no washi tape in Guangzhou

We began our day with an appointment at the United States Consulate. I was expecting something very official feeling, but it was actually quite simple. We were there with about 20 other families that were also adopting. As a group we recited a pledge on behalf of our children. It was the same pledge that immigrants make coming into America (or at least that is they way I understood the immigration officer). After the oath, each family came forward to sign some official documents. We got to see Little One’s passport for the first time – adorable.

I wish we could have taken some pictures, but it was not allowed. After the appointment, our guide helped us search for a washi tape manufacturer. She talked to them on the phone and evidently they don’t have a place for us to do any purchasing. Bummer. So, our guide dropped us off at a gifts & decoration marketplace.

The view from the middle of the building ~ a diy paint-by-number booth!

We really have enjoyed our time in China learning and soaking in the culture. We have tried to go to more ‘local’ places and many of those include markets. The malls/markets here are incredible. We went to one yesterday that we thought was 4 stories tall. Once we got inside, we realized it went below ground 2 stories and covered several city blocks below ground. And the whole place was just dedicated women’s clothes. We’ve seen a fur coat market. A scarf market. An undergarments market. An auto parts market. An electronics market. Seriously, everything you can imagine you can find here because it is all made here.

Except one thing – washi tape! We walked 7 floors of a crafts market and found a few types of decorative tape, but not washi tape. I guess it really must all be made in Japan…because you sure can’t find it in China!

Last week we were pretty slow to take her out among on the hustle and bustle, not knowing how she’d respond. Well, she really seems to enjoy it. She soaks in all the sights and nestles close to us as we explore.

Thankfully the boys have done so well eating nothing that is part of their normal day to day diet at home. We’re are going to miss all the little restaurants and the food here once we are back in Oklahoma. Thanks for the help yesterday on the name of that other restaurant!

After a lunch pick me up, we headed back to try one more time to find washi tape – this time we were at what looked like the office supply marketplace. No luck on the tape, but we found endless booths of papers and writing tools. If I could have packed an entire suitcase of office supplies, that would have made me very happy. What is it about office supplies that makes them so fun? “A bouquet of newly sharpened pencils“…anyone? anyone?

These are 2 of the booths…there were at least 100 more almost identical to these two in the same little marketplace area.

The boys found imitation legos at several places…that made them very happy. And is also the reason my suitcases didn’t have room for my office supplies.

Most leave China with pearls, jade and silk. I am  leaving with Paint-by-Numbers, pretty melamine chopsticks, hairclips, some cute tape (not washi), scarves, stickers, paint pallettes and a bunch of other little gifts. I miss the days when airlines let you take 2 bags. I am sure Chris is thankful we are limited on luggage and that I had the bright idea we should only bring small suitcases!

On a different note, I thought I would mention a couple of other things I picked up for Little One – in case anyone else is on a similar journey. On the day Little One was placed in our arms, we got a copy of the China Daily in english and the local Guangzhou newspaper. I thought she might like seeing them one day.

This was not my idea, but I can’t remember where I first read it. When we were in her birth town, Yangxi, I picked up some stationary from the hotel. Then today after our Consulate Appointment I wrote her a letter. We will mail the letter back to our house so it will have Chinese postage on it. I did copy the letter on a extra piece of paper from Yangxi, just in case the original gets lots in the mail. The letter is a combination of where she is from, where we met her and where her new home is. So much of a story in a little letter. It reminds me of our girl. So much to the beautiful story of our Little One.

I know this photo is blurry, but goodness what a treasure it is to me. Do you see her little arms lifted for me to pick her up? That is very new. I don’t know how much she was held the last 14 months, but she hasn’t seemed to know how to reach out her arms to be picked up. She’d cry like she wanted to be held, but she’d just sit crying – not reaching up for us. It could be she just wasn’t comfortable with us or it could be she just wasn’t held much. Either way, she is reaching out for us to hold her now. Melt my heart.

She is slowly starting to get okay with us touching her hands. We aren’t pushing it, but we are trying to help her trust us. She is still very content most of the time. She laughs, smiles and giggles, but she also feels very far off. It is obvious that she is not one to quickly let down walls and trust. She’s got a twinkle in her eyes though when she looks deep into ours. Each day we are making progress. Today she is trusting me enough to let my finger rest for a moment in her hand before she pulls it away. One day she’ll reach out to hold my hand. One day she will realize we are not going anywhere. She will learn that we are constant, that we answer her cries, that we are safe. She will learn what it feels like to be loved to the deepest core. One day she will understand that I am her mom…and she’ll understand what it means to have a mom. And one day this time of earning and working for her trust will be a distant, but beautiful memory.

“Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity.

Bittersweet is courageous, gusty, earthy.”

~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

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  • Josephine - I have been following your progress eagerly and am so very excited for all of you! I continue to send good vibes your way as you all navigate becoming an extended family. May the force be with you as you head home to start the rest of your life together.

  • Michelle M - I miss those jam packed stalls! Always so many treasures to be found!

    I love all the thoughtful, personal touches that you’re planning for your daughter. I know they’ll just make her feel extra loved and cared for. So. Beautiful.

  • Sandy - OMGoodness!!! I saw the comment from Victor! Happy Day!! I really hope he can help you find Washi Tape!!! HE knows the desires of our hearts…..even the little ones!!!

  • emmybrown - beautiful indeed

  • Robin - So beautiful! I love the last two pictures. I can’t wait to check your blog everyday to see the pictures and see how it is going. Thank you so much for sharing with us. It is truly a wonderful story!

  • Lisa - So this is kind of a weird observation to make to a cyber stranger but I won’t let that stop me because it might be new information to you or someone reading your blog. In the second to last picture, the one of you and Little One, it looks like she has a small bruise on her back. I’m wondering if she has more further down her backside? Now I’m as white as they come but my husband is multi-racial and my mother-in-law is Korean. She calls the spots “Mongolian Spots” not sure of their official name. It is a birth mark very common in Asian babies and they tend to fade with time. My oldest had much more prominent “bruises” but at age 11 you can’t even see them any more. If Little One does have some markings please make sure you tell your doctor and have them put it in her record. My niece was in a day care and when the daycare provider went to change her diaper she freaked out. Because they are required to report all “signs” of abuse the situation got out of hand quickly and took a lot of explaining to many people. My sister in law never thought to explain. Anyway, long story short- tell anyone that might be changing a diaper that you have not been spanking your child before they ever actually change a diaper! :-) The “bruising” also looks much darker after a bath or when the skin is wet. At least it did on my kids. Congratulations to everyone! What a beauty!

  • Kelly - I thought of you tonight as I was researching tips on presenting Lindy her china tea set I purchased here to give to her to symbolize that she is as precious as fine china. I was surprised at how special a tea set is in the Chinese culture and of course you probably already thought of it but how precious it would be if Little One had a tea set that was purchased in China :)

  • erin - You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorites, especially that line. Your daughter is beautiful and I cannot wait until you guys get back home to see how she takes to Firecracker! Thank you so much for sharing your story even while you’re so far away, while you could be being rightfully stingy as you get to know your new Little One.

  • Chrissy - This is so magical. Her sweet little hands and your beautiful love guiding her into the truth of your trust and the unconditional love of her mama. Oh my goodness. You are really amazing to me. And God is so soooo good. XO

  • tracy a - ah yes, i’d send you a boquet of newly sharpened pencils! don’t you just love the smell of scotch tape (also not washi)? :) one of the best movies…
    that picture of you with your finger in baby girl’s hand. wow. and all the great ideas you are sharing! i am so excited to one day do some similar things.
    i just got an email from other obu friends talking about november…so looking forward to the possibility! bless you friend!

  • Kim - Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey of finding and bringing home Little One. I am sitting here weeping, completely overcome.

    May God continue to bless your home and all those within it.

  • Mel - Ashley and family, I have only been following your blog for a short while but I have to say how amazing you and your family are. This wonderful life you have chosen to give this precious girl is beyond words.
    I am in awe who you have gone into this whole process from thinking about how she is feeling with this massive life change, to wanting to document her current life in China and to planning for her future. The presents for her 18 birthdays the letter posted from China, gathering as much information as you can about her first year of life and where she is from.
    She is one very lucky girl that she has finally found such a wonderful forever family.
    Your boys seem to taking it in their stride (from what I have read) and the love your family has for this little girl just shones through.
    God bless your family.
    Mel (Australia)

  • Amie - I just got to your website in that random, searching for a craft and blog hopping way. And then I got sucked in by the LWB post from months ago because my little guy was born with a cleft. I was so excited to see your current posts. A huge congratulations to you on being united with your beautiful little girl. I know you are loving on her like crazy, but enjoy that sweet smile while you have it because you will miss this first face when it is gone. Much love to you and yours.

  • Sadee - Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail. My very favorite movie ever. Love your photos an extra bunch today!

  • Barnicles - I have just found your blog and your story is so amazing to read but your photos and writing make it so special. I could read your blog all day and feel so moved. I’m sure you have inspired others to adopt as well.



  • Kim Brody - I’m right there with you on the office supplies…I even have a mason jar full of freshly sharpened #2 pencils as some of my back to school decorations! Guess that is why I became a teacher. :)

    The shot of you and Little One forehead to forehead made my heart leap with joy. Can’t even imagine what it finally feels like to hold your daughter!


  • Hilla - I have been reading your blog for a while now and every post since you began your adoption journey made me cry. You and your family are an inspiration to all your readers and I am sure you hear this alot…all the best and will be following your life journey as long as you will share it with us.

  • Heather D - Awww the photo of her reaching for you just made me tear up again!! So precious!!

  • Sara W - Thank you for sharing your family’s journey. It is beautiful. Love the photo of you and little one with your foreheads together. And you look so cute in all of your dresses.

  • Paige - I just love the one with her little arms up to you. And I think its so cool for the boys to have this international experience! They will never forget it! And yes, I too am an office supply junkie. It ridiculous how much I love going to Staples. Praying for you all to get home safely!

  • Rebecca - You’ve Got Mail! I say that to myself every September! Save travels home.

  • nancy - I am in love with her from so far away, and I don’t even know her. How in the world do you stand it?! Amazing beauty and so obviously shows the depths of the Lord’s love.
    Weepy with joy in the desert,

  • Julie - I’ve been following your adoption story, and these posts of yours are just making me bawl! Your Little One is so beautiful…I love her eyes. The pictures of her are almost haunting…to think of what she’s endured there in China. I am holding my own little ones closer to me and remembering to be grateful. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • Becky Pitcher - Every post makes me cry and your pictures are so sweet!
    As for Washi tape, when we were in HK a few years ago, I often found it in the little kiosks down in the subway. Maybe you’ll find some there?

    Congratulations on such a beautiful little one! Someday we hope to follow in your footsteps and adopt, probably from China.

  • Katie - Just discovered your blog and I am crying and rejoicing with you as begin your journey with your little girl. My grandparents were born in China and my 4 year old niece born there (with a cleft lip/palate). My brother and SIL brought her home when she was 18 months old. She is a beautiful, resilient, pure joy of a little girl. Wishing you many blessings!

    (Here’s Lucy at her 3rd annual adoption day party with my two girls :)

  • giozi - Beautiful words dear Ashley. you make me whisper and thing about you. You are a beautiful woman.

    Ohhh there is no washi tape, I can’t believe it, ha ha ha well is japanese, but I thougt that could be there too.

    A big big big kiss for you

  • sarah k - I love the pictures of her reaching for you and of your finger just touching her hand. I also love reading about how tenderly and thoughtfully and sensitively you are proceeding with her. So beautiful.

  • Bethany - I love your outlook here. That little girl is so precious. So blessed and such a blessing. So glad she made it to a family that will love her so.

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - …and crying again. Love and prayers.

  • Amy - I’ve been following your story for a while and I wanted to thank you for your willingness to share it with us. Firecracker and my daughter are only about a month apart in age and my youngest son is only about a month apart from your Little One. I just wanted you to know that when my youngest (13 months old) saw pictures of your sweet littlest girl, he squealed in delight and kept pointing and touching her picture. I wish you all the best in this adoption journey and we will be praying for you.

  • Elizabeth - Ashley, the pictures of you holding Little One melt my heart!!
    i *love* the one of her reaching for you…what a beautiful moment captured. i can only imagine these photos & the newspapers & the personal note will mean SO much to her in the years to come.

  • Wen - Love all your photos as usual but my favorites are the one of Little one clutching daddy’s shirt while in the baby carrier and the one where she has her hands on mommy’s chest.

  • joy harmon prouty - she is amazing. you all are. the way you all just seem to be quietly bursting at the seams with every moment.

  • Emily - I have just loved all of these posts from this journey. I am hoping for God to open my husbands heart to the idea of adoption… In my heart of hearts, like you.. I feel like I have a daughter somewhere. She is a doll and I LOVE those teeth!

  • Julia - so so happy to see pictures of ya’ll together. praying for her and ya’ll. you have been on my mind so much lately.

  • treva super - This makes me so happy. Tears- happy. God is good!

  • gathering things for the studio » - [...] tagline “Maker of Things”. I kind of want to steal that line. Well, about a month ago I quoted Shauna Niequist on my blog. Last week Lori surprised me with this paper cutting of that quote. Everything about it is just [...]

  • hodge podge pics » - [...] from my daughter’s birth town. On the day adoption stuff was made official on the US side, I wrote and mailed her a letter from China. I wasn’t sure if it would actually make it to Oklahoma, but it did! ~ The boys [...]

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