Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fall Fun

So I am not very good at waiting. Patience has never been a virtue of mine. It really has not been that long that I have not had any adoption related tasks to perform, but I am going crazy now that all I can do is wait. Not that there are not plenty of other things to keep me busy...I took the kids to Sea World's Halloween Spooktacular the other day....


As you can see, they had a great time. The costumes they have there are just beautiful. A & M are planning on being Tinker Bell and Peter Pan this year...I'll post some of those after Wednesday.
Awana at church also keeps us pretty busy. I am learning the role of commander right now, and I am just humbled to be able to assist the amazing group of leaders we have. They are so dedicated, and work so hard to show these kids how to "know, love, and serve Jesus Christ". If you have never heard of Awana, I really recommend you see if a local church has a program and check it out. It is a powerful children's ministry, and really trains children in Biblical ways. Our family loves it! M has one more year before he will be ready for Cubbies, but A is doing so well in Sparks.
I am waiting on my husband to arrive home from CA right now. He has had quite a few trips out of town with work lately, and we are all really missing him. You would expect that after he served 6 years in the military, and worked 2 years on the railroad, I would be accustomed to his travels...but I always miss him so much.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kyrgyzstan?


So where is Kyrgyzstan? My online adoption friends already know this…but the rest of you, like me, have probably never heard of Kyrgyzstan before. So here is a brief background on my child’s birth country. OK, maybe not so brief- I have never found myself short of words!

Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is located in Central Asia, bordering Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It is primarily mountainous, with the Tian Shan region covering 80% of the country. It has sometimes been referred to as the “Switzerland of Central Asia” as a result. A national landmark is found in the north-western Tian Shan…Lake Issyk-Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world. The overall population is over 5 million, with approximately 900,000 living in the capital of Bishkek (which is where we will be staying). Agriculture is an important sector of the economy in the Kyrgyz Republic. Raising livestock (sheep, goats, and cattle) is the big one, but they also produce tobacco, cotton, wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, beans, apples, apricots, peaches, grapes, and berries. Kyrgyzstan has had some economic difficulties following it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Ancient Kyrgyz were a blend of Turkic and Iranian nomadic tribes…their history dates back to 201 BC. The name Kyrgyz, both for the people and the nation, is said to mean “forty girls”, which is a reference to the Manas (an epic poem) unifying forty tribes against the Mongols. The earliest descendents of the Kyrgyz people lived in what is now northeast Mongolia. They migrated to southern Siberia in the 6th century, and remained there until the 8th century. When the Mongol Empire began to rise in the 13th century, the Kyrgyz began migrating south. They came to the territory that is now known as the Kyrgyz Republic in the 15th-16th century. The Kyrgyz have historically been nomadic herders, living in round tents called yurts, and tending to their sheep horses, and yaks. Even today, this nomadic tradition continues to function seasonally, when herding families return to the high mountain pastures (jailoo) in the summer.

The territory was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. In 1919 Soviet Power was established in the region, and in 1936 it became a full republic of the Soviet Union. As you can imagine, there is still a strong Soviet influence today. Russian is one of the official languages (along with Kyrgyz), and Russians are the second largest ethnic group (11%) in the country. In 1991, Kyrgyzstan declared their independence from the Soviet Union. The road has been rocky for them. Their economy has struggled, and there has been some political unrest. In 2005, there was a “Tulip Revolution”, which removed then President Askar Akayev from power, and a new government was formed under President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

The predominant religion is Muslim. Islam was first introduced by Arab traders who were travelling along the “Silk Road” in the 7th and 8th century. Other religions practiced are Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Orthodox, and a small minority of Protestant Christians. (Needless to say, we are looking forward to taking our daughter to our church!)

According to the US Dept of State, most of the Kyrgyz people live in urban areas. Only about 34% live in rural areas. So while those living in cities are fairly westernized, there is a distinct difference between urban and rural areas. There is often a scarcity of common everyday items in the remote villages, and many families must be entirely self-sufficient in their food production.

We are really looking forward to exploring and experiencing first hand this beautiful country with its rich and interesting history. Here are a few pics I “borrowed” from other websites…

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Testing....


Just wanted to try this out and see if I can upload pics. I think I got it! These are my kiddos- A and M, on A's first day of kindergarten.

And we wait....

I am creating this blog so that I can keep friends and family updated on our adoption journey. We are officially "paper pregnant"...our dossier is in translation as I write this. I have to say it is a huge relief to finally have all the paperwork in. As I was making copies of the dossier (it took about 2 hours I think), I expressed relief as I neared the end of the stack. My mother commented "It's better then labor!" I laughed and agreed, but really the two are tough to compare. I have two biological children. I was blessed with easy pregnancies and an easy labor and delivery with each of them. Thus far, I have found our adoption journey to be a bit more challenging emotionally and spiritually. We already have our referral, and we are so thankful for that. Emotionally though, I am afraid to fall in love completely, because nothing is final yet (as you can see by my blog title, I have failed desperately at that). Even the referral process presented a crisis of faith. What do you do when you are presented with a referral for a precious child...yet it is not exactly the child you believed the Lord had been preparing your heart for? My husband and I went into this requesting a preschool aged girl. We understood that older children were harder to place, and with a 3 and a 5 year old at home, we thought a child of that age would fit in nicely with our family. We understood that the transition could be more difficult for a child who had spent more time in an orphanage, yet we felt prepared to work through that as much as you can I suppose. Please dont misunderstand me, I know that attachment issues can occur in children who are adopted as infants as well as older children...and we were also not wishing those issues on any child. But we know there are so many children in need all over the world, and we really have felt God calling us to help. So anyway, we received our referral, and it was for a precious baby girl. So we hesitated....could it be a mistake? Was it a test of faith? Were we supposed to pass on it, and trust that the Lord would present us with the child he 'really' wanted us to have? So many families dream of having a baby girl....we were prepared to accept an older child...should she go to someone who had never experienced all those precious baby firsts? So we did the only thing we could do....we prayed...and we read the Bible...and we consulted trusted friends. The Lord lead us to many scriptures that reaffirmed our decision to adopt...and also many that reminded us that he was in control. "for I know that plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 We felt that was a promise to us, as well as to this child. When we went into this, we told Him we would trust him completely, and follow wherever he may lead. So if He saw fit to entrust us with such a perfect little life, we decided we should not question him. And the most amazing thing happened after my husband and I had discussed it and finally come to a decision. We felt at peace. No nagging worries of the hows or whys...no fears of going back to bottles, diapers, and sleepless nights...These are all things I expected to feel; things I still even joke about. But the truth is, I feel that we are walking the path the Lord has laid out for us, and I know he is by our side, so I feel confident. But impatient! How long will we have to wait to hear about our travel dates? Will we be able to have her home for Christmas?