphear January 5, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Adoption has always been on my heart, and it has been extra special getting to see Ashby's journey unfold over the last year through your blog. You all are so very blessed!

  • Abramyan Avenue January 5, 2016 at 1:43 am

    I rarely comment here but this post touched me. When you wrote " She might have been full of questions.." it literally moved me to tears. I can only imagine how scary that must have been for her. And I remember you saying how she would try to not smile. Her smile is so bright and pretty and the love you've given her and truly brought it out!

  • My Family January 5, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Her November pictures are my favorite! LOVE the happiness she exudes in those pictures!!

  • Krystin Carey January 5, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Happy Gotcha Day Ashby! I have loved watching your journey over the last year and she is such a lucky little girl to have found your family and your family is so blessed to have found her! Happy 2016 Shull family

  • Jaren January 5, 2016 at 3:54 am

    TEARS!! Over this past year, I've learned how truly special adopting a child can be through your eyes! Thanks for letting us all be a part of it! I've LOVED seeing her grow and learn too!!

  • Maureen Chen January 5, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Love the pictures! This is beautifully written and a testimony to adoption, family, and love! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I can't believe I've followed your blog a whole year now! It all started with Ashby; her adoption story is what brought me to your website and it's been a whole 12 months already! Thank you for inspiring us all!

  • Inspired_Dreamer January 5, 2016 at 5:31 am

    I've been reading along all year and I absolutely adore your precious family! Love seeing Ashby blossom into her adorable personality! Loved seeing the videos at the end too. Would love to see more videos in the future if you'd like to share:)

  • Jenna Grace January 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    This post was so wonderful to read. Isn't God amazing?! I also loved seeing the little videos. Too fun!

  • Unknown January 5, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    This is too cute!
    Ever since 7th grade I've felt it on my heart to adopt. My art teacher played a video for us in the background about families who were adopting from China. Reminds me of you guys! 🙂
    I just got married in June and praying that if this really is God's calling for us, that He will put it on my husband's heart as well.
    It's AMAZING to see how God works in our lives.
    Also, I have a question: Did you choose the name Ashby? Or was that her name already? I just LOVE LOVE her name! 🙂

  • mel @ the larson lingo January 5, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Happy 1 year gotcha day Ashby & Shull family!!!!! She is just the cutest!!!

  • ClintandGina January 6, 2016 at 5:05 am

    That video of you getting her made me cry! I had to wipe away my tears quick……because my husband would think I was nuts crying over a blog. Thank you for sharing this year with us. Your Ashby is the cutest thing ever and I LOVE that God made her yours. Maybe one day you could do an update on all the families that have adopted because of Ashby and your family!

  • JJaz January 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Love!!!! ?????????

  • Cassie {Hi Sugarplum} January 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    This post, and all those pics of that precious girl, just makes my heart swell with happiness! God is so good, and your constant leaning in to Him is inspiring!!! So much love to your precious family, friend!! xoxo Oh, and loved the intro to you post…loved that I was like, 'Oh yeah, I know all this!!' 🙂 xo

  • MAK January 6, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Love love love!!! Love seeing videos of your sweet kiddos too!

  • Elizabeth Birenbaum January 12, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Happy Gotcha Day Ashby! I LOVE how seamlessly she fits into your family. She truly was meant to be with you all. When you see her smile, it could light up the whole room, and you know she is where she was meant to be! So thankful you all have each other to enjoy life with!

  • DetroitDuchess January 16, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    I loved reading this! I remember being glued to your posts and updates last year and I kept updating my husband with what was going on. It has been remarkable to see how Ashby has blossomed throughout the year. What a blessing you both have been for each other.

  • margo June 11, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Not only was this girl born to be a Texan..but she was born to be a fashionista. Such style!! Such sass!!! My heart is so full reading your update posts on Ashby. God bless the wonderful Shull family.