Mia's Homecoming Video

At last I see the light

One Less Orphan: Mia's gotcha day

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Details of Gotcha Day

(and a few more pictures of the day that didn't make it in the videos)

Waking up on Gotcha Day knowing that today was the day we had waited so long for, was very surreal! My emotions were all over the place...I just couldn't stop the tears. Months of worrying, running around doing mounds and mounds of paperwork, fundraising, preparing, planning, traveling, and it was all finally here! And every minute of it was worth it!

We ate some breakfast and then waited for our facilitator to pick us up to finish our errands before we could go get Mia. Our facilitator, Angelina was AMAZING!

She did everything for us with our paperwork...we hardly had to worry about anything with regards to that! So when she picked us up she had already applied for the passport and we went to the notary and then headed to the bank. When children are orphans here they have a bank account with money from the government in it, and if they have alimony from birth parents that would be in there as well. It is customary to sign over the funds from the account to the orphanage. So we went to the bank to do that. Her account had 21,000 grivna (which is about $3000 us dollars). We had a little holdup with the bank because they needed a hotel receipt proving that we had stayed in the city, before they would give us the money and the receipt we had brought from the hotel was not acceptable. So we spent about an hour there and then still had to go get another formal paper from the hotel and bring it back to the bank before they would sign over the money.

The bank handed the money to Kris in a little brown bag and we headed to the orphanage to meet with the director. He told us he would allow us to take a few pictures of Mia around her groupa's room and we could say our goodbyes there. This was huge because they had never let us take pictures in there before.

We gave him the money and he was very thankful and said now they would be able to fix the roof. So we were glad to know it was going to go to something they really needed. He also gave us the address and email of the orphanage so we can keep in contact and make future donations.
We then went down the hall to another office and signed the official papers saying she was no longer a child of the orphanage, she was our daughter! The lady helping us with the paperwork told us thank you for what we were doing and she said that they all knew Mia would be so happy with us.

While we were doing this, the lady who was helping us from the orphanage asked Angelina if we would do something for her. She said that there was a group of siblings here in this orphanage years ago, and they were adopted by different families. The 2 boys were adopted by one family here in Ukraine and one sister was adopted by another family in ukraine, but the other sister was adopted by someone if America. The sister in Ukraine was now trying to find her siblings and she was able to find the boys here but not the sister in America. So this lady from the orphanage gave us a name and a little bit of contact info (although it may be very old because the adoption was in 1990) and she asked us if we would find this girl and let her know to contact them because her sister in Ukraine was looking for her.

We were really shocked that the orphanage would ask us to do this and felt honored that they thought enough of us and trusted us enough to ask something like this. When we looked at the contact information you will never guess where the address was listed......in Washington DC....which is where my little brother will be going in 4 days and where he will be living for the next 2 years on his mission! I know that we have a lot of searching to do and that maybe this address is not current, but still it seemed so amazing that it would play out like this. Another miracle to add to our journey!

After we signed the papers we headed down to Mia's room to pick her up. They had her all dressed up and had done her hair cute so although we had to change her dress, we thought we would show them we appreciated them doing her hair for us and we left it as they had done it.

Mia's table for meals
They let us take a picture of Mia in her bed the day before when we said goodbye to Marina
The caregivers had dolled up the one friend of Mia's that was not napping so that she could say goodbye to Mia

We were able to visit for a few minutes in her living area, although we were very sad that Marina and the other ladies who we had come to love and know so well were not on their shifts so we didn't get to say goodbye to them and they didn't get to see Mia off. If it had been up to us we would have stayed until they came but we had to go because our facilitator was with us. Luckily we have one of their emails so we can send pictures when we get home.

We also noticed that they had our little family album displayed on their shelf. Angelina told us that the special needs groupa here has not had many adoptions and so they are so thrilled to be involved with us. It was nap time, so all the other kids, except one, were asleep so we also didn't get to say goodbye to them but maybe that would have been harder on me!
It was tearful hugging the ladies and saying goodbye...we could tell they cared about this little one.
Then we were off! We headed out the orphanage doors and the gates forever!
ummm, am I really allowed to be on this side of the wall?
(Dad and Mia doing Mia's car sound)

After we got back to the hotel we skyped with our families so the girls could see Mia, although Mia did not want to sit still for 2 seconds...she had WAY too much to explore around the hotel room!

It is just incredible to watch her LIVE!

EVERYTHING is new to her and it is so incredible to be witnessing the world through her eyes.

We decided a McDonald's happy meal was the perfect first meal out of the orphanage for Miss Mia so we headed out. She was a total angel both in the stroller walking there and at the restaurant! We have to thank her caregivers for the amazing manners they have taught her! She sat on the bench and politely ate her nuggets and fries (which she LOVED).

She would take a bite and then place her food back on the plate and set both hands on her knees while she chewed. She would then dab her mouth with her napkin after a few bites! We could not get over it! She was So cute to watch! I hope she keeps these good habits and teaches her sisters at home!

Hello world!

After dinner we went back to the hotel and just enjoyed being together!

We gave her a bath which she LOVED! When we put her in we handed her a washcloth and she just started washing her ears, behind her neck, under her armpits, her face.....it was so funny! She totally knew what to do with a washcloth. Now every time she walks past the bathtub she tries to undress and get in. It appears that she knew what to do with a washcloth but that she had never been allowed to sit in the water and play.
When we put her to bed she got a little nervous but it only lasted a couple minutes and then she turned over on her stomach and fell asleep and slept great the whole night. We still have not heard her cry.

It still almost feels like a dream to look across the room and see her really here with us!

It was a perfect day with a perfect ending.....

one little girl got her family!


  1. I can imagine that surreal feeling. I am so happy for you all. Can't wait to see your homecoming and her meeting the girls! Oh what fun it will be at your house.

  2. This is so touching! It's incredible to see her in a different setting, and that she has no apprehensions whatsoever! She knows this is where she belongs! I can't get over her table manners, that's so adorable!

  3. This had to have been the happiest day of your lives- I cannot imagine what it felt like to wake up and look over and there was your daughter sleeping in the same room. I am SO thrilled for you guys!!! Beautiful, beautiful!

  4. So very happy for every one of you!!


  5. We are so happy it was a perfect day! :)

  6. So touching! What a beautiful family you have!

  7. Congratulations! It has been such an honour to be able to follow your story. Can't wait to see pictures of your homecoming and Mia in her new home!

  8. So wonderful. Love that she is so comfortable with you being in her new world!

  9. oh this is the BEST news! I just love reading about her first official day out of the orphanage and in your care full time! I cannot wait to meet her!

  10. CAN'T WAIT to meet y'all!! :) The pic of sweet lil Mia sleeping brought tears to my eyes. I need to get back to packing... see you soon! Congratulations!!!!

  11. I have never cried so much while reading blogs. You have captured her freedom and new life so well through your words and pictures. Thank you so much for sharing.

  12. As with most of your posts, I cannot stop the happy tears! I am so happy for Mia and the rest of your family!!! She is such an angel and what a blessing you have been to her (and her to you!)! I just have to tell you thank you for all of your posts. In fact, your husband (via a former co-worker) is how we got introduced to RR and your blog and you've been a big inspiration to us. We just barely got our commitment to our beautiful daughter, Melissa, posted on RR. Thank you for your real and loving look at special needs adoption from across the world!

  13. I have been so looking forward to your Gotcha Day post for months. I am so glad it went well, loved the video of Mia getting in the car, and her playing w/ the birds. She is so full of love and I'm sure she will add so much love to your family. Also looking forward to Mia meeting her sisters! Safe travels and God bless your family!!

  14. That first night is so surreal. It's amazing to look at them and realize they are finally home!

  15. I am overwhelmed with joy to see this!!!! Amazing.

  16. I can imagine it being so hard for you...she seemed so happy though! :D I'm sure it was hard for the caregivers, too...they must form an attachment over the years; especially for a child so sweet. Love reading your blogs...feel like I know you personally! ;-) Thanks for the great words of encouragement to those going through the journey you have already taken!

  17. Thanks for sharing this special day with all of us. Beautiful!

  18. Kyra and I just read this together! We love it - and of course I cried and cried! xoxoxo

  19. Congratulations on finally being able to bring this precious girl home. She juts shines with such light that I'm sure those around her can't help but to appreciate her beauty! I work in Washington, DC so if I can be of assistance in your search, please feel free to contact me at tnkgurl @ yahoo . com

    Safe and happy travels!