Ashby Post Adoption: 4.5 Years

Happy July 4th, friends!

This red, white and blue holiday is always so special in our family for two very big reasons.  First, 17 years ago today, I met Andrew Shull.  I was staying at my aunt and uncle’s house with my two teenage cousins (as their parents and my parents were out of town) when my parents’ neighbor called to say that their dog had gotten out of the yard and that someone needed to come get her and take her back.  I drove to my parents’ house to get the dog and when I opened back door from the garage into the house, Andrew walked out of the guest bath…super tall, really hairy (he had a head full of hair and a FULL beard)  without a shirt on.  Who knew that 17 years to the day later we would be celebrating this together…

…4.5 years with our baby girl from China 🙂 .

That’s right!  Sweet Ashby has been in our family for four and a half years!  Friends, it is so hard for me to remember a time when she wasn’t in our family.  Our world just wasn’t right without her.

Today, I thought we would look back at sweet Ashby on each July 4th…

July 4, 2015

Only six months into being a Shull and she was already smitten with Bowen 🙂 .

July 4, 2016

This has been such a big year for Ashby.  She finished kindergarten and is gearing up for first grade, she is now working with an occupational therapist in order to strengthen her left hand, she has love, love, loved dance this year and is anxious to play soccer this fall and she has made the sweetest friends at her new elementary school.

July 4, 2017

Ashby continues to have the most easy going personality in the bunch.  She’s always so happy, so upbeat, so loving…just a bundle of JOY!  Her favorite things to eat right now are tomatoes (she requests them for breakfast!), she wants to be in the pool as much as possible, she loves playing with her Barbies and she’s learning how to ride a bike without training wheels.

July 4, 2018

Ashby always tells us that she wants to go to Kansas State when she grows up and then become a doctor and a mom.  We have been so proud of her this year because at every turn, there has been an obstacle or two and yet, she’s smiled and conquered each and every one.

Friends, adoption changes everything.  There are so many kiddos in the world who just need a family.  They have all of this potential, all of this love in their hearts, these big and beautiful personalities…but they need a family.

My prayer today is that if you have adoption on your heart, that you don’t dismiss it.  I truly believe that God wouldn’t put it on your heart unless He is wanting you to pursue it.  What if your kiddo is out there waiting on you?  What if your family isn’t complete because you’re missing someone who just needs you to take that first step towards adoption?  Adoption is complicated…but oh my gosh, it is beautiful.  When I look back on my life, I just know that the best thing I ever did was adopt my two girls.  Was the unknown a little scary?  Yes.  Was I nervous?  Of course!  Is it the best thing I’ve ever done?  WITHOUT A DOUBT!  I’m praying that many of you finally take that step towards adoption today.

From our family to yours, we’re wishing you a happy and healthy holiday.  I’m so thankful today for my country, my husband and my family.  God bless you and God bless the U.S.A.!

To see other posts about adoption, please look below:

Madeley’s Post Adoption: 2.5 Years

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 July 4, 2019 at 4:47 am

    The story of how you met Andrew is so cute! Seems like July 4th is a special day for everyone in your family. All the more reason to celebrate! Enjoy your holiday! 💕✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Narci July 4, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Ashby really is the sweetest, most joyful girl! We just adore her. Loved reading this today!

    • Tanya July 4, 2019 at 7:24 am

      In 2002 I travels to China with my aunt when her family adopted a little boy. We returned to America on the 4th of July! Always a special day!

      • Sarah July 4, 2019 at 8:52 am

        Traveling NEXT month to get our China baby! ❤

        • Mix and Match Mama July 5, 2019 at 9:29 am

          No way!!!!!! That is so amazing!!!!! Congratulations!

        • Tara Smith July 6, 2019 at 12:26 pm

          congrats and reach out if you need any support or help! I have been through it and the time in China is a good time to have your support system strongly in tact! My advice without knowing anything about your child is to use a translation app, because they have heard calming phrases in Mandarin or Cantonese. I didn’t try the app and It would have helped me so much! Also, downloading some shows from netflix in mandarin before hand would be helpful. I think there was so much to prepare for that I underestimated the power of similar language.

  • Sheaffer Sims July 4, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Ashby is JOY and LIGHT and COURAGE and SPUNK all wrapped up into this beautiful little girl. She is taking the world by storm, inspiring EVERYBODY around her, and I cannot wait to see all that she does. LOVE YOU, ASHBY!

  • Hanna July 4, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Love this so, so much!! I feel like Ashby could be a motivational speaker when she gets older! She’s already motivating me 😊❤️

  • Ahna @ Hammers N Hugs July 4, 2019 at 7:53 am

    We are grateful for you too, Ashby! We should officially be on the waiting list by the end of the summer!! Eeeekkk! Tell Ashby she should consider being a nurse practitioner and come hang out with me for a couple shifts!! 😉 Can’t wait to see the story God keeps writing for her!!

  • Meg July 4, 2019 at 8:58 am

    This is such a sweet post, Shay! Ashby is clearly thriving despite any obstacles and will undoubtedly continue to!

  • Amy Heinl July 4, 2019 at 9:03 am

    Happy Gotcha you day Ashby…your beautiful family has you but we all get to love you. You show us by example how to live life without fear, to savor and enjoy every treasured moment and how to love big. Have the best day

  • Rachel July 4, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Love, love, love this so much! Adoption is the BEST! Happy Gotcha Day!

  • Amy July 4, 2019 at 10:19 am

    I love reading your blog
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful, inspirational life with others like me

  • Darcy July 4, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Such a beautiful post! Ashby and Bowen are the cutest! What a precious friendship.

  • Danielle July 4, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    I remember that picture from the post when you guys adopted Ashby, but I just noticed K’s hand on her hand and I melted. Sweet Shull girls!

  • Jeanie July 4, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Sweet, sweet Ashby!

  • Liz Thorson July 5, 2019 at 2:30 am

    Thank you for sharing this post, Shay. You are such a gift to this world. Ashby posts always make my heart happy because she just belongs so completely to your family. She is so precious! Adoption made our family. They are 35 and 30. Being their mother has been my greatest joy!❤️

  • Jeanine July 5, 2019 at 7:02 am

    This is so beautiful – thank you so much for sharing! My adopted daughter (from Vietnam) is 18 now, and I’m so grateful that I have this beautiful young lady, who is such a wonderful friend as well as a daughter AND no regrets for not doing what God put on my heart many years ago. You said it well, “Was the unknown a little scary? Yes. Was I nervous? Of course. Is it the best thing I’ve ever done? WITHOUT A DOUBT!” Praying today for your sweet readers who have adoption on their hearts, that they would believe what God told me (through a ladies’ conference), “What God has called you to, He will be faithful to equip you for.”

  • Em July 5, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Awwww… I went to Kansas State and am now a doctor and a mom. Dream big, sweet girl! All things are possible!

  • Nicole DiDonato July 5, 2019 at 11:35 am

    I’ve loved following along Ashby’s journey! Thank you for sharing your kids with us!

  • Tara Smith July 6, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Your writing and chronicles of your family are so beautiful! I love that they have these beautiful photos and stories. In general, your blog has been very meaningful for me for many years! While you were in China, I was considering adopting from China and as it turns out, the child I became mama to was born Jan 18 of 2015, so shortly after your journey, and when I knew I wanted to adopt from China. I didn’t put my name in the process until October of 2015, when my kiddo was already 9 months old! I am so thankful that the stars aligned as they did, but watching Ashby was the major catalyst for me to say YES to China!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 7, 2019 at 5:35 am

      Oh my goodness!! This just made my heart burst! Thank you for sharing this with me, Tara!!

  • Mandi July 7, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Adoption is something seriously on my heart but so expensive. I don’t know how average people ever get the opportunity. I love your story!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 7, 2019 at 5:34 am

      Have you thought about fostering to adopt here in the US? It’s almost free. There are so many kids here that need homes!

    • Tara Smith July 7, 2019 at 7:08 am

      There are so many grants and agencies that help support those wiling and wanting to adopt. There are fundraising matching grants, and many ways to make it work!! But, also… foster to adopt is really supported financially by the process within that program.