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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Last Trip Day 3

Our first full day as a family and it was a good one! Just like we went to bed to the sound of giggles and claps that is exactly what we woke up to - and he slept through the entire night!!! We are hoping for the same tonight. Today we had our trip for Logan to see the doctor (Dr. Boris). It took us longer to get there than our actual appointment was (we were there for about 15 minutes and spent a total of 2 hours in the car round trip - RIDICULOUS). Dr Boris said he is healthy, on track developmentally and the only problem we will have with him is keeping the ladies away from him. After that we came home for the rest of the day and just spent time together. Logan had a few fussy episodes but we quickly calmed him down and he flashed us a smile again. We kept him to his schedule for the most part today, except for his afternoon nap (he slept most of the time in the car and we tried to lay him down at 3pm, but he just played in his crib for an hour). So, needless to say he was very tired by bedtime (8pm) and fell asleep while taking his bottle. We have a free day for the most part tomorrow except for taking him to get his Visa pictures taken. Here are some pictures from the past couple of days, as promised!

Daddy and Logan in the car

Mommy and Logan playing

LOVE those blue eyes

Representing the United States Coast Guard

Trying to go to sleep last night

Car ride from Kaluga to Moscow

Logan with his caretakers - wonderful women!

Logan's playroom at the babyhome

This is a restaurant in Kaluga - I guess it was meant for the Merz's to come here to adopt Logan :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Last Trip Day 2

September 29, 2009 is going to be a special day for our family. In the "adoption world" people call it Gotcha Day (which I read somewhere can stand for God Ordained This Child's Happy Adoption Day)or Forever Family Day. This morning we had breakfast, waited at the hotel while German ran some errands, went to the Vital Statistics Office where we picked up the Adoption Decree and Logan's birth certificate, ran some more errands, had lunch at our favorite German restaurant that we eat at every time we have come to Kaluga, checked out of the hotel then off to the baby home. German dropped us off for about 40 minutes and we spent some time with Logan and the caretakers before we left. They changed him into the outfit we brought (pictures to come), we took some pictures, received his feeding/sleeping schedule from the head doctor and then said our goodbyes. Then we buckled him in the car seat PRAYING that we would have a smooth ride to Moscow. He was PERFECT!!! Didn't cry once. We have also heard that a lot of children get sick in the car, so we had paper towels and plastic bags just in case - but Logan didn't get sick at all (thank goodness). He just stared out the window, looked back and forth at us, played with a toy we had brought and slept. It was wonderful. German kept saying how surprised he was that he was so good! After a 4 hour trip (we arrived at 8:30pm), we made it to German and Marina's and tried to get settled in our room. Since he hadn't eaten dinner yet, we figured we should feed him. So we gave him some mashed potatoes and a bottle. Then it was time for bed. So, we laid him down, turned off the lights and then laid down in our bed. Then we hear the CUTEST laugh - over and over again. We buried our heads in the pillow to muffle our own laughs. Then came the clapping. Then he started standing up in the crib. So, we would go over, lay him back down again, he would give us the HUGEST smile and we would go lay back down again. The laughing, clapping and sitting/standing up would start again. This went on for about 20 minutes and he finally went to sleep. So, we are trying to find things in our suitcases using the light from the laptop. We are off to take Logan to the doctor tomorrow morning and then we have the afternoon to hang out. We wanted to give you all an update and promise to post pictures tomorrow. DASVAYDANYA!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Last trip Day 1

Hello from Russia! We landed in Moscow Monday Sept 28 an hour earlier than scheduled. The flight was PACKED and there was a lot of turbulence, so we were glad to get off the plane. Once again, the health department had to take our temperature before we could deplane (I guess that's a standard now, when coming from the US). We made it through customs quickly with no problems and then waited FOREVER for our luggage. We were beginning to worry that it didn't make it - but it was one of the last pieces to come out. German was waiting for us and then we were off to Kaluga. He told us in the car that we were going to see Logan today (which was a surprise). So, we stopped at McDonalds for a cheeseburger, then off to get Logan to take his passport picture. One of the caretakers came with us. He was quiet the entire ride, just staring at us and probably wondering what the heck was going on. While we were waiting for the pictures we got to hold him and tried to get a smile out of him, with no luck. Then back to the baby home, where we got to spend about 30 minutes with him before his nap. I think this was the most fun we have seen him - laughing, smiling, playing, walking with us and trying to figure out why Daddy's face is so rough (Dennis hasn't shaved in a couple of days now and Logan kept rubbing it and staring at it). Two more teeth have come through (now he has 4 top and 3 bottom). Then they brought out a bottle for us to give him before his nap - I think he downed that thing in 2 minutes. I have read that the holes in the nipples of the bottles are big and they almost choke getting it down - well we saw it with our own eyes. I kept trying to take it out of his mouth so he could breath (I was successful twice, but not for long) and before we knew it he was done. It was crazy! At least we know this boy can eat :) We said our goodbyes and now we are back at the hotel resting - our last restful night! Tomorrow, we make our last trip to the baby home and this time we are taking Logan with us!!!! We just hope he is as excited as we are!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


We are back in Moscow reflecting on the day's events....

We woke up to a beautiful warm sunny day in Kaluga and went and had breakfast with German. After breakfast we stopped by the baby home for about an hour to see our new little boy and to get an update from the Head Doctor. He has definitely grown since we last saw him (hence the new nickname of CHUNKY MONKEY) and has a pretty good bill of health, except for what they are calling an ear infection. He smiled when he first saw us and then realized we were strangers and started crying. German said he was crying because he was upset we had left him there and was wondering where we had been :) THen we left the baby home and went to our favorite German restraurant for lunch before we headed back to the hotel to get ready for court. We headed out around 2pm Kaluga time which was 6am USA time and met up with the Inspector from the Ministry of Education and our translator Anna. We waited about 10minutes and then off to the court room to get the ball rolling...
Court....it's hard to describe what we were feeling. First of all, they have actual "cells" with bars for criminals to sit in the court room - kind of strange. We were on one side of the court room with our translator and the Social Worker from the baby home, the inspector from the Ministry of Education and the Head Prosecutor were on the other side of the room. German and Anna had prepared us for what kinds of questions to expect and gave us some "tips" on how to word certain answers. So, in walks the judge and court begins. She only asked us about 4 or 5 questions (unlike the 10 or 15 German and Anna were telling us we would be asked). Then the Social Worker, Doctor from the baby home and inspector spoke about lil man's background, his biological parents and that they support us adopting him. This part took about 1 hour. Then the judge left the courtroom to make her decision.
We waited in the courtroom for about 40 minutes before the judge returned - the LONGEST 40 minutes of our lives!!! We petitioned to have the 10 days waived, but they did not see any emergency with his health where it would be necessary for it to be waived. Then the judge came in to give us her ruling, she stated that she did not rule in favor of the 10 day waiting period, however did rule in favor of us adopting Lil Man and named us as his Mother and Father...
We then left court and ran a few errands with German and then off to the baby home to celebrate with LiL Man!!!! When we arrived at the baby home LIL Man just woke up from his nap so he was a little groggy. We had about 20 min with him before we had to beat feet to get back to Moscow. However, before we left the baby home the care giver asked us what name did we want them to start calling him, so....... We told her to call him..................................
Yes, that's what you have all been waiting for....we are naming him Logan Christopher Merz. As we said our last PAKA PAKAS (bye byes) we left the baby home holding back tears from having to leave him one last time, but knowing that we would be back for him for good VERY SOON. We were walking outside back to the car and as we turned the corner we looked at the window and the caretakers were holding him and waving and blowing kisses as we left. It was so sweet to see that....this baby home is amazing in the care and love they give these children.
So, I guess we have told you pretty much everything. For now, we are flying back home tomorrow (Wednesday) and will return to work for a week. We will come back to Russia on Sept 27 and officially pick up Logan on Sept 29. Then we start the rest of the paperwork process and end this part of our journey - we know that a whole new edition is about to begin. Love you all and thanks for your continued prayers - it is what gave us strength, calm and peace during court today :)

This is the first time we met Logan in June 2009

Our visit with Logan before court today (he's a little unsure still)

Proud new parents :)

The New Merz Family

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hello from Kaluga

We finally made it to Kaluga around 1100 pm which is 300 pm your time after a 6 hour long medical visit. We were told that we are fit to adopt LiL Man :) We saw 8 specialists who asked us mostly yes and no questions but because all the specialist were not available at the same time we had to wait and wait and wait. German said that it never takes this long :( However during our six hour wait we met two other families one is from Tusla, OK and the other is from Michigan they are both adopting teenagers. We finally left the medical facility and headed to Kaluga but on the way made a short stop at KFC for dinner.

German I think made a three hour trip feel like 1 1/2 hours. We will eat breakfast in the morning and then off to the baby home to see Chunky Monkey ( this is his new name because German talked to the head doctor and she said his cheeks have grown since the last time we have seen him). After we see Chunky Monkey we will come back and change before we head off to court which is at 230pm which will be 630am in the US. We will send out another blog tomorrow when we get back to Moscow which will probably be late afternoon US time. Please continue to keep praying for a fast court and possibility of 10 days waiver granted.

Love you all and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Back in the good ol' USSR.....

We are here!!! We arrived today (Saturday) having a wonderful flight and no issues getting through customs/passport control AND all of our luggage arrived :) German picked us up at the airport and said "It is so good to see you. They are all waiting for you in Kaluga" - what an awesome thing to hear!! German also told us that there is another family staying with him who just adopted a 2 1/2 year old boy -so we are all living in close knit quarters for the next few days. They are from New York and adopted their son from a different region. They are at the end of their trip, just waiting for their visit with the US Embassy. It is so nice to have another family to talk with (and speak English)and share experiences with - plus they have gone through the 8 doctor medical review and court already, so they have let us know what to expect. When we got to the apartment, we had a nice lunch and then took about a 5 hour nap. The weather is beautiful - 60s and sunny. Tomorrow (SUNDAY) we will go to the medical clinic for some tests and then go back on Monday for the 8 doctor review. Then we will leave Monday night for Kaluga. We will be able to visit with lil man Tuesday morning before court and then we have court at 2:30pm (6:30am EST) and then visit him after court to celebrate :) If they don't waive the 10 days, we will return to Moscow Tuesday night and fly home Wednesday. If they do, then we will wait to hear what will happen. Lil Man will make his debut appearance on our blog after the official "YES" is given on Tuesday - so stay tuned for pictures and his name - which we know everyone is dying to find out. We love you all and miss you, but we do feel that you are all here with us in spirit. DASVIDANYA (good bye) and SPAKOYNEYOCHI (good night).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ready, Set, GO!!!!! Here we come Lil Man :)

Hi Everyone!!!! It's been awhile since our last post and we are getting closer to heading back to Russia, so we figured we'd leave one more message. Summer is officially over. We ended our summer with the wonderful wedding of Ryan and Michelle. What a beautiful day!!! It was great to see all of our family and friends - we had a blast!!! School has started for Nicole and the first 2 days went well. We are both just making sure that everything is going to be taken care of at work while we are gone. We are still scheduled to leave on Friday Sept 11 and we are READY!!! We pretty much have everything packed - except for our clothes, which we plan to do Thursday night. We have received our Visas, our flights are confirmed, we have our donations to the orphanage ready (we purchased diapers/formula for the children and some items for the caregivers as well - THANKS TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED), we have all of Lil Man's stuff ready, our international cell phone has arrived, and we just have to go to the bank tomorrow to get our NEW UNMARKED BILLS (just the way the Russians like them). I don't think we have forgotten anything, but will double check (probably quadruple check) our lists before we leave Friday morning. We have court on Sept 15 and once we know the time we will let everyone know so you can send up all of your prayers during that time. Again, we should have internet access while we are there, but will not be sending out emails as we update the blog - so remember to save it to your favorites and check it if you are interested to see what's going on. We can't believe that we are finally at this point and are full of excitement, nerves, happiness, love and many other emotions!!! Know that each of you are with us in spirit as we travel....we love you all and can't wait to share some good news with you in the upcoming week!