We are Nickolai and Keri from the Richmond Hills in the SF East Bay. We love that our diverse neighborhood means we can raise a family that reflects Nickolai’s Panamanian and Russian roots. Our child will grow up speaking both English and Spanish, learning about world cultures, and traveling to Panama, Colorado and the Midwest to visit family and exploring the US and abroad with us. We feel lucky to have found each other and built a life together and we can’t wait to be parents. Some of Keri’s family and friends created their families through adoption, and their stories and the loving connections they’ve built make us even more excited to meet you.
Thank you for taking the time to read our profile. We know that you are facing one of the most difficult decisions of your life and probably have many questions and worries about your child’s future. We are honored to be among the families that you are considering. It’s a little strange to write this- to be so filled with anticipation and excitement to meet and get to know you while recognizing that for you this process can be vulnerable and painful. We already admire your courage and your love for your baby.
We met at a movie meetup on a rainy Sunday evening in December 2008. Nickolai noticed Keri sitting three seats away and decided to get her attention by making what he hoped were funny comments about the previews. This high risk and admittedly obnoxious tactic actually worked— just over two years later, we got married at an outdoor service in front of Yosemite Falls.
We both love the outdoors, which is why we each decided to build our futures in the Bay Area before we even met. When we’re not on the hiking trail, we enjoy taking our dog – Bubbles is his name – on long walks along the water or in the neighborhood, where he is a minor celebrity with the local children.
Keri’s family comes from the Midwest, and she can’t wait to continue the tradition of family road trips with a big cooler full of picnic supplies, to take our child fishing with grandpa and to pick blueberries at the family cabin like she did growing up.
We’re also excited to add trips to the mountains camping and enjoying amazing Mexican food in Colorado while visiting Nickolai’s family, and making pelmeny (Siberian dumplings), blintzes and Swedish pancakes together for holiday breakfasts before ice skating and sledding.
I admit that I’m biased, but my wife is the most amazing person I know. Kind, funny and whip smart, Keri exudes patience and warmth. She somehow manages to balance a career teaching music to under-privileged youths and turning around struggling non-profits with a large group of caring friends. Most people try to avoid extra responsibilities, not wanting any extra “drama” in their lives; Keri is the kind of person who steps up to a challenge, especially when it involves helping others.
I know that Keri will be a wonderful mother. Leading a youth and family based music organization lets her work from home a couple of days each week, and she’s grateful to also have the flexibility to bring our child to work with her, especially during the first year. I know she can’t wait to take our child to the children’s music, art, and theatre experiences she’s spent her career creating for others. With her love for animated films, I definitely see matinees and sing-a-long films at the Castro Theatre in our future. I’m excited to hear her sing to our own child the same lullabies and songs from around the world she’s taught her students, and trade swimming Alcatraz in for family swims and reprising her first job as a swimming teacher with parent-tot swim classes.
On our first date to the Musee Mechanique in San Francisco and coffee afterward, I found out about Nickolai’s first career in human rights advocacy, and his “side job” as an expert witness supporting people in immigration courts seeking asylum in our country. My first thought was “Saving people’s lives is his SIDE JOB? WOW!!” He’s carried that fight for fairness and justice into his second career as a teacher of social studies, with a passion to learn from history so we don’t repeat it.
His greatest passion is his family – from watching soccer games long-distance with his parents via Facetime to bringing me flowers for years “just because”. When we bought our home, he seeded the whole yard with wildflowers just so I would come home to flowers every day. He is never too busy to play with our dog, Skype with our 2 ½ year old niece, or support his friends. He’s a big kid with a bigger heart, and makes me a stronger, more relaxed and happier person every day.
Nickolai is also a very patient and encouraging teacher – after visiting his family in Panama this summer, I hope to return to learn the family recipes from his tia, so he is coaching me in my Spanish classes. I know he will lead our child to try new things, will be the proudest dad at the soccer games, and teach our child to ride a bike. He brings history alive for his students – even having them design their own museums, and I smile every time I think of what creative school projects will be supported as he nurtures a love of learning and finds ways to make it fun for our child.
We live in a quiet, friendly neighborhood in the Richmond hills overlooking Wildcat Canyon. Our nearest neighbors are Tibetan Buddhist monks living in a retreat center right across the street – we like to walk our dog in their meditation paths and appreciate hearing their prayer wheel chime softly each morning.
We picked this area primarily because of its high-quality K-8 school. Through her job, Keri has been teaching music there for four years and making friends with the teachers and parents. She jokes that her students are her personal army of future babysitters and we enjoy it whenever we hear, “Hi Ms. Keri!” shouted at us from across the street.
When we look over the fence in our backyard on summer evenings while roasting marshmallows over our fire pit, we see only tall redwood trees and the stars – it feels like we’re camping at home. We’re looking forward to building a tiny house there filled with books and comfy chairs to read in as a family. Our back and side yards are filled with strawberry, tomato, peas, kale, artichokes and other vegetables, lemon, lime and orange trees, and lots of flowers. Nickolai can’t wait to help our child develop their own green thumb during his summer breaks at home.
We love our cozy house, with enough space for our child to have their own room, grandparents to stay for extended visits, and everyone to gather around the fireplace to watch movies, read snuggled in comfy couches, play games, or share in cooking family breakfasts on the weekends (Nickolai makes amazing waffles and migas!)
Christmas 2015, we rescued a 4 year old Boxer and named him Bubbles. He was at the rescue for over a year and because of scars on his face and leg injuries, we were the only people who applied for him. The volunteers loved him so much that they drove him 7 hours from So Cal to San Jose, just on the chance that we would take him home. He came to us with a variety of health problems, but we are happy to report that thanks to regular P/T sessions and a special diet (Keri home cooks his food), he can now sit without pain, goes with us on vacations to the central coast, Oregon and Colorado, and loves running on the beach and long leash walks in our local parks along the shoreline.
Boxers are known for being patient and loving with children (Nickolai grew up with one). Sweet, goofy, and definitely spoiled, Bubbles loves everybody who doesn’t work for the Post Office and is especially happy in the company of Keri’s choir students and our friends’ kids.
After significant losses in trying to start a family, we have circled back to adoption as an option we were always open to. Our journey was difficult at times, but it has made us stronger as a couple and confirmed for us in a deep way that love is what creates a family. Families extend as far as our hearts do, and we promise to love and treasure your child, and through an honest and open dialogue with you, build trusting relationships and include you in their life and our family.
Thank you again for reading our profile. However things turn out, we wish you and your child every blessing.
To connect with us, please contact Adoption Connection at [email protected] or 800-972-9225.
We hope to hear from you!