Thursday, February 28, 2008

Information on Kazakhstan

Information on Kazakhstan is somewhat scarce and you won't be finding many tourist guide books on the country. (Lonely's Planet's Central Asia does, however, contain the best information that we were able to find and it's worth the purchase). It's a bit challenging, but the best source of information is certainly the internet.

In particular, take at look at the following webistes:

There are also some yahoo.groups that are worth signing up to, in particular: (a group devoted to canadian families adopting from Kazakhstan)

We also have to mention the documentary "Long Way Round" by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. They travel from Great Britain to New York on their motorbikes...taking the long way round... and travelling 3 weeks in Kazakhstan. It's amazing and really gives you a sense of the country and its people. We couldn't stop watching it. We would highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why Kazakhstan?

We began this journey not knowing where it would lead us. We knew that adopting a child from New Brunswick would mean a wait of at least 7 or 8 years. We already have a 4 year old son and wanted our children to be close in age. Since Sven had lived most of his childhoold overseas, it seemed natural that we would adopt internationally. Thus began the difficult work of choosing the country from which we would adopt. We first considered Russia but were advised that, at this point in time, the country would be too uncertain. A bit discouraged, we consulted to see what other countries were "opened" to Canadians. We were pulled towards Kazakhstan not even knowing where it was exactly located on the map! We knew that it used to form part of the Soviet Union. We were curious about the country and began to look more into it. The more we learned, the more we were convinced that we wanted to adopt from this country.

Biggest advantages of Kazakhstan from our point of view:

- the shorter wait. We were told on average 18 months compared to now 3-4 years in China.
- the children! (from various ethnic backgrounds: Kazak, Russian, or a mix)
- the stability of the country.
- the excellent care given to the children in baby homes. (the ratio adults to baby is 6:1)
- the possibility of adopting more than one child at a time. (we were approved to adopt a sibling group)

The biggest disadvantages of Kazakhstan:

- the lenght of duration in the country (2 months). Although it is possible to opt to travel to the country twice, we think it will be easier to reamin in Kazakhstan for the duration while awaiting the finalization of the adoption. It will be difficult to be away from home for such a long time, but the rewards of being with our child far outweighed this consideration. (they place the child with you after the 3 week mandatory bonding time)
- the costs (mostly the travel costs)
- At the time of our home study, we were the only ones in New Brunswick adopting from Kazakhstan and we were afraid of being isolated or that we would lack support. A major difference with China is that, generally, prospective parents adopting from Kazakhstan travel without a group... though interpretors and facilitators are provided once in the country.

Another consideration

What is also different from China is that you travel to the country on a blind invitation to travel. Generally, you haven't been matched to a child. The country invites you to visit certain baby homes and the family chooses their child. We think this will probably be the most challenging part of our journey..How does one really choose a child from so many...but we are convinced that our hearts will prevail. The biggest advantage to this system can't be provides for a mandatory 3 weeks of bonding with the child. The "fit" has to be good not only for the parents, but for the child as well.

Our goal in creating this blog

We are hoping that this blog will be helpful to all those who are interested in adopting from Kazakhstan. We will try to post any tips or helpful information that we come across during the adoption process and during our journey to Kazakhstan. When we began to research the different countries that allowed international adoption, we felt a bit overwhelmed. After alot of thought, we pinpointed Kazakhstan as the country from which we hoped to expand our family; however, we felt that there was insufficient information about this beautiful country and its people. We hope that this blog might encourage others to consider adopting from Kazakhstan and we wish you all the best of luck during this incredible journey. We also hope to share this special journey with our friends and family.