Ashby’s Post Adoption: 3.5 Years

Well, tomorrow marks three and a half years since we got our Ashby London.

Three and a half years!

I don’t know what to think about that.  Honestly…this adoption recap has me a little stumped.  Part of me thinks it feels like yesterday that we sat there in that little office waiting for them to bring her in (I was a complete mess of emotions…everything from excited to nervous, scared, overjoyed, impatient, and beyond thrilled)…but then, I have a really hard time remembering our family without Ashby in it.  Like the other day, I tried thinking about living in our house with just the big two and it was really hard for me to think of a memory.  It just seems wrong.  Ashby has been in our lives for 3.5 years, but in our hearts for so much longer than that.

Miss Ashby turned six last month and boy oh boy, I feel like she grew over night.  She is just BIG now.  

We try and talk about adoption when it seems organic and natural.  You know…there is a fine balance between never mentioning it (and her feeling really secure as a Shull and not set apart at all) and talking about it all the time (making her feel like she’s not one of us, an outsider).  We talk about it often, but try and develop those conversations naturally. 

On our trip last week, we were just having  a normal day eating lunch and she said to me “Remember when I was in the orphanage?  I cried when I met you because I didn’t know what a mommy was, but now I do!”.  

I mean…out of the mouths of babes, right?

Now, I don’t know if she remembers the orphanage or just remembers hearing our stories and seeing the photos and videos, but she’s right.  She didn’t know what a mommy was because she didn’t have one and didn’t see that relationship modeled in her daily life…but now, she does.  She said it with such joy and happiness like “isn’t it cool that I know now”.  She’s getting older…she’s thinking about adoption and starting the conversations on her own now…which is beautiful.

I know I say this all the time, but Ashby is just SWEET.  My other three kids are sweet too, but they all can also be a little ornery as well.  Not Ashby.  I promise you…the other three have their moments of bad attitudes, selfishness, jealousy, pride, whining and so on (unfortunately like their parents from time to time), but Ashby…she is just ALWAYS sweet.  Always.

The big topic of conversation these days is kindergarten starting at the end of August.  She is so excited!  I just know Ashby will do fantastic!

 This girl…she rocks our world.  She’s quirky, funny, self-deprecating, loving and full of joy.  Her whole world revolves around Barbies, Frozen, swimming, riding her bike and of course, Bowen (who will be in kinder with her too, but probably in a different class!).

Three and a half years.

I kind of love that the anniversary falls on July 4th.

We are so thankful for our Ashby.

I’m taking tomorrow off to spend time with my peeps, but come back on Thursday friends…part one of our Scotland and Ireland vacation recap will be up! xo

If you really want to get to know our adoption stories (or take a peek back in time), you can see some other post adoption posts right here…

Madeley’s Post Adoption: Month 21

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 18

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 15

Madeley’s Gotcha Day {1st Anniversary}

Madeley Post Adoption: Month 11

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 Gotcha Day {Third Anniversary}

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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  • Susan Jeffries July 3, 2018 at 5:00 am

    I have been following you since before your littles came into your family, and I have so enjoyed watching them grow and thrive. Than you for showing the world how wonderful adoption can be.

  • Erika Slaughter July 3, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I mean she was slowly making her way to big kid but then she took a ride in the fast lane by losing her front tooth!!! That skyrocketed her to “big kid” position!! A big day in your house and what a reason to celebrate!!

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog July 3, 2018 at 5:30 am

    What a milestone, beautiful Ashby! Love reading your little snippets of life! 🙂 ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Sheaffer Sims July 3, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Oh my goodness! I can’t believe she said that! Did you start bawling? You know I would have started BAWLING! And then I would have changed our plans that day to ust go home and snuggle her. I would have been an absolute mess! LOVE. THAT. GIRL.

  • Elspeth Mizner July 3, 2018 at 5:41 am

    Love your adoption recaps and reading along!! Have a great 4 of July!!

  • TG July 3, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Would the school be amenable to you requesting that she and Bowen be in the same kinder class?

    • Mix and Match Mama July 3, 2018 at 5:50 am

      They probably would, but they’ve been in different pre-school classes before and it’s worked out okay. I think we’re just going to let it happen and see…she makes friends really quickly, so I know she’ll find a good group in whatever class she’s in.

  • Erica @ Whimsical September July 3, 2018 at 6:11 am

    As a reader, it’s also insane to think that it’s been 3.5 years! I remember checking your IG constantly because I just couldn’t wait to see a picture of her! I’ve so enjoyed following your recaps with her and Madeley!

  • Narci Dreffs July 3, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Aw, Ashby! I don’t remember life before Ashby either?? She’s such a sweetheart, and we are so blessed by her FUN personality! Love her!

  • Anna July 3, 2018 at 7:03 am

    That pic of you with all the kids is so beautiful. I don’t know how to explain it but it just seems so complete and natural.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 3, 2018 at 7:28 am

      Thank you 🙂

    • Kara July 3, 2018 at 8:03 am

      I totally agree. I would have it framed somewhere I could see it on a daily basis.

  • Brooke Richardson July 3, 2018 at 7:14 am

    God has got BIG plans for sweet Ashby! So glad to have y’all back from vacation.

  • Allena July 3, 2018 at 7:20 am

    I love that she has been with y’all longer than she wasn’t. I guess it’s been that way for a bit now but that seems awesome. I started reading your blog right after y’all got home that January – it’s been amazing following your family. Just curious – I remember she (and Madeley) were super tiny in the growth charts – and you mentioned it was probably a combination of genetics (with Chinese people being historically more petite) and also life in an orphanage. I just love growth stats and am curious where she falls since it’s hard to guess size through pictures. I have 3 kids and they were all really big at birth (8.5-10 pounds) but have developed into really petite kiddos – genetics just fascinate me!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 3, 2018 at 7:28 am

      I should have mentioned size! That’s a good one! Yes, they’re both really small. Ashby has grown so much, so she is now more in the 40th percentile for height but only around 15th for for weight. Madeley is just itty in size. The last time, she was around the 5th percentile.

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt July 3, 2018 at 7:28 am

    3.5 years is so exciting! I love her comment about not knowing what a mommy was–she’s the sweetest!

  • Laura Thomas July 3, 2018 at 7:38 am

    How adorable!! She’s blessed to have you and I know you feel the same way!! Love these updates so much!! My boys (7 and 9) ask daily to see pictures of Ashby and Madeley!!!! Too sweet

  • Angela Ellingson July 3, 2018 at 8:07 am

    So so precious! Such a sweet girl! My heart burst when I read what she said last week; I can’t imagine what your heart felt like. You are such a wonderful mama! Happy 4th!!

  • Jamie July 3, 2018 at 8:24 am

    “Remember when I was in the orphanage? I cried when I met you because I didn’t know what a mommy was, but now I do!”. — That line literally took my breath away and brought on immediate tears. I adore your family. ♥

  • Deena July 3, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I always enjoyed your blog but when you brought home Ashby, I became a smiling fool every time you posted a pic of her. I enjoy all your kids but have a soft spot for Ashby. She’s such a sweet, yet strong girl. I can’t believe it’s been 3 1/2 yrs!

  • Steph July 3, 2018 at 9:22 am

    That picture of you and all the kids sitting on the grass is just the sweetest thing ever. What a lovely picture that warrants being framed and hung on the wall!!

  • Rebecca Jo July 3, 2018 at 9:28 am

    How has it been this long? I feel like it was yesterday with all the pics of that scared faced baby… but then she also seems like she’s always been a part of your family – funny how that works.

  • Kathy Lang July 3, 2018 at 9:33 am

    It’s so much fun to read your updates on Ashby’s and Madeley’s adoption. I’ve been reading your blog well before you adopted the girls, but it’s hard to believe that Ashby and Madeley weren’t part of your family from the start. Loved what Ashby said to you on your vacation about not knowing what a mommy was when she met you in the orphanage, and that’s why she was crying. It shows how comfortable she is talking about where she came from, and she knows where she belongs–in the Shull family–which is awesome!

  • Ariadna July 3, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Oh my goodness, that sweet line of Ashby saying she didn’t know what a mommy was almost has me bawling!! If I wasn’t in my office right now, with people walking by I would be a blubbering mess. Your kiddos are so special and I thank you for sharing your family with us. Ok, now that I’m a little more calm, I can scroll back and keep reading the rest of the post, lol.

  • Debbie Hibbert July 3, 2018 at 9:47 am

    It’s basically impossible to imagine your family as anything but “the Shull six”!! I’ve felt privileged to pray for sweet Ashby … and will continue ❤️❤️🌸

  • LeeAnn July 3, 2018 at 10:53 am

    What a beautiful post, love reading these updates. On a side note, I love the mischievous smile Smith sometimes has in your pics- reminds me of my kiddos! So cute!

  • Vicki Leuck July 3, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I got the goosebumps reading your description of her now knowing what it’s like to have a mommy. Bless her ♥️ heart.

  • DetroitDuchess July 3, 2018 at 11:46 am

    This is so touching! You are both blessed to have found each other <3

  • Laurie S July 3, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    It’s been 3.5 years, already? I vaguely remember clicking on your blog, and the post or the day was “Shull – Party of Five” (or something like that). I thought, “Oh, Shay’s pregnant”. Then came your story of adoption and adopting Ashby. Thank you for sharing your journey of adoption with both Ashby and Madeley!

  • Jeanie July 3, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    She didn’t know what a mommy was. Oh, my heart. You are so blessed to have found each other.

  • Lea Culp July 3, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    What a precious post and what a precious little girl Ashby is. She is one more blessed little girl and the same is true for your family. She now has a forever family. Have a fantastic 4th, celebrating Ashley and our nation.

  • Annie July 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Yay for Ashby! KINDERGARTEN!!! Have the girls picked out their PBK backpacks for this year? My daughter always loves to see if she and Kensington pick the same one! And now she’ll be excited to see Ashby’s pick, too!! <3