My Kazakh princess

A few weeks ago, I heard that a Kazakh-American Fellowship was holding some kind of reception in northern Virginia, so I took Veeka and went. The ambassador from Kazakhstan was there as were all sorts of Kazakhs living in the DC area. I’d been told there’d be lots of adopted kids there; turns out there were very few, but Veeka didn’t let that stop her. As soon as the music started, she was jumping and twirling about, enchanting everyone, naturally. We ended up having the best time and even closed down the party.

Veeka and I dancing at the Kazakh ball. Notice the Kaz flag to the left

Which is why I was sad to learn about the new adoption regulations that Kazakhstan has just come up with. They’ve been closed to new adoptions for two years, only to come up with really onerous rules that require a 30-day bonding period with your child. I “only” had a 15-day bonding period and believe me, that was long enough. Both parents have to be there for that, which is nearly impossible for some people who don’t have 30 extra days to sit in Kazakhstan. Plus, they’ve made the process a two or three-trip slog, as Russia has done. Three trips to that part of the world is thousands more dollars. Russian adoptions cost about $50,000 these days and it appears as though the Kazakhs are trying to get theirs to cost nearly that. And worst of all, they are limiting adoption to married couples, similar to the Ukraine. It is as if they took the worst aspects of Russian and Ukrainian adoptions and made them the new Kazakh policy. Obviously I could never adopt Veeka today under those rules. I’m convinced more than ever that these countries care very little for their orphans because of all the road blocks they’ve put up. The head of the adoption agency I worked with told me that she doubts there will be many adoptions in Kazakhstan under the new rules, as they’ve made it so much harder to get a child. Very few people can spend 2-3 months in Kazakhstan waiting for the bonding period, the court decision, etc. The hotel costs, if nothing else, really kill you. My hotel was $60/night, the cheapest place in town and 5 weeks staying there really added up. Plus parents without children have to be open to a child of either gender and, boys being much more numerous than girls in Kaz orphanages, you’re basically made to adopt a boy.

An obliging party-goer dances with Veeka

Life continues apace here as Veeka is learning to read. Instead of Dick and Jane, she reads sentences like “Cat got wet. Hen got wet.” Numbers are still a struggle, as are challenges like counting backwards from 31. She’s also studying three-dimensional shapes, so we walk about the house trying to find spheres, cubes, cones, cylinders and rectangular prisms. I don’t think I had that stuff until fifth grade.