Here are some frequently asked questions we've either already been asked or think people might want to ask:

1. Why are you adopting a child?

After suffering through/surviving over six years of infertility, we accepted that the only way we would be able to become parents was through adoption. As we learned more about it, we became excited about growing our family in this way. We'd also love to have biological children, but there are no indications that this is going to happen!

2. Why international versus other types of adoption?

Good question. When we first started exploring adoption, we were completely undecided. At this time, we don't feel prepared to take on the challenges of parenting a foster child, though we know the need is great in this area. Aubree liked the idea of being with a child from birth if going the domestic adoption route and the idea of getting to experience pregnancy and control the prenatal environment with embryo adoption, but after many discussions, she agreed with Zack's assessment that international adoption was the best "fit" for them as a couple. After living in Australia for a few years and traveling to several countries around the world, we like to think of ourselves as a "global couple," and the idea of getting to know another country in this special way was exciting. Also, newborn babies in the United States are in high demand, but not everyone is able or willing to adopt older infants from another country, so we thought giving a home to an orphan outside of the United States felt more "helpful," even though we are actually the ones being "helped"! But who knows how our family will grow in the future? Right now, we feel that international adoption is the best choice for us.

3. Why Kyrgyzstan?

To be honest, we didn't know this country even existed, much less where it was or how to pronounce or spell it! Once we decided on international adoption, Aubree was drawn to Latin American countries, as she was studying Spanish and always had an interest in this culture. We also knew that we wanted as young of an infant as possible in order to get as much of the full "parenting experience" as we could. After learning that the wait for an infant in Nicaragua (the only Latin American country that looked promising) was around three years, we started asking around about other countries. Basically, our criteria was "as young as possible as quickly as possible." Our agency mentioned that Kyrgyzstan had recently reopened for international adoptions and that we could have an infant home within a year! This was exciting news, and after spending the whole next week scouring the internet to learn all about the country, we realized that Kyrgyzstan was a perfect fit for us...mountains, outdoor activities, friendly people, unique culture, etc. It seems to combine the best parts of some of the places we've already lived or traveled, including Colorado, Southeast Asia, and Nepal.

4. Isn't Kyrgyzstan where Borat is from? I don't know anything else about the country.

No, Borat was supposedly from Kazakhstan, which is a much larger country to the North of Kyrgyzstan. I've included some links on the sidebar of the blog if you want to learn more, but Kyrgyzstan (pronounced "kur-guh-STAHN") is located in Central Asia (just to the West of China) and is slightly smaller in size than South Dakota. It was part of the USSR until 1991, and 94% of the land is mountainous. The population is mostly Kyrgyz (of Turkic descent) and Muslim, common languages spoken are Kyrgyz and Russian, and the capital city is Bishkek.

5. When did you start the adoption process? 

Over the years, we've talked about adoption as an option. We even attended an informational session at an agency back in 2010, but we never seriously started exploring the idea until the beginning of 2014. You can click on the Timeline tab to see what's happened since then.

6. What stage of the process are you in now?

We have brought home our son, Jonas Shukhrat Keys.

7. What kind of background information do you know about your son?

Our boy is a two year old Kyrgyz child who was born in Moscow on 12/23/12 and named Shukhrat, which we have moved to his middle name. We have some medical information, but we know very little other background information about him. That which is known will be his to share if and when he chooses to in the future.

8. How long did it take to get a referral, and what was included?

We were told to expect a wait of five to six months for the referral of an infant. However, no infants are available for adoption in Kyrgyzstan right now, and they don't anticipate any becoming available soon. We received the referral for our toddler less than two months after our dossier was sent to Kyrgyzstan. It came in the form of an e-mail from our adoption agency's coordinator, and it included the boy's name, birthplace, birthdate, indication of no special needs, a tiny bit of background, two pictures, and a short video.

9. What happened after you accepted your referral?

We made three trips to Kyrgyzstan. The first is a mandated ten day bonding visit (we did eleven), and it involved visiting our child every day in the orphanage each day for a few hours. That's the trip we did over Christmas. Then we went home for six to eight weeks (exactly seven in our case) before going back for the court date. Aubree went back in mid-February for this shorter trip. About a month later, both of us went back to bring our child home from Kyrgyzstan.

10. What's with the "Shamrock" thing?

Shamrock is the nickname my dad created for our son before we wanted to share his real first name. Since it sounds like his Kyrgyz name (Shukhrat) and connects with my love of Notre Dame, it worked well for us. It was almost too perfect that his Adoption Day ended up falling on St. Patrick's Day!

11. Are you worried about anything?

Of course! There are so many scary unknowns with international adoption from Kyrgyzstan (Google Kyrgyz 65 if you want a glimpse). Adoption in general carries all sorts of possible issues, including bonding and attachment, dealing with grief, transracial families, health concerns, etc. Not to mention the normal worries about becoming new parents! But we are also excited about starting our family, traveling to a new place, and being a part of something unique and special.

12. How can I help?

Thanks for asking! We are always happy to accept prayers, positive thoughts, well wishes, etc.! Some people have asked if we "need" anything. We do have a registry at Amazon.com, but we mostly just need support and love!

13. Anything else I should know?

Tons! But we'll just outline the basics:
  • Please don't say things like, "Now that you're adopting, you'll probably get pregnant." The statistics prove that the percentage of people who get pregnant after adopting is nearly identical to the percentage who don't, and this type of comment belittles our adoption process as "second best." It may happen, it probably won't, and it doesn't have anything to do with the excitement we'd like you to share with us about our adopted child.
  • Treat us like you would treat other friends or family members who are expecting a child. Get excited, celebrate with us, share your hand-me-down clothes, invite us to your play group, etc. We will be parents; please treat us this way!
  • Especially if you are close friends or family of ours, please educate yourself. Parenting an adopted child is different than parenting a biological child, and you may question some of our actions or techniques. Please trust that we've gone through lots of training, and we'll be doing the best we can. We'd also like you to be careful about things you say or questions you ask, especially in front of our child. A highly recommended book is In On It by Elisabeth O'Toole. And thanks for caring!

Please let me know if there are any questions I've forgotten to include here. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. We are also beginning the process of adopting from Kyrgyzstan. We have not chosen an agency yet and I would love to connect with you sometime about this! So happy for you!