JOY {we are DTC}

My sister posted a picture of a print she made on Instagram a little while back. I left a comment asking for a copy…big sisters can do that. The sentiment of the print and colors were just perfect to me. I picked it up from her on Saturday and immediately hung it on the wall. Yesterday, she had a grand opening for her new etsy shop. I am so excited for her (and me…I’m sure I’ll be requesting more prints!) She is having a giveaway right now, you should go enter!

(the JOY poster is from Recipe For Crazy, the Think About poster was SWAG from Craft Weekend by Jones Design Company)

Joy. To me there is a big difference in having joy and being happy. Last week, Chinese New Year came to a close. Our dossier (adoption paperwork) had been delayed several weeks due to the normal new year and then again for Chinese New Year. There is joy in the wait, but I was not happy about the wait. I emailed our great agency last Monday to confirm that our dossier would be in the mail.

Well, Monday came to a close….no dossier mailed.

Then Tuesday came to a close…no dossier mailed. As we went to bed I told Chris, “tomorrow is going to be a big day!”

Wednesday came. Chris’ precious grandma unexpectedly passed away. We were shocked and grieved. Our deep loss was heaven’s gain. Joyful, but not happy. She will be greatly missed by so many. Shortly after that phone call, we got another call that a close family member was laid off. Wednesday was a big day, but not the type we had hoped for…and no dossier mailed.

Thursday came….checked email every five minutes….no dossier mailed. I sent another email late at night to check in on things.

Friday came….check email all morning. Gathered with Chris’ family to celebrate and remember his grandma. Arriving at the church, I got an email from our agency. No dossier mailed, will work on it Monday. Friday was not a happy day. Joy was present, nonetheless.

Saturday…obviously no email, no dossier mailed.

Sunday…woke after having a nightmare that our dossier was lost.

Monday arrived. Yesterday. I had made up my mind to wait until 1:00pm to call…so as not to be annoying. Then I changed it to 10:00am. Then 9:45am.

I did my best to keep busy. Every time my phone ‘dinged’ for a new email I would run to my phone hoping it was ‘the email’. It was not. I distracted myself with my camera and kids.


She is teaching them the basics of diy projects. I am so proud.

And now she is taking a picture with a mini picture. I have no idea where she learns this stuff.

Hey bud, will you make some crazy faces to help me pass time until my self-imposed deadline for calling.

An exact representation of how I was feeling.

And then I did call





And not too long later the email came…we were DTC (dossier to China)!!!!

I splurged on my favorite cookies to celebrate.

I had to fight Batman for them. I won. Batman needs to gain a few inches before the victory and cookies are his.

Yesterday was a happy day. A very happy day. If our dossier had not been mailed, joy would have still been present. I kind of think circumstances don’t change true joy, because the deep real kind of joy is above circumstances. But, I am so thankful to say yesterday was full of joy and happiness! I AM SO EXCITED to finally have paperwork in another country to bring my Little One home.

So, what is our next step? We wait to hear that we are “LID” or logged in…this is basically where China just verifies that they have received our paperwork.

I know there are some of you really interested in what the process looks like, so for those of you wanting more information here it is. There are several ways to adopt from China. We are going the Special Needs (SN) route and our agency will be matching us to a child. Once a month China releases what is called the “Shared List’. This is a list given to agencies that has basic information on all the kids available for adoption through any agency at that time. Our agency will not match us to our Little One (give us a referral) until we are LID (logged in). So at this point, we are hoping to be LID before the February Shared List is released…and ultimately hoping we will receive our referral this month. That is our heart’s desire, but ultimately if that does not happen it just means my Little One isn’t on the list yet (or something else that will make sense one day!)


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  • Amanda - CONGRATULATIONS! I love following your story of life, family, photography, and craftiness…Praying for your little one in China that she would feel so loved today because you are one step closer to bringing her home.

  • kari signe - YAY!!! I am so excited for you and your family. I think it is wonderful that you are adopting from China and love hearding about the process. I remember when my parents when through the process for my brother from South Korea. So much waiting then everything seemed to happen so fast.

  • Lisa Johnson - Hooray!

  • Heather - Congrats! ..and great post on joy. The difference between joy and happiness was the subject of an e-mail I sent just last night, and seems to be my theme of the week. God must be trying to get my attention πŸ™‚ Blessings!

  • Molly @ mixedmolly - What an exciting day! Can’t wait to see your new little one.

  • Maria - You have a beautiful family! Congrats to you , the future awaits!

  • Michelle - yay!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rachel C - What a wait! Any wait after this one will seem like nothing. Glad you are DTC. Looking forward to
    LID. Bring on that referral! Cannot WAIT (no pun intended) for pictures!!!!!

  • Julia - So, so, so thrilled for you! You never forget your DTC dates! Mine were August 12, 1997 (my daughter was born 2 days later), and November 20, 2000 (my second daughter was 3 months old at the time). πŸ™‚

  • sarah - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! so, so, SOOOO exciting!!!!

  • Julie @ PushingTwigs - Yay!! I’ll bet you’re relieved that it got to China without getting lost…

    Hope you get some good news soon…

  • Angela - Yahoo! Congratulation! That is such great news. πŸ™‚

  • amanda torres - You are so right circumstances don’t determine our joy, but our joy often changes our outlook on circumstances. Congrats to you all! So exciting!!!

  • april - CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I *have* to know where you got that joy print! My husband and I are currently adopting (and got a sliver of great news yesterday, too!!) and my word I’m clinging to during the process is JOY!! πŸ™‚

  • Emily Morrice - One of my favorite posts you’ve written πŸ™‚

  • SamYeh - YAY!!! Congrats!

  • Rebecca - This is wonderful news. Congratulations and thank you for sharing.

  • anna joy - So sorry for your loss but so joyful for your dtc. And I love lesleys poster. Looking for a pretty frame to put mine in. πŸ™‚

  • Steph - WOOOOO!!! YESSSSSSSSSS!! Congratulations! I love, totally adore and love how you’re celebrating every step with your kids. This child is already a part of your life and theirs, its just so loving of you. So happy for you and your family and your little one in China waiting for you (patiently, blissfully unaware, unlike you’re feeling haha).

  • lindsey - I’M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!! The day is finally here after much waiting! I will be praying that this next phase goes more quickly and smoothly than you could ever imagine.

  • Amanda - Ashley, your stories are always so heart felt… and you kids are sooo stinkin’ cute! Condolences for the loss of Grandma — she will help the Lord find your child in China. πŸ™‚

  • Erin - “… (or something else that will make sense one day!)”

    Amen! Thanks for the reminder of joy in every circumstances and in the Providence of our great God.

    Still waiting too!

  • Katie Goodson - That is so exciting Ashley!!! And thanks for the reminder about joy despite circumstances! πŸ™‚

  • kelly - SO excited for all of you to be one step closer. Praying for your little one everyday.

  • Debra Leluga - So sorry for your loss, BUT yay for DTC!!! =)

  • amy jupin - happy.

  • Tiah - I don’t think I could take all that waiting. Eek! Congratulations!

  • Lacey - Congratulations! I love your comment that your Little One isn’t on the list yet” because God’s timing is really so perfect!

  • jenny - YAY! I am so excited for your family!
    The joy of the Lord is our strength….stay strong! πŸ™‚

  • cailan - Wonderful. And thanks for the reminder about JOY.

  • Jenni - Congratulations!!:) I’ll be praying for you all!:) So exciting!!

  • tara - hooray! that’s awesome. and i LOVE that print!

  • Jamie - First of all CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!! Yay!!! DTC!DTC!DTC!
    How very exciting!
    Secondly, no one should ever underestimate the ability for JOY to fill all voids…even in the saddest, most difficult of times if you allow joy to reign in your heart it is there…even in darkness.

    Congratulations to your family, all 7 of you! πŸ™‚

  • Aja - YAY!!! DTC!!!! SO excited for you- one step closer to your sweet little one!
    And great post, by the way. JOY.

  • Elaine - Hooray!!!! That is so awesome!!! And I must say, you have a really cute batman. Also, thanks for letting us know about your sister’s etsy shop. I’m shopping around for art for our nursery. (5th kid and first time I’m actually decorating a nursery. Sad isn’t it. haha)Well, that Joy print is perfect!!! On my way to her shop now!

  • Tela - yay! that’s so exciting!

  • Kendra - those are my favorite cookies too. i once cried in the store because i wanted to buy them, but was on a diet and didn’t do it. i live in the bay area now, and can’t find them anywhere. i need to get back to ohio soon and stock up.

  • Allison - Great post – I felt like we were right there with you. Sorry about Chris’ grandma. And Congrats on the DTC! That is such a perfect picture of how life can be sometimes….one step forward, a couple back…..then forward again. Prayers for your continued forward motion!

  • Cheryl G. - Yay for DTC!
    Sorry to hear about husbands grandma and other sad news.
    So good to be reminded about Joy.

  • ella @ lifeologia - HOW EXCITING! CONGRATS ;D
    – love the pics of your daughter with the magazine! πŸ˜‰ xo

  • Trina - Small victories! I’m so excited for you all!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh Ashley.

    I am so very sorry for your family’s loss. You will be in my prayers. I will also be praying for the family member who has lost their job. Brian is still looking (it will be 1 year in April) so I know how hard that can be.

    At the same time, I rejoice with you! DTC!

    Hugs to you dear friend!

  • giozi - A hug to Chris for his loss.

    I’m glad, moreover, that and your record is on the way and thanks for sharing every step you take and you approach your dream.

    Your children gorgeous as ever, but now I’ve gone directly to view your cookies, which are looking good, phew my bad I’m really baking. So jealous!

  • Georgia - YAAAY! So excited for you. Fingers crossed and praying for a referral soon!

  • amber - So happy for you guys. So glad you find joy on all days. Thanks for sharing this process with us. Makes me excited/anxious for our future. Sigh…

  • Andy - yeah for you guy. DTC! sorry for you loss. i imagine her meeting my great aunt who just recently passed in heaving, i’m sure they are dancing. πŸ™‚

  • Liz - Wonderful news Ashley! I love being able to read about your adoption story on your blog. Your baby will be here before you know it. I’m sure it feels like forever though.

  • Kimberly - AWESOME News!! Praying that will get word about your little one very soon =)

  • Anne - Congrats! All of the crazy letters in adoption are so exciting when you are in the process! We brought home our little guy from China with CL/CP last June. It was amazing! Praying for your joy in the crazy waves of adoption news and will be following your journey.

  • Amy F - Oh, the waiting for emails of adoption news… I know it too well right now! Glad to hear I am not the only who watches email like a hawk! :). I’m also figuring out the joy and happiness thing during this waiting. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp has helped me so much in this area.

    More importantly, YEA for DTC! That’s so wonderful, amazing that you could already be getting a referral! Have a sweet celebration!

  • Melissa - YAY!! super exciting news!! πŸ™‚

  • Lisa M. - Wonderful to hear! I’m sure the wait was hard, but now you know it’s on its way!

  • Stacey - So happy for you being DTC, and very sorry for your recent losses. Fingers crossed for the February list. πŸ™‚

  • ria - Yay! Congrats to your sweet family.

  • Mandi - Congratulations! Waiting is so often the hardest part. Glad that your wait time is decreasing bit by bit.

  • Corrie Anne - Congratulations!! What wonderful news!! πŸ™‚

  • Pip - What a joyous day! I can’t wait to read the “She/He’s arrived!” post!

  • Ko - So thrilled for you! Once again beautiful pictures to go with a beautiful story. We are at the very beginning of our adoption journey and your blog has been such a source of encouragement πŸ™‚
    Blessings to your sweet family!

  • Shannon Phillips - YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! Such wonderful news my friend. So very happy that you are one step closer.

  • Courtney - Congrats and LOVE your blog! Can you share the recipe for those cookies? They look delicious πŸ™‚

  • Elizabeth - CONGRATULATIONS!! that is GREAT news!! i love reading about the heart you have for “your” little one a world away. you’re one step closer…
    and YAY for your sister! her work is lovely; so talented you are.

  • meg duerksen - so happy and JOYful for you!!!

  • Jenny B. - I am so sorry about Chris’s grandma. πŸ™ Congratulations on being DTC, though! One step closer! Did you know there was a small earthquake in OK today? Our weatherman just said it happened at 10:29 AM. Maybe it was caused by your phone vibrating with that important email! πŸ˜‰

  • Carmen - Yipee!!! Thanks for sharing this exciting news. I love hearing about your journey with the adoption and your journey in life. It makes me feel human, and understood, and inspired. thank you!

  • Kimberlee Jost - Praise and prayers of thanks over here!

  • amanda mc - Congratulations!!! It’s been so fun to watch this process unfold for you guys!

  • Kim - CONGRATS!!!! I know your excitement….we also celebrated each step closer! Soon you will have a picture of your little one and then the wait gets really tough but before you know it you will be holding your little precious in your arms. I look forward to following your journey.

    BTW…we also used Dillon for our first adoption….LOVE THEM…they are a great group of people to work with!

    Have a great Wednesday!

  • RobyGiup - So happy for you!!!!! πŸ™‚

  • Kara M - Referral this month! Oh, that would be awesome!! I hope the anticipation doesn’t kill you. I would have to remind myself daily to breath in and out. I made a rule for myself today that I cannot read news articles about adoption. They make me too anxious and we haven’t even applied yet!

  • Stephanie - New reader here so congrats on the dtc! Your kids are adorable!

  • Jeni - Congrats! So happy that soon you will have your little one in your arms!

  • Jolie - methinks DTC = due to celebrate!! A big wahoo from here for the next step!

  • Terrye - Followed a link from Pinterest and found your blog. We were DTC April 2005, and we had our Chinese daughter placed in our arms March 2006.

  • Shea Ritchie - I have been eagerly awaiting this news with you (not as much as you I am sure!!) I’m so excited for you and your family! What a blessing you will be to that little one :)Praise God!

  • beth cupitt - congratulations! that’s a huge step!!!

  • Johanna - YEAH!! Congrats to you all!!!

  • Kelsey - Congrats! I loved this post. I can always use a reminder about the difference between everlasting joy and temporal happiness.
    I thought you might like to hear about this non-profit organization that helps families raise money for adoption called Both Hands ( I know the man who started the organization (they have an adopted daughter). They help families raise the funds by creating a sponsorship-type event (I will play golf, and you will sponsor me). However, instead of doing something like golfing or biking, they receive sponsorships to work on a widow’s home. Both Hands: One for the Widow, One for the Orphan.

  • Joy Andrews - Very excited for you all! God is good and gracious!

  • allison - amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we just got our referral for our little boy from uganda!!!!! rejoicing with you guys!

  • Eva Scott - Super excited for you! Congrats!!

  • lauren - Just needed to tell you that I am so happy for your family… my heart is full!!!

  • Amy - How exciting!! Its been my desire to adopt from China for a long time. I heard about your blog from a friend and am eager to read the rest of your adoption story as you go through the process. Thank you so much for sharing it with us! Praying for you and your family and for your little on in China. πŸ™‚

  • Harriet - Wonderful news! So excited for you and praying for a quick process! The Lords timing is perfect, I sometimes have to remind myself of that. Praying for you and your family in the waiting! x

  • Kelli - I love that there a levels and different types of joy. I am excited that there can be joy in tradgity. AND I am beyond thrilled with the tears of joy that this news brought me. We dealt with the tradgic type of joy the past two weeks. Returning to my blog boards, what great news!!

  • Valerie - Fantastic. As a mom of a child from an international adoption, you are bring up so many memories of intense joy and unbearable longing. Hang in there, at the end there is a child, your baby waiting for you.
    If I may be so bold, never feel like you are a nuisance, you fight now and always to bring that baby home as soon as possible, because no one is fighting for her but you.

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