a washcloth lovey


I do not consider myself an optimist…I am married to one though.

I do not consider myself a pessimist, either.

The glass is not half empty or half full…it is just a glass with enough water.

I’m learning that so much of how I face life is a matter of perspective. It is a matter of how I choose to see things and where I allow my mind to dwell.

I can either see weeds.

Or I can see a bouquet of flowers with ombre violet petals.

My youngest daughter has spent basically her entire life in an orphanage. A poor orphanage. There are hard realities to her situation. Very hard truths. From others familiar with her current home, we’ve heard that each baby is given a white washcloth at night for sleeping. For those babies, the washcloths are a comfort item…a “lovey” if you will. Each morning I assume they are gathered up and washed.

I can take the hard truths I’ve learned about her life and dwell on the pain and injustice my daughter has already faced, but dwelling there does nothing. Or I can be thankful for the gift of knowing what might comfort her when we meet. I will be a stranger to her. I’ll be scary and unknown. I’ll look weird to her and sound weird and smell weird. She will be taken from her ‘home’ and placed in my arms – a stranger’s arms.Β  There will be little I can do in those first moments together. However, I’ve been given a gift. Her ‘lovey’ could have been any number of things I have no way of ever replacing. But, it is a simple white washcloth. I can get that for her. Goodness, I could fill a whole room with them if she wanted.

So, choosing to see the gift it is to know that a washcloth might provide her comfort in her early days with me…I made my very first purchase for my youngest daughter.

Who knew there are at least 10 different types of white washcloths in one store? Every price range. Every level of softness.

I picked up and felt every one. The cheapest seemed so rough. The most expensive were so fluffy and soft – surely not what she was used to cuddling. I went for a simple ‘mid-level’ washcloth. Not too rough, not too soft. Hopefully it would feel familiar.

Every glimpse into her life is a gift. Even the hard ones that make this mommy’s heart ache at the deepest levels. Every glimpse allows me to know her better, to understand her needs and to find ways to meet her where she is at now. Being able to purchase a semi-soft washcloth as my baby’s first gift is just as wonderful as the adorable first shoes I bought her big sister. In a very small way, it might help her feel and know my love.

Don’t worry…all the cute little shoes and fun etsy finds will be purchased next πŸ™‚

It is going to be so fun to blast this blog with photos of her cutie patootie face one day. FireCracker’s favorite new things to carry are pictures of her little sister. In fact, if you saw us at Target, Martha’s Health Foods, the post office or the coffee shop yesterday….you saw these pictures because my little FireCracker was sure to share them with EVERYONE that even glanced in our direction. Proud big sister – I sure think so.

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  • Harriet - What a precious post. A beautiful reminder that something that something that is so simple to us is so special to your little girl. I bet she is going to LOVE that gift. And I think that last photo is just the sweetest thing. She is already in love with her little sister! Perfect.

  • Angie - You are a wonderful mother. That picture of Firecracker looking at her sister is adorable!

  • Molly @ mixedmolly - Our son was two months old when we brought him home and we had several blankets from his previous foster home that we kept with him all the time for awhile. It was a comfort to him as he adjusted to life with us. (Firecracker looks so happy in the last picture!)

  • Whitney - So sweet…I can only imagine how much your heart wants to hold your little girl. Praying that the time goes by quickly for you…

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Oh- that last shot melts my heart! That precious big sissy, so proud of her little sis. You are such a thoughtful mama. This simple white wash cloth represents so much. So happy for you, for her, for our God that ordained this plan.

  • Lisa Johnson - I love Firecracker’s expression as she looks at her sister. I can’t wait to see that precious face!
    So much love is waiting for her. The washcloth makes me cry, but it’s a perfect first purchase πŸ™‚

  • Sarah Pratt - Many blessings to you and your sweet baby girl.

  • Momof2 - I don’t know if I have ever cried tears of joy after seeing a washcloth….but today I did!!! Thank you for sharing your journey with so many!! That is a lot of LOVE coming from Firecracker’s eyes when she looks at the picture!! Enjoy your day!!

  • Becky - that last picture is too precious for words!

  • Missy - I just love this. It’s amazing how something as simple as a white washcloth could mean so much to both of you and bring you and your sweet girl together. God is so good. Firecracker’s face looking at her sister is so precious. Can’t wait to see her face when she’s actually introducing her sister to everyone she sees. πŸ™‚

  • Danielle - Baby’s first gift… and such a sweet sweet gift it is. The last image you shared of Miss Firecracker with the photo in hand of new little sister… I just want to reach out and gently turn her little hand so I can take a peek. lol.

  • Jeannette - What a gift that you know in advance a little something that will comfort her! So excited for you!

  • Sadie - Oh my goodness. I am an emotional wreck this morning, and this just made me even more emotional. Your love is overwhelming and I love your joy for life. You seriously are one of my favorite people and I don’t even “know” you. Firecracker is absolutely precious and her love for her sister is so perfect!

  • maggie - love the washcloth you picked, it’s perfect. I am staying tuned in & can’t wait to see that baby girl~ ….loved the last photo of FC holding that picture. πŸ™‚

  • charla - Where are you running errands today? The suspense is killing me! LOL. A white washcloth seems so simple, but the love, care and thought behind it are priceless. How exciting these days are for your family!

  • Amanda R - I love being able to follow your journey, and it’s especially so much fun to see it through Firecracker’s eyes! Her face really shows a truly deep level of love and joy for her baby sister! And thank you for sharing this personal journey step by step, it’s incredibly inspirational.

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - That is a proud big sister! I am a glass half full! I love looking for the happy in everything!

  • jenny - what a sweet post and precious moment to be able to buy something so simple, yet so special for your daughter. such exciting times! πŸ™‚

  • Susan - That last photo is just packed with happiness. Love it. I can’t wait to see the FRONT side of that photo. God bless all of you!

  • amber - I cannot wait to see you meet your girl for the first time. Thank you, thank you for sharing all of this with us. You guys are walking out such a wonderful adventure & I’m so glad to be a bystander watching:). Btw- I’m married to an optimist too. Most days I love that…most days. lol

  • Anna Joy - I love this journey the Lord is taking you on. Although it is hard, so hard, waiting for her to come home, I know this inbetween time the Lord is molding you, shaping you, teaching you, everything you need to know to be her mama. This journey is incredible to watch and I am praying feverantly that Baby Girl will be home soon.

  • Stephanie - Firecracker is such a sweetheart!! I absolutely love the picture of her holding the pic of her baby sister. Can’t wait to “meet” your other baby girl. πŸ™‚

  • Molly - I am so excited for your little one and your family! You will certainly be able to meet her needs!! She has no idea the love that is coming her way! Oh I can’t wait to watch it unfold on your blog!! So heartwarming.

  • Aja - How precious. I can’t wait to see her and hear all about her! Sweet little baby. And what a proud big sister! Your youngest daughter will have no lack of love when she finally makes her way home to her family.

  • Heather - Awesome! Thank you for your perspective and congratulations!

  • rachel - I have tears and a big lump in my throat. It’s not the same, but my daughters were born two months early. I wasn’t strong enough to see them for two days and they were not healthy enough to be held for several days. My heart ached to do all the things the other new mothers were doing, bathing their children, cuddling them, nursing them, touching them …
    Their genders were a surprise to us so I had very little clothing for them and nothing girly. As soon as I could I got to the store, purchased a bunch of tiny preemie hats (it was all they could wear) and rushed back to the hospital to β€œdress” them. As simple as it was, like a white wash cloth, it made me feel like a mother to be able to give my child something, to be able to dress them in something. I hoped with all my heart through the little hats that they would feel my love and my desire to be near them even when I could not hold and cuddle them whenever I wanted to.
    I cannot wait until your daughter comes home to you!

  • Jenny Joy - That picture of Firecracker? That look on her face? PURE JOY. I cannot wait to see pictures of how excited she is when her little sister is actually right there in front of her! *squeal*

  • heather - i LOVE that you’re allowing us to come on this journey with you and your family. xo

  • Kimber-Leigh - this post has brought tears to my eyes. i think this first gift for your newest little one is precious and perfect. what a wonderful family God has chosen for her…

    and i love your perspective: it is just a glass with enough water. reminds me that He gives us exactly what we need. when we need it. for His purpose.

  • Raeanne - so delicious. thank you for the good words on perspective. I’m so happy for your daughter – she is blessed to have you as her future mommy!!

  • Amber McGinnis - Tears. Joyful tears for you and your family and your new baby girl.

  • Ashley - SO Absolutely Precious!
    I’m so thrilled for y’all, and can not wait to see the rest of God’s plan play out! Praying for you!

  • Emily - Thank you for sharing this with us. Such a nice reminder that the smallest things can make the biggest difference. What a lucky family you all are!

  • Taylor - I cannot wait until we get to “meet” this sweet little one through you! You are so close to getting to hold her in your arms πŸ™‚ I am so happy for you all! This little girl with be coming into a family of so much happiness and love!

  • Jane Marie - Oh my goodness, I can hardly stand it – This post is sooo sweet and beautiful and touching. I’m really touched and oh-so happy for you. I love that picture of your youngest daughter beaming with pride and joy at her new little sister. πŸ™‚ Heart smiles! πŸ™‚

  • Heather - I love this post. I love big sister already loving her little sister. I love that God loves us so much that He gives us good gifts, and in turn we can give good gifts to others. I love that a white washcloth can be a good gift, one filled with a mother’s love and a heart for her child. Thank you for sharing this. Blessings!

  • Chelsea in MO - Thank you for sharing this story Ashley. The way you tell each of these stories about your new little one… I am just completely captivated. Such a simple but beautiful moment that you’ve captured and the emotions I can feel coming through your words. I am so excited for your family, it’s a very special time indeed! Have a good day!

  • Kimberly - I love your words in this post! I think it’s GREAT FireCracker is carrying around her photo. Can’t wait to see her πŸ™‚

  • Tasha B. - First, I LOVE reading about the adoption process on your blog. It is helpful to see someone going through it in real-time. We might adopt someday (though probably in the US), and I feel like this is helping ‘ease me into it’. Also, is that a map hanging in your stair way and wood steps? Me thinky you need to share this space! Is it done!? I’m swooning already!

  • Clarissa - Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! I got a little teary when I read the part about Firecracker and the pictures of ehr sister. So precious!

  • Elise - Oh my word…I love that last picture!! Can’t wait to “meet” your other daughter!!

  • Jenny B. - Precious. I can’t wait to see pictures of her sweet face in your home! One of my first grader’s families just got their referral this week for a little brother and sister in Africa that they’ve been waiting on for a really long time. I can’t wait to see their sweet faces too! P.S. Is that a big old wall map I spy behind Firecracker in the stair landing? πŸ˜€

  • Khristi - oh my goodness, so sad & sweet at the same time. can’t wait to see her!

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis - Thank you for sharing this with your blog friends and family Ashley. It is such a blessing for others to walk through this adoption journey w/ y’all, for a number of people you will never even know. I have had the honor and privilege of being allowed to be apart of this same journey with friends, before our own. And it is impossible to walk away from it without being moved and hopefully transformed. God bless that baby girl!

  • tracy a - love the last picture ashley. oh the joy! and her first gift…like you said, heartbreaking and exciting all at the same time. what a journey you guys are on! thanks for including us all.

  • Joy - What a priceless gift for your littlest! What a precious gift for her mama! Love these glimpses of Gods goodness to you in this walk.

  • Ti Madame - Lovely and thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  • Andrea - I am crying thinking of those sweet babies with just a wash cloth to comfort them. . . I hope you can bring home your baby daughter soon!

  • ella @ lifeologia - Beautiful words… you’re already thinking of those little things that will mean the world for her πŸ˜‰ Beautiful…. xoxo

  • Amy D - Love your perspective, Ashley, and your first purchase for your baby girl! And that proud Big Sissy, ohmigoodness!!!

  • Kassie - So wonderful. My heart is bursting with excitement for you and your family!

  • Jen - Aaaahhh-that’s so sweet. Someone is trying to treat your baby like their baby. Towels are a common lovey in China. We found all kinds of tea towel sized towels with cartoons and childrens prints on them in stores. Many a Chinese girl has travelled home with one hanging out of their mouth-lol.

    Try not to drive yourself too crazy with the information overload. It can be very challenging. I don’t regret having spent time on finding the best medical care in advance so I didn’t have to think once I was home. But I drove myself and my family crazy for things that have not come to be.

    I’ll pray that God opens your girl’s heart so that she finds comfort in your arms and home.

  • cj - wow, that picture of your eldest daughter and the washcloth brought tears to my eyes. i hope you get to bring your precious little baby home soon.

  • Christie - Love this post! I agree–I can be a bit of both, it just depends on the moment and how I look at it! Good perspective! That picture is so precious at the end! LOVE it!

  • Seamingly Sarah - That is so sweet. I know it didn’t feel real when I was pregnant with my first child until I bought her an outfit all by myself.

  • al - so cool! we’re waiting on our little boy from uganda! thank you for your words.

  • Allison - love

  • NanaDoll - that post and the photos are absolutely precious. i love the anticipation you have and the opportunity to love her in advance of meeting her face to face. how wonderful. and thank you so much for allowing me into your world as you go through this journey. blessings to you and your family!

  • Barbara - So sweet! I have a children’s book suggestion for you from my days as a Head Start teacher in New York. I was working in Chinatown and had had a hard time finding books with Asian children as main characters and I found The Squiggle and loved it. I think you can still find it on Amazon: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wV%2Bni7OTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

  • Christina - Wish I had better words to describe how much I love reading your posts!

  • angie - this post touched me so much I had to read parts aloud to my husband. May you find comforting in knowing she is being held in His arms in all the circumstances she finds herself. This verse has helped me so much in all the unknown circumstances of life. I hope you don’t mind my sharing. “In nothing (!) be anxious, but in everything, through all prayer and petition, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus.”

  • Cathy - Thank you so much for sharing your journey with the world. My daughter’s lovey are the burp cloths we used with her when she was a wee one. We had a few different colors and patterned ones but her favorites are the white ones. You picked a wonderful gift for your girl and I’m sure she is going to love it to pieces. (literally! hehe.)

  • Brooke - Ashley, I read your blog often and love each post but this one really touched me. I sat and cried yesterday evening as I thought about your sweet baby girl and her “lovey” over in China. I shared your post with my husband and we just sat in the moment for a while and cried. Then we sat and prayed for the sweet babies not with their families yet, for the sweet babies who don’t have families yet, for some families we know who are fostering babies here and for what God might be doing in our hearts with adoption or foster care. Then we went and just looked at our 10 month old baby girl sleeping safe and comfortable with her “lovey” in her crib in our home and we were thankful. Anyway, I just wanted you to know what your blog was a part of last night. Thankful for you and your wonderful, funny, challenging, beautiful blog! You may not have time to respond to this question (which I totally understand) but do you know of ways to get involved with these sweet little ones in China? Is there an organization where we could send things these babies need? Again, thanks for your words and pictures posted!

  • tara pollard pakosta - how CUTE~!
    that last picture of her with her rain boots giggling at the picture, priceless!

  • Sarah Downs - Ashley, I have very much enjoyed reading about your adoption journey. Today, on NPR, I heard a story that I just had to share with you. It is about a mom who was enduring the torturous wait to get the call that she could go get her baby girl in Ethiopia, and how a Brandi Carlile song became her theme song. If you haven’t already heard this story, I hope you enjoy it and find some comfort in the song. http://www.npr.org/2012/03/08/148227667/winter-songs-a-family-in-limbo-looks-to-brandi-carlile

  • Belle - Sheesh, Ashley, way to make a pregnant lady cry!

    What a beautiful post! I’ve been lucky enough visit China a few times when I lived in its neighbor to the north, Mongolia. I’ve seen first hand the poverty that many of its people live in. It is truly an amazing and brave thing that you and your family are doing.

  • Bethany - This is so sweet! And so perfect! Bless you!

  • Kelly Hosch - What an amazing and sweet moment and memories in the making! I couldn’t hold back my tears while reading.

  • Megan Arnold - So sweet!

  • Trina - I’m a little behind on reading my Google reader but I look forward to each and every one of your posts. Your beautiful heart overflows into each picture and word (even when you’re having an “off” day).

    I can’t tell you how reading this post made me smile especially on a day that was filled with “Ugh”.

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  • Alicia - We are waiting on PA for our son. I have never heard about the washcloths, and am not sure if it is the same at his orphanage. But I did just purchase two loveys for him. I am sending one to him soon, and will bring one when we go pick him up. I hope that it becomes his familiar, and that it brings him comfort. I also hope it will help him to know that we love him…