She Had Them at ‘Privet’

(That is ‘Hello’ in Russian!)

With chubby legs and a sweet, irresistible face, three year-old Malia Heavrin stole the hearts of her parents, grandparents, and a host of family and friends.

She had them at 'privet' When Scott and Wendy Heavrin decided to adopt a child from a Russian orphanage, they had no idea how they would get everything together in order to meet the requirements of the adoption agency. So when Carla Berry of Paducah Bank stepped in to help with the financial requirements, the Heavrins breathed a giant sigh of relief!

“We told Carla what we wanted to do,” said Wendy. “She saw how important this was for us, and she was excited too. She made everything so much easier and bent over backwards to make this happen for our family.”

With so many unknowns regarding the adoption process, it was difficult to know where to begin. The year was 2009, and Scott and Wendy were told that the adoption process would take about a year to complete. Little did they know it would be almost two years before they would meet their little girl.

Due to a previous, unfortunate incident involving an American family, the Russian authorities were extremely cautious. Therefore, time passed very slowly as the couple worked through the loads of paperwork and waited patiently for the call that there was a child for them.

Finally, in March of last year, Scott and Wendy received word that there was a baby girl waiting for them in Moscow if they were interested. They made plans to go meet the child immediately. When the Heavrins saw her, it was love at first sight! They gave her the name, Malia.

Malia’s joyful spirit melted their hearts, and the Heavrins knew that she was meant for their family. They spent hours each day playing with Malia while still in the orphanage and getting her familiar with their family. Each time one of their visits ended, their hearts broke at the thought of leaving her there for a few more months.

In fact, it was seven months before the couple was finally approved to bring Malia home. Even with this approval in place, there was still one final detail to resolve.

She had them at 'privet' “In order to bring Malia home, we were required to bring with us clean, unmarked, unfolded bills that were minted after 1989, distributed in the required denominations,” said Scott. “Carla took care of everything and made sure we had what we needed to complete the process.”

With the help of Paducah Bank, the Heavrins had everything they needed to bring Malia to the United States. In October, Malia, with her new parents, boarded a plane headed for Paducah.

A toddler by now, Malia spoke no English. The Heavrins and Malia did a lot of adjusting—from teaching her English to helping her learn how to eat American foods. (One of her current favorites is M&Ms—just mention these tiny candies and watch her face light up!)

“Everything is so much better because Malia is with us,” said Wendy. “I cannot imagine our lives without her.”

In a short period of time, Malia has adjusted to her new family and to her new home. The long journey that brought this baby girl across the ocean and into the Heavrins’ lives required patience and determination. They are thankful for the service that Paducah Bank provided them and say that Malia was well worth the wait.