Monday, November 15, 2010

The Last Few Years

For those of you who have wondered if we are still around....yes, yes we are. As with most things life gets in the way and we have failed to update this blog. Alena is now a beautiful, smart, wonderful eighteen year old, who unfortunately has the flu today! School's are a breading ground I tell you...sorry just a rant.

The past few years have been an amazing adventure. As they say some good and some bad, but for us some great and some really bad. We lost my youngest brother to cancer and with Alena only being in our family for two years it was a hard loss. You see, loss is a very common equation with adoption. For whatever reason your amazing child ends up in your life, it is by loss. Either the physical loss of a parent or loss of love. Whatever the reason, even if your child is adopted when small, there is loss. For Alena, loss is something she really has not dealt with. Like most amazing kids she plows right through, and to be honest that is not such a bad thing.

Loss is inevitable in this world and knowing that it is a part of the world is a much easier way to deal with it, then wallow in it. Even so, it will always come up so as I tell Alena be proactive and journal about it, talk about it. If you can write about it, or talk to someone then I really believe that you can deal with it. We all have to mourn. Mourning really isn't the issue, it is whether you come out of that period that is.

Kevin's passing was a time for us to talk about loss. Unfortunately our daughter is headstrong and thinks some things we talk about are weird, hence the cultural difference and the short time she is with us, so two years later we talked about it again. This time it is different. The holidays are a hard period for anyone who has loss in their life so Alena knows that she has to come to grips with the loss of her mom, and is mature enough this year to do so.

It is really wonderful how this beautiful girl, still little in some ways, is so much a part of us. Adoption is such a wild ride. I am not sure if it is the same with a younger child, but with a teen it really is crazy sometimes. Crazy, yet the most amazing gift. For those of you who think of adopting a teen, go for it. I cannot promise it is easy, nothing of substance is, but it is really special and important. In our case we knew we may not affect her future as much as we would like, but we could try and in the meantime love the "crap out of her"!

Since coming to us as a 72 pound fourteen year old, Alena has blossomed. Having a beautiful eighteen year old is no small feet for a dad, ha-ha! Watch out boys, Joe is around!!! Seriously, she is so smart, and thinking beyond the next moment to a real life. One that she may never have had back in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a great country, just so different than the US. For Alena she has a real chance at an amazing life and she is starting to understand that now.

As I said in an earlier post, she wishes to write. As soon as she is up and running, she will update this blog. Also in the meantime if you wish to see what is going on with us all, check out our Just before Alena came home I wrote a Christmas book that answers the question, Is Santa Real? It is a truthful and amazing little story for parents to share the wonder of Christmas and the tradition of Santa. Along with that you can follow her brothers Jonathan and Jameson on

The guys are continuing their adventures in Hollywood and can be seen and heard all over the entertainment world, Internet and traditional. They are older now, 21 and very soon to be 20. Not kids like when we spent the month in Kazakhstan. They are men and really great guys. They still give their sister advice, much to her displeasure, but they love her and she really is their sister in every way.

Until then please feel free to contact us through this blog or at We pray this holiday season is a true blessing. May God Bless You and Keep You always,

Kelly Moss

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Alena has asked me if she can post on our blog. I think it is a wonderful idea. She has been here almost three years and with some growing pains under her belt she has truly matured in the most amazing way. She is beautiful, and smart and once she realizes how hard work pays off, she will soar. Finally another chapter in our blogs life. Alena's update coming soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Two Years Out

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for the delay. Our family has had many new adventures but the one with Alena has been the best so far. She is amazing and beautiful and I can not believe how blessed we are to have her as our daughter. Now that I remembered my password, ha-ha, we shall update more frequently. Also do not hesitate to contact us at

Thanks for checking.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Finally an Update

Hi, hope everyone is well. We are all doing great and Alena is so wonderful. She is so girl, and so young at that. Thankfully she is like a 12 year old in all that she loves. High School Musical, teen stars. She is doing things that I find wonderfully refreshing in this house. However, the men folk are having a different experience and they spend most of their time teaching and directing. The boys are so much more conservative than me, ha-ha!

It is just like it should be, big brothers protecting her. It is amazing how we all fit so well together. What a blessing.

Have a wonderful summer.

The Moss Family

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Blog

Sorry it has taken me so long to update. Alena is going to post, when we finally get her and Irina to sit down and do it. We are so busy and by the time I think to ask Irina to help Alena, it is to late for us to write.

Alena is doing so well. She is amazing. Yes, there is still so much to learn. Both on our part and hers. You see, things that we take for granted, Alena is only now getting to do. Like going to a restaurant. Alena never went to a restaurant before we met her. So the first time she ever got to go, was in Kazakhstan with us. We had no idea, and she said that she was so nervous when she went as she had no idea what to do. She only had a fork and spoon at her house and the orphanage, so a knife was a very new thing. She said she just followed whatever we did. Now we did not learn this until we had taken her to a few restaurants. So one night when I took her to a restaurant, I was really wondering what was going on as she was having trouble with the knife and with, well, everything. She was not acting very mature, she was acting so silly. Alena only acts silly when she is uncomfortable. I have noticed this and I couldn't figure out what was going on. After getting her home, we used the translator and we found out she was uncomfortable with the whole process. She was not sure what to do, from ordering to eating, the dreaded knife and napkin, and what you did when they asked you if you wanted water.

Ok, what a wake up notice for me. She had never been to a restaurant and was unsure of what to do. So, something that we have done, since we were little, she had to learn at fourteen. Everything, talking with your mouth full, napkin in your lap, all of it. It was so pleasant for me to teach her. She is so excited to learn. It is awesome. Plus, she was amazed at the ability we have to just go out to eat. We are so blessed. We sometimes have no idea.

Alena is continuing her english studies and I have to tell you, her teacher is amazing. Irina is not only a teacher, but a friend and we are blessed to have her in our life. Irina is also a jewelry artist. She is very, very good. She goes under the name Jauneblue. Her pieces are in some boutiques in Beverly Hills and she has been asked to be in gift bags at some awards shows. Just think cool awards shows....

She has helped so much in so many ways. She translates for me, when I need to explain our culture. Sounds pretty mundane, but to be honest, it is really important. Take clothes for example. We are a pretty conservative culture when it comes to clothes. I know that sounds weird given some of the clothes we see on kids, but really we are a conservative group compared to some South American cultures and some European cultures. So when you take that in to consideration you can understand that Alena is used to clothes that are not as conservative as we, her parents, would like for her. She is used to Kazakhstan fashion. Very spikey heels, very wild clothing. Wild in that it is more shiny than we are used to. More, what is the word, gosh I don't know. Just take it as my dad used to say, more like a Friday night girl.

My dad said that you always wanted to be a Saturday night girl and not a Friday night girl. When I was young, my dad told me to wear clothes like a Saturday night girl. Saturday night girls were the girls that a guy took home to mom and dad for dinner or to marry. Friday night girls were the girls that they guys took out but not home. Ok, you get the picture. That was my dad bringing up his daughter and as a good daughter, I listened! Only Saturday night clothing for me, ha-ha! Which is hilarious now because whenever I dress a bit wild, I still feel like I should watch what I wear!

Well Alena likes more shiny clothes than my somewhat preppy upbringing. Clothes like big heels and pants and shirts with lots of rings and hanging things. Not low cut or obscene, just wild. Irina and I had to explain that even though some of the clothes she liked were fun, some were well not appropriate for a fourteen year old. And if you put them all together, well it is like a popstar on stage. You just don't walk down the street or in school with those clothes. Otherwise, you are a Friday night girl!!!!

How funny it is to be here talking about this after raising two boys. I truly love it. Pray for me though, even being a girl, I want to do this right.

On a side note, the guys are doing great with work. They are learning loads and put their first film in the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. They are now up on All you do is go to and put in their names under search. Jonathan is Jonathan Broderick Moss.

Thanks for checking in on our family. We will have our first visit with a social worker in June. I will let you know how that goes. Alena wanted me to tell you she is very happy here. She loves that people are supporting us. She feels loved. Thanks for visiting.

God Bless everyone,

Friday, April 13, 2007

Little Girl in big ol' Los Angeles

Sorry about the cut off on the last blog. I hit the "wall" as they say. I think anyone in their forties knows about the wall!

Back to our visitors. First off I just have to say I married way over my head. This is very true and I am not ashamed to say it. Joe is pretty amazing. I would like to think I am totally into helping others. Sometimes to the point that Joe has gotten some crazy questions that starts with, Joe, there is someone who needs our help, can we.................! Not that Joe would ever walk by a person in need. He is the kindest person I know. But sometimes I can think of some crazy ideas to help others. Ideas that do not make our life easier, usually they are the kind of ideas that include taking some one in or opening our house to about 40 people on his one day off! You know, that kind of thing. The day that he would like nothing better to do than relax, and I invite all the AWP kids to the house for a party! You get the picture.

Well from what we have gleaned about the Entertainment Industry, there are different seasons which actors are casted in shows. There is episodic season, where actors are hired for one episode and there is Pilot Season. Pilot season is during the months of January, February, March and April. It is the time that all new pilot projects are casted and filmed. It starts after the Sundance Film Festival and it generally runs thru April. Dramas are casted first and comedies second. Stars are casted first and after each pilot has their named actors the remainder of the cast is filled in. People from all over the world come just for this season. It is like snowbird season in Florida, just with younger people, ha-ha!

This year we were blessed to have two friends stay with us during Pilot Season. Lynn and Don Stallings run a performing arts camp for kids in Atlanta. Jonathan and Jameson have been a part of their classes and camp for years. Don and his daughter Sierra came and stayed with us for Pilot Season and it really was wonderful. Let's be honest sometimes when a family comes to visit or stay, all hell can break loose. Well with the Stallings it was like having family. There was not one time that we wished they were not here, it was really fun. They are very easy going and Sierra, who is seventeen, was a perfect roomate for Alena. Don had a little room downstairs and Sierra shared Alena's room. This sounds pretty mundane, right? Let me explain how huge this was.

Alena was sleeping in a room with twenty four bunk beds and seventeen girls, no adults. Many orphans have a very hard time adjusting to sleeping in their own room and their own bed. In some orphanages kids share beds. It is one of the things that can be hard for kids to adjust to. Not Alena, she had someone to share her room with and it was such a blessing. Sierra was so kind and she loved Alena from the get go. We could never thank her for the gift she gave Alena. By the time they left to go back to Atlanta, Alena was ready to have her space. It really was a gift from God. I never would have thought about it and the impact it would have. We just wanted to help out the Stallings and share our home. Looking back I know it was much more.

After Alena got here we started to acclimate her to life in the land of plenty. We held off getting clothes for a few days. Corky and Donna Leonard, the Halinski family and the Riel family, friends from Atlanta, blessed us with clothes for her. THANK YOU. So the first few days we used all of those beautiful clothes as Alena's wardrobe. That was also huge. Imagine going from a place that you had nothing you owned to a place where you can have things you never imagined. Talk about over stimulation. Having the clothes gave her time to be here without having to make so many decisions. It bought her adjustment time.

So the first few days we just showed her around. Joe bought Alena all the Harry Potter Books in Russian and she read them voraciously. My dad got here an Itunes shuffle and she loved that. The computer, pictures of family and just relaxing was our favorite things to do. She needed time to adjust and she got it. I was afraid if we did to much to fast she would expect that. I wanted her to have a simple happy life as long as we could do it, and I know our life is anything but simple. We found a wonderful tutor thru the local College and again, here we go, it was a God thing. Irina comes three times a week and she is pretty amazing.

When we talked about school for Alena, we realized that entering school right away may not be the best decision for her. She is very small, built like an eleven or twelve year old. She is also socially young. Public and for that matter private school could be a tough transition. So, we decided with professional guidance, that we would spend the rest of the school year learning the English Language. Well Irina is really the best tutor we could ever find. She usually tutors high school and college students whose primary language is Russian. She tutors them in English, but gearing her program more to advance grammar and helping students navigate the classes at school. Now she has this very vulnerable girl who comes from a very small village in Kazakhstan. Everything is new. Irina not only teaches Alena grammar chants, she teaches her life skills. She teaches, she supports and she interprets for us. Amazingly we communicate very well. However, there are so many things that are new to Alena, we have had to have the "stranger danger" talk, and the "making a difference in the world vs celebrities" talk. Long story! Irina bridges that gap that comes with limited language skills on her side and our Russian side. She has been another blessing.

Things like hygiene, style issues, washing clothes, and all kinds of wild things you and I take for granted, we had to explain. She is so much like a baby in what she has seen, been told, and believes. It took us a while to explain to her that cold drinks and cold food do not make your throat hurt. That one she really didn't believe. Things like wearing no shoes in the house. In Kazakhstan everyone wears shoes in the house. It is really bad to not have shoes on. Well Jonathan is a hippy in that he never wears shoes in the house. Remember being a teenager? She could not understand that either. Here is Sierra and Jonathan with no shoes and Alena looking at them like really?

Through it all, she has held up beautifully. I think a couple of times she went into her bedroom with tears of frustration at all the new ideas, until I realized she was gone. Then into the bedroom and group hugs ensued. There were many times I had to tell her no, you do not have to help me take care of you. Once she would not let me throw away a paper towel she had, even though I was walking right by the trash can. I said it is OK, I can do this. She has never had anyone take care of her and about two weeks passed before she finally sighed and let me help her. Once she did that, oh my God. She was so happy to have someone help her. It was cool.

There have been some amazing things that have brought me back to how lucky we all are here in America. When we finally went shopping Alena was very quiet and had a hard time deciding what she liked. She didn't want to disappoint me and she was not sure what she wanted so I think she got what we both agreed on. She really didn't get that much. A couple pairs of shorts, a dress, a sweater and a few other things. Really not much at all compared to any fourteen year old here. I think she had an Old Navy bag and a Gap bag when we finally got to the car. I popped the trunk to the car, and she put the bags in and started screaming and laughing and dancing around. She was so quiet and then tears of joy and astonishment. I was so floored. This was not what kids that I know have. It was very little, to her it was amazing. Wow. Then a few days later I was at Target and got her a short set. Just a pair of shorts and a top. I got two sizes of the shorts to be sure they fit and bought them home. She thanked me and went into her room. I went in to check on her and she was writing on the tag the name Tonya. I said, "Alena these are for you". She said, " Momma, I have so much." OK, right then and there I hugged here and told her how proud I was and left the room to cry. She has what we would consider, so little. To her it is so much.

There have been a few "wake up Kelly" moments. It is so easy to get right back into our lives here, and yet every week I get a letter from the kids at the orphanage. How do you help them all? How do I take our plenty and turn it into gifts for them. Having an adopted child in your house can really change you. It is an amazing gift to have her here.

I know many of you wonder about Alena's life before us and the orphanage. I want to tell you that sometimes it was not easy, and sometimes it was not pretty. Even with that she is so together. She has the ability to see that the tough times she went thru have brought here here. If you ask her she will tell you that her mother in Kazakshtan had her for me. Both her and I believe it. She is my child, although she was not born from my womb. She is an amazing girl.

We will ask her if she wants to update the next blog. She can do this thru her tutor. It would be good for her and I think you will find her words fascinating.

Thanks for checking in.


Life in America

Hello Everyone,

Wow, what a wild road! The past month has been amazing with Alena. I had no idea how busy having a third child would be. Even with having all teenagers life has been a wonder, to say the least. Alena is a perfect fit for our family. As time has gone on, she has had many new experiences. We are all very proud of her. Imagine coming to a place where everything is really different and new. Things that we take for granted, like water and food, are a whole new experience for her. Remember in Kazakstan, some nights, she would have a half a tomatoe and two waffer cookies for dinner. Not in our house with two teenage boys. They would never survive! Here she has had to learn not only food, but everything you can think of and things you would never even dream of.

Getting her and Joe home was, to put it bluntly, a huge hassle. After flying over 20 hours they had to endure the Los Angeles Airport- Homeland Security Department. The guys and I went to the airport at their scheduled arrival time, thinking we only had about an hour wait for them to get thru customs. Well over three and a half hours later, yes that long, here comes two very tired travelers. It was all I could do to not go over the guard rail and wag my finger at the customs agents.

Welcome to America! It was so long and so frustrating. Joe said that there was only one agent working and every person had to wait in a very long line. Can you imagine, this is how we welcome people to America. As Alena came around the corner, she saw us and ran to get a hug. To endure so much in Kazakhstan and then to leave to go with people you have only known for a month. She is braver than I can ever be.

Once we got them in the car, life was pretty wide eyed and different for our girl. Cars, buildings, and the first place we went, Whole Foods Market, was really different than the places she has seen. So much food at our markets. So much fresh produce and vegtables. She was really quiet and knowing how tired she was, we got our of there fast with the perfect international food, pizza! If she was younger, I would not have taken her. But being fourteen, and knowing that she needs to be treated like a young adult, I wanted her to be a part of everything we do. Her first decision was food. She picked Pizza. Looking back I think she picked something she knew. But to just pick was a huge thing. She never really got to pick in the orphanage.

After that we went home to see her knew house. As some of you know we are in Los Angeles. Last April our boys got asked to work in LA with a wonderful Manager, Kathy Colorado, and an amazing agency, The Osbrink Talent Agency. Joe and I decided that after the adoption and their Scotland performance we would come out to let them try acting professionally. Well nothing ever goes as planned so the Adoption was delayed and we came out temporarily off and on since September. Since we have gotten out here our boys have done really well. God has blessed them big time and they are getting some amazing auditions and call backs, and Jameson has landed a few jobs. Not bad for only being here for only a short time. Jonathan is also doing really well, although being seventeen is very hard in this business. Any fiscal producer is going to hire an eighteen year old over a seventeen year old. Eighteen year old actors do not require a on set tutor and they can work more hours. Even with that he has done well and has gotten auditions and call backs. The guys have been asked to audition for all kinds of roles and they are currently trying to break into the voice over segment of the industry. Anyone need an actor???

Anyhoo, we are renting a house in LA and with the guys being busy and Joe now working the West Coast, thank you GE, we brought this beautiful, very sheltered girl to the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles. It is soooo different than Kazakhstan. There really are some beautiful people here. Even the eighty years olds run, I swear. We are living in Santa Monica, which is amazing, right off of a street called San Vicente. Everyone runs, bikes, walks, and rollerblades down this street. I feel old and frumpy here. It is unbelievable. Here comes Alena into this area, she was really wide eyed and quiet for the first day and a half! Jet lag, right??

Not only was she here and had a new room, which she loved. She had a roomate. Yes we have had company for the past three months and thankfully Sierra was the perfect person to have share Alena's room.

I hate to do this, but it is 11pm West Coast Time, and I am tired. I will finish the rest of the story tomorrow. Think about it, all of you wonderful East Coast People have been in bed for hours! I will tell you much more tomorrow, so please check back.

Thanks for checking on us. We are blessed.