Explore China {Zhapo Dajiao Bay ~ Hailing Island}

Most adoptions from China require around a two week stay. Typically the first week is in the child’s province and the second week in Guangzhou. Since our daughter is from the same province that Guangzhou is located in, we could have spent our entire trip in Guangzhou. We got most of our official stuff done in the first few days, but we must wait for our daughter’s visa to be processed. We have one more big appointment later this week before we can return home. Instead of staying in Guangzhou, we traveled to Yangxi and Hailing Island.

Chris is very travel savvy and coordinated everything for us. We got to spend a day and night at Zhapo Dajiao Bay on the island. It is a resort area – very beautiful. It is not ‘western friendly’, in the sense that no one speaks english, there aren’t picture menus and not much is written in english (like in the bigger cities). However, if you are ever in southern China and don’t mind those things – we highly recommend visiting. If we had known ahead of time how great Yangxi and Zhapo Daijao Bay were, we would have stayed longer. Both are so much more slow paced…we Okies like slow pace πŸ™‚

Little One rocked two headbands today…and we were still asked if she was girl.

(headbands from My Little Dear / LuLu & ChaCha)

She is smiling more just on her own without us working to make her smile. When she smiles really big her nose is all scrunched up in the cutest way.

Zhapo Dajiao Bay on Hailing Island

Chris found it online and read a few reviews (Chinese reviews translated with Google Translator). We really weren’t sure what we’d find once we arrived. I think we’ve told the boys at least 20 times a day “remember it’s an adventure”…for walking, food, hotels, etc. This adventure turned out really well.

In the bay area you have to pay a few dollars to swim. The boys played in the sand to their heart’s delight.

And not to their delight, they were interrupted on numerous occasions for photo ops. They handled it all well. They asked if they could charge for posing in photos….smart boys. We told them “no”.

It is so fun to have a snuggly baby in our arms again. So fun!

Group shots are an extra fee, no discounts. If we had let the boys charge, they could have made a killing today!

These girls were so giggly. They wanted a photo with our 6 year old but were too shy to ask. He was completely oblivious.

Still oblivious to his fan club, he started dancing on the beach. Giggles and laughter from the ladies ensued.

Trying to be sneaky with his camera phone. I think my way of coping was to take photos of people taking photos. Total coping mechanism.

My other coping mechanism when people are staring and photographing me…act awkward because I am not sure how else to handle being uncomfortable πŸ™‚


So peaceful….southern China is beautiful.

Being the great traveler he is, Chris knew there was a free local beach on the other side of the bay…we like free. We also like Lonely Planet. The books are great, but they also have translator apps that don’t require data service. Chris downloaded a Cantonese translator before we left so we were able to communicate the gist of what we needed.

The free beach. According to the Google maps he looked at there were no buildings near the beach. I think Google needs to do a little updating.

These pics are for their younger brother…they want him to see the building that looks like a Star Wars ship and the ‘pirate’ boat.

Hands. Lovely hands. Her hands are definitely related to coping and comfort. The more we learn her, the more we know that looking at her hands soothes her and is kind of like a retreat for her. The reality of living the majority of everyday in a crib means you find ways to comfort and cope. She must have found her hands. I am thankful it wasn’t a toy or an object that had to be left behind. I’m thankful her hands get to go with her anywhere and everywhere. I look forward to when she allows us to be that steady comfort in her life.

The boys didn’t know what to think about walking up to an aquarium and picking out their dinner.

She was so cute in the stroller tonight with her arms stretched out taking it all in happily. Back in April we got an update on her with new pictures. One of the pictures had her sticking her tongue out and it just stole my heart. I so giddy that I had my camera out fast enough to capture her doing it tonight as her daddy pushed her stroller. Goodness I love this girl.

Enough Mommy.

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  • Carrie Z - Wow. Thanks so much for the continuous updates. I’m captivated by your story and sending you good thoughts. XO

  • Kara M - LOVE her sweet face! When I lived in China, I was always being photographed. Being goofy was the only way of handling it, without getting frustrated! One time kids were walking up next to me discretely to see who was taller. Their friend was in the distance taking pictures. I didn’t even notice until my friend pointed it out!

  • Tammy Kay - she is so beautiful, Ashley.
    I’m so, so happy for you.
    Joy just feels my heart when I read about your adventure.

  • Sher - i am so glad you found each other. you belong to her.

  • Carrie - So lovely! I have re and re-read all the blog post from the week. I’m in awe of it all and this girl, that cleft have stolen my heart! Last night my husband said he would love to adopt :). Research research research are happening here in OKC! Looking into it all keeping fingers crossed somehow we can come up with the finances! Hoping to join you on this adventure some day! Thank you for bearing your soul on the world wide web!!!

  • Lisa - absolutely thrilled for you guys! have enjoyed being able to share, even a little bit, on the sweet journey. blessings.

  • Amy at Fig Milkshakes - Yes, Ashley – thank you for the continuous updates and sharing. This post is so fun – it cracks me up from your boys being celebrities to the tongue out the cleft lip, to the hand up atcha! Enough mommy. She is so beautiful, and I am just so enthralled with your journey. I think it may someday quell any fears or apprehensions I might have in the future about adopting.

  • Rebekah Gregg - Oh, that last one is so so cute! Of course, they all are but that one made me giggle. : D I have a friend serving in Indonesia where they are as equally attracted to Americans and always want to touch her children. She said one of her girls has gotten so adept at avoiding them that it’s like something out of The Matrix. lol

  • Cristy - I am so so so in love with your family (is that bizarre?!). I look forward to following along on your journey each morning. Somewhat embarrassing to be streaming tears (albeit, happy ones) at work, but totally work it! Your dream of adopting is infectious πŸ™‚

  • Mrs. Saukas - I’m happy for you and your family in this journey. And i enjoy to read about your boys and their celebrities days. So fun!
    May God keep blessing you πŸ™‚

  • Stefanie - Oh my goodness, y’all are so adventurous! What fabulous pictures! And what unforgettable memories you’re making for your boys! I imagine your daughter will love to look at all the fun you had when you were in China, too πŸ™‚

  • Gayle - Loving your updates and as always your beautiful pictures! Little one is so precious. Abundant blessings.

  • Lisa - SO fun!!!! I’m glad your adventure is going so well… and thank heavens for Google Translator. All the photo ops take me back to my time in China… people coming up and petting my long, blonde hair was an everyday occurrence! Ha! You’re so good natured about it! God is soooo good to have this sweet trip go even better than you imagined! AWESOME!

  • kellyt - I’ve never commented on your blog but I’ve been reading it every day since the day I discovered it, before your oldest little girl was born. It’s been so moving and exciting watching your journey to adopt your youngest little girl. I love your sunny disposition, your honesty, and your humility on your blog (and your amazing pictures don’t hurt!) I look forward to your posts in China every day and am so happy for you and your family regarding your newest addition. What a lucky little girl!

  • Martina - Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us! These posts are seriously one of the highlights of my day and I’m so happy you’ve been able and willing to blog while you’re in China. OHMYGOODNESS – Little One is SO adorable! Your family is awesome! I eagerly showed my husband the post from your first day with her, since I had been telling him about your family. He, with tears in his eyes, asked if we could adopt a little girl from China with a cleft lip and palette, too. You’re making big waves. We’re already in deep with foster care and foster care adoption so I’m not sure if we’ll ever go down the international adoption road but you’re definitely changing lives by sharing your story.

  • emmybrown - aw, I just love following your story! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing it. About the “it is a girl” thing….I think people just don’t think….I had one of my boys dressed as boy as possible…and people still called him a girl! πŸ˜›

  • caroline - Oh Ashley! This is just incredible! I’m so thankful you have found time to blog everyday and take us along on the journey as y’all are living it! I love this! I’m sure that was her first time at the beach! I cannot wait to see what today holds for y’all tomorrow morning! πŸ™‚ I love your family!

  • Monika Rybak - Pictures are the best – as always! The little one is so sweet! Adorable! and your boys… they’re fantastic!

  • Angie @ http://hayshousemisadventures.blogspot.com/ - Your boys amaze me in their ability to cope in new and different situations. You are obviously wonderful parents. Your little one is a perfect fit for your family, especially in the way that she is so fascinated with her adorable little hands and you involve your children in so many “hands on” activities. She will use them for some wonderful things in the future. I cannot wait to see your family united as a whole very soon! I know how much you and the boys must miss their little brother and Firecracker! Thanks again for sharing!

  • Paulette Cawthon - Every morning, I can’t wait to read your posts. The pictures you take make me feel like I am right there with you. Your boys are getting to experience such a wonderful adventure – one they will remember forever. Your Little One is precious. I love, love, love the way she curls her toes! You have a way to capture simple pleasures most people miss.

    Thank you for your inspiration and wonderful, blessed outlook on life. It truly makes my day!

  • RachelC - Love these pics! Song is so beautiful in her girly headbands! Also, love the “awkward” pic. That is hilarious! Kudos to Chris for being adventurous….glad to see he still has the Eagle Scout in him!

  • Lynn - Thank you for sharing these updates of your travels in China. I always had such a different picture in my head of what it would be like and your pictures have opened my eyes to a beatiful place and kind people.
    Your boys are great sports! Little one is absolutely adorable!!

  • Dawn Nikol - I love it. Thanks so much for continuing to share your journey. That girl makes me want to go to China and adopt 50 babies.

  • amber - She is too cute. I’m always amazed at adoption stories. Each so different, but always gleaming God’s love & perfect plans. And, can I just say, I have never seen China like you guys are showing it. Beautiful, lovely, & homey. I love it. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with all of us…can’t even begin to describe what it does to me inside!!

  • Annie - Goodness she is just so stinking’ adorable! Thanks again for sharing all of these experiences and emotions with us. We are feeling them with you! Still praying, too. Enjoy the adventure!

  • Sherry Eckblad - What great photos today. Thank you again for sharing this amazing journey with all of us your blog fans and friends.
    I think it is so funny that people there want to take photos of your children and totally agree with the boys that they should charge for each person in the photo. Your little one fits right in with the family although I think she will not be as happy to be in all those photos you take and we will see her hand up to say “stop momma” more than once.

  • Emily - I love that the “no more pictures!” reaction is universal among children. So glad your trip is going well.

  • Kendra - Thank you so much for sharing your journey of adoption with us. Adoption is dear to my heart as my 5 youngest siblings are all adopted. Your pictures and your words are just amazing and I tear up every time I read one of your adoption posts. I am so grateful that you are willing to share them with us!! Your youngest daughter is already so amazing and you are the perfect family for her! Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

  • Whitney Parrillo - Thanks for sharing your beautiful journey. I visited China after graduating from high school about 8 years ago and ran into the same thing with people taking pictures of me. I have curly hair so I had lots of people that wanted to touch my curls. It’s pretty weird to think of all the random people who have a photo of you out there in the world. When I was in Peru I wanted to take a photo of some women in traditional dress spinning wool and they charged me!

  • Meg - Her hands break my heart in so many ways. I love that she found comfort but I am sad for all the other babies that just have their hands to play with. Do you know anything about the orphanage’s policy on toys? Is it just that there isn’t funding for toys or are they not allowed? Would they accept toy donations?

  • Rose - I am happy to see that it seems like the transition is going really well for her. I hope that continues for her.

  • becky - i am so happy for you! i think it is so neat that the locals want to take pictures of you guys πŸ™‚

  • Autumn - this is a true adventure!
    i couldn’t believe all the pictures the Chinese tourist took of my kids last time we were at the beach. it made me super uncomfortable the protective mama took over until someone was kind enough to ask if was okay, apparently the kiddos red hair is unusual. they like your boys liked having a fan club!

  • rose - I forget to add..When my friend when to that part of the world she was bombarded with photo requests and hair touching. She has super red & curly hair. She eventually had to hide it under a scarf and big hat just to have a “normal” day there.

  • AmandaH - Those first pictures are SO beautiful! I was just struck by how comfortable she appears and she just looks like a natural part of your family!

  • Julie - amazing, beautiful, breath-taking photos. i so much enjoy your updates. thanks for sharing your adventure here, it’s so sweet. i pray blessings will continue for your little one.

  • Catherine - I am enjoying these posts so much. How adorable are your kids?? I am loving that little smocked top on Little One – just beautiful and it reminds me of my Mum (she taught me how to smock).

  • Lisa M. - Ashley, your pictures of the landscape are beautiful. What an amazing experience! You get to bring home your new daughter and you got to see an amazingly beautiful country as well! Your daughter is magnificent! I find it facinating how one day, all she’s known is four walls and a stainless steel crib and the next she has a loving family who is exloring with her and sitting with her on the beach! She is so blessed…as are you! I imagine you cannot wait to get her home and start a new chapter in both of your lives! God Bless all of you and I continue to pray each day for you and your family.

  • hannahm - i’ve been following your story {and your blog for a long time…}…and my heart is simply blessed in watching God’s faithfulness to your family and your new girl!

  • Charly - Your little girl is adorable! Love following your blog. Congrats on the new addition!

  • Jenni - I now realize that from this point forward that visiting your blog will ALWAYS make me cry. If I was lucky I would get a couple of posts a week that I wouldn’t sob but I think that is in the past. Just seeing her in the stroller, wearing a pretty headband, sitting in a pink bathing suit on a beach. Ahh! There is such beauty in in thinking about where she was just a week ago. Then on top of it, all of your glowing faces. Best.Blog.EVER! lol Have a great time!!:)

  • Cindy - Love that you got to bask in the China sun together πŸ™‚
    What a wonderful mini-vacation!!! She is too cute!!!

  • Luciana - Lovely! Lovely place, gorgeous beaches, beautiful family, lovely hands. Amazing post.

  • Crystalyn - I was working at Universal Studios a few years ago and I had a couple of foreign tourists ask if they could take a picture with me because no one in their country had my hair color. (It’s strawberry blond)

    Your photos are stunning, as usual.

  • paige rodriguez - I could look at those little hands and feet all day long! i love how she moves them!! she is PRECIOUS. and you’re so wonderful at relaying this experience, she is a lucky lucky little girl.

  • Kari Signe - Thank you so much for keeping us all up-to-date and all of the adorable photos. It is so exciting to see this wonderful adventure your family is on. YAY!

  • Brooke Peterson - just dropping in again to comment…thank you so much for documenting your FIRST week with your new little girl, I feel so blessed to be a part of your family’s journey. I generally read your blog at the end of my work day, but knowing you’re a day ahead of me I’m reading it earlier in my day because I just can’t wait! I just love seeing your boys being rock stars and your beautiful new daughter looking so content. I just love her cheeks! Thank you, thank you for the beauty you post everyday!

  • Emily - I stumbled across your blog while visiting other friends’ adoption blogs. I’ve so enjoyed keeping up with your updates… and finally just had to comment. πŸ™‚

    Your little girl is so cute! I had to laugh at your “awkward” pose – good coping. πŸ˜€

    I’d love to adopt someday once I have a family to add a baby to… we shall see!!!

  • Syndi - My brother lives near Kunming and all of his kids have sunny blonde hair like your middle son. My brother says he likes to tell people that they don’t need his picture because he isn’t famous. He says that always gets a laugh! πŸ™‚ His kids have grown up there and are used to it…but they also like to wear hoodies or hats to be less conspicuous at times! It will be good experience to help them understand how their little sister will feel when she is the only asian in the room and there are lots and lots of pictures. πŸ™‚

  • Susan - When I wake each morning I go to the computer to see if you’ve updated your BLOG. I’m thrilled when I see an addition with your beautiful pictures. It’s like ready a really good book that you can’t put down. I’m soooooooo in spirit with you in China, right there being your cheerleader.

    Little One is Rock’n some darling outfits, and I love her head bands. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how she transitions from her “hands” to your “heart”.

    The boys are doing a FANTASTIC job at enjoying their “adventure”. Such world travelers at a young age. Thanks to your BLOG and their memories, they are going to have great stories to share with their families some day.

    Chris, I love have travel savy your are, you could be the next Rick Steves, but for China instead of Europe.

    Thanks again for sharing, it warms my heart every day.

    Praying for all of you.

    With Respect and Friendship
    In San Diego, CA

  • Tessa - She is such a sweetie! I can’t believe that you get asked if she is a boy! Her eyes and long eyelashes are so beautiful and scream “girl!” to me. Loving the headbands … and the fact that you guys are celebrities in China – so funny!

  • Rachel - Ashley Ann, I’m a new reader of your blog, and totally am a fan. I love seeing how your faith itself out in creativity, family, and adoption. I can see you bringing glory to Christ in what you love and pursue. Keep it up!

    Little One is gloriously beautiful. She may be a fan of her hands, but I love her dark, luminous eyes. She’s awesome!

    haha I am ethnically Chinese (my parents are from Hong Kong) but I grew up in the States and don’t speak the language, so I still feel awkward when I’m in China. I’m reliving some of those memories through you. πŸ™‚ Have you tried chicken feet yet?

  • Danielle C. - Oh my goodness this little girl has stolen my heart. I’m so happy for your family. I look forward every day to reading your posts and seeing your beautiful pictures and family. I’ve never been so inspired by a person or family before. Thank you so much for sharing and being an absolute inspiration for me.

  • Rachel - Inspirational story! Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Sharon @ Discovering blog - I found your blog via Design Mom, and have just spent the last few hours (shh! don’t tell my boss) absorbed into your beautiful world. Your pictures are stunning, and the love you have surrounding you is just breathtaking.

    You have an amazing ability to capture love and beauty, and it has been a pleasure poking around your blog.

  • Meg - Joining the others in saying what a captivating little girl you have! Your story is just amazing; I love watching it unfold. And it helps that you have really rockin pictures. What a keepsake these will be for her! I know you said that about the ones from her hometown but I think all of them, plus your posts, will help to know how you loved her from the beginning & embraced her culture. Just awesome, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - I don’t know how people think she is a boy. . .she looks like a girl!
    That is adorable about your son’s fanclub. Perhaps blonde hair is rare. What a lovely day together, your time on the beach was. I bet you miss your other two children so much! SOOOOON!!!!!

  • Abigail - I have thought it with each of these wonder-filled pictures of your little “Song” looking at her hands…but I wonder what wonderful plans God has for her to accomplish using those 2 outstretched hands?!?!

  • RachaelB - Love all the pictures! Reading these updates are some of the best 5 minutes of my day.

  • Sarah W. - Thank you for sharing. I love hearing about your adventure and this part of your life and seeing your sweet boys and new baby girl!

  • erin - She is absolutely adorable! I LOVE the headbands on her–she wears them so well. And putting her hand up at you taking pictures is so stinkin cute! I can’t wait to see more! Thank you for sharing all of your adventures with us!

  • Sharon - Ahhh…the self soothing hands. Isn’t just amazing at how our children learned to cope with the life they have lived? Your little one, it is her hands. One of ours, it was her hand to her ear, where she would just rub it. Our 2nd one, he did this “foot thing”. Now we rarely see those behaviors, only if they are nervous about leaving home for say church camp. You WILL grow to be her source of comfort, as she learns to love and trust. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

    Way cool that you were brave enough to get out and about in the country. We didn’t work up to that until our 2nd trip! The kids can’t wait until we make our return trip sometime over the next few years.

    All the best as you continue bonding with your little one.


  • jenn - thank you for taking us all along with you on your journey. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

  • Susannah - These posts are totally taking me back to growing up in Taiwan. I wish I had thought the way your sons did and charged for people taking pictures with me. I don’t think my parents would have let me either, though. πŸ™‚

    Your daughter seems to be doing so well and I’m so impressed by how good of travelers your sons are!

  • Stoich91 - Beautiful, beautiful photos. What a fun adventure, and what wonderful memories. The paparazzi photos really crack me up; I’m almost afraid to go to China, now! πŸ˜€ Maybe it is a blonde hair thing? Either way, so happy to see your precious bambinos soaking in the last bits of summer before you head home. I can’t wait to see Firecracker’s face! πŸ˜€ haha

  • Laree @ Ever Heard of Euless - I haven’t commented yet since you first got the chance to hold your little one – honestly, every time I’ve tried I’ve ended up crying with the beauty of your story.

    But the shot of you holding your daughter on the beach posing for pictures – it was just to precious to not comment on. Your little one will look at pictures like that later in life and rejoice at the love and happiness your family has.

    Thank you for sharing this joy with us!

  • Tracy - We have always wanted to adopt and all you are doing is making me want time to speed up to where we can be in this position! πŸ™‚ So glad that she is handling the changes so wonderfully and it’s so nice to see you guys being able to enjoy the country. The boys look like such great sports and your little one looks like she is just doing fabulous considering all the drastic changes she has been through this week! Kiddos are so resilient!

    I wish we were that “easy” at travel but I have a feeling if/when we make it there we’ll be too overwhelmed with change ourselves that we won’t be in mind set to do anything but stay in our own comfort zone. πŸ˜‰ What a great experience for everyone! You’ll have to take her back to visit when she is older. πŸ™‚ And won’t the boys have such a great story to tell when they get back to school! πŸ™‚

  • Jenny - I’m so glad you are still blogging while over there! Seriously every day I think well they might be somewhere crazy and can’t get online….then I see your post and all your beautiful pictures and it makes me so happy to read more of y’alls story! Keep em coming, I love seeing her “open up” a little more each day in the pics. PS your boys seem awesome, does she let them hold her?

  • Rachel B. - Amazing how Little One loves her hands and that they are her way to cope and feel comfort. Amazing how Jesus does the same thing for us. Praying for you all.

  • Nicci - You and your pictures have made me cry every day that I have read your blog since you guys left to bring your daughter home! How wonderful that you can be the ones to bring such a good change in someone’s life! She is a doll.

  • Amy Beachy - she is so precious!

  • Teri - Her feet are killing me. Have you ever seen such cute little feet? She is so sweet, honestly. And what a joy to get to know her and be with her. It’s so great she’s learned to soothe herself and that she’ll get to know the comfort of a forever family, too. My heart is so happy for you all.

  • Jen - I find myself opening my Google reader every morning just to see if you have posted your goings on in China with your adorable little girl. Thank you for sharing these very touching moments with your readers. Only recently God has been tugging on my heart about adoption and your little girl has sealed the deal for me. May God continue to bless you and your family!

  • Lori - Thank you so, so much for sharing everything with us. Little One is a doll…I’m fascinated with her hand-coping. It makes sense; when things seem a little overwhelming retreat to home base just for a minute. ‘Those are my hands. I’m still me.’ My sister and bro-in-law got the paparazzi treatment too when they brought their daughter home from China. AND I’m pretty sure our husbands have the exact same swim trunks (Target?).

  • Caroline - Thank you for sharing your story in sich a honest and detailed manner. Your family has been a blessing to me, and in return I’ve been praying for you, through all the steps you took, are taking and will be taking on this journey. May God grant you all wishes of your hearts, for I know by the sparkle in your eyes that you are a family who delight yourselves in Him. I’m also praying about the attachment process and i’m really glad that eveything is going to the right direction. Praise Jesus!
    Blessings from Sao Paulo- Brazil

  • kathryn - Just beautiful! Words are insufficient to express God’s goodness and the reflection of His love as you chart your journey for us. Little one is gorgeous (and so are the rest of you:)). We traveled to China when I was 11 (1982). A family of 4 children, all blonde. the Chinese borders had only just been opened to Western children under 12. We had crowds of people just follow us down the street. Camera’s probably not quite so prevalent then :0 I remember people kept touching our hair.

  • nancy - God bless those little hands. Those glorious perfect little hands. What a blessing.

  • giozi - I’m a fan too !!!!!!!!!!! ha ha ha and my daughter he he

    Oh your little girl look so adapted. I’m very happy. You look great super happy too.

  • Amy D - Love that you are starting to get to know her! My favorite pictures of Little One are the ones in which you or Chris are holding her. We’re just waiting on a visa too, and considering heading to a beach while we wait! This sure makes me REALLY consider it πŸ™‚

  • Rachel - I wake up every morning looking forward to reading your posts about your beautiful adoption story…I know it might not be perfect, but it is truly an amazing story and your new little one is beautiful! many hugs!

  • Carla - The swimsuit shots are killing me! So adorable! Looks like a beautiful place to get to know your daughter!

  • Anne-Scarlett M. - God has written y’all in to such a beautiful story. What a blessed little girl and what a bless mommy + family. It was meant to be. From the start, it was meant to be.

  • lyn - Thank you for updating your blog. It brings me great joy to see parents take such care, love and interest in their children. She is beautiful! I love the sticking out her tongue.

  • Rebecca A. - She is amazing!

  • Melany - Your daughter is so incredibly precious that each picture of her brings tears to my eyes. I can’t even imagine what a blessing it must be for you as her mother. What a beautiful gift God has given you πŸ™‚

  • Sharon Osborn - I too wanted to thank you for being so faithful with your blogging. After praying for you and your family for the past years, my heart is just bursting with gratitude to God for this new happiness for your family! Can’t wait to see Little One meeting Firecracker!!!

  • Vanessa - Good on you for stepping out in faith and embracing your little one’s country! What an adventure and what rich memories! So special. Thank you for such great posts. I’m impressed and inspired as per usual!

  • Amy - When we went to Thailand in November with our five year old – we were shocked that people in Taiwan (where our layover was) wanted to take pictures of the little white girl. Then when we got to Thailand and went out away from the big cities it was the same. People would call out in the open air markets in Thai “take a picture of the cute white girl!” our daughter developed her fake “picture posing” smile on that trip.

    These photos and this story of your family adopting is one of the first things that I think of when I wake up everyday and one of the things that I read before I go to bed each night. I’m praying for you all and just wanted you to know how thankful I am that you’re sharing this story. While adoption may not be an option for my family, reading this story has been eye & heart opening for me. Thank you.

  • Kelly - I love seeing all these pictures! So so happy for y’all that your daughter is now with you πŸ™‚

  • NanaDoll - so glad that you are sharing your awesome adventure with us! it is amazing!

  • Lindsay W. - I have so enjoyed reading your journey and am celebrating with you and your family! We pray for your family faithfully and even my husband was in tears reading your post on meeting your daughter. Just wanted to say, the picture of you holding her with her headband on, my first thought was “she’s home”. You’re arms are her home…so happy for you!!!

  • Jessica R - The pictures in the pink bathing suit completely melt my heart! It makes me so sad to think of a year spent in a crib with only her hands, but like you said, I’m so glad that she still has that method of comfort. Though, it looks like she is so happy and at peace with your family already. I can NOT wait to see the photos of when she meets FireCracker! Oh my goodness, I can’t wait for that.

  • jenny - Your boys look like they are having the time of their lives! And your sweet little girl is just so very cute! I cannot wait until the day when my kids are exploring China too! My heart is so full and longs to be there. Your photos and blog posts are blessing me in so many ways.
    thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  • Eva - What an awesome hubby to plan an excursion like that!!!! How fun!!!!

  • Cheryl Bonfils-Rasmussen - The hands…yes, so observant of you to recognize this as an act of soothing. Good for you! Our daughter’s soothing was to lick a blanket as if she was eating a corn cob left to right. Still does and she is 6 but she does it if she is happy, resting or just for the pleasure of it. Your daughter is a gem and a really happy kiddo. We enjoy every moment of you rblog- tonight my best friend Holly and her 2 daughters and 2 sons from China will join us with her husband and we’ll celebrate un-labor day heheheh

  • Nicole L. - My girls came in while I was reading this post and could not stop exclaiming about how cute and adorable Little One is. My oldest asked me about her lips and I explained a little. The youngest then said,”Oh. Well, even if she had lips like ours she’d still be adorable!”

  • Elizabeth - The beach looks so beautiful…and my boys would LOVE to see that “pirate” ship in person. how cool!
    seeing little ones hands & the story that is behind them ~ just completely overwhelms me! I’m so so glad she has you all to LOVE her, to hold those hands & gradually feel her embrace you w. those lovely little hands.

  • Brook @ BeingBrook - We lived in Japan for 6 years and people would want pictures with the kids all the time there too. Bugged me SO much at first but I had to get over it fast. We would go to a tourist site with the kids and have them stand for a picture and as we were taking pictures of our kids there would be tourists on both sides of us taking the same picture. Our youngest son was born in Japan and as a toddler when he heard the Japanese word for cute he would run to me or his Dad for protection because he knew he had seconds before some Grandma scooped him up or would want to touch him. LOL. So happy for your family!

  • Hope Winen - AWWW! she is so beautiful! I love the photos taken, really captures how happy she looks with you and your family πŸ™‚