Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

It’s all about Ashby today.

This year, I’ve been blogging about our adoption with Ashby every three months, so today is the day.  As of today, October 4, we’ve had this precious girl 21 months.  Honestly, it’s very hard for us to think of life before Ashby.  Andrew and I talk about it all the time and it’s just hard to wrap our brains around it.  It feels like she just has always belonged with us.  Ashby is joy.  My kids are a lot of things to me, but when I think of Ashby London Shull, I think joy.  And tough.  What a combination!

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

In September, Ashby started dance and she LOVES it!  She has been wanting to do dance for a long time, so she was pumped when it was time to start.  She takes a little combination class (tap and ballet) once a week and just adores it.  In the spring, we’re thinking about her joining a team sport.  She has such a happy spirit about her and loves to be with people, that we think it might be fun for her to try something that involves a team (plus, it will help her hand/eye coordination too!).

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

Last month was hard in terms of Ashby’s health.  I was brought to tears on more than one occasion trying to connect with specialists.  Between Ashby and now Madeley, I’ve learned one thing, you have to be an advocate for your kids’ health and stay on top of things or else you’ll be forgotten.  Ashby is in the middle of these procedures that will (hopefully) shrink her veins and reduce her chances of throwing clots.  These procedures require her to be put under once a month, they’re extremely painful and they come with a 10 day recovery period.  Right now, she’s had two and really, there’s no end in sight.  At first they thought she would only need six, but it might be more.  It just breaks my heart.  Multiple doctors have told us that this must be done for her health, but it’s still so hard.  I have to take her to followups in-between procedures and often when we get there, she’ll say, “I go to sleep this time or not?”.  She knows what’s going on.  At her follow up last week, the doctors were thrilled to pieces because for the first time ever, we were able to feel her little knuckle in one finger.  Up until now, we haven’t been able to feel knuckles in three fingers (because they’re so severely swollen), but now, one little knuckle can be felt.  Also, she can make a fist with her right hand.  She has never been able to make a fist and now, she can.  Such little things are HUGE milestones for us.  This means, for now, we stay the course.

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

Here are some of Ashby’s favorite things right now:
TV Show: Peppa Pig
Movie: Cinderella
Thing to do outside: ride her bike
Food: she loves Tex-Mex!
Favorite toy: a stuffed bunny and anything Disney princess

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

On her first month adoption post, I answered these questions.  Here are the updated answers:

1: Language- Well, Ashby fully grasps the English language now.  As far as articulation goes, we’re in speech therapy and can see a tremendous improvement!  We understood everything Ashby was saying, but we knew that other people probably only caught 50% of what she was saying, so in July, we started speech therapy once a week and not only does she love it, her articulation has come so far!  Her doctor even commented on the improvement between one procedure and the next.  We really wanted her to take her time learning the language, but then when we felt she really knew it, we wanted to help her articulate herself so that when she was talking, others understood her.

2: Physical Development- She is growing like a weed!  Ashby is now in the 40th percentile for height.  Over the last six months, she’s grown long and tall.  Besides her KTS, she is absolutely healthy and developing just fine.  She is just a growing girl :).

3: Sleeping- Ashby sleeps like a champ at night next to Kensington.  Those two have been sleeping together for a year now and she does great.  She still needs a nap most days or else she crumbles in the early evening.  She naps for a little bit every afternoon before we pick up the big kids from school.

4: Food- Ha!  She eats everything with gusto!  Erika was laughing because just yesterday, she took her and Bowen to get lunch and Ashby ordered the avocado roll from the sushi bar.  She loves to eat veggies the most.  The other morning, she had roasted broccoli for breakfast.  And then a bowl of Fruit Loops. 🙂

5: Attachment- Thankfully, attachment hasn’t been anything we’ve had to really work on with Ashby.  I know it hits kids differently, but right now, that’s not been an issue.

6: Poppy- Ashby enjoys the dog :).  Kensington is obsessed with the dog, but Ashby does love to play fetch with her and will talk to her as she walks by.  She was terrified of her at first, so we’ve come a long way.

7: Potty Training- I mean, she’s totally potty trained except, she cannot sleep in undies at night.  I don’t remember how my other two big kids stopped needing Pull Ups at night, but Ashby still does.  Some have suggested that I just put her in her undies and let her have an accident to learn…but she sleeps in the top bunk of a bunk bed AND THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN CHANGING TOP BUNK SHEETS.  Period.  End of story.  It’s like some form of torture.  So…I covet any suggestions!  She’s fine during nap time without a Pull Up, but she can’t go all night.  Help, please :).

8: Going Out- She’s the life of the party.  She loves to go out :).

9: Playing: Ashby has learned to be a great independent player but if she had a choice, she prefers the company of someone else (preferably Bowen).  Kensington prefers to play by herself, but sometimes, she’ll let Ashby tag along.  Smith on the other hand, prefers to play with others, so those two play together a lot.  She loves anything and everything Disney Princess, puzzles, blocks, legos, and all things crafty or artsy (coloring, Play-doh, glue, cutting with scissors, etc).

So, that’s a little update version of our first adoption post.

Ashby is truly such a joy.  Her personality, easy-going attitude, zest for life is contagious.  She makes our family complete in such a special way.  She’s also such a role model to my big kids because she is just so tough.  She is the perfect example of someone not being defined by her circumstances.

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

Now, about 3½ weeks into being a big sister has really set well for Miss Ashby.  She has been very hands-on with Madeley.  She’s very affectionate, generous and loving too.  I’m not sure if that will change later or not…but for now, she seems genuinely happy to have Madeley in our family.

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21

One last little thing…we’ve always had a really open dialog with Ashby about where she’s from.  She knows she’s both Chinese and American, that she’s adopted, that we traveled really far and picked her because she is so special. You know, it’s a watered-down version, but it’s a good start for a four year old.  While we were in China, she asked twice where Madeley’s mom was.  These were such sweet and special conversations for us to have with her.  We always say the same things: Madeley’s mom (and yours) loved her very much and wanted to keep her but she couldn’t.  We don’t know why she couldn’t keep her, but of course, she would have wanted to.  We know that she would be so happy to see that Madeley (and you) have a forever family now.  We always talk so highly of these women because in my heart of hearts, I believe them to be true.  I believe these mamas would have loved to have kept these girls but were not able to and that they would be happy to see them with forever families now.  We pray for these women and I always think to myself, maybe one day in Heaven, I’ll get to meet them.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  I would love to hug both of their necks and thank them for making sure my babies were left in safe places where they were to be found so that they had the chance of a forever family.

So, next time I talk about Ashby’s adoption, it will be her Two Year Gotcha Day!  We just love this little girl so much.


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

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

All adoption posts: HERE

, Ashby Post Adoption: Month 21
  • Erika Slaughter October 4, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I mean…an avocado roll full of romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, and sliced celery just screams yummy to me. I offered up pizza and that was her choice. And she loved it. I wish all of your readers could meet her in person because as much as pictures convey her sweet little personality they just can’t see it all. She is precious and such a gift. XOXO

  • Diana Lee October 4, 2016 at 4:56 am

    My sister used to put a puppy pad underneath the sheet to absorb any liquid from an accident. That way she didn’t have to worry about washing and drying out the mattress pad or mattress.

  • Regine Karpel October 4, 2016 at 4:57 am


  • Narci October 4, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Oh Ashby London! We love you to pieces! She really is a joy, and we are so thankful for her! Xoxo

  • Mindy October 4, 2016 at 5:18 am

    I wouldn’t rush the potty training at night. My daughter (almost 12), was potty trained right at three years old. She is a December birthday and was potty trained the week of Christmas when she turned three. However, she needed pull-ups at night until she was six years old. She went to kindergarten needing pull-ups at night. She would then still have occasional accidents after that at night even though was potty trained during the day for over three years. Don’t rush it. Mine is almost 12 and is totally fine for many years now. It will work itself out. Also, did I miss a blog about bunk beds?

  • Sheaffer October 4, 2016 at 5:21 am

    That girl is sunshine with skin on. She lights up a room and captures the heart of everybody who gets the privilege of meeting her. Love you, Ashby!!!! xoxo

  • Loren Ferruccio October 4, 2016 at 5:24 am

    I love reading adoption updates! I love hearing about little miss Ashby. We are just starting our third round of IVF and as strange as it is your adoption stories inspire me to stay strong during this process. Also- you said Ashby sleeps on the top bunk of a bed? Did she get a new bed? I am curious as we are looking at them for my 2 boys. Would love to see and share your thoughts. My son is 4. Thank you for sharing your stories with us and they are truly inspiring.

    • Mix and Match Mama October 4, 2016 at 5:36 am

      Last October, Ashby got bunk beds, so she and Kensington both sleep in the top bunk together. Between them and their 400 stuffed animals, I still don’t know how they all fit :).

  • Tara G. October 4, 2016 at 5:24 am

    When we were stationed in CA, we lived next door to a retired special ed teacher & I our son was at the age to potty train. She told us that what worked for her students (who were less in control of their bodies) was to let them pedal a bike a lot because it strengthened their groin muscles. That was the key for our boy. Perhaps it’d help Ashby in conjunction with time.

  • Kelly October 4, 2016 at 5:32 am

    I personally don’t think you can “train” the overnight potty thing. When she’s ready, she’s ready. I vividly remember being a bed-wetter myself until I was older (like 6 or 7)…and as much as I wanted to NOT wet the bed (bc i understood it shouldn’t happen), I just wouldn’t wake up. My body and my brain didn’t connect while I was asleep to let me know I had to go to the bathroom! I wouldn’t worry about it, it just phases out over time, when you’re mind and body are ready:)

    • Sara October 4, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I totally agree with this! I think she will do it when she is ready.

  • Elizabeth October 4, 2016 at 5:33 am

    She look so happy and joyful, what a precious gift to you and your family.

  • Susan Jeffries October 4, 2016 at 5:41 am

    My daughter is a teenager now. She was quick to talk, but a little slower to potty train. I let her go at her own pace and she did it when she was ready. I am sure Ashby will make it happen when she is ready too(: It is so funny, that the things I stressed over when my daughter was small were all worked out with time and prayer(:

  • emily @ a little bit of emily October 4, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Ashby is such a precious little girl. It’s amazing just to see the transformation in pictures – you can really tell how happy and loved she is!

  • Stacy Cooper October 4, 2016 at 5:54 am

    When my son couldn’t stay dry through the night, before I went to bed (which would be a few hours after he went to bed), I would kinda wake him up, walk him to the bathroom and tell him it was time to go potty. He would be kind of disoriented from being asleep, but he would go. He’s always been a good sleeper (10-12 hours) and the potty break in the middle of the sleep fixed the wetting the bed problem for us.

  • Christine October 4, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I’m so happy and encouraged to see how well Ashby is doing!

    We leave TOMORROW (!!) for China to bring home our new daughter. I’m soo nervous, but reading your post this morning reminded me of all the joy that we’re in store for! 🙂

    Thank you, Shay! God bless you and your sweet family!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 4, 2016 at 6:06 am

      Oh my goodness! How amazing!! Praying for you this morning. You just have no idea how blessed you are about to be :).

  • JoAnn October 4, 2016 at 6:23 am

    My son is 2 1/2 and we just potty trained him. I dreaded night and naps because he would still always wake up soaked in his diaper and we were planning on going cold turkey and doing underwear only. I could NOT believe it but in 3 weeks he has only had one accident in bed and it was early morning because he didn’t get up in time to go to the bathroom. The first night what we did was made sure we told him before bed (and we still do every night and nap) “make sure you keep your underwear dry and tell mommy or daddy if you need to go potty” and then the first night we woke him up at 11pm and again at 4:30am and took him to the bathroom and tried to let him go. He didn’t go either time, but this told him it wasn’t ok for him to get out of bed if he needs to go. Then the next few nights we didn’t wake him and he wakes up dry! I would try that with Ashby and every night before you leave the room just remind her “keep your underwear dry!” Good luck!!! 🙂

    • JoAnn October 4, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Correction-that it WAS ok for him to get out of bed ????

  • Paige Wright October 4, 2016 at 6:28 am

    Out of 6 kiddos 2 of mine could not make it through the night! My son was still struggling with it at 6 but our dr said some kiddos sleep so heavy they truly are unable to make it all night. He outgrew it just like my little China babe. She was 3 when we adopted her and starting sleeping with undies at 6 also. She also wanted to sleep in undies so that helped a bit….betting miss Ashby will too:). I would not rush her and just encourage her that she will be able to when her body is ready. Precious girl!!!!

  • Aniel Yu October 4, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Ashby is a ray of sunshine indeed! What a blessing she is to your family and vice versa. Hey Shay, are you going to blog about Madeley’s new bedroom? Cant wait to see ’em:)

    • Mix and Match Mama October 4, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Yes! It’s on my to-do list!

  • kelly October 4, 2016 at 6:32 am

    This is such a heartfelt and loving tribute to your baby !
    As far as bedtime pull-ups… I wouldn’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not uncommon to need pull ups at her age.
    I love you guys!

  • Mindy October 4, 2016 at 6:35 am

    We used the potty pager for our daughter but she was older (9 years old). It worked like a charm but I think Ashby just needs more time. Our pediatrician said it’s a developmental thing and some kids just need time and some are just never going to get it without some help. Our daughter was a super sound sleeper (seems like all bedwetters are) and her brain just would not get the message from her bladder loud enough to hold it/get up. The potty pager fixed that disconnect by having a bell go off when she started to urinate. It was amazing how it retrained her brain and in one month – she was trained.

  • Anonymous October 4, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Make the bed once with 4 layers. One layer is a puppy pad & a sheet on top. Repeat. That way in the middle of the night you only have to take a sheet off and a puppy pad and there are many more layers of clean sheets underneath. Saves time & sanity!

  • Aubrey October 4, 2016 at 6:40 am

    That Ashby is just darling! xo

  • Britt Hensley October 4, 2016 at 6:44 am

    Oh what a sweet post! Ashby looks like the sweetest girl! Continued prayers for this tough little lady, as well as for mama!

  • Kristin October 4, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Bunk beds!? I think it’s time for an updated house tour!! 🙂

  • Kelly Sites October 4, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Don’t even for a minute sweat the pull up at night thing. My twins did that until they were close to 7. They rarely had accidents at night- but when they did (maybe 1x a month or so) it was a pee mess and they slept on bunks too. So I get it. They totally grow out of it, so don’t even sweat it. Just have her wear the pull up at night, and let it go. You’re a great mom. She’ll be totally fine. 🙂

  • Caity October 4, 2016 at 6:55 am

    The picture of her and Bowen is just about the most adorable thing ever. Such sweetness.

  • KimW October 4, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Really enjoy hearing your post-adoption updates. It is amazing to see how Ashby has changed for the better since being brought to her forever home. I look forward to seeing more of the same smiles in Madeley!

  • Jess Deisher October 4, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Your journey just amazes me. I love reading about your little family, it makes me excited for the family I will have one day. xox

  • Tracy October 4, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Precious! I love these little Ashby updates. I was in tears at the end when you’re explaining to her about Madeley’s (and her!) mom. A beautiful way to honor their birth mothers.

  • Mandy Hamilton October 4, 2016 at 7:04 am

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the pull ups eventually they will go away, you’re doing great! One thing we tried was underwear on and then pull up over it so they could feel if they were wet, but the bed wouldn’t be a mess. Just a thought!

  • Leanne October 4, 2016 at 7:09 am

    I stressed about the sleeping through the night without a pull-up thing because my oldest did it at 2 and my second was still wearing one when he turned 6. I talked to the doctor who told me 7% of kids still do at 7 and not to stress. So I didn’t and sure enough right around when he turned 6 he was dry more mornings then wet so we went for it and it’s been great. (He’s a top bunker too and boy do I get that!!) No real advice except I think it will happen naturally. There are so many other things to worry about so let this one go.

  • Lizzie @ This Happy Life October 4, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Ashby is just amazing! You sure are lucky to have such a special little girl! (and she’s luck to have to you too!)

  • Katrina October 4, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Any tips on how to potty train a child??? I also adopted my daughter who will be five on the 8th. She has no desire to potty train.

  • Abigail Carter October 4, 2016 at 7:22 am

    I love that you are respectful of your girls’ birthmothers & hold them in high regard. I do as well, with my son’s birthmother. She knew what was best for him- and another mama was. I will never stop praying for her.

  • Tamara R. October 4, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Hi Shay! My daughter was not able to stay dry at night until she was almost 7 (our doctor told us not to worry before then). When she was still wearing pull-ups at night in Kindergarten and part of 1st grade, she was very self conscious about it so she really wanted to wear underwear. But she was such a deep sleeper that she wouldn’t even realize when she wet the bed. We started by restricting water at night (although I’m not convinced this made a difference but the doctor suggested it), we put her in underwear and then we would wake her up around 11pm to go to the bathroom. She always went and she would fall right back to sleep. Doing that was the trick for us. Also I bought waterproof mattress covers and I would make up the bed multiple times (waterproof mattress cover then fitted sheet, then waterproof mattress cover, then another fitted sheet) so when she had an accident, she just had to get out of bed for a minute while I stripped off the first layer. That was a life saver in terms of changing the bed at night. And when we decided to try this process, the stuffed animals had to sleep in a crib next to the bed (so that I wasn’t removing and replacing 72 stuffed animals when I had to change the sheets in the middle of the night). Hope this helps and good luck!

  • Sandy P October 4, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I agree with the others not to worry much about the pull up at night. One of my kids took a really long time to night train. Daytime was quick and painless, but the night just didn’t come. We tried taking him t the bathroom before we went to bed. We let him sleep in regular underwear (the pull ups were not holding enough anyway). We bought a bed wetting alarm. The alarm kept the bed from getting wet, but it didn’t train him to wake up before he had to go. He had to get up every single night. We had a few months where it stopped, but then when school started so did the night wetting. At some point I think around 6 it stopped for good. But, he is now in MS and still gets up to go to the bathroom at night if he sleeps a long time. On a regular night he can make it, but his bladder just can’t make it beyond 8 or 9 hours. If it at the point where it bothers her, then you can try some other things. If it doesn’t bother her, I would wait it out. When she does start to do better, there are a lot of sheet protectors available. We used our left over ultimate crib sheets.

  • Susanne October 4, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Your blog is filled with adorable pictures. But that picture of Ashby and Bowen has got to be the cutest thing I have ever seen! ????

  • Lindsay D. October 4, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I have loved reading and following Ashby’s adoption. She is such a blessing to me!!

  • Sarah October 4, 2016 at 7:46 am

    I just love reading your posts each morning. You have such a warm heart. These little girls hit the jack pot. My oldest of three wore pull ups at night until she was six. The good night pads were amazing. I would use 2 so they covered most of the bed on top of the sheet. Then if they have an accident just pull them off. Also, I would wake her up before I went to bed to go potty. This hot her in the habit of waking if she needed to go. Only for about a week. For some reason it worked. Good luck!

  • Kim October 4, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I have 2 girls and 1 boy. My oldest daughter stopped wearing pull-ups at 5, my youngest daughter was night time trained when we first potty trained her. My son was in pull ups until he was about 7.5. Our doctor said it’s developmental and until that part of their brain develops and it “clicks”, there isn’t a lot you can do. We woke him up before we went to bed and made him go potty and after some time this seemed to help. He also said that bed wetting can be hereditary. So there’s that too, and it was true of my sons grandpa! Ha! Once I heard what the doctor said, I feel like the pressure was off. Buy the pull-ups and roll with it!

  • Laci Murray October 4, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Ashby truly looks like a picture of pure JOY!!! She is always so happy in every picture and you can just tell she is genuinely a happy little girl overcoming her health condition.

  • Jordan Kuban October 4, 2016 at 7:50 am

    You can use training mats. They are quite huge and pretty much cover the width of a twin bed and a pretty decent length as well. You can just use a smaller blanket for the night that’s easy to throw in the washing machine the next morning. They really do keep the sheets dry and are such a sanity saver! They are about $10 for a pack of 9 where the pull-ups and diapers are. I’ve also heard the puppy training pads are the same thing but a better price

  • Emily Firko October 4, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Love this sweet post! As far as pull ups go at night…it’s very normal at her age! I was worried about that too with my girls but my pediatrician told me it’s a developmental thing and that they can’t control it until their body is ready. So he suggested wearing pull ups at night until they go two weeks in a row dry. I did that with my girls and they were 4.5 and 5.

  • heidi October 4, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Oh for the love of my heart please let Ashby and bowen end up married. Lol. They have such a special bond. I Have no doubt that before we came to this life they were friends in heaven and I bet they said ‘ I’ll find you ‘… and they did????.
    Ashby is such a beautiful soul her love and not radiates through her pictures. What a blessing.

  • Angela Ellingson October 4, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Oh my goodness. I love this so much. What a precious girl! And I love, love, love what you said about the girls’ birth moms.

  • Genevieve October 4, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I just love reading about sweet Ashby! No worries on the nighttime issue…my daughter wore a pull up until the end of firsts grade (she was 7). Our pediatrician had no concerns- some are just heavier sleepers and they don’t recognize the need to go during the night…said its common for about 15% to have issues at night until age 7-8.

  • Jennifer October 4, 2016 at 8:00 am

    My daughter is an extremely sound sleeper, so it took her until she was 9 to stop wetting the bed. We finally started using essential oils (Balance by DoTerra and Cypress – mixed with coconut oil) and we would rub it on her belly each night. Within a few weeks it had strengthened her bladder and she would very rarely wet the bed. I wouldn’t worry about it right now if she is a sound sleeper, but just for future info.

  • Patricia October 4, 2016 at 8:01 am

    At four and 3/4, our granddaughter is finally dry at night. And she was slow to talk, using sign language for a long time and then suddenly made the leap from barely talking to full paragraphs. Physically she was swinging from the monkey bars all the way across by herself at age 3 1/2 and climbing chain link fences 12 ft high at age two. She just has her own way of development.

    I’m sure your little ray of sunshine will make that transition when’s she’s ready.

  • Whitney Pegram October 4, 2016 at 8:01 am

    SO sweet!!

  • Jennifer October 4, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Hello Shay! As far as potty training for night time. We didn’t have to do this with our daughter but we thought we might and it was a suggestion from her daycare teacher. to wake her up half way thru the night to go potty. That way, hopefully its before she wets the bed and she can go back to sleep with an empty bladder. 🙂

  • Andrea October 4, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I have a five year old that occasionally will still wet the bed because she is just such a hard sleeper. I tried the “put her in panties and let her figure it out” route and it just didn’t work for her. Now my three year old has it down, but not my five year old. So we bought a bed wetting monitor for her. It is just an alarm that goes off when it senses moisture. Since we have started using it, she rarely pees in the bed at night because it helps so much with the brain/bladder connection. Most of the time she will wake herself up to pee now. Also, she sleeps with a small soft quilted mattress pad on top of her sheet. This way, if she does have an accident I just usually have to wash that instead of all the sheets and blankets.

    Here is the monitor:

    and here is the mattress pad:

  • Wendy Barber October 4, 2016 at 8:08 am

    We used a bed wetting alarm when my youngest was still having accidents, at the age of 7/8. I also bought these neat pads that went over the sheet, but tucked under the mattress. The minute the alarm sensed wetness, it would go off and she would go to the bathroom. If the pad was wet, I just changed it out. Within a month, she was dry every night???? There is an online bed wetting store with lots of helpful products. Good luck❤️️

  • Alicia F October 4, 2016 at 8:14 am

    I just love your adoptions posts. It gives us so much encouragement! We are in the depths of paperwork/dossier and trying to fundraise. Seeing the results of adoption is so very motivating! There is a beautiful end in sight. So, thanks for the encouragement. My middle guy slept in pull ups for a long time. He is now 6 and we still must wake him up before we go to bed, let him use the bathroom or he will have an accident. He pretty much sleeps through the whole thing. Our Ped told us it is normal to almost 8 for the mind/body connections for some kids. So don’t stress.

  • Karen Ivy October 4, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Shay, as always – thank you for sharing!! Wahoo! Ashby’s joy shines through the website!! Sometimes, I know you post a video here and there… We (I’ll speak for all) would love to see an Ashby video that you don’t mind putting out there!! 🙂

  • nkd October 4, 2016 at 8:39 am

    As an adoptee, myself, I LOVE to read your stories of adoption, as well as the rest of your blog. I appreciate so much your candor and honestly. My parents discussed with me way before i could understand, that I was adopted and they had a similar attitude to yours about the birth mother. That turned out to be fortunate because I ended up meeting my birth mother and was able to build a relationship with her.
    Thank you for all you are doing for the future our the next generation!

  • Megan October 4, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with her! I am a special needs mama and know how hard all of the uncertainty can be, let alone the countless appointments. Regarding potty training, my oldest girl was fully potty trained by 3 except at night. We were told that it was just a physical thing and that there was nothing we could do to “train” her. We woke her up every few hours to sit on the potty (poor thing would be sound asleep on the potty – it was very cute). Eventually we were able to go longer and longer stretches without waking her up until she was fully potty trained at night too. Hang in there…it’s just something that takes time for their little bodies to be ready for.

  • Rebecca Jo October 4, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Just the image of you hugging the mommas one day, even if it be in heaven, & thanking them for their babies… made me teary eyed.
    I have loved watching Ashby just adapt to her new home & EXUDE happiness all the while

  • S October 4, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I found your blog about a month ago and I just love it. I especially love reading your adoption posts, they truly warm my heart. I am also mom to 2 beauties from China. My daughters are 13 and 15 now, time flies way too fast! Your family is very blessed to have Ashby and Madely. God bless you all ????

  • Corinne October 4, 2016 at 8:53 am

    So, on the potty training thing… I have a daughter about the same age as Ashby (she turned 4 in May). We still wear pull-ups at night, and I believe the majority of her friends do, too. With my daughter, Elle, she is 95% of the time dry when she sleeps in a pull-up. But if we get excited and let her sleep in panties, she is 100% of the time wet in the morning. I’m fine with changing sheets, and I don’t get angry, but she gets so upset, so for now we are just sticking with pull-ups. In a few months, I might try those night time underpants (I think they are called UnderJams?), but I’m really just not worrying about it. My best advice would be to let it go for now. Ashby’s got a lot going on right now. There’s no need to add anything else to worry about.

    I love reading about your family. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah October 4, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Love this update.

  • Amy October 4, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I have a 4 year old daughter who still has to wear diapers at night (she’d leak out of the pull-ups sometimes!) . Our pediatrician said that it’s normal up to about 6 years old, so that alleviated my worries with it. I know reducing how much they drink a couple of hours before bed is recommended, but we haven’t conquered that yet. 🙂

  • Alisa Zimmerman October 4, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I was a bed wetter all the way through jr high because I am a very deep sleeper. We tried the alarm thing, but it didn’t really make a difference so I just kept using pull ups. It got a little tricky with sleepovers and camps, but honestly I don’t think anyone noticed. I remember it being a frustrating thing at the time, but I outgrew it eventually and it hasn’t scarred me for life.

  • Melissa October 4, 2016 at 9:10 am

    So, I had the same situation with my daughter. She was almost 4 (had been potty trained since 2 1/2) but still wore a pull-up every night that was totally soaked in the morning. Like, never once was it dry. Anyway, I just decided to give it a shot and tell her we were saying goodbye to her pull-up. We had a family party and she threw the pull-ups in the trash and got some new undies. We told her to keep them dry at night and sure enough she was dry the next morning. And every morning after that. I was totally flabbergasted by this! So, I guess what I’m saying is see if she can actually do it. She may just need more time/control like others are saying which is fine, but for my daughter it seemed to be a strange crutch she was leaning on but didn’t actually need. Good luck! And Ashby is just precious- xo

  • Julie October 4, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Oh, Ashby is still sooo little to night train. My kiddos (5 an 6, both adopted, home almost 7 months) are still not night trained and we’ve decided to just give it time. I think for a long time kids who are adopted just need a period of you meeting their needs before any big changes are introduced. At least, I’ve found that to be true with my kids :). Our pediatrician also told us not to worry about either of them not being night trained yet. She said it’s totally normal for their age–and I’m assuming she wasn’t only comparing them to other newly adopted kids.

  • Michelle N. October 4, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Your bigs set such an example to Ashby of unconditional love and acceptance, so seeing her show the same to Madeley is really no surprise 🙂 Congratulations!

  • Patty October 4, 2016 at 9:30 am

    My eldest is 42 years old, next is a 38 year old and my “baby” is 34. I worried about my eldest because of his love of his pacifier. My Mom said don’t worry he won’t walk down the aisle with it. She was right he gave it up by himself a few months before he turned 2. Don’t worry about Ashby, she won’t always need pull ups. Let her be a kid and let her do it herself. BTW he still hasn’t “walked down the aisle” although the other two have.

  • Nicole October 4, 2016 at 9:51 am

    This child exudes joy! That smile is the best!

  • Stacy October 4, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Am I the only one that pictures what Ashby and Bowen’s wedding will be like? I mean, they HAVE to spend the rest of their life together. It’s just so sweet the mutual bond they have.

  • Beth October 4, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Ashby exudes so much joy! It is so heartwarming to see her sweet pictures! What a fighter! Thanks for sharing!

  • Stacey M Mieske October 4, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Shay, Love your blog you are an AMAZING mother, cook, wife etc. But as ahem an “older” mom (my youngest just turned 18) I just wanted to say, do not sweat the potty training thing. My dear departed physician once told me “don’t worry about that stuff whatever you do they will not wear diapers to kindergarten”. It was THE best advice to the mother of a newborn. My kids were both potty trained at about 3 but the oldest wet the bed and wore “goodnights” till he was 12. Bedwetting ran in both my husbands family and in mine. I could have medicated him etc but I bought “goodnights” instead and changed sheets. It eventually interrupted his want/need to have/attend sleepovers and I bought an alarm that sensed moisture that he wore in his underpants and that finally worked. He was a very sound sleeper. I really think many kids grow out of it and she is not of age to worry yet. You make me wish I could do it all over again:)

  • Jacqueline October 4, 2016 at 10:10 am

    And that last paragraph just made me tear up. You have such a big heart, and I’m so glad you have such happy words when those girls ask about their parents. Love following along your adoption journeys, so inspiring to read!

  • Patricia October 4, 2016 at 10:33 am

    First things first – I love your cute family. Reading your posts about adoption just warms my heart, occasionally makes me cry thinking of these kids journey to get to your family, but makes me so happy to see them happy with you. 🙂 I am so interested to read about Madeley now! As most have probably done before me, I’m responding about Ashby’s bet wetting. My journey with my oldest daughter was 17 months from diapers to 100% underwear. Like Ashby, she was good for naps and during the day but overnight was just a challenge. I learned to encourage less drinking before bed, lots of bathroom trips (before bed and the moment we woke up) and then encouragement about becoming a “big girl.” When she’s ready, she’ll stop! I always made a HUGE deal out of a dry diaper – lots of excitement, hugs, jumping up and down… Let me tell you, we looked like we were winning $1M! I would continue the pull-ups and just ride it out. Our turning point finally happened when I had my second daughter so maybe that will be the case with Ashby having Madeley around? I look forward to reading more about your family and cooking from your amazing cookbook I got yesterday! Best of luck!

  • Erica G October 4, 2016 at 11:31 am

    LOVED reading this update! So sweet and special. Do you use a chiropractor? Not sure with Ashby’s KTS if it’s an option, but sometimes a few adjustments help kiddos wake up during the night and not wet the bed.

  • Eryn October 4, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I literally laughed out loud about the sheets on the top bunk! My girls just got bunk beds over the summer and I dread changing the top bunk sheets. It is a version of hell. Is it wrong that I don’t wash her sheets that often!? ????

  • N October 4, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Double or triple layer the bed. That way you can pull off one sheet and water protector and you’re good to go. Good luck! My son is still in a pull up so I’ll be using this method when we decide he’s ready.

  • Maria D. October 4, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I would just push liquids in the morning and then cut off liquids about 2 hours before bedtime – have her go to the bathroom right before bed and then when you and Andrew get ready for bed later – wake her up to go again and see if that helps her grow out of it – also the puppy pad is not a bad idea either. Ashby is just such a happy looking child and it’s great to hear she’s getting along well with both her physical and speech issues. Glad she is also getting along great with Madeley so far.

  • Bernadine October 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Love reading your blog all the way from South Africa! I normally do not leave a comment but just wanted to thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us. Cant wait to read the post when you.share Madeleys room and an update “about” page for this mama of FOUR kiddos. Have you ever been to South Africa before?

    • Mix and Match Mama October 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      I have not, but Andrew has been the last two years in a row and keeps telling me I need to go with him! He says it’s gorgeous!

  • Neha Sodha October 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Timers!!! Idk if you’ll read this or not lol. But my boy at 6 kept having accidents at night…so we’d wake him up after we knew about what time he’d slip..5am. EARLY. =/ We’d wake him to go to the bathroom, eventually we got him an alarm so he would wake up and go, now his body has adjusted and he goes by himself 🙂 He was rewarded (in the beginning) for his “no accident days” and think this is what encouraged him. His 3 yo sister on the other hand, needed none of this. Guess it just depends! Good luck to that sweet girl! I think a princess alarm would thrill her!

  • Kelly Henderson October 4, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    She’s such a precious little girl! I am always amazed at how kids who have a little something extra about them are the happiest people on earth! My 13 year old daughter was born with a cleft and has had many surgeries but her so called birth defect (read: SMILE) is the very thing that draws you in. As for night potty training, we tried all of it with our son (now 9) but eventually he just had to outgrow it. We potty trained him over a long weekend just before his 3rd birthday but he slept in a pull up or good nights until he was 7. We tried physically waking him twice a night to use the restroom, the bed wetting alarm, medicine, you name it and we probably tried it. His pediatrician assured us it was a communication issue, his bladder didn’t tell his brain when to wake up. Ultimately, he outgrew it and has been accident free for well over a year now. It was rough.
    And changing bunk bed sheets is the devil’s work! NO ONE tells you that when you buy your kid bunk beds. I encourage bottom bunk sleeping at our house but in the summer when it’s hot, he likes to be closer to the vents and ceiling fan.

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World October 4, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    What an amazing little girl! She has come SUCH a long way, Shay, and I know that you guys are so proud of her! And what great news about being able to feel her little knuckle. Maybe that was God’s way of telling you guys you’re doing the right thing! Continued prayers for you her and all of you!

  • Cindy October 4, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Shay,

    Been an avid reader a few years now. I live in MA and always think of you when I see Red Sox things. I just read your Ashby blog and you mentioned bunk beds. I am into decorating and had an idea that maybe you should just do triplet beds in one room with all the girly things etc and make Ashby’s bedroom a play room homework station for them. Three or more small tables for them and friends to do homework and play. Madeley’s bedroom you can turn into a dressing room for all three girls with mirrors, benches and closets, clothes chests and make up area for them. As they grow I sure the two little ones will want to sleep together and as the girls all grow up into preteenhood the can each personalize their own bedrooms as they grow older. All their friends would love it if they have a play area and a room to get dressed etc. You can also get personalized hampers for that room. Hope you like my ideas as I love yours and your blog and bloggers ideas. Happy Holidays.

  • Victoria October 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    So sweet to read about her progress. Do you think she’s so interested in Madeley because she looks more like her? I was just curious about differences in attachment. Or whether it’s because she isn’t the littlest any more!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 4, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      I think it’s because she loves being the big sister. I really think she enjoys the responsibilities that come with being older than someone.

  • Debbie Dunbar October 4, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    You have such a wonderful attitude about your adopted girls’ mothers. That will be influential to them if they ever struggle with being adopted. Praying for the mothers is definitely the best way to go. It not only helps them but it also affects your heart and outlook!

  • Brooke R October 4, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I love seeing how much Ashby has changed and I can already see the happy transformation in Madely. I think it’s a true reflection of how great you and Andrew are as parents. You can tell there is so much love there for all your children and that comes out in the joy of their little faces.

  • Kara October 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    What a sweetie. For night time, you could put a diaper overtop of her underwear. That way she will feel the wetness, but the bed won’t get wet. Or you could layer the mattress so that it’s less bed-making. Put a mattress cover then a fitted sheet, then another mattress cover and a fitted sheet. If she wets the bed, just pull one set off and then you’re good until the next time it happens (or hopefully not) 🙂

  • Alexandria October 4, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I’m SOO excited to read the comments about the potty training @ night! One of my girls just turned 4 & still needs a pull up at night & sleeps on the bottom of a bunk bed. So I completely understand where you’re coming from. Although at this point I would almost rather her be on the top because the number of times I have hit my head while changing her sheets is too high to count! Lol. I love when you have these posts about Ashby & Im looking forward to Madeley’s posts too!

  • Katie Mayeaux October 4, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Ashby seems like such a precious girl. I love reading about your adoptions. As far as potty training goes, we night-time trained our daughter the week she turned 4. She was still pottying in her pull-up EVERY night because she knew she could. We just took them away and reminded her to come wake us up if she needed to potty in the middle of the night, and she did great. With that being said, she usually still does wake up at least once (sometimes 2x) per night to potty and goes right back to bed. The top bunk would be tough for that. Maybe try a blow-up matress on the floor in her room for a bit so she can just get right up to go??? Good luck! Every kid is different. You do such a fantastic job with your kids. I love using your ideas for activities, etc.

  • Karen Ward October 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I sure do love to hear about and see pictures of Ashby. She just BEAMS!! I think that Madeley is going to be the same way in just a few short weeks. Love your sweet family!

  • Jennifer October 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Potty training: Something that worked for us was to have our daughter wear regular “big girl” undies and then wear a pull-up over them to bed. She would wake up because she felt wet, but the sheets, mattress and bedding would still remain dry. Best wishes – it takes tons of patience but she will figure it out! Love reading your blog and many of your recipes are now in our meal rotation! Thank you-

  • Julie October 4, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I love reading your blog (have been since Sean was the bachelor) and especially your adoption updates. Got teary eyed reading your comments about their birth mothers. My sister and I think you are amazing with everything you do. Also, love the picture of Ashby and Bowen. So adorable. Looking forward to reading updates on Madeley.

  • alyssa October 4, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Ashby is such a doll! I agree not to rush nighttime potty training. My son wore diapers (he refused pull-ups) at night until he was 5. He still had accidents regularly until he was around 10. It was concerning for me, but our pediatrician assured us that it was normal and that her daughter wet the bed until she was 11 and one night, it stopped. The same happened with our son. As frustrating as if can be, all kids are different and it’s important for them to follow their own time line.

  • Sarah October 4, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    This post made me tear up! I am adopted and those words you said to Ashby are exactly what my parents said (and still say!) to me. It is a really nice reminder that the decision was made in love and not because we were unwanted. It was because someone WANTED so much more for us! 25 years later and it’s still nice to hear 🙂 Someone passed this poem along to me years ago and I wanted to pass it along to you! (this is a link to the poem, it’s a little long and didn’t want to leave a massive comment!)

  • Alana October 4, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve had friends who’ve had great success taking their children to a chiropractor and having them adjusted, and their bed wetting stops.

  • Jeanie October 4, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I love these updates. Can’t wait for Madeley’s. I am amazed — beyond amazed — how you manage to do all the things you do.

  • Kathy Baker October 4, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Check out They have the sheet, blanket, and comforter in one and kids can zip it up the sides themselves to make up their beds. It all fits over the mattress like a thick fitted sheet so it is easy to wash and put back on those bunk beds. Kind of pricey, but worth it.

    I love reading your blog. I have two adopted girls too and love hearing about your family and your adventures.

  • Tiffany Bagalini October 4, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Ah! I love these sweet updates. We tell our daughter (also adopted from China) the same thing about her birth Mom. She loves that she’s adopted and tells people all the time. She knows she special and wants everyone else to know too! My heart aches for you dealing with the medical issues. Our princess too has issues that require coordination between 5 different sub-specialists and you are absolutely right – you have to be their advocate. It’s practically a full-time job unto itself. Can’t wait for Madeley updates in the future! Xoxo,

  • Hillary Kinzel October 4, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    So here is my two cents on night time potty training…. I got this from my pediatrician and was true for both my girls. Being able to stay dry at night is a physiological milestone. His advice was that until their bodies were ready, we could do all the tricks (restricting fluids prior to bed, taking them potty before we went to bed, etc.) but it wouldn’t consistently work until their bodies could do it. He said there is also sometimes a biological component to it. If a family member wet the bed longer, it is often more likely a kid might. Both my girls wore pull-ups at night way past when they were daytime trained (one into Kinder/1st grade). And both of them went from a crazy, soaking wet pull-up every night to one night just staying dry. And from then on, barely (if at all) had an accident. Unless you have a specific reason you need to push it, I’d advise just buying pull-ups and waiting it out.

  • Megan Butler October 4, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    I may have cried twice while reading this post. Once when you talked about feeling her knuckle for the first time ever. (how awesome!) and the other when you talked about the girl’s bio mamas. I really hope one day you can meet them in heaven. How special. Love you friend!

  • Megan October 4, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Ashby is just precious! I just asked this question of friends on FB about my son who will be 4 in December. We’ve talked about wearing underwear at night for months and he’s always said he’s ready. Well, after three straight nights of wet sheets (and him never waking up to realize what he’d done), I gave up. The consensus on FB was to just wait it out until he starts waking up dry. Many, many people said their kids were 4, sometimes 5, before night training happened. Ain’t nobody got time to wash sheets everyday!

  • Ruth October 4, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Goodness! It does seem like Ashby has been with you forever. When you mentioned a few times in China about being in certain places not that long ago, I found myself thinking “oh, I guess it hasn’t been that long.” Ashby’s joy certainly comes through on your blog. And I too join the team Ashby and Bowen Forever. That picture of them is the sweetest thing.

  • Holly October 5, 2016 at 8:12 am

    I’m an Occupational Therapist and one method we use for the kids we see is called “dry morning”. You track them at night ( wake up every 30-60 minutes to see if they are dry or wet) in order to figure out when they wet themselves. Once you have that figured out you wake them up 15 minutes prior to that time to have them go potty so that you can catch it before there is an accident. Every night you move the time up by 15 minutes until they are just going potty before bed and will hopefully stay dry. It takes a lot of work up front but it’s pretty effective!

  • Jacquelyn October 6, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Ashby is such a cutie! Thanks for sharring her joy with all of us! Here’s a little tip to try: Right before bed, we put undies on our kids and then put pull-ups over top. They would then be able to “feel” wet, and hopefully wake up and get out of bed to finish going potty, but the mess was still contained 😉

  • Becky Carl October 6, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Shay, I have been following you so long that I feel I have this sweet little family that lives in Texas. That’s what I’m telling my husband all the time. I just want to thank you for sharing your sweet family with us. And all the beautiful wonderful times, as well as the hard times. God has truly blessed your and Andrew’s life with your beautiful children and you both are giving them such beautiful love and examples as they grow. I pray for good health for Ashby and Madeley as well as Kensington and Smith. Keep the stories and recipes coming because they enrich our lives so much. Love to you all! Becky

  • Paula Southern October 8, 2016 at 10:39 am

    What a little love Ashby is! Your whole family is delightful. I think night time potty training happens when little ones are ready. My daughter suddenly decided she was done with a night time diaper about three months after she was trained during the day, and was dry from that moment on. We then however, went from sleeping through the night, to her getting up nightly to go to the bathroom! Do you use essential oils at all? I have found a couple drops of cypress oil combined with a small amount of carrier oil (coconut oil for example) rubbed over the abdomen before bed time, to be a huge help! My daughter (she will be 6 mid January) isn’t up nearly as much as she used to be and will now go from approximately 7:15/7:30 until anywhere from 6:00 to 7:30 the next day before getting up. Not every day but certainly FAR better than it used to be! Now she might get up a couple of times a week rather than every single night. The cypress oil might be a start. Just make sure it’ stood quality, 100% authentic. Good luck!

  • Krissy Simon October 15, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    I’m a pediatric hematology/oncology nurse and there’s nothing I encourage parents to do more than advocate for their child. I applaud you for standing up for Ashby to make sure she has the best care possible. I pray that her body responds to these treatments and she feels minimal pain through her recovery! Hopefully in a few years I can be in a similar position, having gone through this adoption process and adding a couple of blessings to my family!

  • Patty October 18, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Regarding the night potty training, does she wake up with a dry diaper more often than not? If so, wake her up in the middle of the night daily for a month or two, so she becomes used to going to the bathroom when needed vs wetting the diaper. I understand that is a lot of work and may interfere with her, and your, sleep but maybe she is more ready than you think, or she thinks, but just too nervous to get out of her comfort zone. Otherwise, an alternative would be for her to use the restroom every night before bed. Good luck, but the time will come.