Madeley Post Adoption: Month 11

Oh little Miss Madeley.

You are the life of the party.


Tomorrow, we celebrate eleven months with Madeley James.


Right now, we keeping starting conversations around our house with the phrase “this time last year…” as we prepare for back to school.


Because this time last year, we were awaiting travel approval so that we could all head off to China to bring this sweet girl home.


And now, she’s been here 11 months and it has been THE BEST THING for our family!


Madeley is the gift that keeps on giving.


She’s our “bonus child” …you know, the one we weren’t really planning on, but God gave her to us as an extra bonus…and she just makes EVERYTHING so much more fun.


This girl is SWEET.  She is FUNNY.  She is SMART.  She is CARING.  She is just so SPECIAL.


This month, she’s started doing two things that really make us laugh.  One, if I call out for another kid in the house (let’s say Smith), she will cup her hands over her mouth and walk around screaming “Smith!, Smith!, Smith!” until he appears.  It’s so funny!  She just thinks everyone should and will listen to her, so she takes it upon herself to get things done (like retrieve Smith for me).  And you know what?  They do 🙂 .  The second thing she started doing this month…is running.  And it is hysterical.  Andrew came in the house the other day and was like “have you seen Madeley run”, so I went out to the driveway and off she went.  As she runs, her cheeks bounce up and down.  Ha!  It’s the cutest thing!  Now, she runs everywhere…and by run, we mean a trot with a lot of cheek jiggling.


This girl is a ray of sunshine.

Adopting Madeley has kind of been the easiest thing we’ve done.  Easy because she just fit.  We didn’t even know there was a hole in our family until she showed up…but there was and it was GAPING wide open for her to fill.  I can lose my breath sometimes thinking about the “what ifs” and I have to stop myself.  What if we wouldn’t have adopted her?  What if we wouldn’t have stepped out on faith?  What if?

Andrew and I have a friend named Lance and this month, he asked me about Madeley’s story…and so I told him.  When I finished he said “wow, I can’t wait to watch how God is going to use her story as an adult”.  It gave me chills.  I’m very guilty of thinking “well, Ashby is going to have a great story and I can’t wait to see how the Lord is going to use her challenges, disabilities and strengths to share with others when she’s older” but Madeley is going to have a story too.  It’s going to look a lot different than Ashby’s…but boy, she’s going to have one.  Madeley James Shull is going to have a story.

I love these two girls so much.  There were times in my life when I could have been talked out of adopting.  It was scary.  It was expensive. It was unknown.  It had a lot of risks.  It was going to change my family (maybe not for the better?).  It was such a HUGE leap of faith and the biggest decisions Andrew and I have ever made.  BUT WHAT IF WE DIDN’T DO IT?  This time last year, this precious girl was living in an orphanage.  What if we didn’t do it?  What if your kid is living in an orphanage right now?  I know it’s scary…but if it’s on your heart, I encourage you to keep praying about it.  Oh what a blessing adoption has been to our family.  I cannot imagine not being Madeley’s mom.

Eleven months.

What a wonderful eleven months it has been!

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

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 10

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 9

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 Post Adoption: 2.5 Years

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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  • Courtney August 10, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Bless her heart, she is SO adorable. Next time she is running you should post a video – I’d love to see all that cuteness! 🙂

  • Bailey August 10, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Madeley is just precious. There’s no other word for it! The car key picture with you and Smith is probably my favorite of her–so much personality!!

  • Amy Heinl August 10, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Lately is right where sheamazing love and wisdom belongs and what a great testimony to the power of God’s love and wisdom that he called upon you and Andrew to be her chosen parents

  • Erika Slaughter August 10, 2017 at 5:45 am

    You described her quite perfectly…definitely the life of the party! We LOVE you, Madeley Shull!!

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog August 10, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Awh, Madeley! Happy 11th month!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Tara G. August 10, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Time is flying because I feel like you just posted month 10! She is darling!

  • Angelique August 10, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Thanks again for sharing your adoption stories. I love how you described Madeley fit a hole you didn’t know you had. God answers prayers that way sometimes, doesn’t he? 🙂

  • Erica @ Whimsical September August 10, 2017 at 6:27 am

    That last part about her story just gives me chills. Such a neat perspective. Thanks for being so open to share her with us each month! Our youngest is our total goofball too, and I can’t imagine a second of my life without her; I know that’s how you feel about Madeley.

  • Elspeth Mizner August 10, 2017 at 6:32 am

    She seems like such a bright and fun little lady! Can’t wait to see how she grows and changes!

  • Danielle August 10, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Adorable! Cant believe it has been 11 months…God is good, your children are amazing and you are spreading the word of adoption. The smiles on your children show the love you have for one and other. Blessings for the Shull Family!

  • Narci Dreffs August 10, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Oh, Madeley 😍 We love you a ton! She IS thr life of the party!!! So thankful for her sweet face!

  • Megan August 10, 2017 at 6:42 am

    Happy eleven months HOME sweet Madeley! We just receiving Travel Approval and leave for China in less than two weeks for our unexpected “bonus child”. Thank you for being a champion for adoption!

  • Lizzie @ This Happy Life August 10, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Madeley sounds down right awesome!!! Love these little recaps on how they’re doing!

  • Stephanie Zapata August 10, 2017 at 6:46 am

    I love any and all pictures of Madeley because she’s always looking adorably cute and often doing something adorably silly!
    I’m also a mama of 2 precious adopted kiddos, one going into high school and one going into middle school. I’m so thankful God opened my heart to adoption. I love reading your posts about the girls. It brings back memories of my two big kids and their adoption process and adjustments.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Sheaffer Sims August 10, 2017 at 6:55 am

    When Madeley says my name, looks excited to see me, or even just waves at me happily…..,my heart just about busts into a million pieces. Love that girl so much!

  • Wilma August 10, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Pictures of her just make me smile 😊 Her personality shines. I stand in AWE of our Heavenly Father and how only He can weave our lives together when we allow Him to direct our lives. We have a good, good Father. 🙏❤️

  • Laci August 10, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Madeley is just a pure joy to see pictures of!! Please video her “running”…her cheeks are my fave along with that grin. What special kids you have!

  • kathy Olson August 10, 2017 at 7:11 am

    This just makes me happy. I’m so glad she is yours.

  • Brooke Richardson August 10, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Oh my gosh, seeing her run was the cutest thing ever!!! I just love that girl.

  • Erin Port August 10, 2017 at 7:32 am

    I say it every.single.month but your words cut me to the core. Pray for our family as we pray seriously about adoption. I am just a few steps ahead of my husband ;). We have been so blessed by my nephew’s adoption from China and we are waiting on another niece or nephew this winter to come home. xoxo ERIN

  • Angela Ellingson August 10, 2017 at 7:41 am

    What a doll! Some of those pictures are just so funny, and they are all adorable! Excited for your family to celebrate her gotcha day soon!

  • Alexis deZayas August 10, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Sweet Madeley is such a blessing! She was truly your missing puzzle piece 🙂

  • Sara August 10, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Is she ever not happy? She has a grin from ear to ear in every picture. That little girl must really love life 🙂

  • Lindsey Gumer August 10, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Have so loved reading about your adoption journeys. Adoption truly IS AMAZING!

  • Rebecca VanDeMark August 10, 2017 at 7:56 am

    she just is absolutely adorable! I love the way that you share these updates! It is so exciting to read what God has been doing for those of us that were praying back when y’all traveled to bring her home! Thank you for continuing to share with us!! 🙂

  • Lauren August 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

    This melts my heart! I have loved reading about your family and adoption journeys over the past few years and agree that God is going to use these girls for big things! I smiled reading about Madeley “running” — that has got to be just the cutest thing to watch!!

  • April Parrish August 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Madeley is one in a million…just adorable! I can’t wait to see how these sweet girls grow and their story unfolds!

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams August 10, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Adoption really is a beautiful thing! I’ve watched the journey in my own family and watching yours brings a smile to my face. Madeley seems like a bundle of joy!
    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Paula August 10, 2017 at 8:11 am

    It doesn’t feel that long and forever all at the same time. What a sweet smile she has. Life is a celebration and you see it shine through her smile & eyes.

  • Kara August 10, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Those pictures are adorable. What a blessing!!!

  • Tina August 10, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Your adoption posts always make me cry and this one was no different! As I sit here, pregnant with my surprise “bonus” child (after struggling to get pregnant with my first 2 and going through an ectopic pregnancy) I have just boohoo’d reading this post.☺️ God is SO GOOD and SO FAITHFUL. Through pictures, Madely’s personality reminds me so much of my own little girl and I just want to squeeze her! The part that probably got me the most was when Andrew came in to tell you about her running. It made me laugh and cry at the same time. The fact that she now has a mom and dad to admire her cuteness just melts my heart. We parents think everything our kids do is so adorable and I hurt for those babies who don’t have familes to know or care how special they are.

  • Ann Marie Tennison August 10, 2017 at 8:27 am

    I’ve gotta see this run!! She is such a doll!

  • Heidi August 10, 2017 at 8:36 am

    I can’t believe 11 months have gone by so quickly! I love her cheeks and that sweet smile!

  • Laura @ Laura Likes Design August 10, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I can’t believe it’s already almost been a whole year! She is the cutest little thing!

  • Meagan Ruse August 10, 2017 at 8:55 am

    She really is the life of the party! One thing you didn’t mention, but I can 🙂 is that Miss Madeley has the most wonderful manners! She really is the sweetest little bundle of joy. We love her so much!

  • Angela Shields August 10, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I love these posts. I love the fact that she is smiling in every picture. Her personality really shines through. I remember when you got her she didn’t smile much. What a difference love and a family make. God is so good! I love the picture where she is with Ashby and they are trying on glasses and hers are upside down😂 It reminds me of the little girl on Despicable Me 😊

  • Dana Vissage August 10, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I love these posts. Every time I see a picture of Madeley, I smile. She just makes you smile – and I know you know that first-hand! 🙂 I know what you mean when you say “What if?”. We have been fostering a little boy since April of last year and come September 21st, he will officially be ours forever. We almost talked ourselves out of foster-to-adopt but I always think to myself… WE COULD HAVE MISSED THIS. But we didn’t, thanks to a whole lot of what I like to call, “heart-pushing” from the Lord. He is so good, isn’t he? God bless your sweet, beautiful family Shay!!

  • Natalie Clark August 10, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I just love these updates! I can’t believe it’s already been almost a year. Madeley is so so precious, and I love seeing all your pictures of her. She is clearly a bright light!

  • Keisha M Dawson August 10, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Her smile is so infectious! What a sweet blessing!

  • Hannah Hwozdik August 10, 2017 at 9:43 am

    She is so so sweet! I have always wanted to adopt and every time I read your posts about Ashby and Madeley I get even more excited for whenever that time in my life will be! I can’t wait to hear their stories one day- and thank you for sharing yours with us all. I love reading your posts every day! 🙂

  • Linda Henderson August 10, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I very much enjoy reading about your kids. Just precious. As I read about Madeley I wonder if the “a” in her name is long or short vowel? Made or Mad? Her photos put a smile on my face.

    • Mix and Match Mama August 10, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      It’s pronounced “made-lee” :).

      • Linda Henderson August 10, 2017 at 5:09 pm

        Thanks. It’s the old teacher in me wanting to pronounce names correctly.

  • kellie carrara August 10, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Love her sweet & sassy spirit! Oh, the stories that YOU ALL get to tell. Each of you individually! You share yours here and we are so lucky to see how God has worked with you, for you and in you. But I think of the stories too that Kennsington and Smith will get to tell — the journeys they went on to make these sweet girls their siblings. They are growing and learning and teaching each of you! <3

  • Maria D. August 10, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Madeley is a ray of sunshine! She always makes me smile! Hard to believe you’ve had her already almost a year

  • Kristy August 10, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Thank you for always sharing these! I’m half way through my second pregnancy and am just realizing my body is done, I am not meant to carry anymore babies, but in my heart of hearts, I know I want 3. I can’t wait to see what the world has in store for the way we get our third child ❤️ All 4 Shulls are lucky to have a mama like you

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick August 10, 2017 at 10:38 am

    We love Miss Madeley too!! I want to giggle uncontrollably every time she does pretty much anything. She is just so funny!! And those cheeks…!! Love her!!

  • Lori August 10, 2017 at 10:53 am

    The picture of the spiderman mask with the sword with the dress, I can’t even!!!!! She is just so precious!!!!! I love the adoption posts, even though they always make me teary!!!

  • Ariadna August 10, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for sharing your kiddos with us, they’re all adorable as always. And please, if you get a chance, post a video of Miss Madeley running, 🙂

  • Michelle August 10, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Your adoption posts always make me cry happy tears ! Your faith and passsion for life is contagious ! I’ve only been reading your blog for a few years but it’s always a bright spot in my day. You have such a gift for sharing and being relatable ! Thank you for sharing your life with us ! You have no idea at the lives you touch ! ❤️

  • Connie August 10, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Oh my goodness! She is such a doll!! I could just kiss those sweet cheeks! Such a beautiful family you have! 🙂 We have five children in my extended family (hubbys side and mine) who were adopted as babies. Two were from China. They are much older than yours now, but have been such a joy to our family! 🙂 Love these happy stories!

  • Lilly Gorman August 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Happy 11 months to sweet Madeley! What a sweet bundle of joy! Your adoption stories are so inspirational and beautiful.

  • Katie August 10, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I am still LOLing at the “trot with a lot of cheek jiggling” part 🙂

    I read your blog regularly and know you have a post out there, but where can I find FAQs that you receive around adoption?

    • Mix and Match Mama August 10, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I honestly probably need to do an updated one!

  • Baylor August 10, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    It almost looks now I am just seeing pictures and following y’alls adoption process since the beginning but ever since madeley came around Ashby has become more reserved and isn’t as fun and crazy as she was before madeley?

    • Mix and Match Mama August 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      I think it’s the glasses making her look more serious! Ha! And she’s five now…not quite as goofy and crazy as a two year old :).

  • Amanda August 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    She is the most adorable child. Good grief!! I would never say no to that face!!!

  • Jeanie August 10, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    She is so loved, and it shows all over her face. I can tell by her pictures that she’s a character.

  • Lindsay D August 10, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Her pictures make me smile!! Love your blog!!

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt August 10, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    I’m so glad you never have to think about the “What ifs” because you were obedient to what God was calling you to do! I love following these adoption updates!

  • Elise August 10, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    OH, she is just about the sweetest little thing I have ever seen! How luck both of those girls are, that they are in such a wonderful family how love them so much. Love these updates, keep them coming!

    xx, Elise

  • Kacy August 10, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Those cheeks!!!

  • Bethany August 10, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    I love this so much! Adoption is amazing!

  • Michelle C August 11, 2017 at 8:12 am

    All of your blog posts keep me in tears. The emotional impact of your story is incredible, and REALLY inspiring.

  • Nikki Lehman August 11, 2017 at 10:19 am

    This post gave me chills! Inspired by you and Andrew’s faith and willingness to step out! Reminded of Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” God promises to bless those who follow Him. It doesn’t mean we won’t have trials, but He walks there with us. Madeley seems like such a light and a joy!

  • Lisa Richardson August 12, 2017 at 11:23 am

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said???? ❤️MADELEY❤️

  • Nicole Robbins August 12, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Love this! She is the cutest thing! All of your children are & you’re right! They will ALL have amazing stories of God’s grace & love, faithfulness & provision! I can’t wait til we can adopt!

  • Southern & Style August 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Madeley just looks like the happiest kid, I love all of your photos & stories of her-they brighten my day and warm my heart!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style