Mia's Homecoming Video

At last I see the light

One Less Orphan: Mia's gotcha day

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Playtime inside & a first for Mommy

Yesterday it was raining so we had our visits inside the orphanage. We were hoping that meant we could see more of the orphanage and how things work around there in the daily routine but the visiting rooms are pretty seperate from the residence areas. We were by a room that appeared to be part of the sick children area but that is all we could really see. We are hoping that maybe as they get more comfortable with us being around, they will maybe let us have a tour, but who knows.

As you all know, Mia is a daddy's girl. We have learned that she does not have men around and so she knows something is different about Kris and she likes it. She KNOWS he is her dad/Papa! At first we were trying to get her to call me Mama and she would just look at us blankly, than we learned that she calls the caregivers Mama so we understood a little better why I wasn't standing out to her as much, she already had what she thought were "Mamas" so we are now trying to teach her that I am Mommy. She still prefers Kris over me. It is so heartwarming for me to know that she already instantly loves him and wants him, but yesterday I was feeling a little down because I hadn't had the same connection yet. I mean its not that she doesn't like me or that she won't let me play with her and such but she spontaneously, without being asked, will go over to Kris and put her arms up for him to hold her and she has been giving him these big sweet hugs. She had given me kisses right from the start but until yesterday I hadn't received any unprompted hugs and I was in need of one. I am sure my Heavenly Father knew that my Mama's heart was not going to last without this because all the sudden yesterday this happened.........

She reached for me all on her own and wrapped her arms around my neck and said "Ahhhh"! It was just what I needed!
Then she did it again a few more times.

As we have been playing with her we have noticed she has no idea what to do with a book. She actually has no interest in them or what they are about. How sad that she is 4 years old and has maybe never had a story read to her! We will change that for sure! She did like the Matroyshka doll book we brought because all the dolls come out of it.

She really likes the baby doll too and does lots of imaginative play with her.
Even tried to put her inside the Matroyshka book with the Matroyshka dolls

This is the little inside play area we visited in yesterday
She LOVED my sunglasses

She likes to load her things in the car and then there is no room for her to even sit inside. It is funny to watch her play. You can tell she is not used to having so many things to choose from to play with and so she just goes from one thing to the next and then when she wants to move to another location in the room she has to load it all up and move it with her. I am assuming she thinks it will be taken from her if she doesn't keep it with her.

You can tell when hugging her that she doesn't really know what to do. She will wrap her arms around you and pat your back a little but the rest of her body is stiff and straight. She doesn't realize she can relax and just snuggle in.

She really wanted this water bottle but she had NO idea what to do with it. She would stick her entire tongue inside the opening.

What did you say?

Kris tried teaching her the itsy bitsy spider. She seemed to like it by the end.

When we visited in the afternoon she did the same routine as the morning...she pulled her hand away from the caregiver and put her arms up and ran towards Kris.

Trying to get her baby doll to walk with her

There was a little boy in the sick room with what looked to be his adoptive parents visiting and she kept trying to get in to play with him. They would giggle at each other through the window and she would try and hand him her toys. We were glad to see that she must like other children and want to interact with them.

We brought the pair of shoes I had brought to see if they would fit her. They are way too big!

Maybe she is figuring out the "cheese" face for the camera!
She loves loading her things into this ziploc bag

Walking back down the hall to the caregivers office.
Today is now sunday and we missed our morning visit with her because we went to the local branch of the LDS church. So we are really eager to go see her again this afternoon. It was so nice to go to the local church here.

It is amazing how at home we felt even though we didn't understand anything they were saying through the meeting. Afterwards we did get to visit with a bunch of the missionaries there thought. There was probably 16 Elders and 2 sisters and they were all american! They were more excited to see us and speak english with us than we were to see them! They just kept saying how brave we were for just throwing ourselves in to the culture and doing this. It was really fun to talk to them!

Some tips we have found so far that might be helpful for those coming to U:
-bring lots of ibroprofen or tylenol because you can't buy it here. We forgot our big bottle and only brought the travel one.
-a small notebook and pen to keep with you is a MUST. We are able to write down addresses in Russian (or have someone write them down) and then show the taxi drivers.
-someone asked where I ordered the family board book for Mia......it was from my custom story.
-you may want a mirror because we have found that the bathrooms don't always have outlets so you have to get ready and do your hair in another room.

We often have to laugh at ourselves that we are really just throwing ourselves into this culture and trying to survive without ANY language abilities! We know about 5 words or so that seem to get us by accompanied by lots of gestures and attempts to explain what we are trying to say. Luckily we have found this university student Lusha that is helping us out by driving us back and forth when he doesn't have class. Last night after the orphanage visit he helped us go to a pizza place and order a pizza to take home. That really has been the hardest part about not knowing the language is finding food. We don't know how to order or what we are ordering or where the restaurants are or anything. In the capital we were staying close to all the restaurants and there were alot that had english menus but here in the region it is very different. We are not close to anything within walking distance (unless you count the big compound that is next to the university here that is an estate of the big president of the russian moffia or something). Luckily last night we had a knock on our door and it was an american couple who live in the next building over who are here adopting 4 teenagers and they have been here for a LONG time (since March I think) so they helped us with a few things. They even took us over to this little house near our apartment where an older christian missionary couple live. The sweet man delivered breakfast to us this morning and has offered to help us learn the bus system and escort us on the bus to a grocery store soon.

Our "dorm/apartment" doesn't have personal kitchens, just a shared one across the hall. We decided to eat our sausage muffins that the missionary guy brought us this morning in here. We do have our own fridge right in our room though.

Court Info:
We were told by our facilitator on friday that a "tentative" court date could be thursday or friday but from what we hear we probably shouldn't get our hopes up because you never know. We are hoping to learn more Monday so pray that this tentative date becomes a reality!!!!!

We are really tired today because we got up at 4 am this morning to watch the girls dance recital through skype. We couldn't see much detail because the picture was not good but we saw it live and we could tell they did a great job. Luckily we get to see the video soon and pictures! We can't wait! So I am off to take a little cat nap before we go to the orphanage!


  1. Hi Kecia,
    Love all the pictures of your new little angel. She sure lights up the room :) We enjoyed our local ward here in K today too and we were given an English translator for the whole Sacrament service! Hearing the hymns in the native language made me fight back tears; it was so good to feel at home. Can't wait to hear more from you guys soon. When you get back to K, look us up :) ~Shelly

  2. I love seeing all these pictures of her playing. You can tell she has a really good imagination. I love the one of her trying to get her baby to walk with her. She seems so happy and comfortable with you both. The video was so touching. Another prayer answered. I so hope your court date is soon. We will keep praying for that. Glad you got to go to church there,sounds likely was a neat experience! Enjoy your day with her. Loves!

  3. The video is so sweet! I am sure once you get home and she sees your role in the family and how her sisters interact with you too, that she will learn that as well. I love the pictures. You must put so much time into these blog post, so thank you. I am so very glad I get to tag along with you on your journey via the cyber-world! Good luck, lots of prayers that you get to keep your court date!

  4. I love the name you chose for your adorable daughter. Mia is the name of my downs cousin...and our baby's first name is Karen, which means pure as well. So, I think it's a great choice...he he he.
    It is amazing to see how much she loves you both! The excited look on her face when her arms are wrapped around you. It is so special.
    And Kecia....I'm glad she finally threw her arms around you. While watching the video of her and Kris was SO touching, and I bawled my eyes our, I was wondering where your video and pictures were...so I am glad that she finally showed you what her heart already knows...that you are her forever Mommy!
    So fun reading your updates!!

  5. Thank you again for more pictures! I love seeing them, she is just a treasure! How anybody can look at these adorable children and not see any worth, I will never understand. I also keep bringing my husband over to look at the pictures and video, and seeing him getting excited is so great!

  6. what a cute video of you and Mia ... glad you got that hug that you needed.
    all of her pictures are adorable...i really can't get over how cute she is !! i love her little tights and shoes.
    praying that your court date becomes a reality.
    i might have missed the initial information about your trip but how long did yall figure you'd be over there?

  7. Love the pics! So sweet - and I'm so glad you got a hug, that must have been so wonderful!! :) I love that you went to church - I've already looked up the local wards in our city, lol! I'm going to go back and watch your hug video again, hope you're getting a nap! I'll be praying for a fast court date and that you know soon. <3

  8. When Mark and I went to the orphanage in Africa, there were certain kids that just LOVED him, and immediately called him "papa" too. Having a 'Papa" around is more of a rarity and they know it! I was a little less "special" to the orphans because they were used to all their "mamas". BUT- it looks like you are becoming so "special" to her too! I loved the video, I'm totally becoming addicted to your story/blogs!:)How long are you thinking you'll be there? Do you already have a flight scheduled to come home?

  9. Thank you SO very much for the posts & especially the pictures!! She seems as though she "knows" you both, not just her papa, but YOU, too! I pray thecourt date IS this week, so you can get your daughter home & back to her sisters

    many, many prayers coming to you, three


  10. this is Bree,Kyra and Adrie Mia is so cute we had no idea you were watching us dance Bree was crying backstage but she stopped when she went on stage.We love and miss you adrie wanted to say she got a book called polly's pink pajamas. We're going to have Lucky Charms and go to Derek's farewell. Bree is going potty all the time.

    This is mom, now. The first thing the girls wanted to do when they got up was to check for new updates! So cute! We took reading it and then Kyra typed what each of them wanted to say. Once again, I couldn't keep the tears from coming! Love you all! xoxoxo

  11. That video just melted my heart! I remember when you saw the video of Anya running down the hall to hug me and you told me that you just pray that Kareen will do the same. It's so exhilarating, isn't it? I tear up just thinking about the miracle of giving and receiving love to/from someone who would never have it otherwise. It makes all the hard times so worth it!
    Glad you got to go to an LDS branch there! That was a highlight of our time in R. Next time you go, you'll have to have one of the missionaries sit behind you and interpret!

  12. Very sweet. I cried watching the video and then cried again reading the post from your sweet girls. Also cried knowing you missed your little brothers farewell but knowing that this was so much more important.

    I can't remember if I posted this link for you or not so I'm doing it again just in case you have time to take a look. It's the post I did of our sealing day.


    I can't wait for you guys to get home and see this finish for your amazing family :)

  13. Loving all your updates. And HOORAY for a mommy hug!!!!

  14. I just can't get enough of your blog. I don't even know you and sit here crying tears of joy for your family! Mia is so beautiful and one lucky, lucky little girl! God bless you!

  15. Kec, that video melts my heart. I was thinking that the kids probably learn not to get too attached to the helpers or Mamas in the orphanage, as they most likely turn over fairly often. But, it looks like she definitely loves you!! So glad your prayer was answered. Amazing how the smallest things can make a world of difference.

    I also love seeing the pictures and hearing about your life there. How neat to go to the branch there. Such awesome memories you will take home with you!

    Btw, my mother-in-law and Kristi were at the dance recital and were so impressed by how well Bree did! They said she was perfect!

  16. I am so happy for you that you got that sweet hug from Mia. She is so adorable! Your girls were amazing last night! I was so proud of them. But I was emotional watching your girls because I knew how much you wish you could have been there. They did such a great job. Bree did just as well as the other girls. They are amazing. And you are amazing too for doing this unselfish thing for Mia. Good luck with everything. We will pray for an early court date.

  17. SOOO glad that you got that hug on film...so special.

  18. I love the photos! She is so sweet, esp in the video and hugging Chris!

  19. Hello again! So happy that you got the cuddle that you deserve! Everything that you said is exactly what I was thinking and wanted to say in my last comment. When I commented that she is def a daddy's girl, I wanted to say but don't worry Kecia you will be her hero too! It just may take time. Because she is used to having women around having Kris around is something special. I am so glad that this gesture has made your day. You are still beaming! I think it will be a permanent thing because you are like a star shining brightly. You are Mia's shining star! I am praying that your court date is set for this week. I gave your good news minute this morn and you were mentioned in the closing prayer. All will be praying for you I am sure. Laughs and giggles!

  20. How sweet! That hug was precious.
    My kids LOVE watching the videos of Mia! They ask so many questions about her and love to point out who her new Mom and Dad are. We all think she is adorable!

  21. Oh, how I love reading your stories and seeing the pictures. Like so many other people, I check it multiple times per day and read it over and over; and the tears come each time that I read it. I hope we'll be able to see some video of Kyra, Adrie and Bree's recital; I know your mother is loving her time with them!
    Praying for a court date for this week.
    Love you!