Key Points:

It didn't matter that Ethan, 7, and Raymond, 6, had never met the lady in blue who was waiting for them at Auckland Airport.

Their new nana Glennys Bennett was the first person they smothered with hugs when they touched down from Lithuania yesterday.

After two years of waiting and wading through paperwork both here and in Eastern Europe in order to adopt the two boys and their brother, Reuben, 5, who had lived their lives in an orphanage, their new adoptive parents Kate and Richard Davis were greeted at the airport by about 20 well-wishers. While the two older boys were happy to romp around with cousins, aunties and uncles who had come to meet them, Reuben stayed firmly snuggled into dad.

Mr Davis said the boys had been easy with their cuddles since they first met them two weeks ago.

"Their first words were 'mama and papa'. They came running down the stairs saying 'mama', 'papa'. That's not something we're going to forget."

Inter Country Adoption New Zealand spokeswoman Wendy Hawke, who helped to organise the adoption, said there was a huge need for adoptive parents in Lithuania, which had similar problems to Romania with child abandonment through alcohol abuse and, to a lesser extent, poverty. Both countries were part of the old Soviet bloc.

The children were formally adopted on December 11 and a judge waived a 40-day period where the family would have had to stay in the country.

"We're thrilled to have them back in time for Christmas. They [Kate and Richard] are lovely people who certainly have big hearts and they've wanted a family for many, many years," Mrs Hawke said. The next few weeks would be exciting and challenging for the family, she added.

"There is an overwhelming stimulus of so much happening and not exactly knowing what it all means. But these boys are quite lucky that they have each other. They're brothers, they've been together their whole lives and they'll get security from that."

The boys do not speak English but Mrs Davis, 42, who is unable to have children, joked that hand signals were working well at the moment.

"I'm exhausted - but it's all well worth it."