a washcloth lovey


I do not consider myself an optimist…I am married to one though.

I do not consider myself a pessimist, either.

The glass is not half empty or half full…it is just a glass with enough water.

I’m learning that so much of how I face life is a matter of perspective. It is a matter of how I choose to see things and where I allow my mind to dwell.

I can either see weeds.

Or I can see a bouquet of flowers with ombre violet petals.

My youngest daughter has spent basically her entire life in an orphanage. A poor orphanage. There are hard realities to her situation. Very hard truths. From others familiar with her current home, we’ve heard that each baby is given a white washcloth at night for sleeping. For those babies, the washcloths are a comfort item…a “lovey” if you will. Each morning I assume they are gathered up and washed.

I can take the hard truths I’ve learned about her life and dwell on the pain and injustice my daughter has already faced, but dwelling there does nothing. Or I can be thankful for the gift of knowing what might comfort her when we meet. I will be a stranger to her. I’ll be scary and unknown. I’ll look weird to her and sound weird and smell weird. She will be taken from her ‘home’ and placed in my arms – a stranger’s arms.  There will be little I can do in those first moments together. However, I’ve been given a gift. Her ‘lovey’ could have been any number of things I have no way of ever replacing. But, it is a simple white washcloth. I can get that for her. Goodness, I could fill a whole room with them if she wanted.

So, choosing to see the gift it is to know that a washcloth might provide her comfort in her early days with me…I made my very first purchase for my youngest daughter.

Who knew there are at least 10 different types of white washcloths in one store? Every price range. Every level of softness.

I picked up and felt every one. The cheapest seemed so rough. The most expensive were so fluffy and soft – surely not what she was used to cuddling. I went for a simple ‘mid-level’ washcloth. Not too rough, not too soft. Hopefully it would feel familiar.

Every glimpse into her life is a gift. Even the hard ones that make this mommy’s heart ache at the deepest levels. Every glimpse allows me to know her better, to understand her needs and to find ways to meet her where she is at now. Being able to purchase a semi-soft washcloth as my baby’s first gift is just as wonderful as the adorable first shoes I bought her big sister. In a very small way, it might help her feel and know my love.

Don’t worry…all the cute little shoes and fun etsy finds will be purchased next:)

It is going to be so fun to blast this blog with photos of her cutie patootie face one day. FireCracker’s favorite new things to carry are pictures of her little sister. In fact, if you saw us at Target, Martha’s Health Foods, the post office or the coffee shop yesterday….you saw these pictures because my little FireCracker was sure to share them with EVERYONE that even glanced in our direction. Proud big sister – I sure think so.

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  • Kassie - So wonderful. My heart is bursting with excitement for you and your family!

  • Jen - Aaaahhh-that’s so sweet. Someone is trying to treat your baby like their baby. Towels are a common lovey in China. We found all kinds of tea towel sized towels with cartoons and childrens prints on them in stores. Many a Chinese girl has travelled home with one hanging out of their mouth-lol.

    Try not to drive yourself too crazy with the information overload. It can be very challenging. I don’t regret having spent time on finding the best medical care in advance so I didn’t have to think once I was home. But I drove myself and my family crazy for things that have not come to be.

    I’ll pray that God opens your girl’s heart so that she finds comfort in your arms and home.

  • cj - wow, that picture of your eldest daughter and the washcloth brought tears to my eyes. i hope you get to bring your precious little baby home soon.

  • Christie - Love this post! I agree–I can be a bit of both, it just depends on the moment and how I look at it! Good perspective! That picture is so precious at the end! LOVE it!

  • Seamingly Sarah - That is so sweet. I know it didn’t feel real when I was pregnant with my first child until I bought her an outfit all by myself.

  • al - so cool! we’re waiting on our little boy from uganda! thank you for your words.

  • Allison - love

  • NanaDoll - that post and the photos are absolutely precious. i love the anticipation you have and the opportunity to love her in advance of meeting her face to face. how wonderful. and thank you so much for allowing me into your world as you go through this journey. blessings to you and your family!

  • Barbara - So sweet! I have a children’s book suggestion for you from my days as a Head Start teacher in New York. I was working in Chinatown and had had a hard time finding books with Asian children as main characters and I found The Squiggle and loved it. I think you can still find it on Amazon: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wV%2Bni7OTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

  • Christina - Wish I had better words to describe how much I love reading your posts!

  • angie - this post touched me so much I had to read parts aloud to my husband. May you find comforting in knowing she is being held in His arms in all the circumstances she finds herself. This verse has helped me so much in all the unknown circumstances of life. I hope you don’t mind my sharing. “In nothing (!) be anxious, but in everything, through all prayer and petition, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus.”

  • Cathy - Thank you so much for sharing your journey with the world. My daughter’s lovey are the burp cloths we used with her when she was a wee one. We had a few different colors and patterned ones but her favorites are the white ones. You picked a wonderful gift for your girl and I’m sure she is going to love it to pieces. (literally! hehe.)

  • Brooke - Ashley, I read your blog often and love each post but this one really touched me. I sat and cried yesterday evening as I thought about your sweet baby girl and her “lovey” over in China. I shared your post with my husband and we just sat in the moment for a while and cried. Then we sat and prayed for the sweet babies not with their families yet, for the sweet babies who don’t have families yet, for some families we know who are fostering babies here and for what God might be doing in our hearts with adoption or foster care. Then we went and just looked at our 10 month old baby girl sleeping safe and comfortable with her “lovey” in her crib in our home and we were thankful. Anyway, I just wanted you to know what your blog was a part of last night. Thankful for you and your wonderful, funny, challenging, beautiful blog! You may not have time to respond to this question (which I totally understand) but do you know of ways to get involved with these sweet little ones in China? Is there an organization where we could send things these babies need? Again, thanks for your words and pictures posted!

  • tara pollard pakosta - how CUTE~!
    that last picture of her with her rain boots giggling at the picture, priceless!

  • Sarah Downs - Ashley, I have very much enjoyed reading about your adoption journey. Today, on NPR, I heard a story that I just had to share with you. It is about a mom who was enduring the torturous wait to get the call that she could go get her baby girl in Ethiopia, and how a Brandi Carlile song became her theme song. If you haven’t already heard this story, I hope you enjoy it and find some comfort in the song. http://www.npr.org/2012/03/08/148227667/winter-songs-a-family-in-limbo-looks-to-brandi-carlile

  • Belle - Sheesh, Ashley, way to make a pregnant lady cry!

    What a beautiful post! I’ve been lucky enough visit China a few times when I lived in its neighbor to the north, Mongolia. I’ve seen first hand the poverty that many of its people live in. It is truly an amazing and brave thing that you and your family are doing.

  • Bethany - This is so sweet! And so perfect! Bless you!

  • Kelly Hosch - What an amazing and sweet moment and memories in the making! I couldn’t hold back my tears while reading.

  • Megan Arnold - So sweet!

  • Trina - I’m a little behind on reading my Google reader but I look forward to each and every one of your posts. Your beautiful heart overflows into each picture and word (even when you’re having an “off” day).

    I can’t tell you how reading this post made me smile especially on a day that was filled with “Ugh”.

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