Hey, hey, hey…
…I’m back in blog world AND IT’S THE 8TH ANNIVERSARY OF ASHBY’S GOTCHA DAY!
Eight years ago today, our family of four grew by one absolutely amazing little girl.
Just like the birth of my bio kiddos, I remember all the little amazing/overwhelming/excited/crazy cool details from the day I became this sweet girl’s mama. After six months of looking at her photos, it felt beyond surreal to finally hold her in my arms and know she was officially mine.
Eight years ago feels like a million years ago because honestly, can any of us imagine our lives without Miss Ashby? It’s hard for me to recall one family memory without our girl. She might have entered our lives two years and seven months after her birth, but it feels like she was there from the beginning.
Ashby is ten years old but already has defied so many odds. Her spirit is so naturally sweet, thoughtful, sensitive and caring, but within her core is a fierce fighter and the toughest human I’ve ever known. She’s overcome physical issues, health issues, emotional issues…she’s faced trauma time and time again (with no end in sight) and pushed through every single time with a joy and radiance.
Ashby loves celebrating her Gotcha Day. Where Madeley isn’t interested in talking about being adopted, Ashby very much enjoys the conversation. Ashby likes to talk through the details, ask questions and ponder and think about the circumstances that brought her to our family.
She’s a very thoughtful soul.
She asks a lot of questions.
She thinks and ponders.
She’s insightful and reflective.
She is her own person growing up as an Asian American with a physical disability living thousands of miles from where she was born with no information about where she came from and what her roots are…and she ponders that. Ashby is never afraid to ask questions no matter how serious/silly/thoughtful/hard they are. We love that she loves to ask. We love that she is deeply thinking about this life she lives. Our hope and prayer is that we support and love her as she grows into a healthy adult that just happens to have a complicated past.
Ashby is sunshine. She’s joy.
She’s loves her friends and family BIG. She loves her teachers and therapists too. She just LOVES to love on people.
She loves being outside. She LOVES being active!
Ashby doesn’t love when people tell her where she’s limited in life…she has an innate desire to defy the odds. To do this life on her terms.
No matter the obstacle, Ashby shines.
Eight years ago today, we had no idea who we were meeting. Little did the four of us know, we were meeting our hero.
A few days ago, I asked you what you wanted to hear more about this year on my blog, and so many of you said “Ashby things”.
Here are a few of your questions/thoughts about our sweet girl…
Awwwww! I love incorporating Ashby into my content!
Right now, Ashby is halfway through the 4th grade, and it’s been a wonderful year. She has two amazing teachers that we love plus a new to her dyslexia teacher that has really made a huge difference in Ashby’s growth. Ashby is currently undergoing the dyslexia program at our school because her brain has a hard time reading and especially writing when she’s naturally right-handed but being forced to use her left hand. She loves to write, but has a hard time physically holding a pencil and legibly writing which is why we’ve been in occupational therapy for many years. Thank goodness we live in 2023 where it’s very normal to use electronics for communicating. This has opened up so much in her world as she can type and express herself easily when not holding an actual pencil/pen. As much as she loves writing though, our girl THRIVES AT MATH AND SCIENCE! She is 100% my STEM kid 🙂 . I cannot wait to see what career path she takes as I know it will have something to do with math and technology.
We had several doctor appointments to wrap up 2022, and it looks like surgery #24 will take place sometime this year (the date is TBD). Regular surgeries are just the reality of her life as are daily injectable medicines and therapies. We want our girl to live the happiest and healthiest life possible and in order for that to happen, we need amazing doctors who can provide the surgeries and medicines to keep her safe…but we also rely on our pediatrician to make sure she’s emotionally healthy too. I’ve learned so much as a parent over the last eight years and one of my biggest lessons has been to take care of the whole kid not just the physical. We are doing everything we can to insure a happy and healthy daughter.
Ashby’s current hobbies include soccer (a new season is just about to start!), her cheer/tumbling class, skiing in the winter, swimming during the summer, she loves to do anything outdoors (riding her bike, her scooter, walking the dogs) and she is MISS SOCIAL BUTTERFLY. Our front door rings constantly, and it’s always for Ashby.
I love this question but wish I knew exactly how to answer it. I’ve been around enough adoptions to know that ours is very “average” (in my opinion). Many of my friends have adopted kiddos and, for the most part, I would say that there is always some sort of “thing”. Whether it’s having a kiddo with health issues, learning difficulties, anxiety, complicated legal issues with the foster care system…there is always “something”. I feel like I’ve been pretty transparent about our “thing”. Our sweet girl has a very serious life-threatening medical condition that’s required 23 surgeries to date, multiple therapies, daily injectable medicines and treatment for her mental health. I know that some of you might think I’m just not sharing other issues (perhaps trauma as a result of not knowing her story/bio parents/so many other things she could be upset about), but honestly, that hasn’t been an issue (as of now). Learning the English language (as a child who didn’t connect to ANY spoken language for 2 years and 7 months) has been challenging which is why we’re so grateful to her speech therapist, learning how to write with her non-dominant hand has been a huge issue which is why we’re so grateful to her occupational therapist…but those things have all been discussed multiple times. I’m glad our adoption looks lovely…I hope that our story inspires other people to adopt. There are MILLIONS of kiddos just like Ashby and Madeley that need forever families.
The older Ashby gets the easier things get…but also the harder things get.
It’s easy now because she understands her own health, knows the warning signs for blood clots and aneurysms, knows her physical restrictions, knows why we’re having surgery, why we’re going to the doctor AND ADVOCATES FOR HERSELF. I mentioned this a few months ago but at her last appointment with her “main” doctor, he joked that it was a whole lot easier treating Ashby before she had an opinion. Ha! She has no problem (politely) looking her surgeon in the eye and saying “nope, I’m not wearing that compression garment”. I love that. As much as I want to be her advocate the rest of my life, I know she needs to eventually learn to be her own.
That being said, it gets harder the older she gets because now, SHE KNOWS. She knows she’ll never stop having surgeries. She knows she’ll never be “fixed” or “cured”. She sits in appointments now and she knows and understands the words that are thrown around like blood clots, aneurysms…amputation. She knows. This is why Andrew and I are doing whatever we can to make sure she stays mentally healthy as well. Can you imagine as an adult having this burden? I can’t. I would have anxiety and probably depression. Ashby lost her sparkle for a season, but with the right medication and support, she has it back.
Happy Gotcha Day to our sweet Ashby London!
Eight years ago, we “got” the opportunity of a lifetime…to be your family. We thank God every single day for that joy. xx
To see all of my posts on our adoptions, please scroll and click below…
To see more about our journey to adopt Ashby, see below: