Madeley Post Adoption: Month 8

Today, we celebrate 8 months with this sweet girl…


…and how blessed we are by it!

Before I begin, I must walk down memory lane just a bit.  The Slaughters arrived in China yesterday ready to adopt their precious little girl.  I know I’ve blogged this story many times before…but in light of what’s going on in their family right now, I feel it bears repeating.  We met the Slaughters briefly at church about 10 years ago.  The very first thing Erika ever said to me was where did I buy my blonde bobby pins that were in my hair that day.  Ha!  I remember thinking that I liked a girl who paid attention to such details.  So, we met them and were acquaintances but not much more.  Well, as I walked the lonely road of infertility, one of my really good friends (who already had two children) suggested I hang out with Erika more because she was also struggling with fertility issues too.  So, I called her one day and was kind of like “so, we’re both trying to get pregnant and it’s not going well, let’s talk about that” and a friendship was born 🙂 .

Girls 3

This picture was taken on January 16, 2008…the day I found out that I was pregnant with Kensington.  The first person I called was Whitney (the one who suggested Erika and I be friends) and then the second person I called was Erika.  I told them both and then later that night, we went out to dinner (pictured here) to celebrate Whitney’s husband’s birthday which was two days later on January 18…coincidentally, Smith’s birthday 😉 .

So, our friendship began over infertility but turned into so much more.  God used our unfortunate circumstances to bring us together.  Because let’s be honest…without infertility, we might never have pursued a close friendship?

 Kensington was born on September 15, 2008 and a mere 18 months later, Erika and I each had two kids.  Two girls with fertility issues had four kids in 18 months…


…we each had our surprise baby girls and then a year later we each had our SHOCKED OUT OF OUR MINDS baby boys.  This is us the day Nixon was born (Smith was 3 months old).

A few years later, we began the adoption process on June 30, 2013 and sweet Bowen came along in November of that same year.  And then about a year and a half ago, we were in the middle of this adoption right here for sweet Madeley James and one morning, I picked up Erika early so we could head somewhere and for some weird reason, I just said in the car as I was driving down the road “have you guys ever considered adoption?” and she BURST into tears.  Right there in my passenger seat.  She began to tell me that her and Tab had been praying about it for some time and that JUST THE NIGHT BEFORE had decided that God had indeed called them to adopt and they were ready to act on it. HOLY COW.  I was not expecting any of that.  The Lord prompted me to ask just hours after they committed to Him to adopt.

So, the rest is Erika’s story and I cannot wait for you all to hear it.  But for now, I just think it seems right to mention how in the middle of precious Madeley’s adoption process and then as the first 8 months of her being home has unfolded, God has been working in big ways in the Slaughter family.

The darkest time in my life was when I was trying to get pregnant.  I was depressed, lonely, sad, angry, hurt, miserable and really just in a fog for two years.  But now, almost 9 years later, I see two huge blessings from it: 1. I get to share my story with you and hopefully encourage some of you walking that road right now.  And 2. I became friends with Erika.  God took two girls who didn’t know each other and mapped out all of these things that would intertwine our lives forever.  Even when you don’t understand at all what He’s doing…it’s amazing to look back and see how it all unfolded.

So, eight months in, let’s take a peek at Miss Madeley James…


She ADORES being outside!  She wants to ride her bike, swim, play on the playground, go for walks, blow bubbles…she loves being outdoors.  This month, we’ve mastered the words tree, flower, and sky.  Her language is really blossoming and more and more, she is just picking up words on her own.  She can say things like “no, ashby.  my bike” without any problems now 😉 .


Madeley is FUNNY!  Like seriously funny.  She enjoys making us laugh and seeks out opportunities to do so.  She’s quick on her feet in the funny department.


We started swim lessons this week and on the first day, she impressed us all!  So far, out of my four babies, she is the first not to cry on the first day.  Let’s be honest…sweet Kensington cried every day for like three years 😉 .  She jumped in, she swam to the teacher, she grabbed for the wall…she was a natural!  Whew!  You never know how that it is going to go!


Madeley is making her own little friends right now too.  She’s already become fast friends with Willow and was already friends with Willow’s two year old sister Libby.  Plus, she has a friend at church named Abigail that she loves too.  When she sees these girls, she gets so excited, says their names and actually plays with them.  She is going to start preschool in the fall, and I’m excited for her because I can tell she really enjoys being around other kiddos.


Madeley has attempted to eat some fruit this month…and proceeded to spit it out every time.  She likes fruit flavored yogurt and such…but not actual fruit.  She is still a protein girl.  Give her all the eggs, all the chicken, beef and pork…she wants the meat!  This month,  she did start eating baby carrots, so I’m considering that a win and she loves avocado and sweet potatoes too.


Madeley has picked up coloring, and it’s a great daily activity.  We think we might have a lefty on our hands here, which I would LOVE because Ashby is going to be a lefty.  Ashby’s dominate hand is unfortunately her right hand and since it’s affected with a vascular malformation, she has had to become left handed, so I would love it if Madeley were too so that Ashby isn’t the odd man out.  She uses her left hand to color and hold her fork/spoon…so, maybe she is left handed?


I am soaking up as many Madeley minutes as I can get between now and the end of school.  I LOVE it when my kids are home during the summer, but that means less one on one time with the littles, so right now, I’m eating it up.  She is so much fun to be with during the day!


That’s a little look at our Madeley James.

Smith and I were talking about the Slaughters adoption the other day and he said “they just don’t know how awesome it’s going to be”.  Wow.  Isn’t that right?  It’s not always easy (parenting is not always easy!), but it is AMAZING.

To see some other post adoption posts, just look below…

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 7

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 6

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 5

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 4

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 3

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 2

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 1

Meeting Madeley for the first time: HERE

All of our China travel posts: HERE

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

Ashby’s Gotcha Day {Second Anniversary}

Post Adoption: Month 21

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

Have a happy Thursday!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog May 11, 2017 at 4:37 am

    It’s funny how the world works out, right? Your darkest times have certainly made way for a great family and great friends!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Kerri May 11, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Smith’s comment!!! He is just the wisest, sweetest boy

  • Kate May 11, 2017 at 5:01 am

    Wow! What an incredible story. It truly is amazing how God puts people into our life and even more amazing when we recognize it!

    Madeley and Ashby will have to sit on the same side of the table with their lefty eating 🙂

  • Audrey Dawkins May 11, 2017 at 5:16 am

    I love reading about your cute kids. Some of my worst years were trying to get pregnant with both of my girls….now my oldest is about to start high school. I am almost certain we brought her home from the hospital yesterday. My girls were both answered prayers.
    and….her marker was so close to that wood floor but not quite:)

  • Beth May 11, 2017 at 5:22 am

    What a great way to end the post with words of wisdom from Smith! So heartwarming to hear how much he loves his sisters! And I love reading how God’s plan unfolds and intertwined things that we have no clue is going on at the time.

  • Nicole May 11, 2017 at 5:28 am

    Love this! Is Ashbay going full days in the Fall?

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2017 at 5:40 am

      She’s going to Pre-K in the fall!

      • Nicole May 11, 2017 at 7:54 am

        My 4 year old is too! It’s full days here and this mama is not ready for that!! Is it for you too?

  • Sheaffer Sims May 11, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Awwww! Sweet Smith!!!! And even though I know your and Erika’s story, I love hearing it each time. It’s a great reminder of how God’s timing is always so much better than ours!

  • Nicole May 11, 2017 at 5:41 am

    Oh! And with Madeley and school, how is potty training doing? I have a 2 year old and am dreading it!!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2017 at 6:14 am

      She tells us when she needs to go about once a day, which is great! But the rest of the time, she doesn’t 😉 .

  • Stacy May 11, 2017 at 5:41 am

    I love hearing your story of friendship !!! The paths we walk may not make sense at the time but when we see the big picture later everything falls into place beautifully!!!

  • Amanda Yap-Choong May 11, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I love Madeley’s sweet little cross necklace. May the Lord continue to watch over your gorgeous family xx

  • Courtney May 11, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Aww thanks for sharing your story about how you met Erika. I can’t wait to read the rest of her story! And Smith’s comment just melts my heart.

  • Elizabeth Sanderson May 11, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your infertility story. My husband and I are walking that road now, and your words give me hope! It can be so lonely and frustrating and I’m glad God sent you a friend through it all!


    • Megan May 11, 2017 at 9:24 am

      You’re not alone, Elizabeth. It’s so sad and those who have kids without the struggle of ttc generally can’t grasp the distresss. We’ve been trying for almost 1.5 years. Wish you the best!

  • Caroline May 11, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Your words are very comforting as I have to keep remembering that God always has a plan. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage last month and I have been feeling discouraged, but seeing all your pictures of your beautiful little ones gives me hope! So glad to see how much Madeley is continuing to thrive and can’t wait to keep following y’alls journey (and Erika’s, yay!!)

  • Alicia Lindenmayer May 11, 2017 at 6:12 am

    I love these posts! Thanks for sharing, it’s inspiring to read and see all the love as your family grows!

  • Erika Slaughter May 11, 2017 at 6:12 am

    FRIEND!! I’m about to go to bed and am cruising the internet when I saw this blog post! And again I’m reminded of Ephesians 3:20-if I knew back then what I know now, I’d have enjoyed the valley a lot more. Love you and am so thankful for your friendship!

  • Carly May 11, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Madeley on her bike. All the heart eyes. Loved this post. Have a great Thursday!

  • Bailey May 11, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I can’t wait to read Erika’s story & see her sweet new baby girl! Madeley just gets cuter every day. 🙂

  • Narci Dreffs May 11, 2017 at 6:27 am

    So sweet! Love hearing about how you girls met! And, Miss Madeley is just so precious! Her sweet little smile is the best!

  • Meagan Ruse May 11, 2017 at 6:58 am

    What a special post!

  • Karen May 11, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Great post! Thanks (all the way from Australia) for sharing your story.

  • Alexis deZayas May 11, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I love how insightful Smith is! Sweet Madeley was truly your missing puzzle piece 🙂

  • Dottie Ruhlig May 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Kim Nations May 11, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Love this post. I like to read how friends first became to be friends. Isn’t funny how God works..!! Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Love Madeley’s little cross necklace.

  • Sarah May 11, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Love hearing how God brought you and Erika together. And how Madeley was always meant to be in your family, too.

  • Holly May 11, 2017 at 8:02 am

    I love Smith’s heart and his sweet words!

    After we adopted our youngest child with special needs, we were at the Childrens’s hospital for post spinal surgery appts. We saw a doctor who was in a wheelchair and so many children with various medical conditions. My 7 year old said “we got soooooo lucky that we adopted Mia, otherwise we never would have known how God made so many people so special”! Blessed indeed.

  • Barbara parnell May 11, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I must say, as a mom of a special child, how incredibly selfless I find all of you. To adopt a child, is,in and of itself, amazing, but for you ladies to adopt children that have special needs or health issues is beyond incredible. You are very special families and I know,first hand,how difficult and stressful caring for children who need extra care can be. However, I also know that it has changed our perspective on everything and made us all better ,more compassionate, understanding,loving people. God bless all of you are doing a great job and creating wonderful lives for these beautiful children,and for you biological kids as well. Keep up the good work!

  • Kristina B May 11, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Love reading about your kiddos and can’t wait to hear the Slaughter’s story! And find out their new one’s name! You all pick such different, cute names. Also, the Type A in me can’t help but notice that Madely’s purple marker is dangerously close to the wood floor…I’m sure it’s washable ink but…??

  • Britni Davis May 11, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Shay, I really needed this today! We are embarking on our second embryo transfer next week and I am feeling very hopeful, but I have days where I just feel defeated. I am so happy my friend showed me your blog because it has really helped me through this. You are a huge blessing!

  • Kara May 11, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I love everything about this post. So excited to hear the rest of Erika’s story and I am daily checking Instagram for any updates.

  • Lisa D May 11, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Isn’t it so true that the youngest in a large family is usually the “comic” in the family?! Such darling photos, and a lovely story about friendship. God’s timing is perfect! I can’t believe its been 8 months already!

  • Paula May 11, 2017 at 8:44 am

    The Author is so good! I love the intertwining.

  • Keisha M Dawson May 11, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I love these little updates about your girls, and I love that you shared a little bit about you and Erika! I can’t wait to meet their new addition!

  • Mary May 11, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Team Lefties!! woohoo!! Seriously, I am left handed and I love meeting other Lefties!!

  • Brittany Hensley May 11, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Tears of absolute joy! Thank you for sharing with us, and that sweet girl is just such a big blessing!

  • Kathryn Madison May 11, 2017 at 9:20 am

    BE STILL MY HEART! Smith and his heart of gold. God is good all the time! Thanks for sharing your heart. It’s amazing to me that sharing Godly friendships are so much more fulfilling. Thanks for being such a bright light in such a dark world, be blessed!

  • Karen M May 11, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Well, I really enjoyed hearing the story of the beginnings of your friendship with Erika. I haven’t followed you for long so it was a joy to be able to read. I have enjoyed following your adoption journey with Madeley and you can just see how much she has blossomed just by her facial expressions in the pictures. All of your children are so sweet and are so lucky to have each other.

  • Kayla B May 11, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Love ALL of this! As a couple who is considering adoption and taking the first hesitant steps towards it, Smith’s quote really spoke to me. He could be talking about so many of us!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick May 11, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I didn’t know that story about Erika crying in the car!! How sweet is that!! Y’all’s friendship is so special and you were so blessed to find each other when you did. God had it all ordained! And that Madeley is just too much! I wish you had a picture of her with that hood up last night walking around the ballpark like a BOSS. hahaha #gangsta

    That Inspired Chick

  • heidi May 11, 2017 at 10:03 am

    What a beautiful story of how God knows us each personally and knows what we need in our lives. Friendships are so important. I’m so glad you were put in each others paths.
    I’m so so excited for Erika!

  • Chrystianne May 11, 2017 at 10:04 am

    This was obviously a beautiful post discussing your friendship and little Madeley, but I am just trying to figure out how to get girlfriend’s tan. My goodness, she’s already so dark. So so precious!

  • Whitney Pegram May 11, 2017 at 10:07 am

    That sweet Madeley James is a babydoll. God is so good! And I can’t wait to hear Erika’s story!!

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay's Sweet World May 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Oh that sweet baby girl is just flourishing, Shay! And her smile is infectious!

    I am just so excited for Erika and Tab!! You guys are all just incredible!

  • Olivia Snyder at Joyfully Prudent May 11, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I love friendship stories! Madely is adorable and can’t wait to see the Slaughter’s new baby!

  • Kim May 11, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    I just thought to myself yesterday, “I wonder how Shay and Erika met and became friends?” Then I opened your blog and there was my answer. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lauren May 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    This post is such a testamony on how God’s plan is truly great and will happen in His timing!

  • Katie May 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I’m sure you won’t approve this comment, but do you think its fair to women that have fertility issues that they need to get medical help with, possibly to no avail, to say that you struggled with infertility as a woman who got pregnant relatively quickly, naturally? You should be more careful with your words…

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Unfortunately, I did use fertility drugs and underwent six IUIs. So, my heart does have empathy for other women struggling as I speak from experience. I understand the emotional toll that takes on a person.

  • Nikki - Speak at Home Tonight May 11, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Amazing <3 So glad you guys connected! It's so important to have other women we can trust. God is good 🙂

  • Whitney Herrera May 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    This is the sweetest and I am so happy for the Slaughters!

  • Ashley Schaefer May 11, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I loved reading this. Such true words. God is faithful for sure. I met you at the mall today and looked so ragged! But I always feel so grateful for my crazy mess. I, too, struggled with infertility for years and I now can’t believe I have 4 littles to love.

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Ashley! It was so nice to meet YOU today!! You and your three kiddos were adorable!!

  • Amanda May 11, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Hi! I hope it doesn’t seem intrusive or rude, but I was curious if you’ve blogged yet about Madely’s medical condition? She seems very happy and healthy so I hope it turned out to be nothing to worry about:) God is so good and you have such beautiful children!!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      I did blog about it! Praise the Lord, she does not have any health problems. Thank you for inquiring. I know it comes from a good place ;).

  • Diana Yost May 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Shay! First, I just want to say I love reading your blog and trying out your recipes! 🙂
    I have a quick question if you have a moment- I have a daughter the same age as Madeley, and my girl is a picker eater! How did you get your toddlers to try new foods? My girl just refuses to try anything new and I can’t figure out a way to help her! Thanks 🙂

  • Kate L. May 11, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I said this to Erika, but as someone who wants to one day adopt and as someone who works with foster youth daily in Pittsburgh, it SO warms my heart to know that there is a pocket of people in McKinney, TX who are making #oneless orphan at a time. I love reading about your kiddos, and I am SO excited to see and hear Erika’s story unfold, too. So, thank you for sharing your hearts. You don’t know how much sharing your story will make a difference in the lives of others, and my gosh, the difference you’ve already made in your own biological kiddos! Look at that sweet comment by wise Smith! For them to grow up knowing how you’ve all followed your calls to adopt and gifted them with these precious little sisters–they are forever changed in the best of ways. May God continue to bless you, Shull and Slaughter families!

  • Susan May 11, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Beautiful! You are truly blessed. So honored to *know* you through your blog.

  • Maura May 11, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Love that face Shay! All your kiddos are beautiful! I’m a lefty and proud and I have never felt left out from my siblings for being a lefty?! Rock it Madely and Ashby!

  • Beccalouloubell May 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I love the expression on her sweet face in that last photo! I had a thought when you were talking about her not eating fruit–could it possibly be a texture thing (from a girl who bases her likes/dislikes on texture)? The proteins and sweet potato and avocado tend to have a creamy, thick texture, whereas fruits/vegetables tend to be more crunchy and feel different in the mouth?

    • Mix and Match Mama May 12, 2017 at 4:23 am

      Maybe? She won’t eat bananas though either. I just don’t think she’s into sweet things that much.

  • Dee May 11, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    I love reading about your wonderful family. I see earlier photos of your little ones and how frightened and sad they looked. The transformation of joy beaming from their little faces now touches my heart. Your older children are so kind and loving just like their family. I admire how you describe each unique characteristic of your children and see them in a positive light. There are some things parents would find challenging (lots of energy, being very determined) that you look at in a way that it brings the best out in them. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  • Katy May 11, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I just love Smith’s comment!! It brought tears to my eyes! What a wonderful, sweet brother! Thanks for sharing your family 🙂

  • Jenny May 12, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Oh my word, Smith’s comment is the sweetest!

  • Angela Ellingson May 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Oh goodness, love, love, love!

  • Betsy May 13, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I just read this quote the other day from Lisa-Jo Baker’s new book “Never Unfriended” and I had to go back to find it again because it reminded me so much of the friendship you describe with Erika. “The shortest distance between strangers and friends is a shared story about our broken places.” How beautiful!

  • Lori May 13, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    A friend of mine who adopted both of her children shared this poem today, and it reminded me of you.

    Legacy of an Adopted Child

    Once there were two women who never knew each other.
    One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.
    Two different lives shaped to make you one.
    One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
    The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it.
    The first gave you a need for love. The second was there to give it.
    One gave you a nationality. The other gave you a name.
    One gave you a talent. The other gave you aim.
    One gave you emotions. The other calmed your fears.
    One saw your first sweet smile. The other dried your tears.
    One sought for you a home that she could not provide.
    The other prayed for a child and her hope was not denied.
    And now you ask me, through your tears, the age-old question through the years.
    Heredity or environment, which are you a product of?
    Neither, my darling. Neither. Just two different Mothers’ Love.

    Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Erin Port May 13, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Smiths last line in this blog post made me tear up! Love the back story of your friendship and how sweet Madeley is doing! Thanks for sharing your family, your adoption and your life with us!

  • Amanda May 21, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    As someone who was adopted from Korea at 3 months old and is now 32, it makes me so happy to see other adopted kids being adopted by such wonderful people. I love keeping up with your family and seeing how you navigate through raising 4 amazing kids.

  • Lee Elkin May 31, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Hi Shay, I hope I don’t offend with this question – I really don’t mean to since we are in the same boat.

    In your Madeley adoption posts, you first mentioned that she was believed to have a heart condition, then found out that she in fact did not and had a clean slate of health. Is this still the same, or has a condition/delay/special need been found? We adopted a little girl from China almost 11 months ago and were told that she had a severe mental delay and would be non-verbal, and unable to excel alongside her siblings and peers. That is not the case. She is advanced – if anything – and continues to learn, grow, and prove the doctors in China wrong. Our doctors here have found no sign of any delay, disability, etc.

    Hoping that Madeley continues to thrive, and all the best for your family!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 31, 2017 at 4:52 am

      She’s doing fantastic! The two problems that we were told she has, she either no longer has or never had to begin with. I’m so glad you’re little girl is doing well too! Praise the Lord!