opposite sides of the world

This is how I am feeling these day: beauty surrounding me, but when I close my eyes I’m in an orphanage in China…and my heart hurts.

We are on day 24 of waiting for our Letter of Acceptance, the document that says we are approved to adopt the one I already claim as my own. We were told the typical wait is 30-90 days. Most seem to fall in the 70 day range, while some go over 100 days. We have 4 pictures of our girl, all taken at the same time. I know every little detail on each picture. I’ve examined and re-examined them. I’ve done google searches on every piece of info I know about her and where she is at now. I am becoming quite skilled at Google Translate and Baidu.com

When we received her referral (the 4 pictures and basic information on her), I began reading the dates listed throughout the document. We have no real idea what her life has been like, only little clues. Over the weekend, I began looking back at our pictures to see what was happening here…while she was there. We were just going about life. As a mom, it is very strange to look back at significant days in her life and see how totally unaware I was…and yet so aware.

The photo below is the only one we have from the day of her birth (well, the day chosen as her DOB). We were visiting family out of state. I took hundreds of pictures during our visit, but only one on that day. Just a picture of the grass & river.

The next day I would sit on that rock on the bank and write in her journal:

“…It breaks my heart to know the loss you will face so early on in your life…I am so sorry that your story will include pain and questions. However, you are my little one. You and your story are being created by a loving God who is making a masterpiece.  I know I won’t understand all that you will face, but I hope you know my love is deep and consuming for you. Next time I come to this river – you and I will sit on this rock together….”

The next day while we were hiking as a family, our Little One was most likely with her birth family…two moms on completely opposite sides of the globe, forever united by the beauty that is a little girl we will both know as our daughter.

A few days passed and a little baby, our daughter, was found abandoned and taken the county orphanage. While she, in all her newborn glory, was being placed under the care of several women, I was up all night finishing required adoption training on the long drive home. On one side of the globe, a newborn cried and began her life in the only home she has really ever known – an orphanage. On the other side of the globe – I was doing everything I could, as fast as I could…to find her and bring her home.

A few weeks later, she had some immunizations done….a world away her big sister was running through the yard in total bliss.

A while later…she got more immunizations….and her brother played soccer in the backyard.

And on my birthday, while we were playing and resting hard here….she got more shots.

And then one day while her big brother and sister were playing on my bed, she had a check up done, but it wasn’t just shots this time. This time she had a full work up. And pictures taken. And someone compiled all of her information into a document that would later land in my inbox with her name as the subject line.

And you know what…one of the pictures she all by herself sitting in a little chair in front of a fake green park background.

A baby girl sitting in a single chair on the other side of the world. I think I know just the place for her.

I’m linking up this post to this week’s Found: a photography challenge on Beautifully Rooted.
This week I found Him in the unseen…in the ways He is knitting together my family.

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  • Jo - Thank you so much for sharing your adoption journey with us. Every time I read a new blog post I cry a little. You are so gifted in the way you blog; your emotion and love and heartbreak come across so clearly in your words and images. I so look forward to reading about how your little one is folded into the loving arms of your family to find herself at home.

  • Aneta Kudasik - What a touching post. I really get tear eyed when I read your adoption process. You inspire me in everything you do for your family. You are a great person. I read your blog everyday! Can’t wait to see your new little girl! God Bless from Canada.

  • giozi - The comparison you made me a bit sad, because of course we see your children happy, as are mine and all, and I often forget the other people, you’ve done that are on my mind and think that while we are good so many people suffer.
    Thank God and his mercy this beautiful girl and suddenly you have and your whole family. May God bless you Ashley, your little and fill it with blessings and wisdom

  • Mareen - This post is beautiful, Ashley. This little girls on the other side of the globe is lucky that you will be… actually scratch that… she is lucky you are her mommy. In all those posts you wrote about her, i can read that you already love her so much even though you have never been holding her in your arms in person (I am kind of sure you did in your dreams).
    I am keeping my fingers crossed that this letter of acceptance will be there soon and you will be able to hold her in your arms and bring her home to her family as soon as possible.
    Sending you some love from half way around the globe.

  • Gina - I love reading about how your story unfolds. Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

  • hannah singer - praise jesus. praying that she can fill that sweet chair super soon!


  • Melissa West - You have a beautiful way of sharing your story and I love following along. That last line brought tears to my eyes.


  • lindsey - I love following this journey your family is on! Every day when i open the blog I am always hoping to see that you received some news! I’m so happy for this little girl that she gets you as a mom!

  • Jessica/littlepumpkingrace - What a beautiful post, Ashley! I know she will treasure reading this one day. Praying for a speedy Letter of Acceptance! Sweet baby girl needs to come home to her forever family…and soon! God bless!

  • Anna Joy - Praying “soon” for you! Can’t wait to see her sitting in her chair!

  • Andrea - This is a beautiful post. Praying she comes home to you very soon.

  • Jessica - Oh Ashley, I am all choked up. I’ve been reading your blog daily for years but this might be my first time commenting. My heart aches for you and your little one, and it aches because God has placed the same desire in my heart and I hope one day to follow in your footsteps. I know it must hurt that you can’t be with her now, but you WILL be with her for so many of her firsts, her birthdays, graduations, and the rest of her life. And she is a very, very blessed baby to have you as her Mama.

  • courtney - This is so beautiful!

  • Heather - It’s hard to put into words how your story moves me. Praying your little one sits in that chair real soon.

  • Renae R - Somehow I knew that when you first posted the photo of the empty chair that this was going to really mean something…I got goose bumps when I read your post this morning. And I cried. When your little girl comes home to you I might just drive down to OK and be among the throngs to see it! 🙂 Just kidding. But honestly, the Lord is smiling on your growing family and I know He is taking care of her. Making her ready for you. I pray, with everyone else, that she comes home to you very soon. What a blessing that day will be! Hugs, Renae

  • Abigail C - This child is going to feel extremely loved when she arrives.

  • Tina - Ashley my heart broke with yours reading through this. I’ve pictured that room that she’s in, as described by your friend a while back over & over now. The beds; the babies; heart-wrenching.
    I pray she remembers very little of her pain & loneliness. I pray almost all of her questions are met with Peace that passes understanding & any feeling of rejection will be met with a deeply-rooted knowledge of God’s love, from which NOTHING can separate us. Your heart is so precious. She’s going to be WILDLY treasured & celebrated!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Wow Ashley- such a beautiful post. That is wonderful that you have woven your timelines together. As I have mentioned before here, we are on our own adoption journey and I am just floored by God’s tenderness towards us and our child. Our faith increases as we see His bigness- His care and plan for us and our child. Adoption really has a way of reminding us that we have no control, doesn’t it? I just had to stop and pray for my faith to match this journey.

  • paige - Oh my, I’m crying. God had the perfect timing. Patience to wait for him is challenging. What joy you will have on that day very soon when you hold her!

  • Megan - Praying for your family and new little one and a quick and safe journey to her forever home. Love your last picture… made me cry.

  • meg duerksen - i love your big heart.
    seriously….i have NEVER met anyone with such passion and INTENT for life.
    you think so deeply for others. and your family is so blessed to have you. your family is going to love that baby girl so hard she won’t know what to think! 🙂

  • Jaime A. - Ashley, I love these little updates; even if they aren’t updates at all. It just reminds us to continue our prayers for your sweet baby girl to hurry up and land in your arms (or on that beautiful empty chair).

  • Brandi - This made me cry, how awesome your love for this little one. We are all a little more blessed to share in a little piece of your happiness. God bless you and your family!

  • Liene - goosebumps ….

  • Amanda @ Click. The Good News - Such a heart warming post! I love how everything is coming full circle so perfectly & how big you have made your heart for your daughter. I adore following your joyful journey & am so excited for your family.

  • Monica from Spain - I was touched to read your post today, I hope that the days take place quickly and soon you can meet your little one. Then the days will be happy for the two.

  • ella @ lifeologia - Beautiful…… I too made a puppy sad face at the end of this post – just like firecracker in the first photo…… I do hope everything goes well from here and you meet your daughter soon 😉 xo

  • Jenni - SUCH a beautiful post. No other words – just WOW (and tears:)).

  • Sarah - Thanks for sharing your journey! I know you guys will be thrilled beyond belief, but as a loyal reader- I’m excited for you too!! Sending prayers that this will happen quickly for you!!

  • TracyDQ - this was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. I’m an adoptive mom (twice) so I know what you are going through. Hang in there! And keep writing. I sat on a rock and wished for my son the night before he was born. We revisit that rock often…. :0)

  • Erica - I know without a doubt God has a plan for her life and for your lives.

    I can’t wait for a full family photo with a new face in that empty chair!

  • Laura @ Ms Smartie Pants - God Bless you and that sweet bundle that is making it’s way to you! When I read your post you make me want to be a better person. I picked my word for the year as intentional, it’s a word that when found in the dictionary there wouldn’t be a picture next to it, it’s a purpose and way of life, for me you are that picture and I greatly thank you! I can’t wait to see your lives unfold as your precious baby joins you!

  • Heidi - What a touching way to document your wait. I’m sure it’s so hard knowing that everyday that goes by is one more day without her, without holding her, without loving on her, without sharing wth her, without playing with her. She waits for you too. She will arrive in God’s perfect timing and you will know why at that exact moment why you had to wait. I pray that the days and hours will go by fast though : )

  • Nori - Beautiful!!!!
    My prayers are with your whole family.

  • Ryan - Thanks for making me cry at work! GAH!

    We are praying so hard for this process to move quickly for you guys. I can’t even imagine how difficult the wait is, especially since you know who she is now. Hang in there. Soon she’ll be home and showered with love, affection and security!

  • Brandi - This post is just beautiful and I’m sure something your daughter will cherish forever. The picture you took of the river looks just like China to me. When we were there I was in tears walking through the willow trees because it reminded me of home. It is just one more connection God has blessed you with to your little girl. I hope your wait is short. Praying for you.

  • Nicolle S - I love how you told this story. The Little One being in your family is meant to be.

  • Caroline - This is absolutely beautiful. What a treasure this will be to her one day. I am praying that you will be holding her in your arms very soon.

  • Jenny B. - Praying for your letter to come sooner than expected, and for your little one to be safe and healthy while you wait.

  • maggie - thanks for sharing ~…thinking of you.

  • Kim - Beautifully written!! This little girl is some lucky to have found you and you to have found her!! She is gonna have a wonderful life with you guys… she already has and just doesn’t know it yet!! Thank you for sharing and cannot wait to enjoy/read the rest of the story and meet your little one!! I hope she will be in her/your home sooner than later, and being loved the way that she should be!!

  • ashlee - Seriously I was just thinking about you and your family last night and wondering where you were in the waiting. It is such a precious gift to us that you share your journey. Thank you for that!

  • Kara M - I’m praying for your family today (all over the world)! I still have the 1st picture of my nephew on my desk at work. It makes me laugh all the time, because I now know the silly little personality behind that serious face!

  • Michelle - So perfect. I love the last picture of your family ready to place her in that last chair. Know I’m praying for you as you wait and am so excited for you all to welcome her into your family.

  • Kristy - I just LOVE reading your posts! Every time I read one it reminds me of my daughter and her miracle adoption into our family! Adoption is such a special blessing! Praying for you, your family, and this precious little one that will be a blessing and also be blessed to be a part of your family! 😉 Hugs from this proud Mama!

  • Sara - Ashley,
    Your story is beautiful already! I am sure as it unfolds the beauty of restoration and redemption will grow into the most beautiful of all stories! Thank you for sharing, I will pray for a sense of closeness in your hearts as the hardest part of life is the not knowing and the waiting. Much LOVE

  • Jenny Joy - May your baby girl be home sooner than later so that she can be surrounded by your love. May she never remember the orphanage. May she always know how much you wanted her before she was even born. And may she always feel blessed beyond measure… because she is.

  • Elizabeth Beattie - Wow. I have no words. That was just beautiful.

  • heather - ahh, this is so good!

  • merideth - one of my favorite posts ever. so beautiful.

  • Danielle - Oh wow… I don’t believe in coincidences only meant to bes… & your post had so many meant to bes that my hair stood up on my arms!!! Beautifully written & laid out… can’t wait for more details as they are meant to be revealed.

  • Molly - I read this post this morning…but it made me tear up so I had to come back later to comment:) I love to read about your adoption. It is so neat how you are making her life part of yours by going back to look at those dates. She is so loved!

  • Carolyn - Here’s hoping you’re a sooner than later family! God is good!

  • Claudia - Ashley, there are so many of us (your readers) praying for her, your family and praying your little girl comes home to you soon. Glory be the day she arrives in your arms, til them your family is in our prayers.

  • Joy - Oh Ashley! What GLORY to have eyes that see our sovereign Lord weaving her story with yours even in these days that you are separated. Reminds me of Romans 8… Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus! Praying for your heart as you wait to be done waiting

  • Kimberlee Jost - Beautiful.
    I am praying for her and you all.

  • cailan - Oh, i just love that last picture. Can’t wait for the “after” one.

  • amber - Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. I love, love that you have pictures from everyday that you can go back & see what life looked like for you on her days. I really need to make that one of my goals. Pictures. Daily. Praying for your sweet girl…

  • Brandi - It’s fate. God knew you had a chair sitting in a green background, waiting for her. Loved this post so much. I would love for you to recreate that picture with her sitting in her chair. Same outfits, same everything, just with a one more heart. God Bless!!! ?

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Dearest, sweetest Ashley. You are a true blessing. What you wrote in your journal is so amazing. I know so many people’s eyes are being opened to the beauty and heart of adoption through you.

  • Amber McGinnis - I love reading about your adoption journey. I hope it’s sooner than later that your little one is in your arms. Thanks for sharing!

  • Emily - The other day I was driving my son around on errands and my ipod spun up this song. It’s called “Make the World Safe For You” by an Australian group called The Whitlams. My sister was introduced to it when she was living in China, and I thought of you, waiting to make the world safe for your daughter.


  • Kelly - Wow. That was beautiful. Can’t wait to see the final photo with the chair filled. Thanks for sharing.

  • ko - Oh my word Ashley momma! You made my heart break, leap for joy, and overflow with emotion. Praying this next waiting period zips by! We are at the very beginning of our adoption journey and your blog has been eyeopening, refreshing, realistic and an incredible encouragement! Thank you!

  • Jen - This is so beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes.

  • uhsaywhat - Your little family is so sweet! I hope you get your acceptance letter soon!

  • Amy - This post gave me chills, Ashley! It makes me wonder what God sees as He watches the day-to-day victories and tears and special moments of children waiting to be united with their forever families. There’s so much to be sad for in the world, but I will be praying that your little one gets to come home soon and simply sit beside you and soak in all this love soon!

  • elizabeth - I got all teary-eyed at this post. I wish you the best as you press on toward bringing her home. On a totally unconnected note, I L.O.V.E. the colors and art in your masthead! Did you create the art yourself? Kudos on it. It is going to be the inspiration for my own little girl’s bedroom. When I find the time to get to that project. ;D

  • Ann Voskamp - Ah friend — do you know how your words make me ache for a little person who already has part of my heart?

    I love you friend — and her.
    And Him.

    Counting graces with you… all these graces.

    {wrote letters to our 13 Compassion children today — helps with a bit of my own ache…More love than thin letters can hold.}

  • Tina I. - Wow. Leaving a post AFTER Ann Voskamp. I think I’ll just go with “ditto what she says”. Thanks for sharing your journey. I love reading it.

  • The Prairie Hen - Dear Ashley,
    Your sweet writings about this precious girl you hope to hold soon are a joy to read. It is comforting to any who watch with sadness as children are abandoned across the globe. We are happy to see that there are those that will open their hearts and love these little ones with an amazing depth of love.


  • Jolie - Ashley, I are often wonder throughout the course of the day how you are faring in the waiting game. I am (more than) a little overwhelmed by this on your account – I can only imagine how hard it is on your end of things. There is so much love and positivity coming to you and your babies (all of them!) from people the world over.

  • Gevay - You and this blog bless me. Thank you.

  • amy jupin - heart touching.
    heart breaking.
    just plain beautiful.

  • Bonnie - This is beautiful!!!! You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • tracy a - alright missy, what an emotional post! Your story, God’s story, is so beautifully written. thanks (again!)

  • Rebecca W - this made me cry…in a good way…
    only God!

  • Georgia - She is blessed to have you as her Mom and your family as her family. Praying her heavenly Father will hold her for you until (and after and always) she is in your arms.

  • Rachel Denbow - I love this.

  • Amy D - love this. it’s pretty darn obvious that God has chosen her to be a Campbell! I just wanted to again say thanks for sharing your adoption journey, as you wait to bring her home. it ministers to my heart, as we wait to bring our daughter home as well. i totally get it.

  • Liz - What a moving post. The beautiful picture, and only picture, you took on the day of her birth fits so appropriately. I’m so happy for you and for her.

  • Jasie - I love love love this post, Ashley. I have visions of you making a book with your intertwined timelines and adoption process. I am so so happy for you all.

  • tara pollard pakosta - can’t wait until your baby girl is home with you!
    how old is she now?!
    can’t wait until that chair is FULL!

  • al @ afterHissmile - soooo wonderful!

  • katherine marie - It has been unbelievable to watch your journey unfold! Please know that you have so many prayers coming from us over here in INDIANA!

  • Tuesday Odds & Ends #9 by Rosenberg, TX Family, Child, Baby and Newborn Photographer - […] of things that have affected my heart lately, you must catch up on Ashley’s adoption story.  Every time I read one of her posts about it, I cry just a bit.  Such a good story she’s […]

  • Charla - What you share is so beautiful. I am so excited for your new little one! Praying you hear soon! 🙂

  • Amy Sargeant - I’m teary. Wonderful post. I am so excited for you. May God bless you abundantly and replenish what the locusts have eaten in your little girls life.

  • Julia Leinen - This made me bawl like a baby. Yes, the ugly cry.
    This ministered to my spirit- just the kinship that someone else is feeling some of the same feelings going through my heart and mind.

  • Sharon - The waiting is SO difficult, as the important dates pass by. However, the moment you see her for the first time in person, those difficult memories will just float away, as you gather her up in your arms for the very first time…that moment to NEVER be forgotten.

    I’m not saying that there won’t be difficult questions in the future. Questions from perhaps say a 4 year old beauty that looks up at you and says, “I wish I had skin like you, Daddy and sissy”. Then you will gather her up in your arms, tell her again how very much you love her and begin giving an explanation to a question that you thought wouldn’t come until they were 8 or 9 years old. That God made people in many beautiful different ways and we are ALL made in his image. Then she will look up at you, smile and tell you how much she loves you and once again you will melt with love.

    Prayers for a short wait.

  • keight dukes - holy smack that is cool. i love how jesus is all up in the little heart things too.

  • Cindy - God so good! What a special post… Your little ones story is beautiful.. So amazing what you see when you step back to look at the entire picture…

  • Ruth@GraceLaced - Praying for you, still. His time is perfect time. Glad you linked up! I did too…right after you! 🙂

  • Liberty - You officially made me bawl…precious!!

  • amanda - i am moved to tears. what a wonderful idea to document her life “together” with yours. she will appreciate these memories so much when she is a woman. God’s love in you and your family is absolutely intoxicating.

  • amy cornwell - You always tell such a beautiful story with your words and pictures. It’s amazing to see where you were during the different stages of her sweet life. Praying you hear word soon!

  • Lacey - Your words, your heart, your images … all so beautiful. Your 5 children are so blessed to call you their mom.

  • Amanda - This post has me weeping. What a beautiful parallel you have created in your photos and words. I love watching the ways our God works. Thank you so much for sharing this! Praying praying praying here 🙂

  • Tabitha - I rejoice every time I here of an adoption! This is Christ ministry he adopted us we were lost and needing a home and he brought us in! Hold strong your heart will ach for her but the day you hold her will be like nothing else! We are praying for you! So excited to see one more baby find a forever home!

  • Katie - Just wanted to say I gave up blog reading for lent–so I have been on a 40+ day hiatus from your family and your stories. My first stop at nap time was to check up on your adoption process. Wow, reading the last 5 adoption posts that I had missed were so emotional. I can’t imagine what you must be going through, knowing about that baby on the other side of the world. Hearing about your the other famiy visit to your daughters orphanage had to be so hard, but know because of that so many people are praying for her and all the little ones like her. May your wait be short and her life be easy until she is in your arms.

  • Megan - Loved this post so much. I’m always glad to read such sweet and positive things about the adoption process. My husband and I have discussed the possibility of adoption, but are still on the fence about it, so all the input I can get about it is a blessing! Thanks for speaking your heart 🙂

    Also, I wanted to ask you where you found the cots in the picture of your kiddos sleeping. I hoped to be able to contact you a different way because I don’t want to seem shallow or silly for asking about something so trivial on such a sweet and important post, but I couldn’t find a better way. I apologize if it’s offensive and hope you will disregard and delete the comment if you find it to be so.

    Blessings to your sweet family!


  • virginia - praise God! how lovely

  • anything but LoKEY - A beautiful post! Love how you did that. Incredible how He weaves us together. I love God.

  • Tuesday Odds & Ends #9 Family, Child, & Baby Photographer | Donya Luana Photography | Northfield, MN - […] of things that have affected my heart lately, you must catch up on Ashley’s adoption story.  Every time I read one of her posts about it, I cry just a bit.  Such a good story she’s […]

  • Ellen - I’ve just found your blog (looking at pictures of stools) and read about your adoption. Somehow my brain decided that it would be a great idea to read all of the posts about your adoption journey…
    And now I’m sitting here, halfway through, can’t stopping reading, and it’s way to close to midnight (I’m supposed to be in church tomorrow). And I can’t stop crying.
    Thank you for sharing!