Legacy of an Adopted Child

"Once there were two women, who barely knew each other. One is in your heart forever, the other you'll call mother. Two different lives, shaped to make yours one. One became your guiding star, the other became your sun. The first gave you life, and the second taught you how to live it. The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it. One gave you nationality, the other gave you a name. One gave you the seed of talent, the other gave you an aim. One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears. One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears. One gave you a family, it was what God intended for her to do. The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you. And now you ask me, through your tears, the age old question through the years. Heredity or environment....which are you a product of? Neither my darling...neither, just two different kinds of love". - Unknown

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our Russian Angel is from......

the Kaluga region of Russia!!! We just received an email from Gladney today saying that we have been assigned to Kaluga. It is located southwest of Moscow (about a 3 hour drive). We are trying to research more about that region, so as we find out more information, we will keep you posted!!! Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we get closer to expanding our family!! Love you all!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No News

Happy Summer everyone!!! It's been a busy one for us....lots of little trips here and there, many visitors and the summer is almost over. One more month and Nicole is back to work (which she is NOT looking forward to). She has enjoyed MANY days at the pool, sleeping in and relaxing and watching "Adoption Stories" (on DiscoveryHealth channel) every day at 3:30 (and cries every time). It is amazing how every couple's story is different, but the same. If you get a chance to watch the show, I'm sure it will enjoy hearing the stories, just as much as we have. But, it's good to be busy because it has made the waiting easier. Last post, our paperwork had been sent to Russia. That is still the latest news we have. Just waiting for a referral (which could happen any time in the next year). We have been taking advantage of this time and educating ourself about the rest of our journey - talking to others who have been there before, getting advice, finding a pediatrician who specializes in International Adoption, still deciding on possible names, still deciding on what to do with the baby's room,making a list of everything we need (and want) to do "before baby" and realizing that we are going to be parents - scary and exciting. We are going to embark on learning some Russian - we have the Rosetta Stone program and hope that will teach us some basics to help us while we are in the country. Be ready, as we will practice our Russian on all of you as well!!! We can all learn together :) We just wanted to keep all of you updated, since you have been our support through it all. We hope you are enjoying your summer too and we will talk to you soon....love ya'll :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In the mail

Hello everyone! As we are heading in to summer (it's 100 degrees in Hampton today - HOT HOT HOT), we just received an email that our paperwork has been sent off to Russia!!! According to the agency, it was just sent this week to the in-country facilitator for processing and translation. So, the time frame they are telling us now is 9-12 months for a boy and 12-15 months for a girl. Since we do not have a preference, hopefully the wait time will be sooner than later. So, we just keep waiting!! It's a good thing that we are busy or the wait would be very hard! School is almost over, so Nicole is busy wrapping things up with that. Dennis is keeping busy with the Coast Guard. We are sponsoring a military officer from Lithuania, who is attending a class in Yorktown (where Dennis is stationed) and have had a great time getting to know him and learning about the Eastern European culture. We have had fun teaching him about America and taking him to some fun events around the Hampton Roads area. We hope to introduce him to many of you, since he will be in the US until August. We have a couple weddings to attend in June. We have family and friends visiting us in July and August. Then it's back to school and start the cycle all over again. We hope you are all doing well! We will be in touch as more information is shared with us....Love to you all :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We are......APPROVED!!!!

Yes, everyone, you read it right....we have been approved to pursue international adoption through The Gladney Center! So, how did we get to this point and what is next? Well, since the last post, our homestudy was approved. The actual process was a piece of cake....it was putting together the final paperwork and making sure all of the wording in it was PERFECT and how Russia wanted it that has taken some time. They are VERY PARTICULAR in what they want and how things should be worded and nothing should be abbreviated or crossed out....it's definitely a TEDIOUS process, but well worth it. The people we are working with have been great at making sure things are done right, so we have been lucky to catch the "mistakes" before it all gets sent to Russia. We have made quite a few trips to the bank to papers notarized for the dossier. They know us now when we walk in - it's kinda funny! So, by the end of the week, Kate (the lady who is putting our dossier together) should have all of that complete. She will send it to Gladney and they will look it over and send it Russia. Once Russia receives our paperwork, they will review it and begin looking for a match. The estimate they have told us on finding a match is 6-9 months for a boy and 12-18 months for a girl. We are open to a boy or girl - whatever becomes available first. It's exciting to know that Russia will finally know who the Merz's are!!! We are definitely getting more excited...it just seems more real now that we have gotten through the first 1/2 of the process. We are thinking more seriously about how we are going to transform our "DINK" house into a "child friendly" home. We have been discussing names, nursery ideas, baby shopping - not buying anything, but just looking, applying for grants to fund the remainder of our adoption expenses and just praying that the rest of our journey continues with the success that we have had so far. All we can do is stay positive, pray for our child every day and thank God for all of our friends and family who have been so supportive of us since the beginning. It has been so fun sharing each step with all of you and we can't wait for the day to share our child with you!! This baby has no idea how lucky they will be to have each and every one of you a part of their life! We love you guys and will continue to keep you posted as things progress....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Homestudy.....COMPLETE :)

Hi everyone. Hope you all had a nice and restful Easter! We ended up staying in Hampton and spending it with some friends....so it was a quiet one for us, but nice! Since our last post we have completed all of our home study visits. After we met with our social worker together, we each had our individual visits/interviews. They weren't bad at all....Dennis went first (I think I was more nervous for him than myself) and then I had mine 2 days later. She just asked us about our childhood, our families, our relationship, our parenting/discipline styles, etc. Then today (TUESDAY), she came to our house for the final "pre-adoption" visit. She had a couple more questions about some information they were asking for in the report, then we showed her around the house, she asked about our plans for the child's room, met Maggie (our dog) and then she was done! So, what happens next, you ask???? She will finish typing up the report, submit it to our home study agency (ABC Adoption), submit it to Gladney, hopefully we are recommended to complete the adoption and then we finish up our dossier requirements and begin waiting for the referral. Dennis and I are calling this our "half-way point"....we've made it through the first part of the paperwork and waiting and are ready for Round 2!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Visit #1....COMPLETE :)

We had our first visit with our social worker today. This was basically a visit to get to know us and see how we have gotten to this point of deciding to adopt. I think we were both nervous (even though we told each other we weren't) because it was silent the entire 30 minute drive to her office...ha ha ha....but it was pretty easy. It was kind of a question and answer session, we went over some paperwork, she gave us some things to think about and our next visits are booked. She is meeting with Dennis on Tuesday (3/18) and Nicole on Wednesday (3/19) for the individual visits - stay tuned for the details on that!! Then she comes to our house on Saturday (3/29) to do the last and official "home visit". She assured us that we do not have to have our home "babyproofed" yet - she is just looking to make sure we live in an environment suitable for a child. After that, she writes up our report, sends it to Gladney for approval and then we submit it to our dossier send that off to Russia and then the waiting for a referral begins. Once the dossier is submitted, they estimate to have a referral within 6 months - so hopefully by October or November (at the latest) we should get our referral - if everything goes smoothly! We have enjoyed sharing our journey with all of you so far and can't wait to share the rest of it alongside with you.....please continue to keep us in your prayers! Love you all and hope everything is going well!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Finally.....something new!!!!!

Hey everyone! We hope this note finds you all doing well. Things have been busy with us. Between work, running our online business and waiting for news on the adoption - we have kept ourselves busy! A lot of you have been asking about any news....well, we finally have some! It's not much, but it is a start! The reason for the hold up for the past couple months is the Home Study Agency is waiting on our background and child protective services checks to come back. The reason it is taking longer than normal is that they are doing more extensive checks/searches and there are quite a few people going through the process (according to our social worker). But, we just got an email from her last night and even though they haven't received our checks yet, she wants to go ahead and start our home study visits! So, let the interrogation begin :) So, our first meeting with her is March 12th and 6:00...please keep us in your thoughts at that time - I'm sure we will be a little nervous! We will keep you updated as things change! Take care.....

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! We had a wonderful holiday with our family and friends. We spent Christmas Eve with Nicole's family and Christmas day with Dennis' family. It was a quick visit, but a nice one! Then we were back up to NOVA to celebrate New Year's with friends (Cristin and Wayne). We are very excited to see what 2008 has in store for us....we know it will be a busy year, hopefully with a wonderful ending. We know it has been awhile since our last posting, but nothing much has changed. Still compiling PAPERWORK! We are in the home study portion of the process....just waiting for a date for the actual visit. We still have some forms (medical) that we are waiting on from our doctors, our criminal background checks to go through and our references to be returned. After our home study is complete (and hopefully approved) we will submit our dossier and wait for our referral! We have been getting a lot of tips from families who have adopted from Russia and are continually learning! So, we just wanted to give everyone an update and we'll let you know as things progress! We love you all and hope 2008 brings you many blessings!