Where Are You Going?

Saturday, December 22, 2007


That's the first question people ask when you say you're adopting overseas. They expect you to answer China, or somewhere in Central/South America, even the "common" Eastern European countries are nodded at as if they know all about where your child will be from.

But if you say "Kazakhstan" people look at you funny. Very funny. Then they try to pronounce it back to you, which is funny. Very funny. To you.

It's a "-Stan" country, formerly of the USSR, but it's so much more than that. We claim America to be the great melting pot, but Kazakhstan is a beautiful blend of people-groups. It's the one country where we don't know what our future child looks like.

She could have dark black hair, and beautiful Asian features. Kazakhstan shares it's eastern border with China.

Or, she could have blonde hair and deep blue eyes - the descendant of a Polish or Scandinavian intellectual who was sent to Kazakhstan to work in the coal mines by the Communist regime.

Or, she could have reddish-brown hair and brown eyes, and people will never think to ask if she's my biological daughter or not, because she'll look just like me.

The country is a little less than 1/2 Muslim and a little less than 1/2 Russian Orthodox, and it has a hint of Protestantism. Yet, there are no holy wars here. These people are trying to survive and thrive as their country changes repeatedly in their own lifetimes.

Old men can remember before there was a USSR that engulfed them formally in 1936, when they were small boys. Their wives remember before "criminals" were sent there to work. The highly educated that threatened the Communist governments. And the "Virgin Land" program in the 40's and 50's that brought so many Russians that there were soon more non-native inhabitants than native.

Then independence in 1991 left a country of confusion. Many people left - going home to what they still remembered, or what they had heard first-hand stories of from their own parents.

What was left was a country struggling to find it's identity. Struggling to find even it's common language. Forward motion came, as it did for the Clampets, in the form of "black gold". Kazakhstan, the world's 9th largest country, sits on a huge reserve of oil. The first pipeline was completed in 2001, the second had a majority completed in 2006.

It's been a slow and steady climb for this new Republic (the President is elected, but most power is held by the Executive Branch of the government). Their money is increasing in strength (the Tenge), the children are being taught Kaz in school as their primary language, Russian is being regulated to a secondary language. 19% of the population lives below the poverty line, but the literacy rate is over 99%.

These are numbers, statistics that can perhaps help you envision the world that our daughter lives in. And that's important for sharing with our family and friends. But they don't clearly represent the people. It's what I love most about reading other PAP's blogs - seeing their pictures and hearing about the lives they encounter.

It's my primary reason for keeping this blog. I want our child to be able to see the people she came from, and the heritage she has.

And that life transcends data.

~Lone Butterfly )i(

And We're Off!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Most PAPs (Potential Adoptive Parents) like to put out a timeline for when they expect everything to happen. I’m feeling like it’s a little to early for that.

Ideally, we would like to travel to Kazakhstan next July, August, or September. But that is so dependent on so many outside factors, like the Government and our homestudy Social Worker, that who knows!

Tuesday we mailed off the application to our chosen Adoption Agency. Even that took a bit longer, because Husband and I really wanted to make sure we had done our research on the Agency for this country (checking references, the Better Business Bureau, independent groups, etc).

We’ve also been reading lots of blogs from families that have recently traveled to Kazakhstan. That has been really helpful, as we’ve seen many different experiences and have been able to extrapolate the commonalities. Husband and I will go back and read some again, after we get our Letter of Invitation and we know what city we’ll be traveling to.

One of the rather unique aspects of Kazakhstan is that we’ll be traveling blind.

That means that we won’t know who our child is before we leave. We will be invited to come to a city and visit their Baby House. At the Baby House we’ll be presented with 1-5 little girls, and we have to choose one. This is the part which scares me the most, but every single person I’ve talked to (or read about) has said it’s not once it happens. The child God chooses for you is plainly obvious.

Traveling blind means, also, that there is a small possibility we won’t have a girl in our age range. We can then either adjust our age range or adopt a boy. Husband and I are comfortable adjusting up to 4 years old, and if God chooses another son for us, that’s okay also. (We have his name picked out, too!)

This isn’t as likely, because the reason most issues crop is that the infants haven’t been in the system long enough (Kazakhstan requires a 6 month time between being entered into the system and being “adoptable”.) Children who are already 2-3 years old tend to have been in the system since they were infants, so the 6 month wait has long since past for these little girls.

So – from here, where do we go?

First – the Agency will contact us.

Second – we’ll begin our homestudy. This is at least 3 visits with the Social Worker. One in her office (both Husband and I), one in our home (includes the Caterpillars), and another in her office (separate interviews for me and Husband).

Third – we’ll begin collecting our Dossier documents and get fingerprinted by the FBI (ooooo – fun!)

Even though we are still at the beginning, it’s nice to be able to DO something. I hear it gets much harder when you’ve done all you can, and you’re waiting on others to move your documents along.

Keep us in your prayers!

~Lone Butterfly )i(


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


The 8th night of Chanukah will begin at sundown tonight, and it’s the first night this year the boys won’t be home to light the candle. They are spending the night at my sister, Boo’s, house. Her husband, Firefighter, is out fighting fires and won’t be home, so they are going to keep her company.

Last night, right before they went to bed, we sat around the kitchen table eating dessert (CW had baked cookies and B10 had baked an apple crisp – both very yummy) and we talked about Judah Maccabee and his father, Mattathias, and how God provides for us in our time of need.

This is the first year CW can actually understand the true story, not just bits and pieces. Due to the fact that we’ve just moved into our (still not all together finished) house, we weren’t able to have friends over for dinner any night, and the latkes will have to wait for Thursday night, but this was still a very special holiday for us as a family. It was our first Chanukah together as a family.

Last night, amid the giggling and slurping of melting ice cream and the spilled drops of milk, I realized how lucky I was to have children who don’t have to fit in with everyone else. B10 never questioned why we have a menorah in our window, when most of the other people on our street (or our neighborhood, or town) have one. CW doesn’t wonder why the other kids in his class don’t also know the story of how Antiochus IV oppressed the Israelites.

They listen and ask questions, and it excites me to see them slowing growing in faith.

Tomorrow morning, early, I’ll begin putting away the menorah, carefully packing it in it’s box. I’ll place it in the attic, where it will sit until December 21st of next year (it’s a later Chanukah in 2008). But the lessons my sons have learned will stay with them, forever.

Jehovah Jira, My Provider,
His Grace Is Sufficient for Me, for Me, for Me.
Jehovah Jira, My Provider,His Grace Is Sufficient for Me.
My God Shall Supply All My Needs
According to His Riches in Glory.
He Gives His Angels Charge over Me.
Jehovah Jira Cares for Me, for Me, for Me.
Jehovah Jira Cares for Me.
~Lone Butterfly )i(

My Blond One

Friday, December 7, 2007


My second son was born a blond, it's getting darker - just like his father's did. He'll be dark-haired by the time he's 10 if history holds true.
He's almost 6 - his birthday is in February, exactly a week before Valentine's Day. He's still my little one, who rebels against anyone's notions of how he's suppose to act - then blindsides them with his adorablity. We are sure he's running for office, a politician in the making. Even when you're angry, he's making you laugh and think.
He would follow his older brother to the ends of the earth, he doesn't even say his name - just "Brother". He wants so badly to be included, and blessedly is most of the time.
He loves to give gifts. When he is able to get something out of the treasure box at school, it's almost always a piece of pretty pink plastic jewelry - which he's picked out for me, or his Aunt, or my Mum (his Grandmum). He then presents it to us as if he's spent all day inspecting diamonds to choose just the right one. And we feel as though he has.
He can't stand being teased or bullied - and won't allow it to happen to anyone else when he's around. I've seen him stand up to kids twice his size on the playground and tell them to leave a smaller child alone.
He listens, and remembers. When we lit the candle for the 3rd night of Chanukkah last night, he began telling how God provides for our needs, just as He did for the Jews. When asked what he was most thankful for in Kindergarten (at his Thanksgiving feast) his response was - "My Savior." Whether he is coloring his menorah coloring sheet, or reading his book on the Nativity, he knows his God.
His dream is to grow up and be a research scientist to kill bad germs, or President, or a teacher, or an Astronaut. Who knows where his dreams will take him in the next few years?
He can't wait for his baby sister. He goes into her room sometimes and talks about how he will play gently with her, and let her have tea parties with him and Brother when she comes.
He's incredible. After having one child, a piece of me wondered how I could love another one as much as I did the first - the CW was born and I realized how easy it was. He is a child of my heart.
~Lone Butterfly )i(

Hamburger Soup - Twice as Nice


It should not be surprising that the only recipe I've ever posted - I'm posting again.

I mean, I could post the Guacamole Recipe to up the number to 2 - but that's actually B10's, not mine. He took the base and ran with it to create a concotion all his own (I hear it's very good - allergies prevent me from trying).

Actually, maybe I WILL post that.

But not now.

Because NOW is:

It's A Soup-Tacular!

This is my standby staple, my favorite for summer, winter, spring, or fall. It's HAMBURGER SOUP. And my caterpillars have been eating it for YEARS! It's very simple to make, it freezes well, and tastes twice as good the next day.

1 small bottle ketchup
1/3 small bottle mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
2 cans no-salt added corn
2 cans no-salt added English peas
1 can black-eyed peas (without any "meat")
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Sprinklings of Tony's Seasoning
8-10 cups water

Brown the grown beef and add a bit of Tony’s to the beef. Drain well and place back on the stove. Add the ketchup, mustard, and 1 cup of water to dilute. Stir well.

Add the veggies (drained), Worcestershire Sauce, and the rest of the water.

Bring to a boil and adjust to taste. Depending on your personal preference – you might like more ketchup or more mustard. You DO NOT need to add salt, because the ketchup and mustard will add that for you.

When the caterpillars were small they liked it without the "juice" (just the veggies/meat strained in a bowl).Delicious when served with fresh baked bread. (Or whatever is on sale at Kroger, if you’re me.)

Head over to boomama.net for more Soup-Tacular Recipes!

~Lone Butterfly )i(

My Oldest Heart

Thursday, December 6, 2007


My oldest heart turns 8 this month. Ever since I can remember, this age was the turning point from little kid to big kid. 7 was still young, but 8 - why 8 was getting ready to be a teenager!
He's amazing, my son. His heart is kind and gentle. He loves to play war, his male protective instinct manifesting in so many ways. He would never hurt a kitten or lizard or little girl.
He loves bugs. Real bugs. He declared when he was 4 that he wanted to be an Entomologist (bug scientist, for the unaware), and hasn't changed his mind since. He even has researched the top two Entomology schools in the nation. (We've made an effort not to sway him between UGA and Florida State - let him choose as he gets older.)
He loves music. Husband is giving him basic guitar lessons, and he sings every week in choir. When he's sad, sometimes he'll sit on his bed and sing hymns to himself. Days of Elijah is his favorite song.
He is empathetic - if I am sad, he wants to hug me and console me. If his brother gets hurt, he puts his arm around CW's shoulders and tries to make it better. God gave him a sweet, sensitive side that many never get to see.
He cooks and does laundry. And still thinks it's fun. Helping around the house by doing "grown-up" tasks. He's a giver, who understands his fortune and wants to help other's misfortune. When he hears of a hurt or poor child, he wants to give of himself to help.
He's not always gotten the easiest end of the stick, being my firstborn, and therefore subject to many bumbling choices. But he's always forgiven me, and stepped back up to life. This summer, he took being confined in a wheelchair better than most boys thrice his age would.
He's amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better oldest son. I look forward to the day he's also my friend.
~Lone Butterfly )i(