I was reading a friend’s blog and he challenged his readers to share how an orphan has changed your life. I love that idea for many reasons, but one of the biggest for me is to get to share about a little girl who never had a mom or dad go on and on about her to others. This might be a wordy post…

In the summer of 2000 Chris and I spent 8 weeks in Kazakhstan. It was the summer before we got married and we were there partnering with workers in that country to teach summer english camps. The camps were great, but in our down time we volunteered at an orphanage. My time with those kids was the highlight of my summer. It was amazing to watch Chris with the kids – confirmed in many ways he was the guy for me. From the first time we walked through the gate a little girl with a questioning smile caught my eye. She always stayed on the edge of the group and never demanded my attention. In the games she seemed to have a need to prove to the boys she could beat them – which she usually did. She was strong willed, quiet, and liked to take charge. She reminded me of myself in many ways and we just hit it off. Her name was Sabina and she became my little friend for the rest of the summer. I would have adopted her had the country allowed it. When our summer was over and we began preparations to leave my heart broke at the thought that I wouldn’t know how her story ends. The only picture I have of the two of us now hangs on my refrigerator. My boys know her story – which makes me happy that she is not forgotten. I still think of her all the time. She is probably about 14 years old now. Most likely she is still in a government home for teenagers. If that is the case in a couple of years she will age out of the system and be left to fend for herself in a very poor country. If she goes the road of many young girls like her it is likely she will find herself in the sex trade industry. If she is like many young girls she will sell her body to feed her stomach. As I look at her picture, I pray that she has found a different road. I pray that light in her eyes is still there. I pray that the fire in her would be used to change not only the course of her life but the lives of other girls like her. I pray that when she falls asleep at night she would somehow know she is not forgotten. I pray she is happy…and loved…and safe. And so I share her story with you, so again she is not forgotten….

We killed Chris and the boys at baseball – we had to prove ourselves and we did:)


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  • Aaron Hamilton - Ashley,
    Okay…so you said Kazakhstan and I had to comment. What a beautiful story and a beautiful little girl. Those Kazakh kids are all knockouts. Do you remember what city you were in?

    And…we adopted a baby girl, Lyla Dawn, when she was only 2 days old. We haven’t updated the blog yet, but will soon. She is beautiful and has totally got me (Aaron) wrapped around her finger at only 6 weeks. Your little girl is beautiful! God is good.


  • Trinity - Yes, I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful girl, and I pray that God saved her from that hard road. I also pray that somehow you might get to find out where she is. I have 4 beautiful “used to be orphans” in my home that have totally changed my life! It makes me overwhelmed to think of where they could have been and where they can be now…….thanks for sharing!

  • alex himaya - Praying with you for her!

  • Rachel - Praying for Sabina — and hoping that one day you would meet again.

  • Stephanie - I will pray for Sabina!

  • christina larsen - What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I also pray that she has found a forever family and she is sure of their love and that they embrace her strong spirit. She is beautiful.

  • Linda - Thank you for sharing!

  • Kirra Sue - Just read this and am in tears. Praying for Sabrina today.

  • Janelle Vano - Oh my goodness…I started to cry just reading this. I often think of the lost, lonely children of the world and my heart breaks for them. But, seeing the original date of this post…Aug 2009…I realized that little Sabina is the same age as my own daughter, Sabrina. Lord, please protect Sabina!!

  • Holly Andrews - Ashley, I just found your blog today from totally random link through pinterest and I have to tell you I was hooked! I love your quirky style, amazing photography and random posts! Looking over the time your daughter was in the hospital, I was wondering if you were a Christian and then I stumbled on your December post regarding the negative comments you’ve received. I appreciate that you present Christianity the way you do. You have a normal, very busy family, amazing God given creativity and you present a light-hearted, laugh-at-yourself picture of what life should look like with a sort of graciousness that is so uncommon. I don’t know why people think they can tell you what to post on your blog – hello! the whole purpose of blogging is to have a personal voice! But keep doing it! You’ve got a perfect window to plant those seeds on unbelievers that come to see what gifts God has given you. Good job! You sound like someone I’d love to have as a friend (you probably give the best Christmas gifts) and I’d love to have my kids play with yours (getting into good clean trouble). Good luck on your adoption, she’s one lucky girl!

  • dana - She is beautiful! I do see the light in her eyes! It must have been so hard to leave this little one there. Praying for Sabina that she is safe with her family and oh so happy. I hope you hear good news about her from someone soon. Thanks for sharing!

Lots of questions about where I got my daughter’s hat and headband. They are all from Etsy.com (of course). The felt flower headband was from a seller called Lou and Lee – they are no longer selling. The pink & orange hat was a gift but bought on etsy. Sorry I don’t know the seller. The white flower hat was from the seller Banner Boutique on Etsy.

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  • Carly - The Lou and Lee shop is planning to open back up at the end of the month. She had a baby and needed to stop things for a few months. Just an fyi for your readers.

  • Rachel - The pink & orange hat came from Zoe Lynn Designs on Etsy.

  • pamela - i have SO many headbands from lou and lee! they are great, but acutally quite simple to make yourself. all you have to do is cut a band from a pair of old nylons (opaque work best!) cut out some fet flowers/petals and either sew or hot glue them on! voila!

  • pamela - felt that is!

  • Sara - Thanks SO SO Much!

  • Megan - Hi Ashley!
    I love your nursery!! Speaking of “where did you find that”??…Where did you get the vintage looking print with the bird that has a b…ball, etc.?? I love that. You are so creative.

  • AshleyAnn - Megan, I got the bird print from a random seller on etsy. There was only one. You can do a search on etsy for vintage alphabet cards…that’s what I did. I bought it before we had picked a name b/c I liked the bird…just worked that we picked a “B” name too!

Like I said yesterday, over the course of 10 days all 4 of our kids got sick…each at different times. We wrapped up last weekend with the last kiddo throwing up. It was a long 10 days. When the weekend hit and we still had one sick I decided instead of playing the “Whoa is me” card, I would take pictures of things that made me smile…thus taking my focus off the eaten lunch that was now on the carpet:)

I also snuck away to my favorite ‘flea market’ shops on Main Street while everyone was taking naps (& dad was home)…that really cheered me up. Just fyi the “Resolve” picture only mildly makes me happy. On one hand I am happy it cleaned up the mess on the carpet – on the other hand I am bummed it worked so well (maybe I would have gotten to rip up carpet and put in wood). There’s always next time.


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  • christina larsen - Where is this flea market on main street? I would love to go and cruise it and look for treasures. Such a nice way to “reframe” the negative and turn it into something positive.

  • Melissa McClure - This is great! Reminds me of the Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things.” :0)

  • AshleyAnn - I like the Hitching Post at 91st & Main, Southern Hospitality (they are moving this weekend and won’t be open for a few months). Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow near 71st & Main sometimes has good stuff. When Southern Hospitality relocates it will be next door to The Hitching Post…yeah!

  • Shannon Phillips - There is something so good about visual therapy. I love all of the pics and I as specially love Breese’s cute little toesies. I pray that you all are feeling much better soon.