Madeley is FOUR!

Today, our Madeley James turns FOUR!

I just don’t even know if I have the words to express how much this girl fills our home with JOY!

She is funny, she is sweet, she is cuddley, she is happy, and her magnetic personality makes her everyone’s favorite in our family.  We fight over who gets to sit by her, sleep with her, wake her up…she is always the center of attention at the Shull house.

This was on her 2nd birthday…a month after we became a family.  Look how much she’s grown!

The other night, she was sleeping with Smith and they asked me to lay down with them.  Smith quickly fell asleep, so just the two of us lay there in the dark together.  She kept tracing her face and then would trace mine. She would trace her lips and then my lips, trace her eyebrows and then mine.  Then she said, “Mommy, I just love you so much”.  My heart melted right then and there.

She grew so much between three and four, so I can hardly wait to see how much she thrives during this next year.  Her vocabulary has exploded, she’s able to do so many things independently now around the house like take herself potty, climb in and out of the top bunk, open her own snacks, put away all of her toys (even though sometimes she tells me she forgot how…hahaha!), she can even turn on the TV and flip through the DVR to find her favorite shows (Peppa Pig and Little Einsteins!).  She is just so BIG!

Madeley is just this little nugget that has absolutely completed our family.  We are so excited to celebrate her birthday today.  I am so thankful that the Lord nudged us to move quickly after Ashby’s adoption and to it again.  What would life be like without her?

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this…we don’t know if today is actually her birthday or not…she was found on December 19 and appeared to be about 2 months old, so they gave her this day as her birthday.  I don’t know when her exact birthday is, and she’ll never know either.  But you know who does?  The Lord and her mother.  My prayer during this time of year is for her mom.  Whenever that date comes around, I can only imagine how hard it is for her, so my prayer is that the Lord gives her this peace, this overwhelming sense that her little girl is okay.  That’s my prayer right now.  I want her to know in her heart that her daughter is loved and doing just fine.

Happy birthday, Madeley James.  You are one special little girl. xo

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog October 19, 2018 at 4:37 am

    Happy birthday to little Madeley! She is so cute! I love her smile 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Amy Heinl October 19, 2018 at 5:20 am

    Happiest of birthdays sweet Madely..may your day be filled with much love and happiness

  • Beth Knecht October 19, 2018 at 5:23 am

    Happy Birthday, Madeley! 🎈
    How awesome to see how much she has blessed your family!

  • Susan McKain October 19, 2018 at 5:27 am

    Happy 4th Birthday, sweet Madeley! Enjoy a wonderful birthday weekend ahead.🌻

  • Sheaffer Sims October 19, 2018 at 5:33 am

    Miss Madeley brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart. And man does she make me laugh! I love your girl BIG.

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams October 19, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Aww Madeley seems like such a joy in every picture! Happy Birthday to your sweet four year old! Have a great weekend celebrating!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Elspeth Mizner October 19, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Happy birthday sweet Madeley!!! It’s be such a joy to watch your grow up the past few years

  • Lynn October 19, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Happy birthday to your cutie!! And Go Red Sox!! Maybe she wlll switch to the winning team now! 😀

  • Meagan Ruse October 19, 2018 at 5:44 am

    Happy Birthday, sweet sweet girl! You are such a joy in all our lives! Every one lights up when you’re around. You make us all laugh and want to squeeze you❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Brooke Lane October 19, 2018 at 5:49 am

    My youngest is a little younger than Madeley. When Penny doesn’t want to pick up her toys she tells me, “I can’t. I have tiny hands right now.” They come up with the craziest stuff!

  • Erika Slaughter October 19, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Happy Happy Birthday to Madeley Shull, one of my favorite people on this planet!! We love you so much sweet girl! XO.

  • Staci October 19, 2018 at 6:09 am

    This is so inspiring. I’ve always felt The Lord leading me to adopt and I pray every day that it’s something I get the opportunity to do 💗 I love reading about your sweet family! Happy birthday Madeley!

  • Narci October 19, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Aw, Happy Birthday Madeley James!! We love you soooo much!

  • Christy Latimore October 19, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Happy birthday, Madeley!

  • Amy October 19, 2018 at 6:40 am

    Happy Birthday, sweet Madeley! I hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating her!

  • Dustie Day October 19, 2018 at 6:41 am

    She’s just adorable!! Happy Birthday to Madeley!

  • Ramona October 19, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Happy Birthday, sweet girl! 🎂🎁💥🎊🎉🎈❤️

  • Stacie Hoffman October 19, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Happy Birthday to your sweet girl. She radiates joy and love. I pray that her birth Mom is at peace and knows deep in her heart she did her very best.

  • Karah Stracener October 19, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley! You can tell that she just lights up a room and is so full of personality. I hope she has the best day. 🙂

  • sarah wall October 19, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Happy birthday Madely! Hope you have an awesome day!

  • Amanda Wilson October 19, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Glory to God!!!! Happy Birthday to Madeley!! I cant wait to see her birthday sign!!

  • Nikki Dargatz October 19, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley James!!! Joy is the perfect word for her. She has always had a BIG personality. I love how she is 100% all in with her excitement, laughter, love, etc. She is such a blessing. Happy Birthday sweet girl! Love you lots. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Diane October 19, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Happy Biryhday! Please tell me where you bought the adorable pumpkin dress? Love it!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 19, 2018 at 8:40 am


  • Catherine October 19, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Today is my birthday too. My three girls are adopted as well and I have loved seeing the pics of Madeley over the last two years. Happy Birthday to that sweet pumpkin!!

  • Christine October 19, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley James! I hope she has a blessed year!

    My daughter was also adopted from China and has an estimated birthday. I pray the same prayer for her birth mother.

    Oh and my 8 year old also tells me she just can’t clean up the playroom too 🙂

  • Michelle Ragsdale October 19, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley! such a special girl!

  • Kathy Lang October 19, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Have loved following your blog and seeing your family grow with the adoptions of Ashby and Madeley. Can’t believe Madeley has already been with your family for 2 years–time sure has flown by! Wishing Madeley a very happy 4th birthday, and many more to come! 🙂

  • LeeAnn October 19, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Such a sweet birthday post! :). Oh and let’s go Red Sox!! World series bound!!!! Woohoo!

  • Liz October 19, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Happy happy birthday Madeley!! How can she be 4!?! She’s is joy!!

  • Carol October 19, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Happy Birthday, Madeley! You give us all some sunshine everyday!! Shay, you and Andrew should be celebrated, too. Your awesome parenting shines through in every one of your sweet children. You make it look easy. Thank you for sharing your gifts with all of us.

  • Barbara Parnell October 19, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Happy Birthday sweet girl! Have fun!

  • Carly October 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley! You bring such light to this sweet corner of the internet. Have a wonderful weekend celebrating!

  • nichole October 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Happy Birthday, Madeley!

  • Andrea McAnally October 19, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Happy Birthday, Madeley! You are one loved little girl!!!
    Also – that part about her birth mom made me tear up – praying for her today!

  • cassie // hi sugarplum October 19, 2018 at 8:49 am

    I just adore that precious little ray of sunshine…and the entire Shull family!! Happy day, darling girl!

  • Keisha Dawson October 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Precious, precious girl! Happy Birthday, sweet Madeley!

  • Theresa October 19, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Happy 4th birthday, Miss Madeley James!!!! Hope you have the best birthday and may you continue to bring joy and happiness to all around you. PS: Shay, it always touches my heart when and in the manner in which you speak about your girls’ birth mothers. You and your family are truly beautiful and amazing!!!

  • carol October 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

    such a cutie patootie!
    I am touched by your thoughts about her birth mom.
    Good day to all of you.

  • Kathy Roe October 19, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley! It is safe to say you brighten my day when I see pictures of you. Such a precious story of her tracing your face and saying how much she loves you Shay!

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick October 19, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Happiest birthday, Madeley!! The picture of her sweet bedhead is my FAVORITE!! Have a fun day!!
    That Inspired Chick

  • Erin Port October 19, 2018 at 10:00 am

    That last part made me tear up – God knows! I sure hope her birth mom knows how much she is loved :). Happy Birthday, thanks for being a testimony on our adoption journey. I am excited for the day to celebrate with our little guy!

  • Bri October 19, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Happy birthday! I can’t believe how much she has grown in the two years you have been sharing her pictures. She’s so sweet.

  • Jacqui October 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

    That bed head gives me life. And your prayers for her birth mother gave me tears, but the good kind <3 Happy birthday Madeley!!

  • Deena October 19, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Happy Birthday to sweet Madeley! 🌼🎀🎂 You can see how much personality she has in the videos. 😃

  • Sandy Blitc October 19, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley! She has grown up right before our eyes! It is very special and compassionate to pray for her mom. I pray that God has given that momma peace and affirmation that he has provided for her. She is one lucky girl!

  • Kathy Roe October 19, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley! Seeing you certainly makes my heart smile! Shay, the bedtime story of Madeley touching your faces and saying she loves you is so precious!

  • Crystal October 19, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Happiest of Birthdays Madeley!!!
    When I see pics of her, “vibrancy” is the word that comes to mind. Her personality just seems so vibrant & bright…FULL of life & just so darn HAPPY! She always makes me smile. Hers is downright contagious!

    I also happen to LOVE that she forgets how to pick up her toys! I’m a big fan of spunk & wit too 😉

  • Felicia Nguyen October 19, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Happy BIRTHDAY to your sweet girl!! This post made me all teary eyes!! The sweetest post ❤️
    I love reading about your cute family!!

  • Anna S October 19, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Happy birthday, sweet Madeley! Prayers for her courageous birth Mama!

  • Julie Bradford October 19, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Happy Happy 4th birthday Madeley!!! I know you will be celebrated all day!!!

  • Nikki October 19, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Happy Birthday Madeley! Joy radiates out of her!

  • Kathy October 19, 2018 at 11:51 am

    She is just such a sweet, amazing little girl. Thank you for sharing her with us. Happy Birthday Madeley, I hope you have the best day ever!!!!

  • Kelly Buffington October 19, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Happy Birthday to Miss Madeley! It’s been such a joy to watch her grow and thrive from the love of your sweet family. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Angela Ellingson October 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Happy birthday to the cutest little thing!!

  • Kacy Mah October 19, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    She’s the cutest

  • Gardner Story October 19, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    She is so adorable!! Also, I bought the cute shirt “Mommy’s pumpkin spice latte date” for my 15 month old daughter and I pretty much love it! I haven’t even had a psl yet (too sweet for me!) but I love a latte with almond milk and a pump of pumpkin syrup. That hits the spot! Have a great weekend. 🙂

  • Shani Wiggins October 19, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Happy Birthday, sweet girl! What an amazing dolly to complete your family! You all inspire me daily!
    Go Redsox!
    Xo Shani

  • Denise Panetta October 19, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    <3 <3 <3

  • Jeanie October 19, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Happy birthday, sweet Madeley! I can’t believe you’re four years old already. What a big girl you are! Shay, some of her pictures make me think she has Ashby’s mannerisms.

  • Leigh Ann October 19, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Shay, this was the sweetest post ever. The part about Madeley tracing her face and then yours and then telling you how much she loves you brought tears to my eyes and melted my heart too! That is just so sweet. Children are such a blessing. Happy Birthday Madeley!

  • Kimberly C October 20, 2018 at 4:23 am

    Happy 4th Birthday, sweet Madeley James! 🎉🎂🎁 Hope your day was fantastic! Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for you 💖

  • Kristina Briggeman October 20, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I commented on your last book review, but I have to again. I really hope you’ll read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Amy See). I just think you’d love it.

  • Jill Koch October 23, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Happy (belated) birthday Madeley!! She is just precious. Your last paragraph was so touching! Can’t wait to see the year ahead for all the Shull kids 🙂