Ashby’s Post Adoption: 2.5 Years

Yesterday, not only did our family celebrate July 4th, but we also celebrated 2½ years with Ashby London…


January 4, 2015.

I remember this day like it was yesterday.  After 18 months of waiting, we got Ashby that afternoon and then took her back to our hotel.  After playing and eating a little dinner (she tried spaghetti for the first time), we gave her a bath and Andrew snapped this pic before I put her pajamas on her.  I was on cloud nine!  I finally had my Ashby in my arms.


Here we are six months later, celebrating July 4th on our town square.  Isn’t it amazing how much can change in only six month?!


And then on January 4, 2016, we celebrated Ashby’s first Gotcha Day!


July 4, 2016

Six months later, it was July 4th again and by now, she was our own little firecracker 🙂 .


Ashby on her 2nd Gotcha Day this past January 4.  (Side note, I had no clue that she wore that same fur vest on both Gotcha Days until just now when I went back to grab both of these pics. Ha!  Do we think she can fit into again this next time??? 😉 )


And Ashby today…this pic was just a few weeks ago when she celebrated her 5th birthday.

Oh my goodness, I could write a book about Ashby.

Talking (or blogging) about Ashby chokes me up every time.  This girl is so special.

929 days.  That’s how many days Ashby spent in an orphanage.  929 days.  That’s 2 years, 6 months and 16 days.

That means that 15 days from now, she will have been out of an orphanage just as long as she was in one.  I’ve been looking forward to that day.


 Ashby is just this little bright spot in our family that shines constantly.


Here are some fun little facts and tidbits about Ashby 2½ years post-adoption…

1: She’s a small little thing.  We just went to her 5 year well visit and she’s in the 15th percentile for both height and weight.  Over the last 6 months, I really feel like she’s lost the “baby” about her and is all big girl now.
2: Ashby probably should be a vegetarian.  She would eat vegetables all day, every day and nothing else if she could.  If you gave her the choice between a piece of cake or cherry tomatoes, she would pick the tomatoes every time.  I cannot name one thing she won’t eat.  She has the broadest palette out of all of the Shulls.  She loves flavor!  She’ll eat spicy peppers without batting an eye and the more sour something is, the better.  It’s fun to watch her eat 🙂 .
3: Ashby has been in speech therapy for her articulation for a year now, and we’re seeing major progress.  She LOVES going to speech!  She loves it so much that she invited her speech therapist to her birthday party…and she came!  How sweet is that?!  We probably have a year or two left of speech before she’s ready to graduate, but it’s working and she’s having fun…so that’s all that matters, right?!
4: On Tuesday, Miss Ashby has an eye doctor appointment because we think she might need glasses too…so we’ll see how that shakes out really soon.
5: Ashby is eligible to start kindergarten this year, but we’re going to hold her back one more year.  We want her to start kinder as prepared as she can be…and after much thought and consideration (plus loads of input from the kinder teachers), we’ve decided to wait one more year.  She’ll be in Pre-K this year and she’s pumped about that.
6: I would say that over the last six months, Ashby has acknowledged differences more and more.  She’s getting older, more mature, more aware and more observant when she sees people/hears them talk, so she knows there are differences and we talk about them.  I mentioned this last month, but she saw a picture of herself and the first thing she commented on was her arm.  It was a first for us.  Up until that point, I had never heard her verbalized or criticize her difference from looking at a picture.  At the pool the other day, a boy asked me what was wrong with Ashby and I said “nothing is wrong with her” and the kid swam off.  Ashby looked at me and said “he was talking about my arm”.  Sigh.  She and I had a sweet little talk about that.   I feel like I’m always pointing out successful/bright/smart/active/strong  Chinese women to Ashby when I see them in person, on TV, etc and she always blows me off…but the other day, we were at a restaurant and they had the LPGA on in the background and we were all kind of watching and she looked at me and said “She’s good.  She’s Chinese.”.  🙂  I like that!  I want her to see successful Chinese women at work and be encouraged by them!

Ashby is a gem.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when we got Ashby.  I was unprepared for so much and probably over-prepared for things too…but God has blessed us abundantly through this child.  She loves SO BIG.  She is the kindest, gentlest, most sensitive little girl that I’ve ever met.  The four original Shulls all have BIG/BOLD/LOUD personalities and then Madeley has the BIGGEST personality of all…so we needed a sweet/calm/caring/gentle/sensitive spirit in our world to kind of mellow us all out.

929 days.

My daughter spent 929 days in an orphanage.

What if your child is spending days in an orphanage right now?  I know we’re not all called to adopt…but I also know that some of you are.  You feel the pulling of your heart…you know that God wants you to step out on faith and parent a child who doesn’t have one.  My prayer today, 2½ years post-adoption, is that some of you will take that step.

Adoption is amazing.  It has blessed us more than words can describe.  You should let it bless you too.

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

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 8

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

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog July 5, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Glad to hear that Ashby is acknowledging differences more frequently. What a smart girl she is! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    • Meredith D. July 5, 2017 at 10:01 am

      The ending brought tears to my eyes. Now that I have a child I can understand the love a mother has for her child so much more. So happy for you all!!

  • Emily July 5, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Hi from NY! Over the years during your adoption process, I couldn’t help but feel called to adopt one day. It didn’t start right away, but as time went on after Ashby and then once Madeley came on the scene, I felt more called. If you have the love to give and are able to adopt, what’s stopping you? Taking the leap is what stops so many. Imagine if there was no leap, there would be so many more children adopted! There are so many children who need to feel loved. I felt this way when I adopted my dog, there are so many dogs out there who need love and I can give him what he needs so what was stopping me? I’m not married yet so at the moment I’m not looking to adopt but it is certainly something I’d like to do one day. I can’t help but think of the students that I teach at my low income, title I school in New York City. They all have some type of family. Some of them don’t have mom’s or dad’s but they have grandmas, aunts, uncles etc who take care of them but might not be able to devote so much time to them because of work and other obligations. Despite any behavior issue or otherwise, at the end of the day these kids just want to be loved and feel special. I may their teacher but I’m also going to make sure they are loved, they feel special, they know that someone thinks they are important and have someone to count on. I always felt like I had a big heart but then I started working with my students and I felt like it grew so much bigger because there was such a need for my love. I hope I will be fortunate enough one day to welcome and care for a child through adoption. Thank you so much for sharing your story and inspiring your friends as well. Thank you. One less ❤️

  • Lynn July 5, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I have never met this sweet, beautiful little girl but I love that little girl. My heart feels so sad that she feels different. Ashby is very precious x

  • Amy Heinl July 5, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Sweet Ashby, oh the plans our Lord has for you. You radiate such a strength and I know you are going to move mountains in His name. My fondest prayer is that you always know how loved you are and that He created you in His image so you are absolute perfection just as you are

  • Bethany July 5, 2017 at 5:58 am

    I cannot believe it’s been 2 1/2 years! I love watching Ashby grow! I got to the bottom this post and started ugly face crying! I do feel like I have a daughter I have not met yet. I am praying this is something that

  • Victoria Strader July 5, 2017 at 6:00 am

    I love your conversation with that little boy.. it is so awesome to me that Ashby will always know that her mama said confidently that nothing was wrong with her! XO

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams July 5, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Shay your writing when talking about Ashby is beautiful 🙂 These updates are always so sweet and it’s good to hear how well Ashby is doing!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Nicole July 5, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I wish I could hug you both right now! Such a sweet post about a precious, unique little bundle of sunshine from her adoring, one-of-a-kind mama. This world is so blessed to have you both in it!

  • Leslie Z. July 5, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Between both you and Erika, your posts make me think about adoption ALL THE TIME. I cannot wait until one day I can help there be #oneless child. I love how perfectly all of your children’s personalities fit together. You all are so blessed to have Ashby in your lives!!

    I was finally able to update my blog after a small hiatus. It’s updated with my plan for this Saturday, which is definitely one of the most amazing/crazy things I’ll ever do in my life! XOXO, Leslie (With Love from Ga)

  • Kim M. July 5, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I never know how to explain to my children physical or other differences in children or others. A lot of times I just say that’s how God made them. How do you explain these differences to your kids? And what is a better way to ask than “what’s wrong with her?” I want to be as kind as I can in these situations as I know it’s a sensitive subject. I know I’ve not always asked in the best ways, but that’s because I don’t know what way is best. Thanks for your input!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 5, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Urg. It’s so hard, right? If someone young something like “what’s wrong with arm/hand/chest?” then either myself or Ashby will say that God gave her a special arm/hand/chest and that usually is enough info. If some kid just says “what’s wrong with her” I say “nothing”…because I don’t want Ashby to constantly think something is wrong with her, you know? If adults ask, I tell them a very condensed version of the truth (one sentence). It’s hard. We’re learning as we go.

      • Lauren July 5, 2017 at 10:14 am

        We’re trying to teaching our boys to ask, “could you tell me about your…?” We’ve explained that everyone is made differently, no better or worse than another person. We are trying to deal with a natural curiousity without making anyone feel badly. No clue if what we’re doing is right! But we’re trying 🙂

        • Sanna July 7, 2017 at 5:17 am

          Yes, Lauren, you are definitely doing it right, it is so much better to be asked in a kind way, than not to be asked at all.

    • Mackenzie July 5, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      I used to work with a paralyzed woman who used a wheelchair, and she liked it if kids asked “do you mind if I ask about your wheelchair?” Then she’d tell them to ask anything. On the off chance that she was having a bad day or in a hurry she could say like “I don’t want to talk about it” or “I had an accident, I’d tell you more but I’m in a rush”

  • Renae Gulledge July 5, 2017 at 6:58 am

    I love reading your blog and my husband and I are in the final processes of being approved to be foster2adopt parents! We are so excited!!! I am so encouraged to read about your adoptions and how much your littlest girls fit right into your family! Blessings…Renae

  • Alexis deZayas July 5, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Love looking at these pics of how she’s grown side by side! Sweet Ashby is such a blessing to your little fam!

  • Abigail Carter July 5, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Love this post & your sweet girl! One of my friends does something really neat & I thought you would love it! She also has two bio kiddos and two kiddos adopted from China (boys). Anyway, she reached out to one of our local universities and was connected with a Chinese student. They invite him over to their house about every other month for dinner and he talks to the kids in Chinese, and they play and talk about different Chinese cultural aspects! The boys have grown to love him & really look forward to his visits! I thought it was so neat that she does this! I thought of you when she was explaining it! Happy Wednesday! 😉

  • Maria July 5, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Dear Shay,

    I have been following your blog for some weeks now. Your posts on adoption always touch me. I certainly feel a stirring in my heart for adoption…On one hand I’d jump right into it, but I feel so unsure about it at the same time. You have written several times that you feel blessed as a family by adoption. Could you be so kind to tell a bit more about that? You see, we have three boys (6, 31/2 and 2 years) and I wonder how they would adapt to a “strange” kid in the family. Also, for the adopted child, is it not difficult to compare herself with the biological children? I am afraid of the adopted child feeling just that, adopted… I also think it would break my heart over and over again thinking of the time the adopted child had to spend in an orphanage. I’d appreciate it, if you had some time to comment on those aspects of adoption. Thanx and God bless you and your family!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 5, 2017 at 8:51 am

      It’s so hard to put into words, Maria. People tried to explain to me how I would feel about Ashby…but I didn’t get it until I had her. Your heart has the capacity to love adopted kids just as much as it does bio ones. You just have to have faith. That being said, my social worker once talked to me about this and she said…even if you never connect with this child like you do your bio kids, it’s so much better for them to be in your family than an orphanage. Wow. That was powerful to me. I clearly connected with my two littles the same as my bigs, but her perspective is spot on. It is better to be in your home than an orphanage. I am blessed by Ashby and Madeley in countless ways…but here are a few. They love SO BIG. I am the ONLY mom they know and they LOVE me like I’m the best mom in the world. They make us laugh. They provide the personality of a whole new person in our family that just makes our family more special, fun and blessed. They are just the sweetest most special little girls and I consider myself SO BLESSED to be their mama.

      • Maria July 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm

        Thank you…!

      • Colleen July 16, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        As an adoptive mom who had a child who struggled to bond with me and a bio child who I bonded with right away, I find your social workers comments completely unsettling. Getting my son to bond with me became my life’s mission so to just be okay with it and say, “well it’s better than the orphanage” is heartbreaking to me. Had I just given in and settled on that thought I would have missed the greatest event in my life, my son actually learning to trust me and fully bonding with me. It took me two years to get him to trust me and I’m so grateful I didn’t hear your social workers advice when I was going through this. I devoted every moment of every day building trust with my son and I’m so grateful we didn’t settle for less. I know every experience is different but if someone else reads this who might be struggling with attachment and bonding just know that I know how challenging it is and how lonely it can be but don’t settle for the mentality of oh it’s better than what they could have had. I’m so grateful I didn’t settle on that and have experienced one of the greatest loves ever, a love between a mother and her son that’s equally as grand as my love for my bio daughter. Just keep earning their trust. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows. They’ve experienced a huge loss and grief is real for them. Just walk through it with them and show them you’re not going anywhere and you’re not settling for anything less than what they deserve.

  • Paly July 5, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Hi Shay… have you heard of Xue Xinran? Your comment about inspiring Chinese women reminded me of her. You’ll love her advocacy work and her books (I am sure that “The Good Women of China” and “Sky Burial” will blow you away!)

  • Francie July 5, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Bless you, shay! Adoption rocks! After years of trying to conceive more children I believe God has placed it in my heart to adopt.

  • heidi July 5, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Such a precious post x

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt July 5, 2017 at 7:53 am

    God knew exactly what your family needed with Ashby and He knew exactly what she needed in your family! Isn’t it amazing to know that He loves us more than we could ever fathom and He had this planned out the whole time? Adoption is amazing and I hope one day that my husband and I will adopt!

  • Courtney July 5, 2017 at 7:54 am

    I loved reading this! She is an amazing little girl. My 3 year old recently saw an eye doctor and now has to wear a big, colorful patch on her eye for hours every day for ten weeks and then we re-evaluate whether to continue patching or have eye muscle surgery. It is heartbreaking when kids ask her what is wrong with her or when she doesn’t even want to play on the playground because people will ask her about it. I’ve been working with her on what to say and how to respond. I know children are curious, but it can be hard for the little ones to know how to respond to others. Thanks so much for sharing! I love how you celebrate differences and teach your children the same. Thankful we are all fearfully and wonderfully made!

  • Kathy L July 5, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Ashby is a precious gift from God, and I like that you publicly acknowledge how much your family needed her, and not just the other way around. Love seeing all the beautiful pictures of Ashby over the past 2 1/2 years since she became a Shull!

  • Beth July 5, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I was looking at your pictures and I thought “Where is Madeley” then I realized! LOL I am having a Monday moment on a Wednesday!

  • Nancy mandell July 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

    I love your Ashby. Everybody has differences. Do you know I never noticed her arm for a year! She’s such a beauty. I think until you mentioned she was going to have surgery. She’s one special and sweet soul.

  • Maria D July 5, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Ashby is such a sweet girl. I hope she doesn’t get bogged down about her arm too much – and I hope that others are more sensitive about how they talk to her or comment about it. She is so great with you guys and has clearly become a much loved part of your family.

  • Kaylee July 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

    I love seeing similarities in personalities between kids in the same birth order position. Your Ashby has a lot of the same personality traits that my third child does, which is cool. And I especially think it is cool with stuff like that to think that God knew what you guys needed and had her ready in China to fit perfectly into your family in America. He is so good!

  • Julia July 5, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I posted this once before, but I’ll repeat it again. In those moments when Ashby is not surrounded by her family and friends, KNOW that God is standing beside her, holding her hand.

  • Brooke Richardson July 5, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Oh Ashby!!! She lights up a room with her smile and sweet personality!

  • lilly July 5, 2017 at 8:50 am

    my daughter spent 416 days in an orphanage. she has been home for 3,836 days. our daughters are home with us. Happy anniversary ashby, you are and belong home with your family!!

  • Jasmine July 5, 2017 at 8:52 am

    This is beautiful! I’m curious about something and don’t mean this at all to be disrespectful but with about 500,000 children in foster care here in the US why not adopt in your country?

    • Mix and Match Mama July 5, 2017 at 8:56 am

      I did not feel called to adopt from the US. We considered it, but after much prayer, God kept telling us to go to China. I’m a huge fan of US adoptions though! I have so many friends who have adopted from this country because that’s where God called them. I’m assuming you have adopted kids from the US too! How many? It’s such a blessing!

      • Molly July 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Oh snap. Shut. Down. 🙌🏻

        You’re awesome Shay. 🙂

      • Jasmine July 5, 2017 at 4:40 pm

        Thanks for your response Shay! That’s amazing! I actually have not adopted but I work for an organization that supports children who have been victims of abuse and one of the areas we strongly support are children in foster care. My husband and I would love to foster to adopt but we want to wait until our son is a little older! Blessing to you and your beautiful family

  • Kelly Henderson July 5, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Awe, Ashby is one brave little girl! Our daughter was born with a cleft lip and we had many kids/adults ask about her. A kid asking never bothered me, they just wanted to know but adults asking used to drive me crazy! One thing for sure, Parker’s cleft taught both of our kids tolerance and taught them how to be kind to others who might not look/sound like everyone else.

  • Julie July 5, 2017 at 9:03 am

    What a sweet post. I’m a kindergarten teacher, and you’re not holding her back…you’re giving her a growth year! It will be a blessing to her. I’ve never met a parent who regretted that decision. 😊

  • Whitney Pegram July 5, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Sweet Ashby! God is so good!! Hope y’all had a happy 4th!!

  • Beth July 5, 2017 at 9:28 am

    My heart dropped reading what the little boy asked. It’s even more sad to hear that Ashby comprehended what he was saying and associated it to her arm. Prayers for Ashby and most definitely prayers for others in being kind to her!

  • Tara July 5, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Ashly is the main reason I was pushed to pursue China adoption after not feeling brave enough to only take on medical needs kiddos. But after watching and reading your posts, crying several times at the beauty of it all, and then praying and taking the leap of faith…I will be flying to China in August to get my little 29 month old baby girl who lives in an orphanage and is mine. Forever. She could have any need big or small and I will be there for them all. 🙂 that is my mama poem to her! Thank you for encouraging people like us who are on the path but not just far enough down that road yet and giving us that nudge! And I am a single person. I have waited 43 years to become a mom and I simply am feeling like the luckiest person to be able to become one!

    • Sanna July 7, 2017 at 5:22 am

      Wow, respect to you!!

  • Shawnna Griffin July 5, 2017 at 9:35 am

    hey girl- love the post! Ashby is so cute! God has blessed you and your family so much!

  • Patty July 5, 2017 at 9:37 am

    My daughter and her husband are in the final stages of preparing to relocate to Cambodia to serve “the poorest of the poor” as engineers/missionaries, and they hope to adopt while there. I love reading your posts because it helps me to know I CAN love adopted children as my own, and I look forward to the beautiful almond eyed grandchildren I’ll meet oneday!

  • Angela Ellingson July 5, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Even though I’ve never met her in person, I just love that little Ashby so much! What a precious girl. Hugs to you, Mama. Love your response that there is nothing wrong with her. Your words are impacting her self-image in a profound way!

  • Courtney July 5, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I love reading your adoption posts, Shay. I appreciate your openness with the great times and with the challenges. Ashby is so blessed to have you as her mama!

  • Lisa D July 5, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I have tears in my eyes reading your post about precious Ashby. Look at the photo of your daughter at her birthday party. She is such a beautiful little girl! And btw, you’re making a great choice to have Ashby go to Pre-K instead of K in the Fall. (Parents truly DO know what is best for their kids!) I kept our youngest daughter back a year, she has an Aug. birthday, and it was the BEST decision we made! Daughter is now 26 years old and a first grade teacher with the biggest heart. She loves her students, they love her, and she is such a compassionate and kind woman. Your Ashby will fly, and who knows how she will bless others.

  • Erika Slaughter July 5, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Oh my heart! There’s no possible way to share all the goodness that is Ashby Shull in one blog post but you did a great job, Mama! Ashby came into our lives and stole all of our Slaughter hearts. We love that girl to pieces!!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick July 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Love this, friend! Sweet Ashby…that girl is going places!! I have no doubt she’ll do amazing things some day. xoxo

    That Inspired Chick

  • Narci Dreffs July 5, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Ashby Shull, you are so sweet and funny and precious to us! We are so thankful to watch you grow up, gorgeous girl! Xoxo

  • Angelique July 5, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Your family is such a wonderful example of the blessings adoption provides not only to the children but also to the family and friends of those adopting. Thank you for sharing and encouraging others to go down this path.

  • Laura @ Laura Likes Design July 5, 2017 at 10:24 am

    I loved reading the little tidbits about Ashby! She sounds like such a sweetheart!

  • Lindsay D July 5, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Ashby is so beautiful!!

  • Kayla B July 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I love, love, love your adoption posts. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet family’s story.

  • Corbie July 5, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Shay, the way your write about your kids and express your heart is such a gift. Just even reading your responses in the comments brought me to tears this morning. Your sweet family brings so many people such joy!

  • Sheaffer Sims July 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

    My goodness I love Ashby. She is funny, sweet, the bravest person I know, and so cherished by all of us! LOVE YOU, ASHBY!

  • Bailey July 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I just love these updates on your kiddos! Although, your pictures often speak for themselves! As a Pre-K teacher, I can’t tell you enough good things about your decision to give Ashby a “growing” year before starting Kinder. Seriously, best decision you can make for her school wise! I want to tell parents all the time not to rush their babies into school–it’ll all come soon enough.

  • Lacey Bean July 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I love this recap! I knew of Ashby through Momfessionals blog but until you just wrote out that sentence about her arm I never noticed it before! Her sweet personality shines through so much that it was never even noticeable to me! I hope that only continues to grow for her. <3

  • Tina July 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I cry every.single.time. you talk about your adopted girls. I just love them and have never met them. Such a sweet post.

  • Caroline Burke July 5, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    My girl is in an orphanage right now 🙁 But God willing in a little over a year she will be home. Thank you for all your adoption openness. We are so ready to walk this journey.

  • Ashlan Z July 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I love reading updates like this, thank you for sharing sweet Ashby’s story with all of us! We just submitted our application to our agency. We cannot wait to begin this journey of adoption, our girls are thrilled to have a new sister/brother. I love what you wrote about the the way siblings bond, I once questioned whether or not our girls would love on their new baby when he/she comes home. I know it will be absolutely wonderful and our world will be blown away with the best kind of love there is!

  • Emily July 5, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Wow. I had so many goosebumps reading this post…and maybe a little tear in my eye too. Ashby is going to do great things in her life with so many supportive and loving family and friends around her!

  • Nicole B. July 5, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Shay, your journey becoming and being Ashby and Madeley’s mama is so beautiful and inspiring. I’ve always had a soft spot for adoption and have been considering it very much in the last year. I know I can 100% love another child like my own, but I worry that other family members (grandmas, grandpas, uncles, aunts) might not… I have two adorable little kids (4 year old girl and 3 year old boy) that are the only kids in the family and the “apples of everyone’s eyes” and worry that other relatives might (perhaps unintentionally) make an adoptive child feel different. It seems like both yours and Andrew’s family have completely welcomed your 2 little girls. And that is so amazing! I know each person and family is different but would you mind sharing if there was a family discussion before you started the process of adoption or if you just told everybody the news after the decision was already made? Kind of like when you announce that you are pregnant! Haha! I worry that by talking about it before, people might possibly react and say something negative thinking that we are looking for their opinion and input versus their support on a decision that should only concern the possible adoptive parents, but also would like to open that door in their hearts.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 5, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      This can be tricky. We told everyone we were adopting kind of like a pregnancy announcement…we weren’t asking their permission, it was a done deal ;). I would say that reactions varied greatly. I won’t go into too many personal details because everyone loves our girls and have come around to the idea…but it took a few family members on both sides of our family a while longer to adjust to the thought of us adopting. It’s just so far off so many people’s radars that they have a hard time understanding. That being said, everyone is over the moon now :).

  • Natasha Combs July 5, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Tears!! 😭 That girl is really special!

  • Abbey July 5, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    This is the sweetest post! Your love for her shines So bright throughout the post. I know you say you’re lucky
    to have her but they are both so lucky to have you.

  • Ashley July 5, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I love all of the information that you post about your sweet kids every day, but there’s just something so incredibly special about Ashby. I’ve obviously never met you or your family, but I feel a special connection with Ashby and pray for her often. You guys were in China getting her while I was in the hospital having my daughter. Ashby is the same age as my son, but you met her at the same time I met my daughter. Ashby is so beautiful inside and out and I so appreciate you sharing her with all of us.

  • Mindy@OurDreamHouseDIY July 5, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Soooooo precious <3

  • Megan Butler July 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    What a sweet post about a sweet girl. Love seeing the changes in her!

  • Michelle Carnes July 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. I love reading about your family, food and adventures… and get sad on the days I’m too busy to make time to read. You inspire me more than you could ever imagine.

  • SZ July 5, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    If you gave her the choice between a piece of cake or cherry tomatoes, she would pick the tomatoes every time. — I can’t! She’s amazing!!!

  • Jennifer Speer July 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Congrats to your family! What I big day! Our Anna was born with a severe cleft (lip and palate) it physically pains me when I think about her in her orphanage. But today, only 6 months later our girl is thriving. God is amazing!

  • Jennifer Sawyer July 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    It takes alot to make me tear up & that 929 really got me! She (and Madeley & Britt) are gems <3

  • Linda Z July 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    “Ashby IS a gem.” What a lovely post!

    Xo from Boston

  • Vivian July 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I’ve followed your adoption story (and your family) for a while now! I think it’s really awesome you’re trying to show Ashby strong Chinese women. I was born and raised in suburban Oklahoma where there weren’t too many Chinese women (besides my parents’ friends) around, and it was a bit difficult to find female Chinese role models whom I could really relate to. I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area (I recently graduated from school around here) where I’ve met so many incredible, inspiring Chinese women and it has been a big blessing to be empowered by that (not that being at home didn’t)! I would love to connect you one day and would be so happy to help Ashby and Madeley feel strong in their Chinese roots. I know it took me a very long time to acknowledge and appreciate that.

  • Kristin July 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    I feel called to adopt but I keep pushing it aside-mostly because I read a lot of stories about attachment (or lack of it) Both your girls seem to have adapted so well and seem very attached without any behavior problems. What do (did) you do to foster attachment? Was there anything you read that you think helped you build attachment?

    • Mix and Match Mama July 5, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      This question is always so tricky because we consciously did a lot to foster attachment, but I also know that our girls just naturally had an easier time than others attaching. Things we did that I think made a big difference: no one held our kids/fed them/bathed them/etc for the first 8 weeks. After that, we really limited their interactions with other people (having them being held, etc). They slept with us for four months. We didn’t drop them off at church/with a sitter/at the gym for several months after they were home. Those are just a few of the things we did. It’s so hard because I know people do the same things but have a harder time. Both of our girls just naturally wanted to attach.

  • Christin July 5, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I love reading about your sweet Ashby! It makes my heart so happy. I’ve always wanted to adopt, and I am currently waiting on the Lord for guidance. 🙂
    It’s so hard when talking to other children about differences. I teach kindergarten and kids are so honest and inquisitive. One year I had a child who had a big birth mark on her chest. Kids would ask about it and I remember her mom saying it was her beauty mark. They would usually just walk off and be okay with it. I always loved this because it was a easy way to celebrate here child’s difference without getting into detail.
    I pray daily for the Lord to touch Ashby! She is going to do great things!

  • Sarah July 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    I just love reading about Ashby and her journey. My son is seven now and was born with a deformity in his leg. He had had several surgeries to correct it (and we are looking at a few more before he’s an adult) and has had several fixators, casts, and braces along the way. I spoke with a psychologist before his first surgery and she said one of the first thing to teach him should be how to respond to other kids so he doesn’t shy away or internalize their reactions. He’ll usually say ‘that’s my lucky leg God gave me (we gave it that name-like Nemo’s fin!) and I have surgeries on it, but I can do almost everything you can.’ The kids usually accept that answer, move on, and never ask again. As he’s gotten older, he now knows the name of the condition and what the surgeries are doing. As a mama it is SO SO hard to see your special little ones feel so vulnerable, but giving them some tools is so helpful to giving them confidence.

    And on another note, I’m a speech therapist and I’m so happy to hear she loves going to speech. Makes my heart happy!

    You are doing a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing and inspiring others!

  • Kelly July 5, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Let me tell you from first hand experience: it is hard being an adopted kid. I was adopted from South Korea at 18 months old. I came to America with a broken leg. I had 2 Caucasian parents and an (also adopted) Korean brother. I spent most of my life wishing desperately to be blond and blue eyed. I was called names all through school and beyond. My parents loved me through and through but I always knew I was different. Adoption is a wonderful thing for sure. But it is hard being an adopted kid.

    • Amy July 5, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Hi Kelly, thank you for your view point! In your opinion is there anything your parents could have done differently to make it less hard for you? Just trying to learn!

      • Kelly July 6, 2017 at 6:34 am

        A little more diversity would have been nice. I was one of three asians in my entire school. But unfortunately a lot of the turmoil is internal. Why was I given up? Why am I the one who has to be different? If I wasn’t good enough for my own mother, how can I be good enough for anyone? I’ve spoken to quite a few adopted Asian females and the same things come up a lot. Mostly depression, low self esteem, a decreased sense of self worth, the need for validation, and constantly testing limits. I am in my 30s now and I am of course much more mature and rational when it comes to a lot of these things but the underlying sense of not being good enough never goes away. And that is probably the hardest part. But in the end, I am also so many things that I never would have been without my parents. I am well educated, compassionate, caring, hard working with a good job and a great spouse and son.

        • Amy July 8, 2017 at 12:25 am

          Thank you Kelly, I found that helpful 🙂

  • Donna Murray July 5, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Our daughter Sydney is adopted from China. She is 15 now and the youngest of our 3 kids. Your post and all the comments led to a great discussion for us tonight. She said she feels no different because is adopted inside our family, but sometimes she thinks the outside world looks at us funny. Adoption was the very best thing we could have done for our family, and Sydney was the child God meant for us from the beginning of time.

    She has three things she wishes she or us would have done differently that she wanted me to pass along to you and your girls. First, take Mandarin when you’re really young. She is in her third year but knows it would have been much easier if she had started earlier. Second, use the best sunscreen you can get because Asian skin turns dark even with sunscreen. Third, don’t waste money on American mascara. Asian eyelashes need mascara developed for Asians! You can buy it on Amazon 😊.

    • Michelle Sharp July 14, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      My 13 year old daughter from China wants to know the brand name of the mascara! Eyelashes are a real issue!

  • Carissa July 5, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Shay, I’m so blown away by your blog and I love your stories as it brings me much joy especially your precious kids! Ashly and Madeley are precious and what a wonderful family you have! I love that you keep their culture alive to show them who they are. I’m Chinese, but grew up in RI with my parents and 3 sisters in a predominantly Italian neighborhood. Growing up was hard and everyone noticed the differences. Until I went to college in Boston, I finally met others like me! I loved Boston so much I stayed there! Well until I moved to San Francisco for a job 2+ years ago! I hope one day our paths will cross! You can definitely share with Ashly there are los of strong, active, intelligent Chinese women out there! All my sisters and I are healthcare providers. One of my sisters is the best bilingual speech pathologist in Boston’s public schools! Thank you for all you do as a mom and bless you and your family for sharing your journey!

    • Carissa July 5, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Not sure why it’s says Ashly then I clearly type Ashby!!!

  • Laura July 5, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Shay! I came across your website after you posted Ashby’s 3 month adoption update and have been opening your blog weekly ever since. As a girl growing up in today’s society I understand the importance of body image. Every word you’ve ever spoken (typed) about Ashby has never been anything other than positive and loving. I know the impact that your parents opinion of you can have on your self-image & Ashby is incredibly lucky to have your positive light surrounding her. She is beautiful and perfect just the way she is!!!!! I know you know this, and all readers of your blog do to. I know that one day reading words from a stranger might impact her but I can only hope that she reads this and knows that to me she is incredibly tough, resilient and absolutely beautiful.

  • Andrea McAnally July 5, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Ashby is an inspiration – she’s brave, resilient, joyful and smart! She is something special and I can’t wait to see how that plays out as she grows up. Love y’all!

  • Kacy July 5, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Love the Ashby post(s)…so heartwarming to read. #chinesegirlpower

  • Shannon July 5, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    I’ve learned so much about adoption from following you! And I’m so proud of Baylor University – did you know that they now offer reimbursement of $6,000 of adoption-related expenses per child for up to two children per year? Baylor and SMU are the only Texas universities with paid parental leave, and Baylor is the only university in Texas with an adoption assistance program. Anyway, your children are all precious, and it brings me joy to see Madeley and Ashby flourishing with their forever family!

  • Sara July 5, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    The end of your post gave me chills. Good for you for listening to your heart and God’s little nudges

  • Tori July 5, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Am I the only one worried to know if Ashby and Bowen will start school together?! Love their friendship!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 6, 2017 at 4:47 am

      Ha! They will! They will start school at the same time 🙂 .

  • Sara July 6, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Your post made me think of Nike athlete Scout Bassett. Talk about a strong, Chinese woman, who was adopted as a child and is overcoming obstacles. She is nothing short of inspiring. Have her watch this video. My friend is singing the song in the video too 😉

  • Amy Rae DeVito July 6, 2017 at 11:26 am

    What a beautiful post! Ashby is such a beautiful and sweet little girl. I love what she said when she saw the LGPA golfer. <3

  • Kaelyn July 6, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Very well written, Shay! Ashby seems so sweet and I love reading about both girls’ adoption stories! You have wonderful advice, thank you. My fiancé and I look forward to adopting one day.

  • Amanda Yap-Choong July 7, 2017 at 6:17 am

    You’re doing such an amazing job Shay. Light and joy just radiate from little Ashby. She is an absolute joy and testament to you and your family, and to a loving and gracious God xx

  • Tracy July 7, 2017 at 7:42 am

    She’s precious! Love your Ashby updates. 🙂

  • Erin Port July 10, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Every time I get tears streaming down my face. God is so amazing in how He knits families together. Sometime could you do a post on all the books you suggest reading before adopting? We are praying hard about it and working on aligning our hearts together at our house! It seems one heart in a marriage takes the first step 😉 I am trying to wait not so patiently :)! xoxo ERIN

    • Mix and Match Mama July 11, 2017 at 4:55 am

      My VERY favorite book on adoption is Forever Mom by Mary Ostyn :). I feel like it takes the best parts of every other book I read and puts it in one great place.

  • Detroit Duchess July 13, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    I love reading your posts about Ashby! She is a ray of sunshine and I’m glad you are able to share her journey here. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for her 🙂