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 familyhelper.net 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 ignored...it 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.

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