We had briefly met Daria when we adopted Alena last year, and had inquired about her then. She was not available for adoption at that time and also had two younger siblings. We didn't expect any further to come of it.

Then very suddenly, in December of 98 we received a videotape of her from our agency coordinator in Kaliningrad, who remembered we had asked about her. At the same time we began to hear from other sources that she was available and that her siblings had been adopted by Russians.

Our adventure had begun and was filled with amazing synchronicities and help from all sources, both divine and practical. It simply seemed that Daria needed to be here with us. So we answered the call and headed back to Russia to get her on April 2, 1999.

We had much better weather (still needed our coats) and saw much more this time. We loved seeing everyone in Kaliningrad again. Erin and Alena made the trip with us and Alena was delighted to visit her orphanage friends. Several had already gone to new homes, but the orphanage staff was very excited to see Alena.

We journeyed on to Moscow and had a lot of time to see the sights there, again seeing old friends. Our trip to the Embassy to get Daria's visa was quick and uneventful. Armed Moscow police and Russian Army guards were posted outside the building and surrounding streets, and the front of the Embassy itself was covered with paint splotches and a few broken windows, but there was no tension or any hostility of any kind. We spent three days sightseeing and had no problems anywhere. The people were warm and welcoming and we enjoyed our trip thoroughly. The three girls had a great time at the circus and at the flea market shopping for souvenirs.

Daria is indeed a sweet and charming girl, shy at first with people, but soon warming up. She has her own bubbly nature, not nearly so exuberant as Alena, much more like Erin's harmonious personality. Erin is delighted to be a big sister again and is very close to Daria. Daria turned seven on March 12, so she and Alena will be in the same grade.

Her Russian nickname is Dasha, and we are keeping that for the time being, although her formal name is Daria Alexandra Bell. She started school on April 15, and is really enjoying being in America. She is already reading and writing in Russian, so the transition to English should be fairly straightforward.

Will we be making another trip to Russia for another family member? No, not anymore! We'll only go back for a visit sometime. We have a full wonderful house with three little girls and one full-grown son out on his own. We'll be keeping pretty busy as it is!
But we'll be on the lookout for other families who might want to make room for one or more of the lovely children who are still waiting in Kaliningrad (and all over Russia) for their new homes!

We look forward to keeping you up to date on our family!