whoop whoop {dossier in the mail}

Pack everything up.

Hug family goodbye.

Grab a coffee and oatmeal for the road trip home.

Grandma picked up our mail yesterday and she said a certain envelope had arrived. Get home fast!

Eeeeeeeek. The document we were waiting for arrived.

With that document we could mail off our dossier. What is a dossier? It is our entire lives in an envelope. Seriously, everything is in that envelope: birth certificates, marriage license, employment letters, criminal checks, background checks, passport photos, 6 photos of our family, financial statements, medical exams, and our I800A form. Also included is our home study…a typed document consisting of 4 interviews/visits with a social worker, life history, family histories, financial histories, interviews with our kids, parenting styles, beliefs, and just about everything else remotely related to us as individuals and as a family. We have been working for months to be at the point to mail it all off to our agency. Yesterday was the day.

I couldn’t resist adding something ‘me’ to our envelope. Our agency will get our dossier first, so they can throw my cute tape away…but it felt more right to seal it with happy cuteness. After our agency gets a bunch of US seals and such, they will mail it off to China.


It is a big deal. I wanted a family shot with it, but then I looked at my kids. A day of traveling topped with sticky orange chicken. They were a hot mess. I decided to go ‘artsy’ with the shot instead 🙂

This reminds me of a picture we took with our very first ultrasound of our oldest son. This time it was our oldest son taking the picture.

If there had been a five point harness carseat in the truck, I would have used it. Yes, this is a funny picture….but it is so true of how I felt. Everything. EVERYTHING is in that envelope.

And just like that it was out of my hands. Strangers would be throwing it in a truck and then a plane and then another truck. People I don’t know will be holding it. People who don’t know how valuable it is will toss it like it is a common everyday piece of mail. If I could have attached a note to it that said “Handle with Care…my child is abroad”….I would have. It is out of my hands. Now I will wait to hear that my agency received it. Then I will wait to hear that they mailed it to China….and then we will wait to see our little one’s face.

We ate Panda Express for dinner because it is my boy’s absolute favorite restaurant….

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  • Marie - I’m SO glad to hear this!!! I have so enjoyed reading your journey since I found you this summer…I’d had a rough time after a m/c and your site has brought me lots of happiness. Although I will let you know that now that I’m expecting again, you did just make me a puddle at work.
    Congrats to you and your family. Now the waiting begins in earnest. =)

  • Kimberly - YAY!!! I’m so happy for you!! Can’t wait to hear how everything keeps going. Thank you for sharing this will all of us. You and your family are going to have a very blessed New Year =)

  • Rachel B. - Wow! So exciting! Continuing to lift you up in prayer 🙂
    (we had Panda Express last night for dinner…it’s our family favorite!)

  • Danielle - What a way to end off 2011 for your family! So so thrilled for you all and so so excited for you for what is to come for you in 2012.

  • Liene - Yay!

  • sarah - Wow! this is so exciting! Congrats! 2012 is going to be one terrific year for you and your family!!!!!

  • Rachel T. - Congratulations Ashley and family!!!! That’s just beyond wonderful and exciting. What a great way to kick off your new year. Many happy wishes for the new year and your expanding family 🙂

  • Sam - YAY!! Can’t wait to hear more good news!

  • alamama - what wonderful news. we know several families who have adopted. good on you!

  • Sue Symens - YEA! Wow had tears of joy for you just reading your post. So happy for you. Will pray for a speedy process.

  • Anna Joy - So exciting! What a great way to end 2011 and start 2012!!! 🙂

  • katiem - Congrats…so excited for you all!

  • Courtney Connelly - So wonderful!!! One big step closer to your girl.


    Praying for peace as you wait for “THE PROCESS,” and that you will be holding your little one soon!!

  • Jenni - The picture that reminds you of the first ultrasound picture of your son, and then he took the picture with the two of you and the envelope – Ughh! You kill me! Like, every single day! lol Congratulations!!!:) Love, Tears over Cheerios:)

  • victoria g - WAHOOOO!!!

  • Meredith N. - That picture of you and your hubs is so sweet. Congrats!!

  • debra - my heart is so happy for all of you! <3 congrats!

  • Katelyn - This is so exciting!! I love how you used a selt belt. I am cracking up, but I am sure if I had something that valuable and exciting going on in my life… I would do the same exact thing. Out of curiosity, do you get to pick a child from an orphanage in China or is your child assigned to you? I know assigned sounds so brash, and I don’t mean it to sound that way, but I can’t think of any other word to use! Maybe more along the lines does God/fate pick your child for you? 🙂

  • giozi - What a emotion, each time the steps are fewer and shorter. I also smiling as your child (who by the way, you’ve cut your hair)
    I see a good future as a photographer to your older child;)
    Good idea of ??the group photo with the envelope, do not see the clothes 😀
    A big hug and the best wishes to you with the process, to your family and for the new year.

  • Melanie - Yay!!! Oh happy day!! So thrilled for you. : )

  • Lindsay - I’m a long time reader but have never commented but I just had to say congratulations to you and your family!! What an amazing time for you.

  • Theresa - Your pictures are not silly at all! I love them because it IS a big deal! It is one step closer to meeting the baby God has chosen for you.

    We just got our referral and I told everybody, even the family fare cashier…


    congratulations on being one step closer.

  • amber - So happy for you guys…God’s good!

  • amy jupin - oh happy day!!
    2012 is going to be AWESOME!!

  • stacey [whatever is lovely] - SO EXCITING!!! congratulations!!!! just wanted to stop by real quick and say i’ve been following your family’s journey ever since the post you wrote about how God provided for you and another family. my husband and i are in the home study process for a domestic infant adoption (our first baby!!) and whenever i feel anxious i remember what God did for you and remember how faithful he is!

    also, i HAD to comment because – i live in lee’s summit, mo!! how funny, i know exactly where that building is, in fact. 🙂

  • cailan - Three cheers for the postman! So thrilled for you.

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - What a perfect fortune!

  • Tricia - Oh Ashley, your posts remind me daily that love abounds, and that God works through those who allow him. Congratulations to you and to Chris, and to your littles. What an exciting time.


  • Vanessa@DesignsbySessa - I will be praying for you and your mama heart during all of this! I’m so thankful to the Lord that you guys are adopting and I’m SO excited for you! Love and prayers your way and especially for that sweet girl in China!

  • kassondra - Im in tears of happiness for you and our family! Not only are your dreams coming true a little one across the worlds dreams are coming true!

  • Brandy - Ashley, I read your blog everyday, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I am so excited for you. I CANNOT wait to meet the newest member of your family. I wish you much luck in that it goes quickly for you and that you get to meet your child soon. Best gift to end the year. 2012 will be an awesome one! Much love – Brandy

  • Lindsey - Congratulations to you and your family, and thanks for sharing! I always love hearing about this adoption journey. And I love the “artsy” photo, and the picture of the envelope all buckled in!! 🙂 Praying you all will have joy and peace as you wait and look forward to the next step!

  • Jen - Yay! So happy this important milestone has finally come. Can’t wait to hear when you get your referral!

  • Janice Willis - Working on our own family’s adoption application packet – I can understand your overwhelming JOY to have this done and mailed !!!!
    Congrats and prayers to you and all families, children, parents, workers taking this journey with us all.
    God bless

  • hili - very very happy for you. i wish you wrote some more about your decision to adopt.

  • Mareen - Ashley, that is so exciting. I can only imagine how you feel about this envelope. I am so happy for you.

  • Krystina - So I’m recently out of surgery, and I’ve been a little emotional lately (let’s blame the drugs). But reading your post today made me cry. It was a good cry though. I love reading about your travels through adoption. I’m remembering things along the way because I hope to adopt one day myself. 🙂

  • Becky B. - How exciting! Another step down.

  • Kara M - SOOOO exciting!

  • Lisa Johnson - thrilling!

  • Kelly Rasmussen - such happy news! 🙂

  • Jodi Leonard - hi ashley…i don’t think that i’ve ever left you a comment before (but we’ve communicated via email once). this post just made me cry – cuz i think that i could “hear” and “see” your excitement in your words. i’m so happy for your family! i was adopted when i was one week old, and i’m grateful for my parents every day. congratulations to your entire precious family, and thank you for letting your readers go on this journey with you! happy holidays!

  • Georgia - WOO HOO! So excited with you, tears of joy!

  • Desiree - How exciting! All that hard work will pay off! Bless you and your growing family!

  • Barbara - I read your blog every day and love following your story. Your crafting is inspiring and so are you. Thank you

  • Katie - Awesome! Congrats!

  • Amy - My heart is beating fast just reading this. And I can’t help but tear up, even though I’ve only met you and Chris a few times at church. I can’t wait to see the little one God chose to add to your family before the foundations of time. Thank you for sharing, this story is so encouraging.

  • jen spilker - So happy for you. Now only waiting…

  • Jessica P - Yay! We’re so excited for you guys! It’s out of your hands, but it’s still in God’s. At least THAT is comforting. 🙂

  • Jane Marie - Woo Hoo! I am so excited for you…and total happy-tear-jerker about how the photo of you two holding the envelope was like the one of you two holding the U/S of your first son, but this new photo is taken by your son…And, ah! I love it all. Very happy for you all. 🙂 A shiny, happy New Year!

  • keri - forever folding laundry - Woo HOO!
    One step closer….
    2012 is going to be g.o.o.d.

  • Nicole - I’m SO excited for you & your family, Ashley! Can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store!

  • Sharon Osborn - Congratulations! My family has been blessed with an adopted niece from Siberia, and now a nephew from China! We love them dearly and complete our family perfectly 🙂 Just had to comment and say how excited I am for your family. I pray for angels to carry your envelope wherever it goes…and good for putting the Washi tape on it 😉

  • Alisha McKay - This post brought tears to my eyes! I’m really excited for you and your family. What a beautiful story. Praying God brings your baby home SOON!!

  • Kenia Cris - Ashley, it’s my first time commenting here, I love your blog, your photos are amazing, you have a beautiful family and I’m really excited about the adoption, a beautiful family growing bigger.
    Lots of love from Brazil.

  • Kim - I love this post! I have been reading for a couple months now and I love reading about the adoption… but this one actually brought a tear to my eye. it is so lovely that an envelope can hold so much power in ones life!! It really is like your child and it shows. I am so happy for you and your family! As much as i don’t know you… it cannot happen to a truer family! Hope it all goes smooth for you from here on out and look forward to reading many more posts about it!!

  • Chelsea - Very exciting Ashley! So happy for your family to have reached this major milestone in your adoption journey!

  • Celeste - Oh my goodness — Campbell family, I am so thrilled for you all!! I have been keeping you and this process in my prayers. I will continue to do so, what marvelous things God has been doing! YAY!

  • Michelle Tuesday - Ashley, I <3 your blog & your precious little munchkins. Thank you for sharing!

  • misti d. - I’m so happy for your family! you guys will be blessed soon!

  • Aja - YAY!! Yay yay yay!!! So excited for your family, Ashley! I love to hear about your adoption and can’t wait to see what’s next!

  • Christen - Sooooo excited for you! My sister just finalized their adoption TODAY! I am a proud Auntie to an adorable little boy. Praying!

  • Jennifer Monk - This post made me cry such happy tears. I love following your blog. You are such an inspiration to others.

  • Carrie Rowe - EXCITING!!!

  • Carri - You don’t know me and, really, I don’t know you. I have read your blog for a long time now so I feel like I should know you. This is my first time commenting though I could have many, many times. Our daughters are close in age and have very similar personalities. I also have a son so I share some of the boy vibe too (endless hours digging for worms anyone?) I’ve made some of your crafts. I followed closely during the hospital stay and prayed for your daughter. I love, love reading your adoption journey and am glad you share it publicly. Adoption has touched our lives magnificently through our friends and family and I thrill at each and every story. I love how you write. You’re honest. I love that you share God through your blog. You’re transparent. Your funniest post of all time was the American Girls one-says me whose daughter has a Bitty Baby, a Bitty Twin and will one day have one of the full-size dolls. What you said was still hilarious and true and I’m sorry you had to take it down. Keep it in perspective people; It’s a toy after all. I generally view your blog through Google Reader and I keep it organized in a folder titled “Inspirations”. Not photography, not crafting, not parenting, not faith…although I am always glad to find all these things in this spot. Keep on keepin’ on sister! I hope to move to a DSLR soon so… maybe an online class of yours sometime this year? I would be so sad if you got too busy to post when your China doll comes home so please continue to let us in- I need to see how your stockings turn out next Christmas. Happy, Happy New Year!!

  • Beth - this is all so exciting !!!……i can hardly wait for your dreams to come true !!

    ps…i tend to stalk your blog and think you’re fantastic in every way….unlike the anonymous who thinks otherwise…..
    you really won my heart over with all those days and nights in the hospital with your little firecracker….just saying 🙂

  • living eventfully - LOVE THIS.

  • Margo - I am so very very happy for you!!!!

  • rachel - Hooray! Beyond exciting! I love the seatbelt around the dossier – totally something I would do! 🙂 We are aaaalmost done with our home study documents. Continuing to pray for your journey!

  • Kelli - Huge congratulations! Thank you for taking us on this journey with you!

  • Heather Mattos - eeeeek! thrilling 🙂

  • Amy D - Yea, Ashley! SO exciting! I had a hard time sending off such precious papers too, but then I had to remind myself (several times) that God brought us this far, and he wouldn’t drop us now! Praying for His hand and His favor to be upon your papers! LOVE all the photos and the tape! 🙂

  • Carolyn - How Exciting! This child is so very blessed and he/she doesn’t even know it yet!! One step closer!

  • Janice - !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t have kids. Don’t want kids. Don’t really get why anyone would! But I am tingling right now after reading your exciting news you’ve been so anxious for. Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!! One step closer.

  • Stephanie - I’m so happy for you all!!! I’ve got goosebumps after reading this. LOL!

  • rachel - congratulations! I’m very happy for your family.

  • joy faber - hooray! Father, continue to grant favor to the campbells as they image you to all who are watching – especially their 5 children.

  • Kathie - YAY!! So exciting!! I would have strapped it in nice and tight too!! Right now I am waiting for my next appointment with my OB for a check up on the two little ones growing in my tummy and I understand the excitment to get just that much closer to seeing your little one for the first time!! Good Luck with everything!! God always has a plan and they happen at just the right time even if we don’t think it is the right time!!

  • Jessica - I am so excited, I am shedding tears of joy for you!

  • Linden - Is her name going to be Miss Tinkles Poopsalot?? Better not let your kids… or husband for that matter…. choose her name;) I am so excited for your family Ashley! Big hug.

  • Kassie - Yayy!!!! That’s so exciting! I hope everything moves along quickly! 🙂

  • Sara Torbett - I am so excited for your family! Praying things go great and very smoothly!

  • Julie - I love this.
    I am praying over this.
    I love your special tape on this.
    I love your mama’s heart for your beautiful daughter.

    Hurry safely sweet dossier!

  • Melissa - Such great news! Love all these photos! I can’t help but think that one day in the near future…you’ll be showing these photos to your little one….such a exciting times! I’m very VERY happy for you and your Family. 🙂

  • Elizabeth Highsmith - my cup runs over with joy for you!!! His presence is always felt here-the love-the giving back-the beauty-the creativity! Thankful for our heavenly Father who pours into lives and overflows His blessings for all the world to see. So glad you’re His! Can’t wait for that baby to be a regular feature!

  • Jen - Oh what wonderful news! So happy for you all!! Praying that things go quickly & smoothly! 🙂

  • Lemonade Makin Mama - Oh happy moment!! What a sweet Happy New Year present… I think I keep saying this, but I’m so happy I found you! Loving your sweet heart.

    Big blessings ahead!

  • able mabel - Oh how exciting! I love that you documented it with pictures. How special for all of you!

  • Peggy Annan - Traveling this with you through your blog has been exciting and a foretaste of what is coming to our family as well. We are with you as you wait for what (or should I say, who)comes next.

  • Katrina - Congrats Ashley! What a perfect ending for the year: a new beginning for the lucky little one that will join your family soon.

  • Nicole - AWESOME blog entry! Can’t wait to see some pictures when that sweet baby arrives!

  • andy - Nice. Exciting. So happy for you guys. Love it all.

  • Kelly - waaaahhh!!! Yea! so exciting! I’m so happy for you all. Kelly

  • Julia Quickfall - So incredibly happy for you guys. Can’t wait to get more updates.

  • Alissa - YAY!! So exciting!!

  • Jeannette - Yeah!!! So exciting!!!

  • Julie J. - YAY, YAY, YAY!!!!!! So excited for your family. That is a huge step and you described it perfectly. 🙂 I am personally looking forward to celebrating my 30th birthday (in March) by mailing our dossier to China. Can’t wait!!

  • Yin Yee - Dear Ashley,
    It is time to see you all. Your number 5 is coming. Please stop by HK.
    Happy New Year!
    Yin Yee

  • Katrina - Hi Ashley.I am thrilled for your family. This must be such a relieve to finally get this form! I read your blog every day and I really enjoy reading about your families adoption journey as it is happening. Thank you for sharing this personal experience with us, even though you dont know us. Im just wondering if i have missed something along the way. Alot of people refer to your new child that is joining you soon as a girl. Do you know what the gender is already or are people just referring to them as a girl?

  • Katie - Oooh! Best wishes!

  • Julie - thank you so much for sharing you adoption journey. each time you post progress notes, I am reminded of my own journey and the miracle that God brought to my life, with love from Kazakhstan. reading your post today, I can close my eyes and recall where I was and my emotions delivering my dossier to Fed-X … an incredible feeling … of relief, of anticipation, of exhaustion. can’t wait to hear the next bit of good news … and more important, to share the sweet joy of your beautiful little girl. God is so good and I am already anticipating the end of your story!!! Bless You Ashley!!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - OH Ashley! I am doing a happy dance for you right now! Yee Haw!

  • Laura Chavous - Its funny how fortune cookies contain so much truth. A few weeks ago I got one that said “Very often you cannot help thinking of somebody.” Of course I would get THAT cookie.
    That expression on your fortune comes from Langston Hughes’ poem: “Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams for if dreams go life is a barren field frozen with snow.”
    I named my blog “You Are My New Dream.” I didn’t know what the year would hold for us at that time. I don’t know what to think of it now…but I can’t change it because its still true.

    He or she is your new dream.

  • Lacey - This just brings tears to my eyes … I’m so happy this step has been achieved and you’re onto the next with your adoption journey. My prayers are with you!

  • Lyn - Congrats! One step further!

  • Kat - Congrats and what an absolutely beautiful post!

  • nori - AWESOME! <3

  • Shana - Wow. Just…wow. Will be so excited to hear what comes next. Thinking of you guys.

  • Julia Leinen - Wahoo!! So exciting! I’m so happy for you guys!!! I can’t wait to hear more about your journey and to finally catch a glimpse of the newest member of the family.
    We just celebrated our sixth month on the infant wait list. We are now #8 on the wait list and are praying and asking God to move mountains and allow us to get a referal before summer. The Lord just reminded me this morning to TRUST HIM. I was pleading to him for my son and then I had to smile as I felt Him reassure me that HE loves my son even more than I do and is taking care of things. Man, He’s good.
    We miss ya’ll and we miss TCABC and definitely the adoption community there.
    Can’t wait to hear more about your journey!