if we could sit down and have a cup of coffee

We’d meet early in the morning, before the kids are awake.

I’d make coffee…cream and sugar for me. Yours made to order.

We could sit out back at the picnic table or among the sawdust and nails in the studio. Either one is nice for chatting right now.

If we could sit down and have a cup of coffee this morning, friend to friend, I’d probably tell you something like this:

I’m getting on a plane in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow. I’m headed across continents and an ocean to meet my daughter. And while my heart is about to burst with excitement and joy it is also completely broken for my daughter. You see, my Little One has endured so much heartbreak. For 9 months she heard the familiar sound of the voice and heartbeat of her birth mom. I don’t know the reasons or the details, but I know shortly after her birth that relationship was broken. The voice she heard, the familiar sounds – were all gone. She endured a devastating loss. Her birth family also endured a great loss.

She then learned to adjust and survive among the new sounds and new voices of an orphanage. With about 42 babies in her room and 2 nannies, she has developed survival skills that a baby should never learn. And despite all the heartbreak that goes with her orphanage, it is her home. And we are told the nannies love those babies dearly. On Monday, she will again face a devastating loss. She will lose all that is familiar and be placed in my arms – the arms of a stranger.

I would do anything for her to be able to know my voice, to recognize my face, to see into my heart and know that her future is beautiful. I wish she could see and know what I know. But she doesn’t. And my heart shatters at the thought of the fear and grief that next week could hold for her.

It was 14 years ago that I knew one day I would adopt. Both adoption and pregnancy have always been our “Plan A” and we are beyond grateful that we’ve been able to grow our family both ways. We don’t take that gift for granted for a single moment. 14 years is a long time to wait for something. It is also a long time to research and learn all about the beauty of adoption and also about orphans, poverty that leads to abandonment, human trafficking….and all the other stuff that is part of a world where children are separated from their birth families. It is also a lot of time to learn to let go of any and all expectations. We go into this trip expecting nothing, but hoping for everything.

So much of this journey has been bittersweet. With each celebration, there is a bit of heartbreak. When I fill out a medical form for my Little One, it brings me such joy to write her name with “Campbell” at the end. And then I get to the medical history part and am reminded she will spend a lifetime not knowing so many details related to her start in life. And I hurt for her loss. I gaze at her beautiful face and am in complete awe. And then I also know that most likely that beautiful cleft that I adore might have played a role in why she is not with her birth family. And I ache for the pain she will one day feel.Β  I imagine as she grows I will see so much of myself in her, but I will also wonder what parts of her are from her birth parents. And I mourn my daughter’s loss of not knowing her birth family. You see, next week I will rejoice and celebrate becoming a mom again, but in my celebrating it means another mom does not get to know the joy of raising the daughter she gave life to. And my heart breaks for that mom.

And, yet, I am so thankful for this bittersweet. This is all a part of the work God is weaving in me and in my Little One. So, I will embrace all of it. The grief. The joy. The fear. The excitement. The mourning. The celebrating. The ashes. The beauty. I will embrace all of it.

So, if we were sitting together drinking our coffee I’d thank you for coming along this journey with me. I’d thank you for your support, your encouragement, your excitement and your love. I’d thank you for celebrating my daughter. I’d ask you to pray for her, for her heart, for her healing. I’d ask you to recognize that while we are so overcome with happiness to meet our Little One and bring her home, the journey is really just beginning.

Thanks, friend….I’m so crazy excited and ready for the morning!!!

Would you dare, would you dare to believe

that you still got a reason to sing?

‘Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling

It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

So hold on, you gotta wait for the light

Press on and just fight the good fight

‘Cause the pain you’ve been feeling

It’s just the hurt before the healing

Oh, the pain that you’ve been feeling

It’s just the dark before the morning

~ Josh Wilson, Before the Morning lyrics

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  • Jamie - Ashley-
    I am beyond happy for you. I am praying for you and your family.
    Random, but for real~
    I went to the movies last night and saw, The Odd Life of Timothy Green. I wanted YOU to be sitting next to me in the theater, especially at the END. You have to see it (if you haven’t already).
    Good luck on your journey!
    (Avid reader for years, also LOVED your first online snapshot)

  • Allison - Prayers for a safe journey both ways – and prayers of good tidings to your family. Those song lyrics are perfect for you, but also just what I needed to read this morning for my own hard journey this past year. I would say that I can’t wait to see pictures and read your stories of you and your little one, but we’ve been waiting so long, a few more days is no big deal. All good things, all good things…..

  • emmybrown - goondess. having coffee with you this morning has brought me to tears! you have a way with words….and your heart is absolutely precious. Godspeed and blessings on your whole trip as this journey begins!

  • Caroline - Prayers for you and your entire family. It is awesome to watch God in His Glory with your family journey. Thank you for the openness, I love being on this journey with you!

  • Aaren - I started following your blog on a daily basis two years ago when you just started talking about adopting. Your blog today has brought tears to my eyes (as many do) because I feel like you are a friend and I have shared this wonderful journey with you. I thank you as a friend you have never met and probably never will. I am so excited for you and your family to meet Little One and look forward to future blog’s and geeting to know this new member of your family.
    Safe flight tomorrow Ashley. You are an amazing person and an inspiration to me. Thank you!

  • Kari Signe - It’s funny how you don’t know me but I read your blog every morning and I feel like you are just a friend I have never met. I tell my husband about your adventures and the excitement that you are so close to finally holding your daughter and he doesn’t understand how I could care so much about someone I have never meet. I wish your family so much happiness and joy through all of the heartache and loss coming this week. Thank you for sharing so much with us on this online community. It is an amazing journey you are on and I feel so privileged to share it with you.

  • Dana - I am praying for your family…and little one in particular as you have made it very real what she will go through at first. Safe travels and best wishes. I have read your blog every day for years but now I can’t wait to read it as soon as I wake up to see the latest news/updates. Thank you for taking us along on this journey…your writing is a gift from God…thank you!

  • Taylor - πŸ™‚

  • Anna - I wish you joy, happines and strength.
    I’m sure your family can take anything and make it better and more beautiful.
    I will continue to read all the great and heartwarming messages you put out in this sometimes grey and seemingly hopeless world.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Lori - I’m so incredibly excited for you. Will be thinking and praying for you and your family. Thanks for sharing over coffee this morning.

  • Sarah wolfe - I’d have some cream and sugar in my coffee too πŸ™‚ I love how adoption is a picture of God’s grace. Excited for the campbell #5. She will have to get used to gobs of people smothering her in love. She may not like it at first, but I will pray God has been preparing her heart and mind just like he’s been preparing yours πŸ™‚

  • Nicolle - I am crying tears of happiness for you, Ashley. I wish you all the best on your journey. You are absolutely amazing!!

  • Christy - Praying for you and your family. Can’t wait to see pictures of your new addition!

  • dee - Good luck and have a safe journey to get your daughter and bring her home safely.All my prayers are with you and your family…love dee

  • Anna Marie - Very touching “coffee chat” with you this morning, Ashley. My heart, my thoughts and my prayers are with you and your family. I am so excited for you that you finally get to have her in your arms. May you feel HIS ever loving arms around you as you begin this journey. Blessings.

  • Missy - SO EXCITING! Tomorrow, tomorrow! I will sing “Annie” all day today thinking of you. Praying for safe travels and an amazing time meeting your daughter. Praying also for her adjustment – that she will look back and realize that though difficult, this was a time that God put her in the cleft of the rock as he passed very close by (Exodus 33:22). It may seem dark but, He is so close. CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE YOUR UPDATES! πŸ™‚

  • Allison - Thank you so much for sharing your story with the blog world! I have loved following this adoption journey. The Lord is writing a beautiful story in you and in your Little One. I will be praying.

  • amy cornwell - If we could sit down for coffee….I’d cry with you, rub your back, pray for Little One to be filled with a supernatural peace, grin with you ear to ear knowing how despite all of the hard times that will come that God is in the center of it all and He’ll bless you for your obedience in giving this little girl a chance at a good life. Many blessings as you travel – selfishly hoping that you get to blog and have internet while you’re there!

  • Bethany - God has brought your family so far in this journey and He will continue to walk beside you and help you minister to your daughter’s heart. Praying for you all as you travel and bring her home!

  • stacey [hope: handmade] - i have been following your adoption journey here on your blog, and am so, so happy for your family! reading the beginning stages of your adoption journey played a part in giving me courage to begin OUR own adoption journey, late last year! i am rejoicing with you today.

  • LeeH - Just cream my friend I’ve never met.
    You have a lot of friends here, thank you for sharing with all of us. Have a safe trip, we’ll be here when you get back.

  • emily - So many of your posts bring me to tears as I read them. Good luck on your journey. Can’t wait to read about it.

  • VΓ©nusia - Have a nice journey ! So eager to see you embrassing your Little one !

  • Rebecca @ Enjoy Life - I am so overwhelmed with excited for you. Your honesty and ability to see the journey you are on with such clarity is wonderful. Praying wholeheartedly for Little One. And for you.

  • Jenni - Thanks for the morning chat. What a truly amazing journey this has been for your family! I loved this post, your heart is evident, your love for you daughter is so evident! What an exciting/semi-scarey time this is for you and your family. All things will work for God’s glory though. And if I was sitting down with you right now I would tell you that I understand, I know what it is like to grieve for a daughter, for her losses, for what she will never know…. I would tell you that it seems like that will always be that there, that sense of deep sadness for her, but that is what will help you be an even better mom to her! I would also tell you that before I even read your post I was listening to Josh Wilson. Blessing and prayers for this life changing journey!

  • giozi - The best for you and your daughter, and your trip. I feel so close to you now. Love love love to all your family.

  • Elizabeth - So thrilled that you get to meet your daughter so soon! Heard this verse last night and thought of your littlest one… β€œFor our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” – 2 Corinthians 4:17

  • Allison - tears over here. so beautiful! so excited for your family

  • Corinne - I’m at a loss for words…I’ve been following your blog/journey for years and my heart is overjoyed that you and your family get to bring Little One finally home. Prayers and hugs for safe travels. Can’t wait to see amazing things are in store on this new journey for you and your family!

  • Dawn - I can not imagine the feelings you’re experiencing. God will be with all of you. Enjoy those first days with your daughter. I wish you a safe trip!

  • Kris - I will be thinking of you and your family, as well as all the people who have been involved in your daughter’s life. So many changes, but they will all lead to a better good.
    May your faith light the way and your love lead you home.

  • KatieM. - Beautiful…thanks for sharing so honestly.

  • Erin - Wow this is just beautiful. She is one lucky girl to be brought into such an amazing and loving family. Ashley you have a hear tof gold and while there will be an adjustment period for your little girl I have confidence that your love will make it all a little easier. I pray for safe travels for you and your family.

  • Liene - Goosebumps again! Tonight at the dinner table, we will light a candle for your family and the journey you’re on. Good luck!

  • Ethel White - Your Little One will feel secure with her new family. Love can reach across all boundaries. Babies feel love when they can’t understand words. I’ll be praying for you all.
    God Bless U & Yours !

  • Lisa Johnson - Thank you for allowing us to walk this journey with you. I will be praying for your precious little one.
    As an adopted child, I rejoice in watching your family walk this path. My favorite bedtime story as a little girl was to hear my dad tell about when he and mom made the long drive to pick me up. Their car broke down and there was a snowstorm (in Texas!) But what I loved most of all was that he always said, “we were so completely excited and nervous, but when I first laid eyes on you, I knew you were our girl and my heart was filled with love.” It made me feel so loved and valued. Your precious daughter will feel exactly that in time and I rejoice for her. What a gift!

  • Michelle G - I have been following your story from the other side of the world. Your daily posts come through just as I a heading off to bed, so you are the last thing I read each day. Always leaves me with a happy heart!

    All the best wishes for your trip, what a dream come true for you.

  • Big D & Me - I am so excited for you as I have been since the first time you mentioned Little One. She will know the love of so many so soon and that will help her heal her heart. Thinking about you and your whole family. And by the way, could I change mine to hot chocolate when we meet? πŸ™‚

  • Emily O. - So excited for you all! The Lord will heal your hearts and hers, in His own time, in His own way. How comforting that we serve a God who promises to keep His own. Thankful that you are choosing to share this journey with all of us. Blessings to you all.

  • Amanda R - Praying for you and your family as you head out on the next part of this wonderful journey!

  • patricia - So beautifully written. I wish you both the safest journey and your new family be filled with strength and joy. She’s so fortunate to have a mom like you. Her life begins now.

  • Karen Smith - Ashley, I just had to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blogs everymorning. As I watched you grow up I have had the pleasure of knowing your children in what you share (and of course what your mom shares about her beautiful grandchildren.) I sit in awe of the beautiful Godly women you have become.

    I pray for your family and for your beautiful new daughter that God has given your family. I know that God has been preparing you for what is to come.

    I look forward to reading about your journey in days to come.

  • Mikki - i am sooo happy for you Ashley, i hope you have a good journey and everything goes as smoothly as possible for all of you. <3

  • Emily @ I Love Farm Weddings - Many blessings to you and your family. I’ve been following your journey here and it has been such a beautiful and thoughtful look into your experience. I hope for you safe travels and for your daughter, every ounce of joy possible for her whole life!

  • Heather - I’m having my coffee and reading your blog, so I’m kind-of having coffee with you ; ). Sweet friend, it is indeed a journey of mixed emotions. I’m so thankful that God holds your family, and your dear daughter in His Hands. Your heart is so tender and it brings tears to my eyes. If I was there in person, I’d hug you and let you know I was praying. Since I’m not there in person, know that a friend in Texas is lifting your whole family, including your precious youngest daughter,up in prayer. Blessings on the Journey!

  • Kim - You just made me cry over my morning cup of coffee at work, that was written so beautifully. Even though I don’t know you personally, and that although you share a lot on your blog and there is so much more to know, right now I feel like you are a friend and my heart swelled thinking about all you will be experiencing in the next couple of weeks and beyond. And though you have many close friends and family your blog friends walk along with you as well. Many prayers coming your way and for your family!

  • Karen - I am so excited for you. For your whole family. Adoption is sometimes very bittersweet. And than you look at your little one and it is all so worth it. I have been the proud parent of two daughters adopted through foster care her in the good ol USA. They were 4 months and 15 months and have officially been mine for 8 years. They are 11 and 10. But really they have been mine since the moment I laid eyes on the.

    Enjoy the journey. God bless you all.

  • Renae - Prayers for Little One, prayers for you, prayers for your family of seven. I told my husband this morning, “One of my favorite bloggers is going offline for a while in order to travel to China to bring home her daughter.” My kids wanted to know why your daughter was in China and you were here. Now they know a little bit about adoption, all I could offer them in 20 minutes of time in the morning before their first full day of school. He is such a great God and he will bless her with some understanding of what waits for her here, with you, in your arms, in the arms of your family both in your home and within your community. He will bring comfort to all of you, knowing that because of you she will never know want or need. He created her for you, I believe that. I also believe that despite the early suffering and the later on questions that will always be there, He will provide peace and understanding to her and to you guys as well. May He bless your trip to China and may the day you meet your daughter be all that you hoped it would be. I can’t wait to hear about your trip and see the photos of your beautiful little girl. One of the photos I’m most looking forward to is the moment Firecracker lays eyes on her baby sister. What a moment that will be!! God bless you all!

  • Angie - Beautiful!

  • Mara - This calls for a song:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d712Th-4y0Q!!

    It made me think of you πŸ™‚ and your Little One.

  • Annie Page - I pray that God wraps his warm and loving arms around you and your new little one and your entire family as you join together as a family. That any challenges you face, any difficulties that come your way are handled with the loving grace that HE can only provide.

    My heart is warm this morning knowing that you will hold your baby soon, that she will be a part of a large and loving family.

    Best wishes and safe travels as you end and begin this adventure!


  • mary - i know im a new face around here but i have to say in 3 days ive read all your blogs from 2011 til now. with your blogs ive gained so much knowledge on life. how to love unconditionally dream big support your children in their own dreams ect. I’m so happy you are soon to meet your little one. im not sure exactly how you feel but we’ve been ttc for almost a year and every month i get that nervous anticipation will this be the month we get blessed with someone to call our own. so good luck cherish this always

  • Kathleen - Thank you for opening your heart and including your readers on this amazing journey. I absolutely can’t wait to see a picture of Little One with her new family!!

  • Sandy - Beautiful.

  • Brandi - Thanks for the coffee and the heartfelt chat this morning. You’re such an awesome human being. Seriously, a role model for sure. God gave me a sensitive heart, and a desire to adopt just like you and I am so thankful to be here to experience this journey with you — it’s been eye-opening & worth every tear! πŸ™‚ Prayers for you and the rest of the Campbell family! Traveling mercies. ?

  • Holly - Ashley, you have a Song in your heart that God has placed there! Your voice is beautiful and your heart is full of tremendous love! The love that you have for your daughter, your tremendous faith along with the love and support of friends and family will help Little One make the transitions less difficult for her (and you). God has brought you together and He will see you through! Safe travels! Lifting all of your family up in prayers!

  • Brandi - Absolutely beautiful words for your daughter. Some day she will read these words and understand a little more how much she is truly loved. Congratulations to your family and your little one. God bless you all!

  • Carmen - Thanks for allowing us to be a part of the journey so far, it’s been an honour. Sending prayers and wishes for safe travel.

  • Abigail C - Praying for a safe trip and a happy meeting!

  • AmandaTorres - Adoption has always fascinated me and mixes me with so many emotions for both the birth mom and adoptive parents. Thank you for sharing this journey and all of the raw emotions. I’ll be praying for your daughter as she transitions to her new and forever family.

  • Melissa - I’m so excited for you guys! Prayers are with you and your beautiful family!

  • Lucy - Once, I looked at a picture of my friend and told her she looked a lot like her dad. She said, “thanks, but I’m adopted”. I felt silly. But then she said, “I once asked my parents what they thought I would look like if I was really their kid and they said I was always meant to be with them and I really was their kid, so I would have looked the same.” I always liked this idea of being meant to be with someone. I realize your new little girl may not look exactly like you, but I am sure there are pieces of you and your husband in their because she was always meant to be with you.

  • heather - safe flight tomorrow πŸ™‚ i hate long flights and you have a doozy in front of you! thanks for the coffee this morning i kinda needed a positive outlook for my day πŸ™‚

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - I’d very much enjoy that coffee with you, friend. Its amazing to me that when you become a mother, you develop an empathy for other mothers that wasn’t there before. Praying for your family and for Song’s birth parents as you take the first steps down this road.

  • Sundee - Blessings on your travels, on the little ones staying behind, and those taking care of them!! Prayers for your daughter and her transition from the orphanage to your loving arms. I am so excited for you both!!

  • Genevieve - Thank you for this cup of coffee and the cup of joy in showing us your beautiful journey. One day my family will too adopt. Thank you for showing God’s call to love. We are praying for this physical, emotional, and spiritual journey for these next few days, weeks, months, and years. Now…go get your little one!

  • Janine - I wish you and your family well in your travels to bring home your newest daughter. I have to thank you for being so open about the adoption process and sharing so much of your heart with the world. I have been thinking about adoption and your journey has been helping me. Blessings for you and your family.

  • Betsy Cain - I am adopted, and have been blessed with an amazing family. I know without a doubt your daughter has been hand-picked by God to be incredibly blessed by your family. Love reading your thoughts — your sensitivity to all the nuances of adoption is exceptional. Praying for you all! Your daughter is in for a wonderful surprise, and she will soon love being snuggled in your arms daily.

  • Bev - So poignant, so beautiful. May you have a safe trip and know we are all holding our breath a little bit to meet your new one.

  • BΓ‘rbara - God be with you and your family!!

  • Veronica - Gorgeous. All of it. Read it as I drank my morning coffee. Best of luck.

  • suzie in bomo - Twelve years ago we made the trip you are now making. Adoption was always part of our Plan A too. Our oldest three have my eyes and my husband’s nose; our youngest spent 3 years in the care of nannies who have eyes and a nose similar to hers. She is a huge blessing in our lives as I know your daughter will be. We pray for her birth family and thank God often for the courage to have this child and leave her somewhere she would be cared for. I tell our now 15 year old that, this side of heaven, we cannot know the circumstances and pressures that lead to her being abandoned but that God has made beauty from ashes. Our prayers are that her mother, her family, her people would come to know His hope and love. And that, somehow in her mother’s heart, her birth mom would know that her daughter/our daughter is well and whole and beautiful and loved. She may not look like us, but our daughter is no accident and never was. Blessings on you. Treasure these days. Take LOTS of pictures.

  • crystal - May God bless you and your family on your journey to China and back. Big hugs!!

  • Heather Isaac - I know a bit where your daughter is coming from…in that I, too, am adopted. And, yes, while there were times in my life I felt a pang of abandonment or deeply wanted answers to my questions…I got through it all with the love.support.understanding of my *family*…my amazing adoptive family…but I don’t need to qualify with the word “family” for they are simply *mine*…my *family*. I have great respect for my birth mom for choosing to endure those 9 months for me, unselfishly, so that I may have life & so that my mother could be a mother. My mother.
    I think about her. I believe she thinks about me. God grants me peace. Your little one will always carry her birth mother tucked away in her heart…but YOU will be her heart. I’ll be praying for you during your amazing journey to holding your wee one in your arms. She & you & your family are fully covered in prayer by many, many people who follow your blog! Can’t wait to see pics of my lil sis in adoption! ;D.

  • Jenn B - My early morning cry πŸ™‚ you perfectly described my feelings for my son. The JOY of caring for a child that God has picked just for you, and the pain you feel for the birth family and the unanswered questions. I cant wait to read more about your journey. Our prayers are with you on this amazing journey!

  • Leslie - I am praying for your girl and your family.

  • Pam - I have prayed just now as I was reading and I am so overwhelmed with emotions for your family. I pray safe travels and smooth transitions for your family. Go get your GIRL!

  • Paige Y. - Oh, Ashley, I am having my coffee with you right now on my own patio. I weep with your writings, but have joy too. I have the pain of loss with being the birth mom, but also the joy that came in the morning knowing my son has been raised by the best set of parents. I chose them, but God led me to them. Your daughter is fearfully and wonderfully made & is ready for your warm embrace. Enjoy your journey! God bless you.

  • Nikki - That post brought tears to my eyes.. I cannot wait for you to hold Little One. I cannot wait for her to adjust enough to see that she has a family that loves her dearly. Good luck tomorrow, enduring the long flights.

  • Sarah W. - Beautiful words and a beautiful heart.
    So excited for your journey.

  • Sarah - You have such a way with words. You make me smile and cry within the same sentence. Many, many prayers are going out for you and your family. It will all work out. No child could have a better family.

  • Dawn Nikol - I’d just bring you Starbucks so you don’t have to worry about the dirty dishes. And lots of donuts + bagels. I feel very anxious for you… and so, so excited. I can not wait to watch your journey and meet your sweet girl. Have a safe trip!!

  • Amy - I am so overjoyed for you and your family! My heart goes out to you all and I am praying so much for hands and hearts of comfort for the whole family and especially your youngest as this new journey back home to Oklahoma is just the beginning. HUGS!! What a wonderous moment!! Wishing the best! <3

  • Susan - What a great cup that was. I will be adding your family to our church’s prayer list tonight and will be praying for the safety of the ones traveling and the ones staying behind and for the one who will meet her forever family. May God bless you more abundantly than we can hope for. The Song will be sung by the angels.
    I only know you through this blog and yet you feel like a neighbor. Meet you across the fence, on the other side of this adventure!

  • Julia - I’m just all choked up inside. Your review of all that’s happened, and what will happen is achingly familiar. I’ve been through this trip twice, once 14 years ago and the other 11 years ago, and yet I remember them like they were yesterday. Two girls, the first, at 10 months old, laid her head on my shoulder and never looked back. As far as she was concerned I was her mom from that moment on and no one else would do. That same baby girl just got her drivers permit last week. πŸ™‚ The second was 18 months old, and screamed like a banshee. She wanted nothing to do with me for weeks, and the first few months home were painful. I had post adoption depression (totally unexpected and equally unwelcome), but after the first few months together we built a routine we could both live with, and somewhere along the way, I fell head over heals in love with her – and she with me. It’s not always a fairy tale… but then again, sometimes it is.

  • Melissa - I’ve never commented before but am praying for you, your family and this trip. I’m asking God to do a miraculous work in your little girl’s heart to bind her, immediately, to your family. I’m asking him to defy all human logic that would say this wil have “such and such an impact” and instead do the seemingly impossible causing her to thrive from the start and to break her heart free of whatever pain, loss and sadness came prior to your family. I’m not doubting for a second he’s able to do this. Apart from him this is a tragic start. With Him, it’s a beautiful, miraculous and redemptive story that will bring glory and honor to His name!

    And on a totally different note, we (my husband and two young daughters) lived in China for the last two years and have traveled internationally a bunch with little ones in tow. So, my small takeaways from those flights are: bring a “trash” bag (i.e. target bag on the plane. Somehow tons of random junk piles up and they don’t come around nearly enough to collect it. Bring an extra pair of socks for everyone. Socks get SO nasty on the plane and it’s glorious to put on a fresh pair after all those long hours. And, bring your toothbrushes on board too! The first time I brushed my teeth after all those hours on the flight I felt like a new woman!!

    One last thing, those Chinese nannys do have such a deep, sincere love for babies. I know they’ll mourn the loss of your little one too. Don’t forget to pray for them as they transition in this situation as well.

    Have a safe and awesome trip!


  • Julie - If we were having coffee together, I wouldn’t be able to drink it due to the lump in my throat and the tears filling my eyes. I understand the mixed emotions – the heartbreak for the loss, the elation of becoming a mother again, the knowing that one of your greatest joys is someone else’s greatest heartbreak. Knowing that before time began, this baby was God’s plan A in your family, not his plan B. We will be praying for you this next week, for Little One’s adjustment and acceptance of your family…and that your heart will be able to hold and ponder all that this gift will hold.

  • Nicole L. - I’m so excited for your family and pray that the trip will go smoothly. Can’t wait to meet your little one!

  • Kara M - Thanks for making me cry over our morning coffee! I will be praying. I think Ecclesiastes says it best. You will have times that you must weep with your daughter and times that you will laugh together. Time to mourn her loss, but there WILL be time to dance over all that God has accomplished in the lives of your family! That’s what I would have told you over coffee this morning.

  • erica - praying for safe travels, calm transition and amazing journey. thanks for sharing your story and family!

  • Cindy - Beautiful! Thank you for letting us all be a part of this story:-) I just love watching it all unfold and being a part through prayer! Seeds have been planted in my heart through your adoption story – the secret kind that you mentioned the other day;-) Glory to God in the highest!!!!!

  • Jeannette - I love you! Know I will be praying for every detail of this journey, rejoicing with you and believing the transition for your sweet girl (and whole family) will be perfect in Jesus name!

  • Lennie - We will be praying for you. I wish you safe travels and comfort in knowing that your family will be complete very soon. Congratulations and thank you for letting all of us be a part of this journey with you.

  • Ruth - Your words brought tears to my eyes. I have been praying for you, your family, your sweet daughter you haven’t met, and her precious birthmom that gave her up for reasons we do not know. I pray God covers you in HIS peace through every crazy part of your journey to China and back…and that even though your daughter hasn’t heard you and Chris’s voice physically, that she will KNOW you when she is in your arms. Thank you for allowing us to pray you on!

  • Elizabeth Beattie - Totally crying right now. I am so very happy and excited for you. Little One is so lucky to have you and your family be her family, the one that helps her heal and find her new life.

    Good Luck in your travels and I can’t wait to meet Little One officially!



  • georgette - Ahh so happy for you! Finally the time has come! You are such a strong inspiring woman..have loved reading about this journey of yours:)

  • alicia millis - long time reader, first time commenter. love this post. love the coffee invitation and how you made me feel like i was sitting with you. i pray for you often, and am thankful for including us in your journey, a journey i hope to be making one day soon. your words and photos are beautiful and love your space. can’t wait to see your little one and all her beauty. hugs, safe travels, may your heart cope with all the love and sadness, god bless.

  • Robin - Praying for you and your family. I can’t imagine what you, your LO and her birth mother have gone through. Hope you have a safe trip and so happy for you that you will finally get to hold your sweet girl in your arms.

  • AnnMarie - We are rooting for you here in Canada! I have been following along for over a year now and I am just so so very happy for you! Being adopted myself I know deep within my heart how hard this will be but your daughter will one day look back and be so grateful for this new life you are giving her. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky i have been and I know your daughter will too! Good luck, enjoy the ride and we can’t wait to see your beautiful girl!

    xoxo AnnMarie

  • amber - I am praying for you and your little one. Your post puts a lump into my throat.

  • Tara A - Ashley and family, We are so excited for all of you. We will be praying for all your children along this exciting journey. Have a wonderful and safe trip. I can’t wait to hear about the moment you finally get to see and hold your little one. Love you all. Love, The Annan’s

  • Natalie @ TheShadyAcre - That was beautiful, powerful, and honest. My prayers and thoughts are with you all during this exciting-but-probably-not-always-perfect time of transition. Thank you for sharing this journey.



  • Katie Thomassen - Ashley, I pray that God has filled a two way chasm, that your daughter’s heart will know yours as surely as you knew hers, at first site. I pray that the moment she is set in your’s and Chris’ arms, she will know that she is with her forever family. I also pray for safe travel and many (short and sweet) updates along the way (because I am needy like that :-)!

  • Yanet of 3 Sun Kissed Boys - So happy for yall! Hopefully, knowing what wonderful love, opportunities, experiences Little One will now be able to to have will help with healing YOUR heart with the losses she’s endured.

    Safe travels, Ashley. Huge hug from South Florida!

  • jenny - praying for a safe trip, for your little ones you are leaving behind, and for your sweet baby girl that you will soon be meeting. πŸ™‚

  • Chrissy - Oh Ashley, I am attaching so much love and strings of love and grace to those airplane wings…..sending you so much strength…..so much bravery sweet girl:) XXOO

  • Kate McCutchinkatemccutchin@gmail.com - Praying for your family! So happy for you! Can’t wait to see pictures of your new baby girl!!!

  • Caitlin E - I’ve been a lurker till now, and I just wanted to say you’re going with my prayers. Prayers for you, for your little one, and for your family here while you’re gone.

  • Liz - I went through so many of the same emotions…especially the day that our daughter’s birthmother placed her in our arms. We were blessed with the opportunity of going through an open domestic adoption, and though it’s been wonderful and beautiful, it had it’s moments of pain and tears too. I’ll definitely be praying for you all in the next weeks!!

  • kristin - Your words have me bawling!!! Huge hugs to the Campbell family. Safe travels and well wishes for amazing (good and tough) things in your family’s future!!!

  • Jess - My mind is on China, as my husband just headed back there for a few weeks (again). Sending lots of prayers as you embrace all of this! Your Little One is so very blessed already!

  • Danielle - I am so excited for you and you have been in my prayers ever since I first read your blog nearly a year ago! I can’t wait for you to have your little girl in your arms and I can’t wait to read all about it!! Wishing you all the best during your trip! xoxo

  • Suzanne - Beautiful, simply beautiful. I am so happy for your family and for Little One!

  • Sue - Safe travels for you and your family.

  • tracy - Beautiful blog post. I really should learn by now to NOT read your blog at work though. *crying my eyes out at my desk* I’m sure that your Little One will someday sit down and read all of these posts and be forever grateful that her mom completely understands how things will be a bit different for her given her start in life and will have comfort knowing that she has all the support and love in the world. I wish you the best of luck in your travels and I’m sure that we will all be thinking of you and wishing for nothing but the best! I can’t wait for the day that you are all united … and it’s coming soon! Congratulations!!! πŸ™‚

  • Emmet - I am so happy for you Ashley! I adopted my daughter from China three years ago when she was almost two years old. Please, please, try to take in each moment of your trip. It is a crazy whirlwind and for me it was all a blur and I regret not being able to savor each moment. We were in survival mode. Just drink her in, smell her, feel your feelings no matter what they are! I cannot wait to hear about your experience if you’ll be sharing it with us. So remember to slow down and enjoy your first moments as a family and take in the sights and sounds of China.

  • mandie - you have such a beautiful outlook & perspective on this, though I’m sure, as we’re all human, it’s not always this way. I pray that God’s peace & comfort would be with you all- your entire family- and that when you’re all together, under the same roof, that you would be able to love & live together in that love.

    Blessings to you, Campbell family.

  • Claudia Petton - I’m thrilled for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with us, can’t wait to meet the little one :] You are in our prayers Ashley!

  • Anna - I’m so happy for you. It will be hard, but it will be worth it.


  • tracy a - i take cream and sugar. and a box of tissues.

  • jessamy - You are so amazing! You’re ability to put your feelings into words and see all points of view is beautiful. I have enjoyed your blog for years now and you have made me feel like a friend. My friend, our family is praying for God to hold your hands on your journey. I can’t wait for our next coffe chat when we hear about your adventure. Thank you for sharing your inspirational life with us!

  • Michelle - Ash, Your post was so heartfelt and beautiful. You had me doing the “ugly” cry…we are so thrilled for all the great things to come for your family, all members. We love y’all! -The Wear’s

  • Brandy L. Anderson - I am praying for your family during this time of travel and change. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see you all together as a beautiful family! God IS Great all the time!

  • angie webb - I am so happy for the journey you and your family are ready to embark on. What a loving, selfless thing you are doing. It may take Little One some time to adjust, but when she does wow! What a wonderful life, family, expierence she will have. Much love and safe travels! xo.

  • Sayonada Thomas - Wishing you a safe journey. So excited for you and your family!

  • Carrie - Well…I read this while having my morning coffee, so we virutally had coffee this morning! Sending you and your family positive thoughts and prayers getting through the next days/weeks/months. I’m sure it will be a challenge (to say the least!) but I know you are one strong mama and know that the most beautiful things come out of the most trying times. Best wishes on your travels – can’t wait to hear about your experiences and see “Song’s” beautiful face!

  • Esther Cheng - Ashley, you are a brave mother!
    My very best wishes to you and your little girl!

  • Jody Carr - It is hard to choke back the tears as I read your posts, for we have endured both, our biological daughter being born with a cleft, and adoption…My prayers are with you in the days ahead. What a joy it has been to be with you during this process and to feel you are a friend!

  • Gracie - Ashley,
    I have shared this before but I love your family. Thank you for sharing your heart with strangers. I love reading your stories and seeing your beautiful family. I just got married 2 weeks ago and am hoping to one day be able to share my family stories with people just as you do. You provide so much encouragement and inspire me to push myself for my future children. I have always wanted to adopt. My husbands parents adopted his little sister about 13 years ago. (Our families have been friends for my entire life). I remember the day they left for china to go get Mika and being so excited to see their new baby girl. Ever since that day I have always wanted to adopt along with having my own children as well. Now that I am married in to that family I have even more hope that adoption is in my future. I want to thank you in advance for the wisdom and love you have shared on this blog of your adoption journey. I know that when my journey starts that I will come back and read many of these posts.

    A verse that I love and use quite often is John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!”

  • Caroline - So very excited for you! Safe travels and I can’t wait to “meet” your new little one!

  • Lynn - To the Campbell family:

    First THANK YOU for sharing this experience with us! I must say that I have found this an inspiring journey that I look forward to reading about everyday and my heart took a leap for you when I heard it was finally time for you to go get your newest addition. I know that God has blessed your family with this little girl and this little girl is about to be blessed with your family!

    Though it is going to be scary for her in the beginning I have to say that after reading your post a couple of days ago… she was, most definately, always meant to be a member of your family! Whatever the circumstance is that put her where she is now… she was always meant to find a home with you.

    I pray that the four of you travel safe tomorrow and that the return journey is equally as safe for when you return with five.

    Thank you so much for the beautiful posts you write each day about all your children! I can’t wait to see and hear more about your newest edition!

  • laura - Thank you for taking time to write this…so beautiful. Praying for your family and the journey that lies ahead.

  • Julie - Have a good trip, so excited for you… hope all goes well for your lovely family!

  • Katie - Tears over your beautiful words! I can’t imagine the “bittersweet” part of the journey, I don’t think I would be strong enough. I am thankful that in this world there are wonderful families like yours who are able and willing to embark on this amazing yet heartbreaking adventure. I will continue to pray for your family and I can’t wait to open your page and see the face of your beautiful daughter and the “hope” that you have given to her life. I am nervous for you — but know soon all this will just be part of her beautiful story. Best to you!

  • Maegan - Praying…

  • Kendra - If I could give you and everyone in your family hugs I would!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and your family- I really wish that I could join you for that coffee. My heart hurts for your daughter and the loss that she has felt and will be feeling again. She is loved though. No amount of grief will last forever when someone is so greatly and fiercely loved.

    My heart also hurts for you and your family because I know how hard it is to see someone that you love when they are hurting. Again, love and time will help you heal.

    Hugs, thoughts, prayers, and all good things to you and yours as you embark on the next stage of your family’s journey.

  • Claire - I am so excited for you guys, I feel like I am the one getting on the plane tomorrow! I will be praying for you and your family and I hope everything turns out in the best way possible!

  • Kim - This has been byfar the best coffee date in a long time!! It brought me to tears… tears of absolute joy!! Excitement! You are an amazing family for doing what your doing and to put it in words like you have! Little One is going to have an amazing life with you! Safe travels and love that little girl like she has never been loved before!! Once again, thank you for taking us on this journey with you!

  • heather - i just love you and your heart.
    praying God’s unspeakable joy covers each one of you.

  • Amber - I wish we really could sit down for coffee together. I think we would form a fast friendship as we share so many of the same passions, especially adoption. Thank you for sharing your heart, and letting us get a glimpse of the whole story. It is not a “happily ever after” story, but one that involves a lot of hurt and heart ache, but thankfully also healing and redemption. I am praying for you and your 5 sweet children. Thankfully God walks us through the heartache. Keep sharing!

  • Catherine - I love ‘listening’ to you. You are an amazing person, mom and friend. I am so excited for you and your family. Thank you for taking us along on your journey.

  • celia - So wonderful! Praying for ALL of you during this time. And…. here’s to an early CONGRATULATIONS! The Lord has truly blessed you all!

  • Natalie - Moved to tears, dream of the joy and heartache of hopefully adopting one day as well. Praying God softens my husbands heart and gives him the desire, because ultimately it is His desire too. I find adoption stories so much more beautiful than birth stories. And you are one blessed woman to get to experience this!

  • Emily - I’ll bring scones and hankies if we ever have coffee (which would be amazing, by the way. Simply amazing.)

  • Bethany - Thank you for the coffee, I don’t know you, but I am praying for you, your daughter, and her birth mother today. What a blessing for you and your daughter! I am new to your site, but have enjoyed what I have seen so far. Thank you for taking a stand for what you believe in! May God richly bless you and your family during this process!

  • Karen - I REALLY wish that we could share a cup of coffee. I am so excited for ya’ll and can not wait to share in your happiness when you are holding you Little One in your arms. I will pray that the plane ride will be quick, that the wait on her will be short and that the new time that you spend with her will be an easy adjustment for all.
    CONGRATULATIONS on your new Little One!

  • Ashley M - To a fellow Ashley: Oh my soul. I cry tears of joy and sorrow with you. I’m delighted that the Creator of all things has had this in His plan since day one and that you and Little One are not a mistake. This journey, the pain, the joy — what a beautiful sanctification process and a kindness from the Lord to reveal Himself and His love to you {and the rest of us. thanks!!!}. I will be praying so fervently for you and your WHOLE family. And I rejoice with you that, soon, you will be whole. Thanks for sharing this journey. It’s been a blessing to “walk” with you. I can’t wait to see LO and the way all of this works out for God’s glory!

  • Lauren - Safe and blessed journey. When ever I think of my tears and the tears of my little ones I dwell on the verse:

    “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
    -Psalm 56:8

    I think of the journey I took with my three week old son. Seven hours total in the car and a painful procedure done by a dentist to clip his tongue and lip tie. I know he knew great pain and I had to let him endure it. My heart was beyond breaking… the outcome? I can comfort and nurse this little one for as long as he needs it. We can share a special bond because I allowed him to endure pain.

    I am beyond excited for you and your family. This little one will know such great joy.

  • Debbie C - Oh my gosh it’s finally here! Such a blessing and a joy to be able to follow along on this amazing journey with you! I can’t wait to see the pics. Your little Song is unbelievably blessed to be joining such a loving, giving family. God bless you on your trip!

  • Kimberly Troth - I am so EXCITED for you & your family! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for taking us on this journey with you πŸ™‚ Praying for a safe and easy trip!

  • Emily @ Peck Life - I am just so happy and excited for your family, I can hardly stand it. With pain and loss, there will be light! Safe travels my friend!

  • Stacey Ball - If we were sitting and having coffee my mug would be filled with tears after what you just said. Absolutely beautiful and heart melting. I can’t wait for you to meet and hold your little girl.

  • Jane - Your gift for sharing your story is incredible! Having been following your blog along the way – it is hard to believe all the waiting is almost over!! Now you can put all that energy into welcoming Little One into your family. She sure is one loved little girl!!

  • Tanya A - Doing a happy dance for all of you! πŸ™‚ Sending love and hugs from afar!

  • Angie - Read this first thing this morning and just can’t stop thinking about you today. The range of emotions you must be feeling but most of all knowing that a part of your heart that has been separated from you for so long will soon be whole with all the difficulty that may come along with it. I am sending many prayers up for you and your wonderful family!

  • Amy L. - Safe journey to you and your family. That sweet girl is so lucky to have been matched with your family.

  • Ingrid - Beautiful post. There is something so amazing about knowing what hardships may be ahead but still being filled with joy for it.

  • Juliann - Just a note to say that I appreciate all you are sharing of yourself and your family. I will pray for you all, and wish you a safe and very full journey to China and back.

  • ~abi~ - i’ve been praying for you all. i will be praying for you all. i’m so excited for you and your entire family!!! and i feel privileged to be able to follow along with your story and journey!

  • Jen - Been reading your blog for a while! So excited for you! Praying that your whole family will have easy transition!!!

  • Lori - Many prayers. Prayers for the kiddos staying behind, prayers for the kiddos going with, prayers for you and your husbands’ hearts and mostly prayers for your Little One to feel God’s love and peace washing over her as she is placed into your forever arms.

  • Melissa - i truly understand all the emotions that you are feeling. we have 2 kiddos through the miracle of adoption…6 & 2 years old. i think about their birth moms all the time still, i grieve for their lost and for the lost of the things my kids will not know about them. adoption is a bag of mixed emotions…but i love how God has used all the emotions to draw me closer to Him. praying for you…

  • Mandy - Ashley, you have such a wonderful way with words. You move me with every blog post!! I wish you and your family all the love and happiness in the world and a safe journey to get Little One. πŸ™‚ We are all standing behind you and your beautiful family!

  • Debbie G. - Ashley, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading your post. I am rejoicing with you that you will get to hold your sweet Song in your arms so soon, but also hurting for all the confustion she will feel at this transition. I will be praying for you all!

  • Julia Leinen - SO SO SO SO happy!!!! This is just awesome!!! praying for easy travels, supernatural sleep and rest, and for a GREAT first meeting, supernatural strong bond and attachment, wisdom for both of ya’ll, and for peace back at home with the Bigs. Love ya my sister in Christ. thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  • Stephanie - Ash, I have tears of JOY streaming down my cheeks and goosebumps covering my body. I am just GIDDY for you and Chris and the kiddos. And for this precious new daughter. I am praying for her. So, so praying. Love you friend and cannot wait to see her sweet face!

  • Meg - I’ve never left a comment on your site before, but I just wanted to write you and say thank you so much for sharing this journey you are on with all of us! I’m so excited for you to meet your daughter. Blessings to your family as you go through this new adventure. This little girl is lucky to have you all!

  • Lynn - Thankyou for your beautiful words today. I wish for safe travels for you and your family.

  • Jennifer - I can’t imagine all of the emotions you’ve been experience and will be experiencing. We are so excited for your family and will be keeping you in our prayers!

  • Kae - Safe travels!! I am so so excited for this new journey for your family. And thank you for sharing your journey with us…I know that it could be hard & another hassle, but thank you! Best best wishes!!

  • Jen V. - Oh Ashley…with tears streaming down my face, I had to write to you and tell you how genuinely happy I am for you that you get to meet your precious little one. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now, since Firecracker was just a baby. I love seeing your kids grow and play and love. Your bittersweet feelings as you get ready to meet your daughter prove to me that much more that you’re an incredible mom who cares deeply for what her children feel. I wish you and Chris and your boys the safest of travels on an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to see photos of Little One soon!

  • Laurie - Although we’ve never met and likely never will, I will be praying for safe travels and guidance for you and your growing family. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  • lindsey - i would love to have that cup of coffee…and give you a great big hug and remind you that you are this little girl’s dream come true. she longs for a mommy that will love her with all the power they have to love and give her a life that she will write stories about one day. And you are that mom. While she will require adjustment, I know it will be impossible for her little heart to deny the great love that will surround her once she is yours. One day her story will be that of great testimony to how God picked the perfect family for her. I’m just so happy for you. I feel like we are friends after reading your blog every week day for almost three years and you being so transparent about your heart. I’m so excited to journey with you to China!!

  • Shara - You are in our prayers!
    I may not have met you and most likely never will but thank you for sharing your heart on your blog, for giving a child a chance for a beautiful life, and for loving God first.
    My sister and her husband are also waiting for children through adoption and your writing and sharing has been such a help with waiting and patience and knowing that not everything will be perfect through it all but it’s a part of the journey.
    God be with you on your travels!

  • Amber - So beautifully said, Ashley. Thank you for sharing both sides of the journey with us. Many prayers for you and your family as you embark on this part of the journey.

  • Tammy Cody - I’ll be thinking of and praying for you tomorrow morning. You are on a beautiful journey!!

  • gina - I will hold you and your family in my prayers for safe travel and smooth transitions as you meet your daughter and wit for the necessary paperwork to bring your daughter home. This has been quite a journey to get to today and i can only imagine how full your heart is as you prepare to meet your daughter!!

  • Arlene - Praying that your Little One’s heart would be incredibly open to the love you and your family are pouring out on her, and that early in her life she will learn to trust the One who loves her best. Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

  • Ruth - Ashley, I have been following you for a while now and although I have never met you, I feel like I know you and I am so happy for this little girl, that she will be a part of your wonderful family. I am sure you will ease her pain, hold her hand through life and be the best Mom to her. I am so sad for her that she will endure pain in her life but thankful that God led you to her.
    All the best and I cannot wait to ‘meet’ her x x

  • Amy - Ashley, I am so excited for you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing your journey so far. I cry almost every time I read one of your adoption posts – since before we were married, my husband and I have considered adoption, and particularly adoption from China, as a possibility for growing our family. Now that we have two biological children and think we are done growing our family that way, we’re starting to think more about adoption. Your posts have been stirring so many emotions as well as being so informative. I’ll be praying for your journey – safe travels and as smooth of a transition as possible. Can’t wait to hear more!

  • Cath - Sitting on the other side of the world drinking my latte…I have tears flowing from your beautiful words. The reality of your joy and anticipation at finally meeting your precious child and Little One’s pain is incomprehensible. Little One is truly blessed to be coming home to your family, she is so loved. Safe travels.

  • Becky - Your beautiful words brought me to tears. Blessings to you on your journey tomorrow.

  • Rebecca - I am so happy and excited for you! You are about to give that sweet little lady such a blessed life. Safe journey and enjoy the adventure along the way.

  • Katie - My heart goes with you!

  • Alison K - So very excited for you all!! Praying for your safety,and for you and your guy as you embark on this amazing journey towards your little girl!! I cant wait to hear at it all goes!! Congragulations!!

  • RachelC - Oh my sweet, sweet friend. I wish I could be in your suitcase the next two weeks….to catch a glimpse of your smile when you meet your daughter for the first time….and, to hold you tight when you are overwhelmed with brokenness. I love you, friend. May God give you exactly what you need every moment of the next two weeks. See you at the airport…..

  • Kayla - Praying for you and your family as you travel to your Little One, and praying for only wonderful things for you and your family. I read this blog every day and I am inspired by your love, faith and journey.

  • Jen - So amazing…I have loved reading your journey to this point…and I cannot wait to “meet” your daughter! Congratulations to your family!

  • Laura - Ashley, I’ve been following your blog for some time now but this is my first comment. I wanted to write to tell you that I’m sure there are many like me out there who have been following your journey, praying alongside, and thrilled to see God’s hand in a beautiful homecoming! Laura

  • Kristin S - This has popped up on my reader for hours and I didn’t want to read it until right before bed. I knew it would reach down deep in my heart and take hold.

    Beautiful words, Ashley.

    Your little one is blessed and she will turn your world upside down in the best of ways you all will never imagine.

    God is so at work!

  • julieta - oh asley!!!! I am beyond happy for you and your family!!!! I am praying for all of you!!! have a good journey!!! i wish you all the best, love, health, smiles!!! ohh, i wish i could be there at the airport to say hello to all that beautiful family that you have created!!!!
    I’m sending all my positive energy, all my love to you and your family.
    Thank you for sharing so much with us!!. I feel so privileged to share it with you!!

  • Cory - Tears…so very thankful for your heart. Praying for you & your fam.

  • ria - Thank you for having such a kind heart towards her birth mother. That is one of my struggles as an adoptive parent. When i look at my sweet girl i think “How could she just give her up?”, but i am so greatful that she did. She has given me the greatest gift one human can give another. Thank you for reminding me to always be greatful for that. You are in my prayers.

  • Ashleigh Bicevskis - I will be praying for you tomorrow! Remember that the one who calls us is faithful. He loves you and that baby girl more than you can imagine and I pray He just walks before you tomorrow. His faithfulness is a shield to us.

  • RachaelB - Praying for you and your family tonight.

  • twirlingbetty - Just sending a truck load of love and peace and strength and happiness to you all. xxx

  • Rosalind - Thinking of you and thank you for sharing the journey with us! It has been enlightening (and a tear jerker). May you know God’s peace and comfort as you board the plane and the knowledge he will give you wisdom to help little one through her transition.

  • Amy D - I hope by now you are getting a little sleep for your BIG day! I am sitting in Latin America as I type this… 9 days into being a forever family with our newest daughter. We brought our other two children with us… There is NOTHING like getting to witness our older two loving on their baby sister. SO excited for you and I can’t wait to witness your journey in China and in becoming a family of 7! And at the same time, I will be praying for your Little One, as she faces crazy big changes. Praying for her peace and comfort, as I pray for my newest daughter’s peace and comfort with us. Thank you for sharing both sides of the what it will be like. Wish we COULD have coffee, because you and I have been on very much the same journey in the past year (we’ve emailed awhile back about special needs and adoption privacy blog stuff)… Especially the past month, the distraction and emotion that comes with the final days of waiting, not feeling like a good friend to those around you… It has helped me feel human. Thank you! Soon, I’ll able to make my blog public again and I can link it up here and you can see my sweet girl! Can’t wait to see your sweet girl! May you see the hand of God so clearly these coming weeks!

  • Aneta - Tears rolling.
    I’ll read this again tmrw morning.
    I’ll have a cup with you in spirit.
    Have a safe trip.
    God Bless your family!

  • MG Atwood - My eyes are filled with tears. I’m so happy for you. I wish I could come sit on the bench and sip coffee with you. Meeting your daughter, and all that is before both of you is exciting and amazing. I’m praying for all of you. Safe travels.

  • Katy - This is such a beautiful post that brought tears to my eyes to read. I’ve been following you on this journey for about 9 months now, but I’m not sure I’ve ever commented. I’ll be thinking of your family over the next couple of weeks and praying for safe travels, smooth transitions, a lot of joy and love.

  • Anna Joy - Praying for little one and you and the whole family. Go get your girl and bring her home.

  • claire - praying that your sweet baby girl will be at home in your arms!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - My heart is just bursting for you.

    I love you to pieces! Praise God.

  • Lisa - Oh how your words resonate with my heart! I “penned” out some of these exact same feelings and emotions 16 months ago. I completely understand so many of the very same emotions you are going through! Praying that God will receive all the glory in your journey….each & every step has been orchestrated by Him, the giver of every good & perfect gift. This journey won’t be easy, but God never asked us to do the easy. He asked us to trust in Him, knowing full well that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Our adoption journey has made me so very dependent on God, and I truly would have it no other way! Blessings to you, as you finally feel the weight of your daughter in your arms!
    Looking forward to your updates! This was one of the sweetest parts of our trip…..refelcting on the day, sharing God’s graces, and reading all the comments & prayers being sent our way. It was such a huge blessing when being so far from home! May God quiet your hearts, and grant you His peace that passes all understanding.
    Prayers & Blessings to you!

  • Georgia - Well, I don’t drink coffee so I would probably bring my QT Diet Coke. But I would tell you that I am praying even believing that God has knitted you (and your whole family) into her heart. And that when she is placed in your arms, that she will KNOW (in every cell of her being) that she is finally home! Prayers and blessings on your journey.

  • Fiona Roil - I am writing from the other side of the world. To begin with, I logged on to see the sun shining through your amazing photos – its winter here (and your beautiful firecracker is so much like my daughter!) but I am hooked. I find your blog so inspiring, we have made a few of your crafts and we love them, and am in awe of your journey. Will be following closely and my thoughts are with you and your family. I know you feel fortunate but that is one lucky little girl. Safe travels, Fiona. New Zealand.

  • Gemma - I have just discovered your blog, and read your story of adoption. And it has brought me to the verge of tears and back again. Your faith and love is inspiring. I am young, but I aspire to have a relationship with God and a love for his children like you obviously do. Your story is truel beautiful. Thankyou for sharing it with us

  • Amanda - Congratulations to your whole family! Thanks for sharing this exciting journey! Can’t wait to see pictures of all 7 of you πŸ™‚

  • Dorota - You’re one very strong woman – with lots of love in your heart and I know that your daughter will feel that and, though she will be afriad, in time she will love and cherish you… This is one and the best gift you can and are giving to her – having real home, parents, siblings and… love! Fingress crossed for you all!

    We’ll patiently wait for the photos of you guys – may it be in 1, 3 or 5 days/ weeks/ months – we will wait… as we know it takes some amount of time for everybody to get to know each other and to settle down. At the moment she just needs you – you and your family… We know her already, too πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!


    Dorota, Ireland (from Poland)

  • barbara Janaina - Dear Ashley, Ia just want to wish luck in your trip, I will be praying that everythings go just fine! You have no idea how your life and your fight is a example for me , Thanks a lot, to be who you are!
    Kisses from Brasil
    Someday who knows can be me on this jouney!

  • TinaPow - It has been such a joy to be able to follow your story and experiances, I hope the next few days (and years) bring you much joy.

  • Christy - As an adult adoptee I just want to tell you how you so completely hit the nail on the head in this post. I know you’ve had years to learn everything you can about the adoption process, but even still, so many people don’t really understand the things that an adoptee carries with them their entire life, no matter how wonderful their life may have turned out. There are so many hurts, doubts & sometimes just plain anger. It’s wonderful that you understand these things.
    I have been following your journey & several others & it has helped me so much in my own healing process & I have even been feeling the tug to adopt myself. We (my husband & I) are a long way from being able to do this (small apartment, debt up to our eyeballs… etc) but I can’t help but feel that God is tugging on our hearts.
    Anyway, thank you so much for the inspiration…. I can’t wait to see the rest of this story unfold & I know that sweet little girl will be so happy that God gave her you!

  • Angie - The Lord is truly good. He takes the broken things of this world and weaves a beautiful song through it all. He uses our small efforts for His purposes. May He receive all glory! Praying for your family in the journey. Great blessings are ahead for you all.

  • Danielle - Well what a cup of coffee that would be… you would have made me into a blubbering idiot, lol. My birthday was the 22nd, born just after 11pm… so not quite the wee hours of the 23rd but close enough to make your long awaited departure the most beautiful gift I received this year. Much love to you & yours.

  • Meg - Best of wishes and safe travels.

  • Roianne - Praying for your families journey! Can’t wait to “meet” your daughter πŸ™‚

  • Julie - Safe travels and Godspeed!!

    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
    β€œWhom shall I send? And who will go for us? ”
    And I said,
    β€œHere am I. Send me!”
    Isaiah 6:8

  • Amy @ PaintWineRepeat - Thinking of you all. Good luck on your journey!!

  • Maggie - Safe travels~ will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers Ashley. πŸ™‚ so excited for you & your family. big hug xo Maggie

  • karen - let’s go little one!!!!!!

  • Kathie - Ashley, thank you for taking me on this journey with you! Your writings are beautiful and I can’t wait to visit China again through your eyes and your voice. Wrapping your family in prayers for an amazing journey. Can’t wait to see your Little One in your arms at last! God speed.

  • Sara - Ashley – you don’t know me, but we are good friends with your central IL family. We are in the very beginning stages of the adoption process, and we too are being led to China, likely to a girl with cleft palate also. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am always inspired by your words and your openness. So glad that right now you are traveling to see your little one. I’ll be praying for you, as I imagine myself on the same journey in the near future! Praying for safe travels, lots of smiles, and an easy transition for your baby girl. πŸ™‚

  • beth - with tears in my eyes, i wish your little one and all of you the easiest of transitions during this hugely emotional and amazing time….your blogging world is supporting you in more ways than you’ll ever know. i hope you can feel it….feel all of us !!

  • Harriet - Praying with you. What an incredible journey. Your girl will be in your arms before you know it!

  • Staci - You have such a lovely way with words. Like many others you brought me to tears with that coffee. I am a foster parent & have adopted 2 children already. I can really identify with your bittersweet feelings. I have to thank you though for the reminder of the pain the birth family experiences. As a foster parent we do know all of the sometimes horrible details of why their birth family can’t be there for them. It makes it very hard to have compassion for them when your momma claws come out because you just want to protect your babies.

    I will be praying for your safe travels & for God to provide the peace that only He possesses as you start this new journey.

  • Meghan - Thinking of you this week. I’m relatively new to your blog, but your story is captivating. Can’t wait to “meet” your little one! Is that weird???

  • Kaly - I think I wandered onto your blog through Pinterest, and have been awed and inspired by your story. Good luck and God be with you (and your little girl!) in this, the greatest journey the three of you will make!


  • jade - oh no im at working reading this trying to hold back the tears πŸ™‚ tears of joy πŸ™‚ i hope you have an amazing first meeting with your daughter. Praying for your family God bless x

  • Emily - If we could sit down and have a cup of coffee I would have mine with cream and sugar, too. I would tell you that no, this won’t be easy (becoming a parent-even for the fifth time-never is). And no, she has not heard you voice, or seen your face, or smelled your mommy smell.
    But then I would share how certain I am that when things happen that God plans (no matter our age) that our souls are stirred and moved. That her soul will recognize yours. And no, it won’t be easy. But it will be beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your glorious journey. Praying for you all.

  • Alice - I love following your story. Your loving family touches my heart and makes me want to be a better, more loving mother to my little girls. Thank you for inspiring me to want to try harder for them.

  • MixedMolly - What a lovely post. That song is beautiful, one of my favorites. Can’t wait to meet her!

  • Lacey - Thank you for sharing your story. You are inspiring in so many ways. Safe travels. Praying for all the blessings to be bestowed on you and your growing family.

  • Julie B - So happy that you’ll be flying. Prayers for the journey now and for the one ahead. We’ll all be here to support you through it and to welcome that sweet baby home!

  • molly june. - prayers & hugs & tears & courage & faith be upon you. your story has touched my heart to it’s core. may God continue to bless you, and keep you, and may His face shine upon you & your family all the days of your life. i have never heard an adoption story told like you have. such grace & heartbreak wrapped up into one. what an incredible story this little one will have to tell one day! amazing grace, how sweet the sound!

  • Melissa Lomax Speelman - So beautiful . . . thank you for sharing your journey with us :).

  • Erin - Simply beautiful! Will continue to keep praying!

  • andie jaye - oh gracious! sooooo excited for you! something happened to my feed for you and i’ve missed all of this…. off to catch up!

  • Carrie Stephens - Oh- I have longed to adopt for so long. I hope it is something God is able to do for us someday. I am so happy for you! enjoy your sweet baby girl!!! She is precious!,

  • if we could have another coffee date » ashleyannphotography.com - […] Last time we sat down for coffee, it was the day before I boarded a plane bound for China. […]

  • thinking about a year ago » ashleyannphotography.com - […] was reading the post I wrote for this day last year….these lines jumped from the […]

  • marcy mckay - Very well done post, Ashley. You captured well the experience of child, birthmother and adoptive mother. At Easter, I met the last two of my three kids’ birthmothers. All were adopted internationally. Each of the three birthmothers expressed their deep love for their children and their extraordinary gratitude to us for giving the children the lives they have. I’m guessing your daughter’s birthmother would have said the same.

  • Georgia - I’m a long time reader of your blog, but don’t think I’ve commented. I just wanted to say how much I admire your openness about the adoption process. We have one daughter who is 13 months old and if we are to expand our family again, I’ve told my husband I’d like us to consider adoption. As such, your posts are incredibly informative for us from not just a procedural point of view, but also around the emotional side of things. Very, very much appreciated πŸ™‚ x