adoption

Seven. It is a pretty good number. We are so thankful to being starting the day to day life as a family of seven. On August 27th, 2012 we met our youngest daughter in Guangzhou, China. It is difficult to sum up the time leading to the moment she was placed in my arms and the days that followed. I documented most of our journey here on my blog. You can read through the main posts below…warning it might take a while. I suggest a cup of coffee, kleenex and a lot of time before you get started.

Here is our first photo as a family of seven, taken by my friend Shannon Phillips at the airport when we arrived home.

(They are listed from the earliest to the latest, left to right, top to bottom.)

 

June 3, 2011 – Mailed our application to Living Hope Adoption Agency (LHAA) to begin a China Special Needs/Waiting Child adoption

June 13, 2011 – Got our acceptance letter from LHAA

June 15, 2011 – Mailed our contract to LHAA

August 19, 2011 – Mailed off all the needed documents to begin our homestudy visits

September 1, 2011 – first homestudy visit (3 more during September & October)

October 12, 2011 – rec’d final copies of homestudy, mailed off our I800-A

November 22, 2011 – fingerprint appointment for USCIS

December 22, 2011 – USCIS approved our I800A

December 27, 2011 – received I800A approval in the mail

December 28, 2011 – mailed our dossier to LHAA

February 6, 2012 – DTC (dossier to China, lots of delay due to new years and Chinese New Year)

February 15, 2012 – LID (dossier logged in, we received the notification on 2/23/12)

February 27, 2012 -  received our referral for an amazing baby girl

March 1, 2012 – sent our LOI (Letter of Intent requesting approval to adopt her)

March 2, 2012 – received our PA (Pre-Approval from China to adopt)

June 13, 2012 – received our LOA (official approval from China)

June 13, 2012 – sent our I800 paperwork to US Citizenship & Immigration

June 28, 2012 – received our I800 approval

July 6, 2012 – NVC Cable (visa paperwork sent from US to China)

July 10, 2012 – Article 5 dropped off

July 24, 2012 – Article 5 picked up

August 7, 2012 – Travel Approval received

August 23, 2012 – leave for China

August 27, 2012 – we met our daughter!

September 7, 2012 – we celebrated being home as a family of 7!

Here are a few ‘background’ posts from oldest to the latest…little snippets while we waited to actually formally begin the adoption process. You can find all my posts related to adoption, advocacy, foster care, etc by going to the very bottom of the blog to the “Categories” option, look for “adoption & advocacy”:

 

  • Mariska - Just found your blog through Pinterest, while searching for things to make with the Silhouette Cameo. Love your blog, and suddenly the button for Wonderful Works on the sidebar of your blog got my attention. I am the proud mom of 3 little girls, our youngest is 7 months now and has Down syndrome. So that’s why that button got my attention. Then I noticed the other buttons for Reece’s rainbow,etc, and then I came to this post. Wishing you all the best in your adoption process!!!

  • Lynn - Isn’t Pinterest a wonderful thing?

    When I looked at the Christmas photo tip, I saw the adoption link. As both of my girls were adopted (one domestic and one international from Kazakhstan), I clicked on it right away. Both of my girls are teenagers now. I can’t believe it’s been ten years since we went to KZ (Sarah was adopted at age 3).

    Best of luck on your journey.

  • Tamra - I found your site looking for Silhouette Cameo ideas…and clicked on the Adoption button! Congratulations on starting your journey…we adopted from Bulgaria in May 2002 at age 24 mo and she is now 11 1/2 yrs old…a real joy to us.

  • elisa - wow! I haven’t had much time to read blogs lately as we are in the process of moving our family south- but I was thrilled to see that you are going down this road today when I popped in, can’t wait to read all the posts I have missed.

    We adopted #4 (and I still consider one more….) and it was the best thing ever.

    Good luck on your journey!

  • Christy - On sunday our family celebtated our 5th ” forever family day” . 5 years ago my daughter was placed in my arms in a hotel in China. We waited 14months and she was worth every minute of the wait! The wait can be long and stressful, but when they place your child in your arms, all is forgotten.

  • Karina - Ashley,
    I have been a follower of your blog and facebook and everything of yours! God has given you a gift! I am so thrilled to hear you are adopting! I, myself am adopted from Calcutta India. God used my parents to bring me to Him…that was such a gift. I even had the opportunity to go back to India and share the gospel! Continue to shine bright for him; in EVERYTHING you do…the enemy will try and try to get you down by throwing lies at you through fellow bloggers or readers. You are not in this world to please others but to please your Savior. I admire you; and adore your thrifty nifty ideas! :)

    Karina
    http://www.simplyanandi.etsy.com

  • kijsa - just popped over from Pinterest and the adoption link caught my eye. We just celebrated the first anniversary of our gotcha day and a full year of new blessings- prayers for the amazing journey ahead for you and your family…worth every minute of nail biting, hand wringing, third follow-up phone calls & missing paperwork! In short…as with any delivery of any child…no matter their method of transport…the beauty is in the uniting together as a family! Blessings,
    Kijsa

  • Bucket List « Tied Up With String - [...] but in case you haven’t checked them out, here are the links:¬†Andrew + Carissa¬†and¬†Under the Sycamore. Andrew and Carissa have had a long journey to adopt Rinah, a little girl from Uganda. I first [...]

  • Lisa O - Found your blog on Pinterest–you have a beautiful family and amazing talent! Congratulations on beginning the incredible journey of adoption. We have two beautiful daughters from China and some days I cannot believe I’m so blessed to be their Mommy. You will find incredible support in the Chinese adoption community.

    Many blessings to you!
    Lisa

  • Anne - I visit your website periodically and must have somehow missed that you were adopting – Congrats! Brought home our little guy with cleft lip/palate from China in June 2011. It has been a long tough and wonderful road and such a life-changing blessing. We have 2 other bio guys (ages 6 and 4) and have frequented your site, checking out your playroom and other organizational fun ideas. Praying for a speedy paperwork process!

  • Sheyann - Congratulations! We have one son adopted domestically and are going to adopt through the China Special Needs program in three years (we have to wait until I’m 30). So excited to read about your journey!

  • Melis - I ve been reading your blog for a long time.Be sure that you and your lovely family are receiving prays from Istanbul whenever I read your blog.I wish you all the best and I am sure that you will give that new baby the best home in the world.

  • Katie Jo - we are fellow China special Need peeps. We have two sweeties from China and one little boy with SN, a little nub for a hand. WE are so in love with our son, he has been home for about a year and a half. Anyway, bless you on your journey:)

  • Ten on Tuesday! » Homegrown Photography - [...] be so jealous! I’d give anything to adopt a little girl from China! Anyhow! Ashley-Ann blogs about the process in such a real and completely wonderful way! I’m going to be a mess once [...]

  • waiting for holden « thelittleeverydaythings - [...] Mom, Ashley Ann, happens to be a wonderful photographer and took this image…depicting their waiting experience. How [...]

  • ajira - I am so thrilled for you. So excited to read about each step in the journey and so inspired. I too have a huge heart for babies. Still on my first and have already been dreaming about my next and have always held five in my heart. CAn’t wait to (virtually)meet your little! :D

  • Dawn G - Good luck with your adoption, Adoption rocks! take care, dawn g

  • jen - My heart aches each time you mention the wait. I adopted my daughters from China, first, in a mainstream adoption and the second, in the special needs program. The waiting was the worst. You won’t regret it!

  • Stories of Adoption « Pomegranate Seeds - [...] Ashley Campbell of Under the Sycamore is also a great photographer and storyteller. Her family is in the process of adopting a little one from China. Read about¬†their ongoing journey¬†here. [...]

  • Heather - Just found your blog and saw you are adopting. Congratulations! We are adopting our third from China. Isn’t getting your referral fantastic? Just wait till you see her for the first time! I’m so happy for you and your new daughter.

  • meant to be, pt. 3 « lovely little life - [...] do us a little favor and pray for this family as they wait for their little one to come home from china. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike [...]

  • anything but LoKEY - We are in just the same place. We are awaiting our LOA for our second child in China. A boy. We are hoping to hear something by the end of this month. You have a lovely blog and you’re so gifted with the photography skills. Hope you hear something soon. :)

  • anything but LoKEY - Hey Ashley! I didn’t know if you saw but we did finally get our LOA the Friday before Mother’s Day. Many happy tears shed! :) Couldn’t have had a happier Mother’s Day gift. I hope you hear some news soon as well. Hang in there! :)

  • Nicole - Love this! We adopted from foster care twice and, although I’m super biased, there is nothing like looking at a child that God saved from poverty and neglect and knowing that YOU are the one that gets to show them a better life! God is SO good!

    I was looking for an email address to ask you how you handle guest posts and such? Do you do them for other blogs or no? I’ve been trying to get a list of adoption blogs with great design and story telling (the real nitty gritty instead of just the fluff). I’d love to hear if you have any others that you could recommend!

    Thanks!

  • misty tharp - still sending lots of prayers. i hope you get to bring your little one home soon!!

  • Bethany - Hi, I happened upon your blog after searching google for painted subfloors. I noticed your adoption button. We are also adopting, but domestically. I will pray for you and your family on this long journey!

  • Kim kruse - I have enjoyed reading your blog from the perspective of a mom who has just been there, and done that. We arrived home from China on June 3rd with our fourth child. Looks like we started the process about 2 months before you did, so I pray you travel very soon. Everything has gone wonderfully for us!! We are so glad we chose this route to adoption.

  • Taylor - I recently heard this song on the radio the other day and it reminded me so much of your journey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtOvBOTyX00

    “All along I believed
    I would find you
    Time has brought
    Your heart to me
    I have loved you for a
    Thousand years
    I’ll love you for a
    Thousand more.
    One step closer”

  • Brandy Anderson - I have read all your adoption post since last night! I can’t wait to read the rest. Don’t leave us hanging :) I know your little one will know she is loved from the moment she is placed in your arms! :) Are you traveling with all your children to pick her up? That will be an amazing experience for your whole family, but it seems like it would cost a ton and be very stressful for you and your husband. How long do you have to stay in China? Sorry for all the questions, I am just very intrested and excited to learn more.

  • Penelope - Isn’t adoption a beautiful gift! We adopted our 2 boys from foster care and looking to add more…

  • Crystal P - We will be praying for your adoption!!! God bless you, so many young ones out there need someone to love them. Thank you for taking the steps to help one of God’s little children.

    God bless your family!!!

  • Ruth McGill - I have been following when I can since I learned of your incubater project. What a great talent you have, but I have been most interested in your adoption. I am so happy to see you will be finally able to get your girl! I know that you are very busy, but I have a question that I would love to ask of you, I just didn’t want to publish it so that if it is not something that you could help with, I won’t be putting you on the spot. It is a way to help LWB. Please let me know how to write to you off the blog. My email is in the required field. thank you

  • ash - Hi, I randomly clicked on your site through Bower Power, mostly because I was procrastinating cleaning and my name is also Ashley Ann — But I am SO glad that I did! My parents adopted me from Korea and it’s been lovely reading about your insight, compassion, reasons, and experiences with adoption (and home-y stuff in general). I really appreciate the perspective and can tell that your family is going to be absolutely perfect for your little girl.

    I really don’t know how to express the gratitude that I feel for you, my family, and all of the people like you who are willing to give kids like me happiness and love. People ask if it’s weird because I’m not biologically related to my family (being the only Asian in a family of white people makes the adoption thing kind of obvious), but I know that this is my family and this is where I belong, and I believe that your daughter will know the same. Thank you and take care.

  • Crystal P - Good luck and God bless you and your family!!! So excited that you get meet, hold and bring home your baby girl!! How amazing that must be.
    Praying for a safe journey and a lifetime of wonderful adventures!!!

  • Loan - I just found your blog thanks to the lace doiley table runner tutorial on Pinterest. Many many congratulations on your growing family. I can’t wait to see pictures and hear about your new bundle of joy. Safe travels and happy bonding!

  • Naomi - Prayers from Birmingham UK as you prepare to set of on your big journey!

  • Ayesha - Hi,

    An extremely touching story! It has made the yearning in my heart to adopt even stronger. May God bless you family.

    ayesha

  • Jill - I started reading your blog the day you got Little One and my heart has been touched with your story. Very inspiring and motivating. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Adoptive Parents | The Lettered Cottage - [...] like “Firecracker’s” little sister did last [...]

  • Adoption continued « Jillian Blackburn - [...] photographer. Going through her photos from their journey to China was pretty awesome. The blog is¬†Under the Sycamore. The little girl they adopted was on the Special Needs list and has a cleft lip and palate. She is [...]

  • Lissa - I have no idea how I came across your website but I am in complete AWE of your journey to become a family of seven. I just became a mommy for the very first time in May 2012. She is the center of our world. (& sleeping at the moment)Take care.

  • Angela - I’m thankful that I found your blog. You are one amazing mommy! I can’t even imagine how you held up during the lengthy process. She is absolutely beautiful- your whole family is. I cried like a baby and you opened my eyes through your amazing story.

  • Hearts to Adopt @ Letters from Lala - [...] Under the Sycamore¬† [...]

  • Moments+Memories: The Campbell Family - [...] kids names are not mentioned on the blog). They recently brought Little One home from China, and the story of her adoption is simply [...]

  • Michelle - Hi Ashley!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! Rachel Van Horn told me about your site. My family is a few steps (or maybe more than that with all the steps it takes to get to China!) behind you on similar journey. We are in the Home Study phase of adopting a Special Needs child from China. Thankful for your insights and heart and reminder about God’s heart for our precious child! Prayers and blessings to your precious family!
    In His grace,
    Michelle:)

  • Rue du chat qui peche - I often just browse through blogs, but yours made me stop and read. What an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing this inspiring life story.
    All the best to the family…

  • Celeste - Ashley Ann – While I wish there was a “private” option to contact you, I can’t ignore how compelled I feel to find any possible method to reach out to you, so I hope posting a comment will do.

    Yesterday I “stumbled” across your blog, purely by accident… though I now question how much of an “accident” it was versus how much potential “divine orchestration” may have come into play. God can be SO cool like that! I was searching online for more information on what to expect during a China SN adoption process, primarily looking for “timeline” information. Your blog post “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” was one of the first search results. What immediately caught my eye was the words “Living Hope Adoption Agency.” I was immediately struck… caught completely off-guard. Could it be that I had stumbled across the blog of someone who had adopted through LHAA… the very agency that I’m preparing to send my contract to right now? Tears flooded my eyes as I glanced at the post and saw familiar the familiar LHAA logo and read just enough to confirm that you had indeed used LHAA. Before I even finished reading that post, I quickly jumped to the section of your blog dedicated to your adoption journey. It was like I needed to flip to the final pages of a good book before really getting started, I had to know the ending. My heart melted as I saw the picture of your family of seven… with your precious “Little One” in your arms. I knew in that instant that found someone who had “been there, done that”… an while there are countless blogs about Chinese adoption, finding someone else who had used LHAA specifically is overwhelming to me.

    I have much more to read of your blog, but finally called it a night around 1:00 am after reading up to the day when you learned your daughter’s name for the first time. Tears flowed freely as I read the account of your exchange with your husband, “Are you ready for this? This is IT!” My heart aches for that day. So very much of your journey sounds familiar to me… The continual delays in being able to “begin” your adoption journey (we too have been “in the process of adopting” for 5 years, but only now are officially “entering the process”), how your heart longed to hold the child that it was so firmly connected to across the globe, how you poured over the adoption timeline every night as if it was bringing you closer to bringing your daughter home. I felt as if I was reading the story of my heart.

    I will continue to read through the portions of your adoption journey that you have recorded here, and I wanted to thank you so much for sharing them with “us.” If you are comfortable at any point, I’d be so pleased to be able to communicate with you directly/privately as we continue our adoption process. I know that you a busy mom of 5 beautiful kiddos though, so I completely understand if time does not allow for that. Regardless, I can’t thank you enough for this blog… it’s exactly what I needed. Congratulations on your beautiful family!

  • AshleyAnn - Celeste – Congratulations!! We so enjoyed working with Living Hope. You can email me at ashleyannphotography at yahoo dot com :)

  • Courtney - Just found your blog through Pinterest. Your adoption posts made me cry, but in a good way. My baby sister is adopted from China. I went with my parents and sister to get her in 2004. What a wonderful experience that no one can understand unless you’ve actually done it. God bless your family!

  • Allison - Your story is beautiful! I too was adopted and families who adopt I think are so special. You have done a wonderful thing for such a beautiful little girl. She will cherish, be grateful and love you for all of time.

  • Kristin E - Sign me up for the newsletter please

  • Allie Bramlett - Hey Ann! I’ve so enjoyed reading your blog, especially your adoption journey! We decided to adopt from China a couple months ago and are so excited to embark on this journey! Your blog has been such an inspiration and help…thank you so much for sharing your life and journey…I hope I can do the same! I’m new to the blog world…I really have no idea what I’m doing! I’ve basically figured out the basics and that’s it! But I guess for me it’s more about getting the journey down on paper(well not paper) and if it helps others in the process then that’s an added bonus! Obviously you’ve been down this road and you know about the expenses…we are doing some fundraising ourselves and one of them is selling our t-shirts that we had made! We get them tomorrow and I can’t wait to see them! I am hoping to sell them to family and friends as well as people I don’t know that want to support this cause or have adopted themselves, etc. I was wondering if I might be able to send one to you??? I’m not sure if its possible or not for you to advertise it in some way….I’m sure that you have so many people visiting your site that may be interested in buying one and perhaps you could steer them my way?!?! It was just a thought and I totally understand if that is not something you want to do, or if its even possible! If it is, however, let me know! Either way, I’ll send ya a t-shirt, just let me know the size and place to send it to and it will be on its way shortly! Thanks so much for your time and consideration!
    Blessings,

    Allie Bramlett
    Enumclaw, WA

  • Molly - Thank you for sharing your adoption story! I first read about your blog in a magazine and was pleasantly surprised to see the journey your family has taken. My husband and I served in China for 4 years and will return next year. One day, Lord willing, we would also like to adopt a little girl from China. We would like to name her Helen Louise, after my grandmother who regularly hosted missionaries to China in her home.

    I am not a blog reader and most definitely don’t write people I don’t know, but I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your story. Thank you!

  • Tahnie - Thank you for putting your heart out there and sharing all of your story. It makes me smile to read others adoption stories.

    xoxo.

  • kate - First I apologize for posting this all here… I just couldn’t find your email. feel free to delete this comment (after reading of course:)

    Hi:)

    I’ve been a silent follower of this blog for quite sometime. I wish I could express in words how the Lord has used your blog to cultivate a heart for adoption, but I just can’t. I check your blog every single day & always leave so encouraged and pointed to Jesus through your writing. I’m not real sure how to transition into why I’m emailing so I’ll just go for it;)

    husband and I are in the adoption process. Any day now we will receive the news that our home study is approved and our information will then be given to birth mothers. We are adopting domestically this time around but plan to adopt internationally one day as well.

    I’m writing all this to simply ask if you could help a sister out. Domestic adoption is still very pricey (especially for this SAHM and wife to a pastor). I started praying through ways to raise money for our adoption. After much googling, I ran across a blog of a sweet girl who hosted a “grow your blog & help her adoption” giveaway. After exchanging some emails with her & realizing how much she was able to raise, I knew I had to do something similar. Girlfriend raised $1200. My gosh!

    I’ll be hosting a “Grow your blog & Bring Him Home” giveaway in Mid October (October 14-18). I’m asking blogs that have really touched me about adoption/motherhood to join in. If you’d be willing to give away an ad space for the month of November to one lucky winner and then promote the giveaway through social media the day it starts… that would be FANTASTIC!!! For people to enter to win, they will give a small $5 donation to our adoption through paypal. They can then receive other entries through following the blogs that are a part of the giveaway (that’s you, yay new followers for you!!).

    I 100% understand if you can’t be a part of the giveaway for whatever reasons. Seriously, no harm done. If giving away an ad space just can’t happen, maybe just promote it on instagram or something the week of. I understand that with bigger blogs, sometimes you just have to say no so that you don’t get over run with requests. I totally get it:) Please don’t feel obligated.

    Thank you so much for reading & just considering. And seriously thank you for sharing your adoption story so openly & radiating Jesus. It’s encouraging beyond words.

    Sincerely,

    -Kate
    http://www.kateandkuby.blogspot.com

  • Cindi - Hi, I’m sure you have MANY people trying to contact you on a daily basis, so here’s to hoping you see this comment and can respond. I was wondering why you chose to go with the agency that you did? Just wondering as we are beginning the process of adopting. Thanks

  • AshleyAnn - Cindi – We chose Living Hope based on several recommendations from families that had used them prior to us. We were very happy with Living Hope. There are lots of great agencies out there and lots that are the opposite. I would ask those you know what agency they used and if they would recommend their agency. Personal recommendations are really helpful. Also, most agencies only work with certain countries, so that plays a role too.

  • The Best of Us | Sweet Goings - […] blog. And while you’re at it, read here,¬†here,¬†here, here, here, here,¬†here, and here. I could do this all […]

  • Jenny - Hello,

    I have really enjoyed reading your stories, thank you for sharing! We have two adopted children, one domestic and one from china. We are wanting to adopt more, but are having trouble getting through the financial aspect of doing it a third time. Do you have any suggestions on raising and saving the funds that have worked for you? Thanks for any insight…

  • Tere Bible - SO, I just turned 54 yesterday. I have not really understood or grown accustomed to blogging, tweeting, etc. I just stick to my emails, Skype, Word, research,online shopping, etc. I am a procrastinator at heart. A very creative one. And I will get lost in an Internet website rabbit hole before you can say “let’s run off to Mexico for a girls’ weekend”! So, I think subconsciously, I was avoiding the blogs etc so as not to be MORE distracted (plus, again, didn’t really understand it all). WELL, today, somehow, I found some incredible sites, blogs, creative postings, and finally YOU and your adoption story. Please pray for me because this great stuff I have found is so awesome but may lead to my destruction!! I was actually inspired to write to you, which hardly happens. I must say, besides your creative artistry and photography (and I haven’t completely finished looking at your whole site), I am particularly impressed with your big heart, and that you have shared your story and your life on the web. I may be a little old-fashioned, but I believe we all have in us a desire to help and to do good. It’s stronger in some than in others. It can be a gift, like an innate musical talent. But some have the further gift of being able to effect that desire into reality, and further, to spread the word and inspire others to do the same. I was very fortunate to meet a woman who came to my door 24 years ago to be my part time housekeeper. When I learned of her incredible past, escaping from the Congo after being jailed and tortured for a month (while pregnant), I felt compelled to help, even though I had not a clue how to go about it. As a young mother with my first child, I was horrified to hear that she had to leave her four children (4,6,8&10) behind in a raging civil war when she left. Long story shirt, we got Pauline political asylum and four years after escaping, she was reunited with her children in Houston, TX. She became and still is an award winning teacher in Louisiana and a few years ago, started a non-profit (www.childrenofcongo.com), raised money, returned to her homeland and built an orphanage (among other good works). She even adopted a brother and sister (10&12yo) to make her a proud mother of 7! Her oldest recently received a PhD in microbiology and her fifth child just filmed a documentary about the orphanage for her college project. It’s titled “A Child Shall Lead Them”. Just like I didn’t know how to get Pauline political asylum and get her kids back, I am not sure how to help to promote her cause and raise funds. But because it has to be done, it will be done. She has had help from her local church, but we really need to step it up a notch as, although the home there is trying to be self-sustaining, there are still many needs to be met. I live in Denver and have started to reach out to groups so I can learn what I can to help them best. I do have a chronic illness that gets in my way at times, but for some reason, today, your site, you, inspired me to write, albeit too much perhaps :-), and maybe this blogging “thing” might be a way to spread the word about these beautiful kids in the Congo and my incredibly talented, big- hearted friend Pauline. SO, forgive me for going on and on… I guess that may be one of the downfalls of having a public blog… You never know what kind of whackos might respond! :-). Good luck in your journey and thanks for the ear!

  • KA - Our daughter was born in our hearts and also she had the same “beautiful whole in face” as yours. A lot of patient, joy and heatlh! For all family :)

  • Sarah - I have thoroughly loved reading through all of your adoption posts. I came upon your blog by Google searching China adoption blogs. We are in the very beginning stages of adoption and are looking at China to add to our family. Your daughter is adorable and your photography is beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing!!!
    ~Sarah~

  • Kat Smith - Oh my goodness! My husband and I are also believers and we are currently in the paper pregnancy. We have an eleven month old and this entire process has been exciting and scary but I cannot wait to see where God is going to take us! This is so encouraging and I cannot wait to read every last post!

  • Danielle - Wow! This is so wonderful! My husband and I are in the process of adopting from the Philippines, and this information is SO helpful! Thank you for sharing.

  • Wilfred J. Clifford - My son and his wife will be departing for the Yangxi Social Welfare Institution, Guangdong Province, from Massachusetts, on 1 April 14. They are a childless couple, married for 4 years; his wife is originally from Shanghai, and upon completion and acceptance of her Phd, she came up for air and found my son. Their daughter was abandoned on the door steps of the Institute at about 40 days of age, created birth date is 2012-08-15. She has a cleft pallet; her new parents have consulted two or more pediatricians, and are lining up a surgeon to correct this child’s problem(s); the nursery is outfitted, high chair(s), car seat(s) crib, clothing and toys all in readiness. Cutting to the chase, they believe, according to info received, that they will not be allowed to go to the Institute; I was amazed to see your photos indicating that indeed, it is possible to be allowed to enter. My question is, can adoptive parents be allowed to enter? P,S, I doted on your “Under The Sycamore.” Your family radiates pure love and tenderness. Will Clifford

  • Chantal - I have been reading your posts about adoption. I actually came across your website when I was researching decoration ideas for my daughter’s party and then decided to stay awhile when I discovered our similar passions of photography and adoption advocacy. Your daughter is so beautiful and I am so thankful for you sharing your story! We are presently awaiting the official paperwork on our little one from Vietnam. We first met her in September 2012 through our first unofficial proposal and since then there have been many mountains and God has faithfully moved them all over the last two years. I read your blog and you seem so blessed to have has such a great support team around you, I admit I have felt very alone during these two years of waiting….so in my waiting I am finding comfort in seeing your experiences!Thanks again for all your sharing!

  • Amber - I think I just read all of your posts about the journey to be joined with your youngest daughter; so amazing. Amazing doesn’t even really cover how reading all of that made me feel, but just amazed I suppose. Good luck on life’s journeys and I can’t wait to keep reading more of your posts.

  • Jewel - Hi Ashley, I’m from Singapore and I chanced upon your blog through Instagram whilst browsing. But I know that God led me to find your blog, because of your blog. I am touched and inspired that God uses us to accomplish His work. I just wanted to say that I spent two days just sitting here and reading through your adoption process and the love that you brought to little one just touches my heart so much that I shed buckets of tears.

    I am a mother of two, Sarah is 2 1/2 now and Sophia is about to be coming into this world in 11 weeks. I was tired from the pregnancy and the constant care needed for a toddler. And was just complaining about how much I have to do versus how much I can do. I didn’t feel happy, I was struggling to think how I will be able to handle two babies. And then I read your struggles and saw how God has given you so much love and energy to be able to be blessed with 5 children now. It truly changed my mind about how I am to love and live.

    I can genuinely feel from your writings how sincere you are with your family and friends. Your children speaks the most about you, how they could accept little one so quickly and with so much love shows that you have let your light shine through your parenting and your daily actions.

    My husband and I felt so much for you and your family. You have changed the course of Little one’s life. It’s amazing to go through your Instagram photos to see the changes that your family had gone through.

    Thank you for being such an inspiration. I needed to know that such great love existed, such great compassion, a true call for action. I was jaded/dis-illusioned with some things in Singapore, doubting Misson works, pastoral callings, charity works and some ulterior motives behind compassionate acts and a lot more. That I stopped responding to what I think God calls me for. I stopped trying to be who God wants me to be. I just let myself be wrapped up with my own small little life, and just wanted the days to move on smoothly.

    Reading your journey and even clicking on your links to your friend’s Shannon’s photography site, made me see how God is truly working in lives and it reminded me not to give up. It reminded that whilst I am here in the small corner of this world, moaning and groaning about what I have or not have, God is doing greater things out there and is waiting for me to wake up one day and realize that He has been waiting for me. To look up and see what He has to offer, to bring my two girls up just like how you brought up your kids.

    To love much, to play much and to inspire much.

    My husband and I are overwhelmed by you and your family. And thank you for revealing such tiny details about your life in such a big way. You have let us in on your life, and it has given me hope and excitement about what I can do.

    God bless you and your family.

    Love,
    Jewel

  • bethanyb - Hi Ashley, My husband and I have been planing an adoption for quite some time now (about two years) and are planning to adopt from China via Living Hope I am currently to young for us to adopt yet (25) but we are working to get things in order (God willing) to make this be easiest transition for our little one. I know you also adopted from this agency, from China, and that you and your other children worked on learning Chinese before going. My question is, what are some of the materials you guys used to learn Chinese? We are planning to adopt between the ages of 9 months and 3 years so I know learning some would be extremely helpful to communicate with our little one.

  • Natalie - Thank you so much for sharing your family’s journey. My husband & I just started the process to adopt from China about 3 months ago and I have really enjoyed reading through your timeline of events. Thank you again for your willingness to open up about your personal story.
    Blessings!

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