When we tell people we adopted our son from Kazakhstan we get lots of blank stares. I didn't know where Kazakhstan was either until researching our adoption options. Kazakhstan is a large, mineral-rich country in Central Asia. It's west of China and south of Russia. Now are you starting to picture it? Many people wonder how in the world we decided to adopt from there so I thought I'd devote a post to it.
First we had to decide whether we wanted to adopt locally or internationally. Big D and I both decided we liked the idea of international adoption for several reasons. We knew we were probably not a domestic birthmother's dream family since we already had 3 kids, we didn't want to have to settle in for an indefinite wait since we really wanted our son to have a brother and they were already going to be 7 years apart, and we were both fearful of an open adoption and fostering a child to adopt that might not become available. These are all wonderful ways to adopt, but we felt at that time they weren't for us. Also, I have always loved adventure and was excited at the thought of traveling far away to find a son to complete our family.
The next factors that helped determine the country we would adopt from were gender and race. Since we already had two daughters and only one son, we wanted to even the battle of the sexes by adopting another son. Concerning race, Big D and I felt that we needed to commit to adopting more than one child if we adopted a child of a different race, and at that time I was a career woman who had just finished her doctorate and felt 4 was the absolute maximum number of kids I could handle. So, wanting to adopt a Caucasian male further narrowed our search. Russia had been a popular country to adopt from and met our criteria, but at the time we were proceding, Russia's adoptions were coming to a screeching halt over re-certification issues and other stuff I don't understand.
In the midst of my internet search I came across an adoption agency that I almost immediately felt was the one for us. Of the myriads agencies that handle international adoptions there was something about this one that made it stick out to me. Little Miracles specializes in adopting from Kazakhstan (they also facilitate adoptions from China, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Ethiopia) and this is where I first read about the country that would be our son's birthplace. After going back to the agency website time and again and reading testimonials and program descriptions and seeing pictures of the precious ones brought home by their families, I knew they were the agency for us. Imagine my surprise when I went to contact them and saw Little Miracles is in my home town. Big D and I don't live in a huge city. I think we have a population of around 160,000 people. I couldn't believe that the agency I wanted to use was right here in our very own city! Isn't God good? (This certainly is NOT necessary, but since I was working full-time and had 3 kids to keep up with it was a wonderful help to us.)
I can't say enough about Little Miracles, from our social worker to the office staff to our facilitators in country, they were all fabulous! We felt totally prepared for everything we would face in country and everything proceeded according to plan. From start to finish our adoption took less than a year from the time we signed on until we had our son home, and it would have gone more quickly had it not been for the hold-up we experienced with US immigration services. I might not have known how remarkable this smooth adoption journey was except that I began following other people's adoption journeys online who were also adopting from Kazakhstan, but using different agencies. I read some heartbreaking stories. I read about one family that bonded with two little boys over a period of a couple of months and both times they were denied the adoption in the end because first one then the other little boy became unavailable at the last second. Little Miracles has an excellent reputation both with the families that use them and with the U.S. Embassy in Almaty for their continued support and work on official and regional levels in the Kazakhstani Government.
I'll write more about Kazakhstan in an upcoming post, but for now you can read a little more about our adoption journey in my post Counting my Blessings.
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.