Madeley Post Adoption: 2.5 Years

Can you believe it?  On the 11th, we will be celebrating 2½ years with Miss Madeley!!

It always blows my mind how easily this sweet girl just slipped into our family.  She was just always meant to be a Shull.  Look at her here…

…oh my word!!  This was the morning after we got her.  That face!!!  Those cheeks!  She was timid and unsure at first, but boy, she is not now…

…huge personality, life of the party, always happy.  That’s our Madeley Moo!

I would say that we’ve seen the biggest transformation in Madeley over the last six months…

…overnight, she went from baby to BIG GIRL!  Her vocabulary has absolutely exploded, she can count to 15, knows her ABCs, has started learning to identify and write her letters, can draw shapes like a champ, can draw people with lots of detail, and can go to dance and come home remembering everything she learned.  She has just absolutely BLOSSOMED!

Madeley is loving her new school!  She has made friends, loves her teachers and is enjoying all of her specials (music, art, chapel, fitness).

Right now, I would say that her favorite things are Peppa Pig, taking bubble baths, playing outside, building forts with Smith, having books read to her, coloring at the bar in the kitchen and playing games (she loves the memory matching game).

She is so cuddly, so squishy and so easy to just hold (which I do all.the.time!).

Friends, I do these posts about adoption because I pray (like literally PRAY) that many of you will be moved to adopt.

There are over 150,000,000 orphans in the world.

Look at that number.

Over a hundred and fifty MILLION orphans.

My sweet friend Brooke shared this Frances Chan sermon with me, and I absolutely loved it!  I hope you all take the time to watch it too.  If you are considering adoption, have already adopted or are adopted and would like to join our Mix and Match Adoption Facebook Page, submit your request HERE.  I’m praying that today someone will be called to act.   Your kid is waiting for you out there!

AND PSSSSSST: 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 Gotcha Day {2nd Anniversary}

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’s Gotcha Day {4 Year Anniversary}

Ashby’s Post Adoption: 3.5 Years

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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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog March 7, 2019 at 4:40 am

    Happy 2.5 years, Madeley! She’s really blossomed so much! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Amy Heinl March 7, 2019 at 4:55 am

    Oh sweet Madely…she definitely was made for your wonderful family and boy does her bubbly personality shine through. Can’t wait to see what life holds for her in the years ahead

  • Erika Slaughter March 7, 2019 at 4:57 am

    I second that vocabulary exploding part-she is saying ALL THE THINGS every time I’m around her. And I feel like she went from baby to big girl over night! It happened so quickly! We love that Madeley girl big!

  • Narci March 7, 2019 at 5:38 am

    She is such a joy to be around! Love her!

  • Sheaffer Sims March 7, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Remember sitting on the edge of the pool one summer, talking about Madeley before you got her? We were both jokingly (but totally seriously) talking about how we felt bad for her because she had such a hard act to follow with Ashby? Well, THE GIRL ROCKED IT. 🙂 Love Miss Madeley!

  • Annie H. March 7, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Hi Shay! I came across your blog when you first adopted Madeley and have followed you ever since. I love following your family and truthfully, I live curiously through your blog. Long story short, I come from a family of nine kids… yes, 9! I’ve always wanted a family of my own however just last year, my husband and I found out that he was infertile. You can only imagine all the tears, all the questions, and researching different avenues. Adoption has definitely weighed heavy on our hearts. However, the costs associated with adopting is not what everyone can afford. We have done our research and we have talked to many agencies. Hopefully one day, we will be as blessed. Until then, thank you for sharing your life with the world!

    • Mix and Match Mama March 7, 2019 at 6:25 am

      What about the US foster system?? There are some fees, but for the most part, it doesn’t cost very much at all. There are so many kids in the US that would love a forever family!!

    • Holly Clark March 7, 2019 at 6:54 am


      Have hope! We have several families in our church who have adopted babies through the US foster system. Very low costs and help with monthly expenses.

      Another family held multiple garage sales to benefit their adoption and their church had an adoption fund. Look into “Lifesong for Orphans” and “Show Hope” or adoption grants. Another great one is “Adopt Together”.
      I will say a prayer for your growing family!

  • Alexis deZayas March 7, 2019 at 6:16 am

    Love to read about your sweet girl!! What a blessing she is!

  • Brooke Richardson March 7, 2019 at 6:30 am

    We just love Madeley so much!!!!! She is a bright ray of sunshine!

  • Angela Ellingson March 7, 2019 at 7:16 am

    Madeley is pure joy and sunshine!

  • Andrea March 7, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Madeley is the sweetest! I promise not to be too bitter about her being a big girl as long as she never loses those cheeks and that swagger 😉

  • Ahna @ Hammers N Hugs March 7, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I have only followed your blog for a couple months now, but Gods timing is impeccable. We always wanted 4 kids, were blessed with fertility and never had problems with the first 3, but once it was time for #4 I just felt done having my own. It was strange because it felt crazy not to have one more of our own when we had no problems. But I am one of the most decisive people you will ever meet, and the fact that I felt so undecided about one more of our own spoke volumes (especially to my husband!).
    So I told the Lord, either give me a total peace about one more of our own or use your Holy Spirit to break my heart for the baby You have for me outside of my womb. He did! It’s not this way for everyone, but it just so happened to hit when I watched the video you posted on instagram of picking up Ashby in China. I’m tearing up just writing about it. I have watched lots of “gotcha day” videos, but He happened to use yours! Go figure. Ha. I’m not much of a crier, but I wept for the next 2 hours on and off because He suddenly broke my heart with this sense that my last baby would not be of my womb, and He will bring us to him if we are willing. I could write a short novel about the ways He has continued to supernaturally lead us in this way since January, and we are now thrilled to officially be in the process of adopting a boy 0-2 years old from Samoa. Will probably take 4 years or so, but we are filled with joy and peace and cannot wait to announce it to our families once we are officially on the waiting list (likely this summer). Shay, you are praying and He is answering. I hope one day Ashby knows, just as I already pray our son will, that she has been fearfully and wonderfully made and that He has already chosen to use HER story to bring another orphan home. Ok I’m going to stop now before my kids wonder why I am balling my eyes out again. My apologies for the long post, but I hope it brings encouragement to all who read it. XO

    • Mix and Match Mama March 7, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Oh my goodness! Ahna! I am just in tears over this! God bless YOU and your sweet family! Thank you so much for sharing this with me!!

      • Ahna @ Hammers N Hugs March 7, 2019 at 11:41 am

        Girl, you and me both! So many tears. Ha. I will send sweet Ashby a picture of our little man one day. Every time I see your pics of her now I think of him and it makes me happy. <3

  • Amie March 7, 2019 at 8:51 am

    I love Francis Chan, he always gives just the right inspiration!! Thank you for sharing this.

  • Hanna March 7, 2019 at 9:47 am

    These are my favorite posts! Thanks for being so open with your adoption stories! When I’d been dating my husband for 2 months he out of the blue said “if we can’t have kids one day, I’m totally cool with adopting” I immediately said no thanks. We, thankfully, haven’t had fertility that I’m aware of but the Lord changed my heart to only want to adopt. Long story short, we matched with our baby girl this past December and hope to bring her home from India before the end of the year!

  • Suzie Scherbenske March 7, 2019 at 9:49 am

    My Korean born girls are now 34 and 25. They have been such blessings to our family!!!! I wish we had adopted more precious children:) I love your blog, and am so impressed by you and your friends and how you are living such wonderful, meaningful lives, led by Jesus!!!! The pictures of your girls remind me so much of our girls at those ages. Soooo fun!!!!
    Kensington and Smith are so precious too!!! Thanks for sharing your lives!!!

  • Cassidy March 7, 2019 at 10:29 am

    I started reading your blog a little before you brought Madeley home to join your family. It has been such a joy to watch this little girl blossom along with your other three!

  • Leanne Gilchrist March 7, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Shay~~~Shay. I just cannot get over how Madeley was meant for your family, but more so, how God had her for you because you needed her as much as she needed you! Look how your God-given voice is out there for adoption since Ashby and Madeley! She blossomed, but I’m guessing you and your family have blossomed so much, as well. Blossoming is a good word! These pictures tell such a deep story. Thanks for being so open and honest with your story. He is the giver of good gifts, because He is the Father of good gifts!

  • Gardner Story March 7, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    I love this!! How old is she again? Thank you for sharing little snip its of your life!

    • Mix and Match Mama March 8, 2019 at 7:09 am

      She’s 4.5!

  • Kacy March 7, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    She’s so sweet!

  • Mary March 7, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you for posting the Frances Chan video! I love his passion for the Lord and others…..and your same passion too! Xo

  • Lisa D March 20, 2019 at 8:20 am

    I have a book to recommend for you…. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. Briefly, it’s the story of an ethnic Chinese woman living in rural China and the baby she gave up for adoption. Such a lovely story. If you haven’t read it, perhaps you would consider it?