We are blessed to have two pictures of Ella as an infant. When we were in court, I saw that the orphanage director had these photos in her file on Ella. When I asked about them, she kindly gave them to me. What a treasure! We can only guess at her age in the pictures, the second one was the photo that we were shown when we decided to adopt her. She was two and a half at the time, obviously it had been years since the picture was taken. What an adorable baby, I feel my heart break every time I look at the pictures because we missed so much. This marks the day that her time with us equals her time in the orphanage.
We are going into this adoption with experience that we just did not have when we brought Ella home. It did not matter that we read books, spent time with adoptive families, or scoured journals of Ukrainian adoptions. Each child is unique, and each one will come home with a different experience. What we expected was far worse than what we dealt with, but we also thought (albeit very naively) that we would not always be dealing with "issues". Just recently Seth and I came to the conclusion that Ella will probably always need more and be struggling to overcome those first two years of her life. It was a sad thing to think about, and I have to often stop myself from going into the "If only..." She is a remarkable little girl and we are so blessed to have her in our family.