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  • Ashley

She's Our Daughter!

Hello! Hello! I must first apologize for taking so long to update everyone...I mean it has been over two months since our last post, and I am so sorry! We have been super busy and of course time flies when you're having fun! :)

Anyway, let's recap the second half of January, February, and March, shall we?! So January was full of basketball and more basketball. Everly didn't seem to mind though. She still enjoys watching the games and playing with my cheerleaders. She learned to clap by the end of January...and she learned to clap by going to the games. One night she just looked at me when we were all clapping, and it was like it just clicked for her. So she started clapping, and she hasn't stopped. She does it ALL the time, and it is the cutest thing ever! :) The Disney princess we were inspired by for January was Snow White, and these photos are probably my favorites so far!

We also had some sad times in great grandma, Wilma, passed away. To live into your nineties is quite an accomplishment, and she had a wonderful life, but it was so hard saying goodbye to that era of our lives. She was the last connection my family had to a little town in southern Ohio called Wellston. That was always one of my favorite places while growing up. We would celebrate all our major holidays down in Wellston. It was the only place we could get Gem Cream Soda and Ski pop. It was where we could spend a weekend away from the "real world" eating our favorite Pizza Pub pizza and watching scary movies all into the night. I miss those times so much and pray that we can create memories like those for Everly some day in our little slice of Ohio. I am so thankful we have one photo of Everly, me, Mom, Mamaw Sandy, and Mamaw Wilma together at Thanksgiving. That's five generations in one photo. I have one from when I was little and my Mamaw Wilma's mom was in it, so that was five generations then as well. These are the photos that mean the world to me.

February came and went in literally a blink of an eye! No, but really...did February even happen?! Anyway, we finished up basketball season and my cheerleaders did well and earned a bid to State at their Regional competition. Everly loves cheer competitions. She hoots and claps, and I love it! :) We celebrated Valentine's Day with a photo shoot...I mean what else would you expect from me? And this month to celebrate her 9 months, she was Jasmine. I have discovered that I am more of an "Amazon Prime mom" versus a "Pinterest mom." I had to make the top to Everly's Jasmine costume, and it was a disaster. Oh, and now that she is more mobile, she was not sitting still for photos. haha! She learned to crawl by the end of February and we had our last homestudy visit!!! WOOHOO! We were getting paperwork sent in to our judge hoping for a quick court date to finalize. We also celebrated birth mom's 30th birthday! We had out own little celebration complete with cupcakes.

Then came March! What a month it was! Our theme for our photos this month was Tiana...Princess and the Frog. :) My cheerleaders had their state competition, which they rocked, it was my birthday month (that's good and bad...yay for getting older), we had spring break, and we finalized our girl's adoption! Yay!!! She is finally officially Everly Sky Mizuki Banion...the most beautiful name for such a beautiful soul. This girl has been our daughter from the moment we saw the first photo in our email...and now it is such a huge relief to know she is ours in the name of the law as well. We cannot imagine life without her. She has completely changed and taken over our lives in just seven short months. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her; she has so many people wrapped around her tiny fingers. By the way, her new favorite thing to do is a funny noise with her hand and her mouth...I can't even explain it, but it is hilarious and so, so cute!

February and March were also very interesting. In February, I was contacted by a publicist for an amazing adoption advocate named Michelle Madrid Branch. She speaks out all around the world for women's rights, the orphan crisis, and adoption. They asked me to guest blog on her website. I had one month to write a short biography, get a head shot, and write about our adoption journey. I was so excited, but completely terrified at the same time. She has hundreds of thousands of followers. But I did it, and I had a wonderful fellow adoptive mom who I am fortunate to now call a friend help me, along with Vince. Together we made it happen. Here is the link if you would like to check it out.

We also celebrated Everly's first Easter! She had two family gatherings and had a blast! She also loved the Easter bunny! :) This girl is fearless. We could not be more blessed. We feel so fortunate to have found this program and this amazing community of families I am thankful to call friends.

Everly has also been doing something called brand repping, where she models clothes and accessories for small businesses and they use her photos for their websites. It's been so fun to see her in all these cute accessories and clothes. Everyone has loved her cute photos...yes, it is a lot of work, but it is so fun and we have tons of cute photos of our girl. :) Enjoy the pics...

Before I leave you with another overload of miscellaneous photos, we have a couple prayer requests. There is a family who adopted a daughter almost exactly a year before we brought Everly home. They started the process again and were blessed with an unexpected phone call in January telling them that their daughter's birth mom had given birth to another girl and wanted them to adopt her, so they are there picking her up right now in Tokyo. She's an adorable little almost three month old (reminds me of our girl). The State Department has initiated a crusade against international adoption, and there is now an unexpected hold up. They are due to travel home tomorrow night (Thursday Japan time). They may have to change their flight and stay longer if the State Department doesn't approve her visa tonight our time. Please join me in praying that that visa gets approved so they can get home to their three other kiddos waiting for them.

The other prayer request ties into that statement. Please pray that the State Department ends this crusade. It is now directly affecting our agency and so many families that we now consider friends. I will have a blog post in a few days to explain what is happening so we can stand up and join together to help families like ours. More info to come. In the meantime, enjoy my overload...I mean it has been a couple months... ;)

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