A Payson family is spending its first full day at home after a month-long adoption process overseas.
Chris and Jill Reffett knew it wouldn't be a typical adoption, especially when they decided to adopt a child with special needs.
"I will tell you, you spend a little time in an orphanage with all these little kiddos that need a home. I used to think some of these families were crazy who'd adopt 8 kids. I get it now," Jill said.
The Reffetts had decided long ago to adopt after their oldest daughter was born with Down Syndrome. They found baby Mila a year ago.
"They start out in baby houses, in orphanages, till they're about 4 or 5 and then they essentially get transferred to an adult institution," Chris said.
The Reffett's knew that was no home for any child. The two left for a month-long trip to Ukraine in September.
"We're on the way there and I was thinking, what if I get there and I don't love her. She's cute, she's wonderful, things are great, but I don't love her like my girls and I just had that fear. We would've been good parents to her and all those things no matter what but the moment we saw her and they put her in our arms, it was like, oh yeah, not a problem," Jill laughed.
"It's kind of surreal to think that there's this person on the other end. We'd been working a year on this process and then, there she is," Chris said.
Chris and Jill spent hours at the orphanage every day, documenting their stay on Facebook.
"We've always talked about this journey that isn't just us. We wanted to share it with everybody and educate everybody on it," Chris said.
In one Facebook post, Jill wrote, "A whirlwind trip to get Mila's passport, then final medical report, then back to U.S. Embassy for her VISA!! Woohoo!! She's technically a U.S. Citizen now, but that green card, social security number and U.S. Passport, all in the next few weeks, will make her official-official!! She will have dual citizenship until her 18th birthday and we are requested to do a report to Ukraine the first year, then every 3 years, till she's 18. Less than 50% of adopting families do this, which is part if Ukraine's sited reasons for wanting to break their adoption treaty with the U.S."
Mila will be 3 in January, but her mom says she's developmentally behind other children her age, which is not unusual for orphans with special needs.
"She was our daughter. There was no way we were turning back at that point," Jill said.
The next steps in their journey include the transition to solid foods and speech therapy.
"There's so many ways for those things to be helped, so these kids can lead a normal life. We know you can start out behind and finish first," Jill said.
The Reffett's say they owe their adventure to an organization called, Reece's Rainbow, which advocates and raises funds for families who want to adopt children with Down Syndrome and other special needs.
Click here to find children needing a home.