Two years ago today, we met and became a forever family with this precious girl…
Today is Ashby’s Gotcha Day…but let’s be real, we didn’t “get her” on that day, she “got” all of us. She completely captured our hearts and we have been her’s ever since.
I’m about to get all emotional and weepy talking about his precious girl…because she has changed my life more than almost anyone I’ve ever known.
I prayed and prayed about adopting a child years before it ever came to fruition. I was excited and scared all at the same time. I vividly remember being in the living room with Andrew one night before we left for China and telling him how nervous I was. What if this kiddo hated us? What if she didn’t want anything to do with being in our family? What if she changed us all…but for the worse? I was confident that the Lord was telling us to go and get this child, but I was nervous too. There were so many unknowns. But I can honestly say that the moment they brought this girl into the room (screaming and crying) and handed her to me, I felt the same way I did when they handed Smith and Kensington to me for the first time (they were screaming and crying too 😉 ). She just felt like mine in my arms. Like she belonged there.
Ashby, about three weeks after we adopted her in January 2015.
I have learned from all of my kids. They are all so different and have taught me so many things…but none of them has taught me tenacity, strength and courage more than this sweet girl. Every single day, I am amazed by Ashby. She has limitations…things I probably won’t ever be able to say here…but she has them and yet, you would never know. She must say the phrase “I’ll do it myself” at least 20 times a day because I’m always trying to accommodate her and help…but she wants to do it herself. Most of the time, she cannot use her right hand at all, so instead, she’s figured out ways to work around it (typically, it’s by using her teeth as a second hand). She is not going to be held back by her disability, she is going to figure it out on her own.
January 4, 2015 and then again on January 4, 2016
Ashby has been undergoing procedures every month since the end of July and yet, always has a smile on her face. I am worn down, weary and exhausted by it all…but she is upbeat and resilient. She has so much fight and courage inside of her.
Top picture, January 4, 2015 and bottom picture, January 4, 2016
December 29, 2016
Ashby loves her daddy…but it is crystal clear that she’s a mommy’s girl. She is at my hip all.day.long. She is so cuddly, so sweet, she hardly ever gets into trouble at all (I mean…I really can’t think of a single time when she’s really gotten into trouble!) and she’s very loyal. She loves anything and everything Barbie (Barbie’s camper is her favorite toy from Santa), she loves for me to read her books, she loves to color (having to do it with her non-dominant hand and doing SO WELL!), she loves riding her bike and watching any sort of Disney princess movie. She and Smith play together every day when he gets home from school…they’re such peas in a pod, but she idolizes Kensington and wants to do whatever she’s doing. When it came down to writing our letters to Santa, she waited until Kensington was finished and then asked Smith to just copy K’s letter for her and sign her name. If her sister likes it, she thinks she’ll like it too. She has really taken to being a big sister as well. She wants to sit next to Madeley at every meal and “help”. She wants to show Madeley everything (how to ride a bike, how to play with dolls, how to play the matching game, etc). Adding Madeley to our family has been a very positive experience for Ashby.
If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she says a doctor for kids and a mommy. I mean…how much does that melt your heart?
This year, she started dance and loves it! She is going to be limited on what physical activities she can participate in…but dance has been a huge blessing. I’m hopeful that she’ll be able to do it for a long time.
And I couldn’t do an Ashby post without mentioning this guy right here. Ashby’s best friend is Bowen…and I will be forever thankful for him. Bowen is so sweet and gentle to her, he challenges her, he humors her, he makes her laugh, he loves on her, he teaches her…he is the yin to her yang. I can’t imagine an Ashby without a Bowen.
Two years ago, I walked into a room and sat down anticipating the arrival of my newest little girl. A child found abandoned around 10 days old who had lived in an orphanage for 2½ years. I didn’t know how she would react to us, how she would engage with us, how she would fit into our family…and now, 24 months later, it’s safe to say, she is the perfect fit. We cannot imagine life without Ashby London Shull. She knows this is her special day. We’ve been talking about it and counting down for a few weeks now. She knows that her mommy in China couldn’t keep her but loved her so much that she wanted her to have a forever family and that today, we celebrate the fact that we are a forever family. Ashby changed my life. She changed all of our lives. Because of Ashby and how precious she is, it made it so easy for us to adopt again…which is why we are now so blessed with sweet Madeley. Adoption isn’t easy. It’s long, it’s expensive, it’s complicated, it’s born from loss, it’s full of grief and sadness…but it is also so beautiful, so special and so amazing. I’m so glad that I didn’t say no when God called us to adopt. I’m so glad I didn’t let my fears overtake me. I cannot imagine life without sweet Ashby. Today, we celebrate two years of being a forever family. xo
To see more about our journey to adopt Ashby, see below: