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, June 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Hey everyone. Just wanted to let you all know we are back home. We arrived at Dulles on Sunday 1 hour earlier than we were supposed to and getting our luggage and going through customs was a breeze (much quicker than last time). Then we enjoyed a Father's Day dinner with our families and shared details from our trip. We drove home Monday morning and both went back to work - Nicole is officially on SUMMER VACATION!!!! YEA :) So, what's next - we get our paperwork over to Russia ASAP and wait for a court date. We are hoping it is before the end of the summer - but remember - we aren't in control - just along for the ride! We hope you are all doing well and hope to see/talk to you soon. Love you all!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ready to come home

One of the many beautiful churches you see driving through Moscow

These stands are EVERYWHERE - they sell drinks, cigarettes, beer, magazines - kind of like a 7-11

Pictures at the souvenier mart

This is our last night in Moscow for this trip. We slept in until 11am this morning - we must have needed the rest! Then we left for the souvenier market - but got stuck in the elevator at their apartment for about 20 minutes!!! They live on the top floor (16th floor) and we go stuck between the 2nd and 1st floors. They had to pry open the doors and then we had to climb up to the 2nd floor to get out. Definitely something we will never forget and yes, I was praying the whole time that we would get out soon (this was my first time being stuck in an elevator). We picked up a couple of things at the market - our favorite purchase was a Virginia Tech matrishka doll (stacking doll). They had a lot of other college and pro football teams, but of course we had to represent the HOKIES!!!! It's been raining all day, so not the day to be outside, unfortunately. But, that's ok - we've been getting everything ready in our suitcases. Our flight leaves at 12:35pm (Moscow time) and we arrive at Dulles at 3:30pm. If it is anything like our last trip, it took us about an hour to deplane, go through customs and get our luggage. Maybe it will go a little quicker!?!?! Anyways, we are looking forward to coming home and seeing our families tomorrow! Please pray for a safe flight home....love ya'll!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Last day with Lil Man....

Prescious little hand
Coming in to the baby home through the gate
The entrance we come in at the baby home

Today was our last day seeing our "lil man". We went to the baby home around 9am and spent about 1 hour with him before his morning nap. Since he is teething, he must have been in some pain because he wasn't as smily as he was yesterday - but he LOVED to cuddle, so we weren't complaining :) We made a small photo album to leave with him that has pictures of us and Maggie (our dog). It looked like he was actually studying it and making the connection between us and the pictures. Then we left the baby home and went to the Ministry of Education to meet the inspector (she is the one who matches the families with the referrals). She was very apologetic of the previous situation with our first referral and told us we were a special family to them because this doesn't normally happen and a lot of families don't continue after losing a first referral. It was a nice visit and we enjoyed meeting her very much - we will see her again when we come back for court. After that, we checked out of our hotel, then off to lunch and back to the baby home. We spent about 1 1/2 hours again with lil man - tried on some clothes - he is size 9 mos now, but I'm sure he will be close to 12 mos soon (he's a bit of a chunk), cuddled and played some more and then watched him as he fell asleep in my (Nicole's) arms. It was so surreal....a wonderful feeling. We kissed him goodbye and watched as the caregivers took him back to his room to sleep. Our visit was quick but full of memories of meeting this sweet, precious angel. Then back in the car for our LONG, traffic filled, race car driving experience to Moscow. Also, we heard back from Dr Johnson (international pediatrician) and he had nothing but positive feedback - he says lil man is on the charts for growth, on track for developmental milestones and is comfortable with us going through in adopting him. So, that is what we are going to do. Most of our paperwork is ready to be submitted when we return - we just have to get a few papers apostilled and then off to Gladney to submit to Russia. We have no idea of a time frame for when we will return, but hope it will be soon and quicker than last time since everything is ready to go. We are looking forward to returning home. Thanks again for all of your love, support and prayers....see you all soon :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Meet Ya Day :)

Our view of a beautiful sunrise when we woke up this morning

Our view of YUCKY rain when we arrived yesterday

Well, today we met little man. Our day began with getting up early (5am), breakfast at German & Marina's, on the road by 6:30am and arriving to Kaluga by 10:00am. We had to stop at the Ministry of Education's office to pick up the referral, then pick up our interpreter (Giardi) then off to the baby home. I do have to say that the nerves were MUCH better this time. We got there around 10:30 only to be told that lil man was sleeping (funny how they told us to come at this time - during his nap time). So, they told us to come back around noon. So, German took us to the Kaluga Space Center museum, we checked into our hotel and went to lunch (pizza). Then off to pick up the interpreter again and back to the baby home. Oh, I forgot to mention that the head doctor is on vacation, but came in today especially to meet with us, which we were very appreciative of. When we got there, she wanted us to meet lil man before we talked with her - he is in a room with about 8 other infants. They were changing his diaper when we saw him and he immediately started smiling when we walked up. What a smile!!!! Nothing but gums and a cute little baby laugh! It was precious. Then we went to speak with the doctor for about 45 minutes and received information about lil man's parents and medical background. Everything is positive, nothing abnormal and his growth is on the chart's which is a WONDERFUL thing for children in an orphanage. We have still sent the information we received to Dr. Johnson (international pediatrician) for reassurance. After speaking with the doctor, we got to play with him for about 1 1/2 hours. It was of course different this time than last - an infant doesn't do as much or require as much chasing around as we did with Alex - but we know that will only come with time. He is teething right now, so EVERYTHING goes in his mouth. He can sit up, roll over front to back and back to front, stand with help, is tickelish and LOVES to suck his thumb. All of the caregivers say he is a happy baby and they "love him with all our heart". We are now back at the hotel relaxing. We will go back to see him tomorrow morning and then head back to Moscow. We will continue to have internet access while we are in Russia (German & Marina now have Wi-fi), so email or leave us a message on the blog. Love you all and can't wait to be back home!!

P.S. - German's driving is still CRAZY and the traffic is still HORRIBLE - but Russia is MUCH PRETTIER now than it was in the winter!! They actually have grass and flowers! And it doesn't get dark here until after 11pm....very tricky!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We are here

Greetings from Russia. We left Dulles airport successfully on Tuesday 6/16. When we checked in at the ticket desk, Dennis showed his military ID and we were upgraded to economy plus (more legroom) - the benefits of being in the military!!! Then when we got to our gate, they asked if we would be in an exit row (since we spoke English) and most people on the flight were Russian speakers - so we had even more legroom - MUCH BETTER THAN THE LAST FLIGHT!!! We were about 30 minutes late leaving (just sitting on the runway), but our flight was peaceful (NO TURBULENCE) and we were even able to sleep. We arrived to Moscow and couldn't get off of the plane until the Health Department came on and took everyone's temperature to make sure we were healthy enough to deplane. There were 2 ladies who walked down the aisle and took our temperature in our ear with this laser type thing. Once the whole plane was seen, they told the pilot we were good to go. The line to get through passport control was MUCH longer than last time, but again we had no issues. Our luggage arrived safely and we found German and off to the Moscow traffic :) It only took us 1 1/2 hours to get home this time. The weather here is about 65 and rainy - but everything is so GREEN!!! I guess you would figure that with the amount of precipitation (snow and rain) they get all year. We came back to German and Marina's apartment, had lunch and took a nap!! It is now 8pm Moscow time and it is German's daugther's birthday, so they are having some people over for dinner. Our plan is to leave for Kaluga early tomorrow morning to go and see "lil man". We will spend the night in Kaluga and return to Moscow Friday evening. We thank everyone for their prayers for safe travels and it is nice to be back in Russia, seeing our future child. We love you all and check back tomorrow for updates on "lil man" :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Hey everyone! Just wanted to leave one last post before we head to Russia. We've been staying busy this week - it's definitely a lot less stressful this time around, having done it before. We are leaving at 4:50pm from Dulles Airport on Tuesday and returning on Sunday at 3:30pm just in time to celebrate Father's Day with our dads :) The packing is lighter, as the weather is supposed to be in the 70s while we are in Russia. We are looking forward to seeing what it looks like with NO SNOW on the ground - should be different. We are also looking forward to a non-stop flight - last time we had to stop in Frankfurt, Germany and going through security 2x to get to our connecting flight was kind of crazy. Nicole is trying to wrap up things at school - the kids last day is Wednesday, but her administration is being very cooperative with her giving some exams early and doing her end of the year check out the Monday after we return. We have bought a few toys to take over to "Lil Man" (this is what we are calling him for now), a couple of outfits to see what size he is, as well as a blanket to leave. We have sent over our referral information to the international adoption pediatrician and with the little information we have right now, they are positive with his growth and development, but are waiting for us to get them more information once we meet with the head doctor. The only thing that is a little nervewrecking is the fact that our visas are supposed to arrive Tuesday morning. They have assured us we will receive them by 8am - we are leaving at 11am. So, please say some extra prayers that there is no hold up with the delivery!!! You can bet that Nicole will be tracking the package every 5 minutes until it is delivered to our doorstep!!! And amid all of this preparation, we are celebrating our 7 year anniversary on Monday. The time has flown by, but we can't wait to see what the next 7 years will bring - we know it will be a much different stage of our life and WE CAN'T WAIT! We think that we will have internet access again to post updates to our blog, so save the link as one of your "favorites" (http://merzdn.blogspot.com) and check back if you are interested in getting updates. Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers - keep 'em coming :) Love you all.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blessing #2

First, we would like to thank everyone for all of their kind words, support and prayers over the past week. It has definitely been difficult at times and we know we wouldn't have been able to make it through the tough times without all of you. We know that so many prayers have been sent up for us and we are so appreciative of all of you. As we said, we will never forget Alex - he was our first blessing and gift from God, but he has been given back to his mother and every child deserves to be with their mother. We will always pray that he is taken care of and grows up to be a strong, young man. But, once again, God has shown us he is in control of this journey and brought another blessing in to our lives - an 8 month old little baby boy. We received a call from Gladney today at 3pm that they have another referral for us and we will be traveling to Russia, once again, on June 16th. We don't know much about him, but were sent about 15 pictures - he was born on October 8, 2008 and has a HUGE smile, chubby cheeks and a bald head :) He is adorable. We will travel over to meet him and get more information from the head doctor at the orphangage (same trip we did the first time). If we choose to accept him, we will return to the states and since all of our paperwork is ready to go over, the turnaround time should be MUCH quicker. We of course are a little more cautious going through this the second time around, but of course are excited to meet this little guy. We will probably make one more post (at least) before we leave and will be in touch with everyone once we return. For the next week, we will be sending off for our visas, booking our flights, ordering our global phone, starting to pack and patiently waiting for June 16th. Since we have done this once before, we are hoping the packing process will less stressful this time around. Thanks again for everything - we couldn't ask for better family and friends. You guys are the best and we love you all!