Merry Christmas little one

Mr. Tinkles Poopsalot is learning Mandarin with us. So far he is picking up the tonal aspects much better than the rest of us. We’ve learned that the same word is used for mom & horse…which my boys think is hilarious. I, on the other hand, have a fear that I will meet my little one and call myself a horse instead of mom.

Found a new book on Amazon. It has been a great springboard for discussion with the boys about the struggles their newest sibling might face. China is a big topic in our home right now. The older boys are so excited to go with us when we finally get to travel.

I’ve reached a level of craziness that I didn’t know existed for me. Everything and everyone somehow reminds me of China and my child. My friends told me not to post the next photo because it would reveal my insanity, but oh well. You know how some people see images of the Virgin Mary in a piece of toast and then sell it on ebay for thousands? Well, I see China everywhere….I even see Chinese characters in burnt cheese on my cookie sheet….and take a picture of it because it is so amazing to me.


Granted, I am sure that is not actually a Chinese character, but doesn’t it remind you of one. Burnt cheese. I’m losing my mind.

We’ve been waiting since early October for an I800A approval. China requires that we have approval from the US that the child we adopt will become a US citizen. The I800A is the first part of that US approval. We have all the documents we’ve been gathering since June complied in what is called our “dossier”. Our dossier must first be sent to our agency for US seals before it can be sent to China. We’ve been waiting and waiting for word that we got our I800A approval…it is the last item we need to send off our dossier.

Last week we had reached 60 days of waiting (last year it was averaging 35 days). I emailed and was told we had not been assigned an officer (this is who gives or denies the approval) and to email again in two weeks.

Well, I am a rule follower sometimes. I didn’t email this week, but on Tuesday I called. I was told we had been assigned an officer and to call again on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday 12:01pm – I decided it was technically the afternoon, so I called. “Case still pending check back as often as you’d like”.

Thursday 4:50pm – Checked again before the office closed…..”Your case was approved today.”

After 65 days of waiting, we got our approval!!! As long as all goes normal with the mail the actual approval should arrive in a few days and we’ll get to mail our dossier off before the end of the year. That will be a really good day. 5 months ago I had no idea what an I800A was…now I will remember it as one of the best Christmas gifts ever.


It is Christmas Eve and my heart is so full. Our stockings are hung. The tree is shining bright. All feels as it should be, but in a way it doesn’t. There is an overwhelming sense that someone is missing. In the past, I’ve been pregnant on Christmas. Though my little ones were hidden from everyone else, I could feel the kicks…know his or her presence. It never felt like someone was missing. This year it does.

I was left a comment the other day with this link to the song Merry Christmas by Third Day….

There’s a little girl trembling on a cold December morn

Crying for her momma’s arms at an orphanage just outside a little China town

There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire

And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It’s Christmas time again but you’re not home

Your family is here and yet you’re somewhere else alone

And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in His arms

And tell you from my heart I wish you a Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas my little one.

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  • heather - Congrats on being officially “paper pregnant!” Such a great Christmas gift!! Merry Christmas!

  • Sarah - Praise the Lord for such good news!!!!!! And your saying that it feels like someone is missing…Ive heard that from many of my friends who feel as though their family is not quite complete yet. May the Lord richly bless you all as you patiently wait through this process and in His perfect timing, bring you the perfect little one for your family.
    Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!

  • Molly - What a Christmas blessing for you and your family!

  • Bonnie - Merry Christmas-what a wonderful gift to receive! That third day cd is in our car and made me think of y’all too!

  • Rachel T. - One of the really beautiful traditions for Chinese children, particularly girls, is that a piece of jade is purchase for the child when they’re born and then given to them when they turn 18. My cousin was adopted, and while I didn’t know about this until recently, I still intend to get her a piece and give it to her, as per tradition, when she’s 18. If you think it’s as beautiful as I do, it would be a great thing to do for your child, when you get her! πŸ™‚ Also, when my aunt adopted my cousin, it was really beautiful – there was this huge ceremony, promises to the country to care for their child, and it was a two or three week process over there. Obviously you will bring your camera, but someone there brought a video camera and taped the whole thing. The parents bonded a lot, so the man sent the video to all of the other parents so they had a copy of the ceremony. You may want to bring a video camera, though you probably already thought of that. Another thing to look forward to – I would imagine they still do the same. πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas Ashley – we’re glad you got your wish. <3

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Wow! What wonderful news! Rejoicing with your sweet family!
    We have been in the waiting game for our domestic adoption for over a year now. I totally get your heart on “missing” someone this Christmas. Sure, I don’t know who this someone even is yet, but I have a third child out there somewhere and it’s hard not being with them this Christmas. I love that you hung up that sweet little lantern. I need to do something like that. And I just caught up on your last two posts. Hugs to you mama. You blog without an obligation to anyone but our Lord and I love that.

  • Molly @ mixedmolly - Beautiful post, and very exciting news!

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - You’re one step closer to your little one – what a wonderful Christmas gift. I can’t imagine any child is more loved than this one is already. Your joy is abundant and I for one love how you share it in everything you do, on this blog, in time with your children, in your photographs. Your blog has been a gift to me this year. I am inspired every time I stop by. Wishing you and your beautiful family a very Merry Christmas.

  • emmybrown - What an amazing Christmas Gift!!! I’m so excited for you and your family….and love hearing about each step of the process…both the *tangible* steps and the *heart* steps you walk through. Thanks, Ashley, for sharing!! Merry Christmas!!!

  • ally henderson - wow what a perfect song for you this christmas. i hope and pray your family has a merry christmas and next year will be even better with everyone home!

  • Angie B - Beautifully written, Merry Christmas to you and your family-especially your little one in China!

  • Carol - Merry Christmas blessings to you and your sweet family!

  • Sophie - So happy you got your approval! You’re so close now, I can feel it.
    I hope that you and your whole family, wherever they may be in the world, have a magical christmas.

  • Stephanie - What a beautiful (and perfect) song! So happy that you are one step closer to meeting your baby. Merry Christmas!

  • Kendra - Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful gift and truly a holiday blessing. A what a lucky girl to be joining your family.

  • Christina - Congrats on your i-800a approval! I hope you can be DTC soon and soon after that see your little one’s face. We were LID 11/8 and we saw her face 12/1. Best Christmas present ever.

  • Kimberly - YAY!!! I’m SO HAPPY for you and your family!!! Hope you all have a blessed Christmas.

  • Jenni - Ashley, your heart for your little one in China is precious. Learning Chinese is fun! I lived there learning Chinese for 2 years. There is SO much to love about China, especially the food. Don’t worry about your baby calling you horse. The sound is the same, characters are different. In context he/she WILL know you are ma! It could be fun to find some Chinese in your area to help you with basic pronunciation, nothing is better than a native! Praying that this process speeds along.

  • Jeannette - Merry Christmas to ALL of you!! Can’t wait to meet your Little One. You are blessed – she is blessed!

  • Jane Marie - I am so excited for your precious little one to get to meet you all…She is already so very loved by you & your family. πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas to you!

  • RachelC - My heart yearns with you. Merry Christmas sweet girl. We can’t wait to see your beautiful face….

    Oh, and that cheese really does look like a Chinese character! πŸ™‚

  • jessica - I must say that I’m a bit jealous that you are this far along in your paperwork πŸ™‚ We are just finishing up writing our self study. I know what you mean though…. we are missing our daughter too…. praying she is safe, and loved in Uganda as we wait to bring her home.

    love to you all!

  • Sue Symens - So happy for you! I had tears in my eyes just reading your post. Blessings to you and your family!

  • Emily - Wonderful news!!!!! What a nice way to round out Christmas and put things at ease. Hope you and your sweet family have a wonderful holiday! <3

  • Carrie O - Congratulations! Perfect Christmas gift! Wishing you and your family peace and strength during the “waiting game”. Merry Christmas!!

  • Georgia - tears of joy for you getting I800A! tears of empathy for you not having your little one with you…next Christmas will be an explosion of JOY! can’t wait to see the sweet face!

  • Georgia - PS> I think the burnt cheese looks like Chinese characters, too.

  • Liz - Congratulations! I have tears of joy for you. Merry Christmas!

  • Anna Joy - Congrats on being approved! What a wonderful Christmas gift. I am praying along with you for your little one – may she be safe and warm and feel the presence of your love and Jesus’ on Christmas day.

  • MG Atwood - Oh what a wonderful Christmas story. I will pray for your little one to transition as easily as possible. Joy,joy, joy!!!

  • Kimberlee Jost - Glory to God in the highest…he cares about our kids and our hearts!
    Celebrating with you today!!!!!!!!!

  • Debbie C - Congratulations Ashley! Such great news, right before Christmas! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Sadie - Ok, crying now… You are a precious soul Ashley. I am sitting her in my self pitty and I read your blog and I realize I need to get over myself. I am praying for your little one. One day soon I pra I can something like this. Merry Christmas to you and your precious family!

  • Caroline - Hey Ashley,
    It’s rea;;y heartwarming to know that your little one is getting closer to you and your lovely family!
    Feeling so happy for your and your little child in china. πŸ™‚
    Merry Christmas!

    ps: If you listen to the CD more carefully, ‘Mom’ and ‘horse’ actually sound different. Mom has a higher pitch, while horse has a lower one. (fyi: I’m chinese)

    To make it simpler for you, try to sing do-re-mi-fa-so with “ma”.
    So, instead of do-re-mi-fa-so, you go ma-ma-ma-ma-ma but in the correct pitch of course.

    *Horse is how it sounds when you are at DO, while Mom is how it sounds when you are at SO.

    Feel free to email me if you need clarification. I’m most happy to help!

  • Jenna - Ack! I’m crying! Congrats on the approval! Sooo excited for you! {And definitely think that burnt cheese looks like Chinese!}

  • Mallory - Wow that just made me cry! What a perfect gift! I’m so glad that you share about your growing family, its what makes your blog so wonderful and easy to connect to. Can’t wait until you get to bring your little girl home πŸ™‚

  • Kaylee - Ashley, I cried through your entire post! Praise God for your I800A!! What an incredible time of year to receive it. Thank you so much for sharing this process with all of us. My husband and I are planning on adopting as soon as we can and I love to hear all of the stories of how God is blessing families with little ones through adoption! God bless your family and have a Merry Christmas!

  • Nicole - This was a beautiful post! I had goosebumps by the end! I’ll keep praying!

  • Kim - I’m new to your blog, so I don’t really know all of the back story here, but I can totally see how excited your family is, and how awesome it is that you are getting a new family member soon. Congratulations, and have a merry Christmas!!

  • my lovely mess - I have been following your blog for a year now, this is the most exiting post… good luck and happy holiday!

  • Hope - Ashley, 5 years ago at Christmas, my husband and I were waiting to travel to adopt our daughter, Rosie, from China. She was 2 1/2 years old and we had one picture of her. I listened to Third Day’s song over and over and cried for my daughter – like you, we were missing a member of our family. It wasn’t God’s plan for us to bring her home before Christmas. We traveled in January instead. But now when I listen to this song, I can rejoice “it’s Christmas time again and now you’re home. Your family is here and you will never be alone.” I pray you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. God’s plan and His timing is perfect.

  • Cara Yeh - Ashley, this is absolutely precious! I faithfully read your blog, and feel like I can so relate to you. Though I have 3 girls, and the youngest a boy, my 2-yr-old girl completely reminds me of Firecracker. Anyway, my husband is Chinese and we, too, are learning Mandarin! Merry Christmas, and I will pray for your little one, too!

  • Brittany - this is a beautiful post. just think how wonderful next christmas will be! merry christmas to you and yours.

  • Mindy Harris - oh my its so wonderful. the Lord knows, oh, how he knows.

  • Sarah - That is a beautiful song, how perfect too. Congratulations on getting approved! What a wonderful Christmas gift. <3

  • Laura Delegal - Congratulations. We tried foreign adoption more than 20 years ago–Guatemala, China, India–but it was not meant to be. We were fingerprinted, inspected, scrutinzed, and paid a huge sum of money. We finally had a referral for a little girl in an orphanage in India, but she died before we could get her home. After a second referral of another little girl and another life cut short, I cried out to God and told Him that I couldn’t do it any more. If He didn’t want us to have a child, I would be fine with it, but I had done all I could. It would be up to Him. Within a week, we had a healthy 2-day-old baby boy. God knew the plans he had for us. He just wanted us to let Him take care of it. God is good and tomorrow we will celebrate our 22nd Christmas with him. God bless you and your new family member and Merry Christmas.

  • Amy Beachy - Merry Christmas!!1

  • Annabelle - Congrats!
    It’s so sweet to see you guys picking the language.
    Caroline’s idea of singing do-re-mi-fa-so works so well!! πŸ™‚
    There are four basic tones in the Chinese Language and I’m sure you’ll be able to pick up the difference soon.
    I’m Chinese too by the way.
    Merry Christmas to you! πŸ™‚

  • Renee - What a wonderful Christmas gift – your approval!! A very merry and blessed Christmas to you and your family. Can’t wait to see what the new year holds for you! God is good!

  • Eliana - Hi Ashley,I am a Chinese girl and I’m a christian. I have been reading your blog for months. It feels very warm that your little one is in China. Everytime I thought about adoption like this I rejoiced for those children. Their lives and future changed forever,just like ours changed when we were adopted by God.
    You have a beautiful life and I adore you so much!:)

    In Chinese mom and horse have similar pronunciation. but not the same tone. For foreigners it’s really hard to differentiate the four tones in Chinese character.:)

    I saw the third picture before I read your words and it looked like a Chinese character to me too. It’s not quite a character. But it’s quite the same shape as the character ??Shou,which means long-lived)in calligraphy.

  • Irene NZ - Congratsss Ashley for the approval!! God’s timing is the best. Merry Christmas to you and your family πŸ™‚

  • ria - the song is perfect for you. i am so glad you are one step closer to bringing your little one home. you are so blessed. someone told me the other day that my little one (she is adopted) was so lucky, i think we are the lucky ones. congratulations, sweet family.

  • Barbara G - This is wonderful!
    Merry Christmas!

  • Jo - I just have to share a bit of my own crazy with you: while I was reading your post, and I reached the part “your case was approved today” – I burst into tears! I have so enjoyed reading about your journey to adopt your beautiful little one, the way you write so clearly expresses the connection you already feel for that child. I can’t wait to hear more news! Praying that he or she feels wrapped in God’s arms this Christmas.

  • Kassie - Congratulations and Merry Christmas! πŸ™‚ this time next year I hope you’re all gathered together sharing each other’s love.

  • Leslie - So excited for you and your Christmas gift! Congratulations!

  • Kara M - Funnier than Ma for horse is the phrase for “so so.” Mama Huhu! Horse Horse Tiger Tiger! It was my favorite phrase to use in China. My rule was to just slur my words and the tones didn’t matter! πŸ˜€

  • Bella - Congrats Ashley!! What wonderful news, and right before the holidays….talk about awesome timing! πŸ™‚ Hope it all goes well and that you will be mailing off all of your documents before the new year! πŸ™‚

  • heather - merry christmas to you and your family.
    all 7 of you.

  • karen eyink - 1. Is it the same person leaving all these nasty comments on all the blogs I read this year. Some people have such chutzpah. I cannot even dream of leaving these comments. It is eyeopening for me. Haters are going to hate, it is what they do.
    2. The whole Ryan Gosling, hey girl thing is hilarious to me. I googled it a few weeks ago and found him reading them and to see him uncontrollably laughing and reading them was doubly funny.
    3. I love learning about the adoption process, priceless.

  • Aurelie - Hello ! I just stopped by to say hi. I have been spending the last hour on your blog, and particularly looking at all the loveliness you create with your hands. Just wanted to thank you for this, because you just helped me a little more on finding out what I aspire to, after being “stuck” for a while on many levels. Your place trully is idyllic to me, and you have a lovely lovely family.

    Lots of love from France πŸ™‚

  • charla - Yea!!!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas!!!!

  • Carolyn - Congratulations on being one step closer to bringing home your little one! I know it feels like someone is missing, but really you are just feeling them tug on your heartstrings the same way you felt the other children kicking inside your womb. This little one is with you in spirit already and you are getting closer everyday to holding them in your arms! Merry Christmas to all of you!

  • Katie - So happy your Christmas wish came true. Saying a prayer for your little one and all the others waiting for their forever families.

  • Steph - Oh my goodness I am crying. You deserve your child, very much so. Love and patience from my home to yours!

  • Stacy Schmidt - So exciting! We adopted our youngest 2 children from foster care earlier this year. Although they lived with us last year, this was our first Christmas as an official, forever family. I love reading about your adoption process. Please keep the updates coming. You make me want to adopt again! Congratulations to your family!

  • Nicole - Congratulations and Merry Christmas!! (p.s. where are those cute stockings from?!?!)

  • RobyGiup - So happy for the approval!!!!! It is really the best Christmas present one could imagine!
    Merry Christmas (with a bit of delay) from Italy!

  • Rebecca - Wonderful news. Congratulations.

  • Alecia - Hey Ashley – Congratulations on getting your approval! Sounds like a wonderful present! Just curious, why did you decide to adopt internationally rather than domestically? I don’t know much about adoption and was wondering if there are advantages to adopting internationally. Thanks!

  • Anne - I was born here (NY) and so I know very little chinese in terms of reading and writing despite my parents attempt to send me to chinese school. It’s definitely not an easy language to learn but I know with your dedication you might even end up knowing more than I do. If I could ever help with anything simple/conversational, I’d be more than happy to help. Shoot me an email anytime.

    congratulations. It’s a beautiful thing that you’re doing. But what did I expect from a beautiful family?

  • Lacey - Congratulations! This is such wonderful news!