Beauty Full Day

This post is really, really long and photo heavy. I would recommend leaving the page open and going to fix a cup of coffee and coming back. This post and the blog in general will probably load a bit slow today.

We had all morning to kill time. We weren’t meeting our guide until 2:00pm.

The boys worked on their travel journals. We skyped their brother and sister back at home. The first thing FireCracker wanted to know is if I had her sister.
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Then we headed to a new market street. I needed to buy rice cereal. The boys wanted buy flowers for their new sister. I just wanted to keeping moving.
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So many distractions should have helped, but I kept thinking about our daughter. Was she on her way to Guangzhou? Was she coming via a van or the public coach? How did her day begin? Was she scared of all the new sights? Was she excited by the change of scenery and new faces? Was she at peace? Was she okay?
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The boys found a kitten to photograph…and got a lot of smiles and laughs from locals.
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Our hotel is in a modern area full of lots of big nice hotels and shops. But, this is the part of China I enjoy the most. Little alleys full of life and people.
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We found the rice cereal, a cold Sprite, flowers and some Oreos for the boys. Then headed back to the hotel, where I uploaded these photos as a distraction.

2 hours to kill.

National Geographic animal shows on the tv.

Dumplings for lunch for Chris. I couldn’t eat.

The hotel staff rolled in a crib.

Freaked out.

Boiled some water for Little One’s bottle (told she drinks them piping hot).
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Clock moving slower than a turtle.

My heart racing faster than a rabbit.

Stomach in knots.

And then it was time to head to the lobby to meet Helen, our guide.

Deep breath. A hundred deep breaths.

And we left the hotel.

Got in a van.

Arrived at a government building and waited.

Then my oldest said, “I see her. She’s right there!” Sure enough she had just walked past us in her nanny’s arms and back into a little room. Not at all what I envisioned as the moment I would first beheld my daughter. It happened so fast…there she was…and then she was gone.

And we waited.
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Our name was called and they brought her out.
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I was so worried about her. So scared for her. The minute her tears started so did mine. I was hurting for her….
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And then she stopped. She held on tight to me and was content in my arms. The director and a nanny from her orphanage brought her. We had a chance to ask them some questions and were grateful for little tidbits they shared. We look forward to learning more when we visit her orphanage later this week. They shared with us some photos of her from that morning…doing what looked like gymnastics moves on the ground. The same moves her big sister likes to do.
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I was so worried about feeding her. Trying to guess which Chinese formula and rice cereal to buy. How much of each to put in the bottle. How hot the water should be. How big of a hole to cut in the top of the nipple. Cleft bottle or regular bottle. And how to feed her in regards to her cleft. So worried.
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Turns out we did okay together. I made a few mistakes, but next time will be better. She downed the bottle in record time – so hungry.
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Once her little belly was full, we got to see some of her spunky personality. We’ve only seen one photo of her with a smile, so I’ve wondered is she could smile easily or if it would be a long road before we saw her smile and heard her giggle. Turns out daddy was able to evoke both really easily.
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She is quite simply awesome.
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We’ve learned she likes to make a clicking/sucking noise with her tongue and cleft palate. It is pretty loud and sounds a lot like the Chinese squeaky shoes. She seems to do it to soothe herself. She also likes to put her thumb in the cleft of her palate and suck. It is pretty cute.

She fell asleep in her daddy’s arms. Probably the first time she’s fallen asleep in someone’s arms.
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Today I was prepared for the worst case scenario. It was so very different. So peaceful, even in the tears. So natural. It was so much like the first times I met her older brothers and sister. And yet it was so very different. Today was beautiful. Our hearts are full. We are beaming. I am overcome with gratitude that God has given us this beautiful gift in the form of a tiny daughter. She is completely awesome.

Today was beautiful.

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  • Beth - Having prayed for your family and “Little One” for some time now and having watched as you’ve gone through this process I was quite prepared for a very emotional first meeting and enjoyed the pictures you’ve captured. However, I was NOT prepared for my own flood of emotions that welled up as you shared this with us. Adoption is amazing and I think you’ve given a clear picture of Jesus Christ through your love and sacrifice to make this beautiful girl your own. Praying for the rest of your trip!

  • Irene M. Phillips - Those pictures tugged at my heart. How awesome it is that God would grant you a sweet lil baby. Praising Him!

  • Shannon Phillips - ASHLEY!!!!!!!!!! She is so perfect in every single way! We just got back from our trip to Michigan and finally have internet access again. This is for certain the most beautiful post I have EVER laid eyes on. Seeing you my sweet friend mothering your precious little one the same loving way you have mothered all of your babies makes my heart turn to goo and my eyes well up with tears. Little one is so blessed to be in the most amazing family and your family is so blessed to have been chosen by God to care for this sweet angel.
    God is SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!!! Love to you from the other side of the world. xoxoxo

  • Awbree - This so absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story. I have tears running down my face as I read and see your smiling faces. The picture of your husband holding little one with the year rolling down his cheek is priceless. I’m so happy for you. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to one day adopt a baby from Korea. I hope to one day fullfill that dream. In the meantime, I’ll share yours :)

  • Jenna - As someone who is also awaiting the day we begin our adoption, this post spoke right to my heart. The waiting is worth it. Thank you for sharing this moment with us all. The picture of your husband holding your sleeping baby girl will forever be etched in my memory. Truly it was a beautiful day.

  • Before We Go... | this heart of mine - [...] This adoption story is all the better through the lens of this blogger. via Design Mom, she just shares the coolest articles [...]

  • Weekly Wrap Up: So Beautiful « lyssbarn - [...] post is so beautiful. Ashley finally got to meet her daughter in [...]

  • Suzy - Little One, the favor that God has shown you and your family is so overwhelmingly good. Welcome to your forever family and to a family of blog readers who undoubtedly shed tears reading this post as I have. My youngest daughter is your age too, and even though your past year has been a bit different than hers, nothing is different regarding where God has you right now, in your sweet mommy and daddy’s arms, with their love outpouring for you. Big hug and kiss for you!

  • Gentry - I don’t know you, but I’m bawling! What a beautiful memory of the introduction to your daughter that is God given. God knew before she was born that you were her mommy and daddy. It just took determination and time to make it happen. You have a beautiful family and a beautiful love story. BTW…I love the tear on her daddy’s cheek.

  • Missi - Dang. I was trying to kill some time before going to bed this evening, and now I’m sobbing on the floor of the living room. Thank you for sharing this special and intimate time.

  • Caitlin - My heart sings for you. I have wept many times reading about your journey to your little one, but this post is the most moving of all.

  • Jess - Thank you so much for sharing your story. These photos and yours words bought tears of happiness to my eyes. You and you’re family are amazing!

  • Barbara G - I am so happy for all of you. You have been waiting so long for this day to come and you have come a long way to get to this point. It is so wonderfully beautiful to see your family finally becoming one.
    Little One, finally you can meet your family. Only the best to you!

  • allie - this post is SO special. the raw emotion is so real. the picture of chris holding her with tears streaming down his face has me bawling on my couch like a baby. so incredibly special! thank you for letting so many of us who don’t know you personally share in this story with you.

  • Rebecca Hackworth - It was wonderful to peek into your precious day, Campbell family, and I’m so excited and thankful her adjustment seems to be going so well – dancing a jig about that! And looking forward to seeing your wonderful family soon!

    Rebecca

  • Kathleen - Tears of happiness for your joy. Congratulations on your new daughter!

  • Kelley - What a happy and beautiful day it was!! I’ve been covering this day in prayer since you announced it was coming! Little One is beautiful and adorable and a perfect fit for your sweet family! What a blessing to see the joy of your first day together!

    I’ve read this post 3 times now (and shared with countless friends)… I cry each time I read it! Especially over the part that she fell asleep in her daddy’s arms, maybe the first time that has happened! And Chris’s tears in the picture… pure joy of a proud father!

  • Clarice - first time here and so touched by this post. just precious, what a beautiful family. the photo of dad holding her asleep is so sweet.

  • Lauren - These pictures are priceless. Thank you for sharing this moment with me & the world. Your daughter is so unbelievably beautiful. I can’t help but cry out of joy for you. What an amazing blessing God gave you.

  • Jessica H - I am in awe. My heart is overflowing with such happiness for you, your family, and your precious sweet little girl. Such a blessing, for ALL of you!

  • Kristen - This is one of the most awesome blog posts ever. She is simply beautiful. A true blessing from God, perfectly formed and created in His image. Many happy first moments with your daughter to you!

  • cory - Oh Beloved One, what a delight to see you with your family! I have tears streaming down my face as I am sure so many have already done as they read this. What a joy! God, you are so good!

  • Robin - She is so Beautiful! Congratulations to your family! …I have loved following your journey to this moment…tears of Joy!

  • Amy - Congratulations, she is so precious. I cried all while reading this article. My youngest son was born with a cleft lip and I remember all those same fears and concerns regarding feeding. I am so very happy for your family!!!

  • Sophie - Ashley,
    Life has been busy and I hadn’t checked your blog in a few weeks. Finally tonight I started to wonder how your family was doing and about your new little one. I just read through all the recent posts up to this one and I was overcome by tears of joy! I am so happy you finally have her home with you. You are a beautiful person inside and out and so is your family.

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  • Have a great weekend. « TinyPants — tiny pants. big ideas. - [...] blogger finally meets her daughter. (Warning: it may get dusty in the [...]

  • four weeks “home” » ashleyannphotography.com - [...] wherever we are. Little One has been in our house for two weeks, but it was 4 weeks ago today that she was placed in my anxious arms. She was welcomed home four weeks ago. That day in China feels like it was 4 weeks ago…still [...]

  • Maike - moodkids - what a lovely family your have ashley, I love the way you are, all the best for you and your loved ones.

  • Nina von Butterzart - My english is not good enough to write you down exactly what I felt when I saw this pictures and the tears in my eyes made it much more stronger.

    Your dougther is a wonderful little girl.

    All my best wishes the long way from Germany to you,

    Nina

  • Melissa - I am crying tears of joy and happiness with you. She is beautiful!!

  • Vera - oh how amazing you all are! And how blessed she and your family to have found each other! May the Lord continue blessing you all!

  • Debbie - You and your family are amazing people. You are all really lucky to have one another. I hope I will also have the chance to adopt in the future.

  • Jane Hudson - Your story is amazing and beautiful and it made me shed tears of joy and wonder. Your little girl is gorgeous and incredibly lucky to have a future so bright thanks to you and your family. Thanks for sharing.

  • abby - I have just read through all of your adoption posts up to here – I am in floods of tears. I am just so happy for you all. What a wonderful family. After all this time waiting, it is so clear to see it was because you were waiting for this little angel.

    I am just so happy for you all!

  • Jessica - I am officially bawling my eyes out! So beautiful. As a mom, I could completely feel your pain when she first cried. Still reading more, but wanted to tell you how touching this is.

  • Melissa - So I am sitting here at our kitchen table (With a cup of coffee just like you instructed) and I am CRYING MY EYES OUT. Such a sweet story. You documented it perfectly.

  • Joanne - I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty.
    You are wonderful! Thanks!

  • ami@naivecookcooks - It is my first time visiting your blog and this post of yours made my heart heavy!! So so proud of you my dear friend!

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  • Let the extreme nesting begin | Tiny Green Elephants - […] Do you want to read a truly beautiful adoption story that happened this week? I about died, my heart so full:Beauty Full Day […]

  • Kristen - I have been reading your blog from the beginning of your adoption journey since this morning and I am having to MAKE myself stop to leave a comment! I couldn’t stop reading earlier to make one…I wanted to keep reading and keep reading and see this sweet baby! I have cried and laughed and felt emotions that I have never felt before so I can only imagine what it was like for you and your family to actually go through all of this. I am 28 years old and have PCOS. I found out when I was 23 and that is when I knew I would eventually have to adopt to become a parent. When I was 25, I unexpectedly got pregnant with my “miracle child” as I call her who is now 2 1/2. I want to have more children and could careless whether I have them myself or adopt, at least that is how I have felt. But after reading this post, I want to adopt and I would love to adopt a child with special needs as you did. One question stayed in my mind the entire time I have been reading and that was “Was her disability the reason for her being abandoned?” It’s so sad to even think about it and my heart truly goes out to each and every little baby like her. It makes me want to open my home to as many as I can possibly afford who are just like her. She is perfect and has the sweetest demeanor and smile. The pictures of you holding her for the first time and her crying and you crying were so touching and emotional…I balled lol! I just wanted to make myself stop reading long enough to comment and tell you how touched I am by your story and I am so glad that you shared it. Now…I HAVE to get back to reading the months and years to come! I can not put this down! You should really publish a book!

  • AshleyAnn - Kristen – thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate you sharing a bit of your story and sharing in the excitement of mine. Parenthood is such a beautiful adventure!

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