For several years, Marla Modesitt had wanted to adopt a child of her own.
She managed to do just that in December, but had to travel more than 5,000 miles to do so.
After spending the bulk of December in Russia, Marla flew back home to visit with her parents, Maurice and Janice Modesitt, after adopting 11-month-old Sophia Grace.
"She's definitely a huge blessing," Marla said of Sophia. "We bonded pretty quick. The moment I got her, she didn't want me out of her sight."
Marla graduated from Northview High School in 1985. After spending time in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, she came home to go to graduate school at Indiana State University.
She then moved back to Indianapolis before settling in Irvine, Calif., where she has lived for 10 years.
Three years ago, she went on a mission trip to Romania at an orphanage and fell "in love" with a little girl.
It was at that moment she decided she wanted to adopt.
Through her church, Marla began to attend classes on adoption, where she learned much information through various programs.
From there, she began working with an international agency.
"It's very lengthy," she said. "It's getting harder and harder to adopt from Russia. You could probably do it by yourself, but I wouldn't do it."
Marla worked with one particular agency beginning in January 2008. She had asked for a boy or a girl under 24-months-old but nothing was happening.
She said she switched agencies in June 2009 and received information on Sophia in September. Sophia was in an orphanage in Vladivostok, Russia, the country's largest seaport city on the Pacific Ocean. The city is located near Russia's border with China and North Korea.
"Mom and I went to Russia in October to meet her," Marla said.
The two made a second trip to Vladivostok Dec. 5 for paperwork, before returning home Dec. 30.
Marla said in Russia, there is a mandatory 10-day wait period during the adoption process in order for a court judgment to be final.
"Fortunately, we got her," Marla said. "It's getting so difficult."
During the waiting period, Marla said Sophia came down with the Chicken Pox.
Before she could go to Russia, Marla had to go through an extensive process here in the states, including background checks and physical exams.
"I was fingerprinted seven times," Marla said. "It's quite a process."
Marla said Sophia had been given the nickname Sonja while at the orphanage
"When I got her, I started calling her Sophia," Marla said. "She didn't even know her name yet."
She added Sophia was in much better health than what was initially believed.
"I expected her to be smaller and not as developed mentally," Marla said.
Since coming back to the states, the two have been staying with her parents. They will be here in Brazil until Jan. 16.
"Everybody in Brazil wanted to meet her," Marla said. "I feel so blessed, beyond what you can imagine."
Incidentally, Sophia will celebrate her first birthday in the United States on Jan. 26, only nine days after her new mother.