I had some dreams ... they were klowns in my koffee.

(With apologies to Carly Simon)

This is my journey through job transition from a toxic environment to a better life. Join me for a few thoughts and a few laughs along the way.
What are "klowns in my koffee"? They are the factors large and small that make you less than you are. A "klown" can be a grossly incompetent boss,
a short-sighted policy or a moronic coworker. They won't kill you, at least not immediately, but they abrade the soul
as you scrape past them to get through the day. Sometimes it's best to dump them out of the cup.


Day 52 - Kazakhstan Part 1

I'm organizing photographs as part of writing the annual required post-placement reports to the government of Kazakhstan. Most countries of origin of overseas adoptees have such a requirement. For Kazakhstan and the other former Soviet block countries, the reports are usually required each year on the anniversary of the court date. The children retain their foreign citizenships until the age of eighteen so each country has a shared and vested interest in the health and happiness of its citizens. My children, as dual citizens, have both American and Kazakh passports.

Going back through the photos and memorabilia of our extended visit in "Kaz," as the adoptive parent groups call it, always brings back find memories. Since most of our friends and relatives have not seen the pictures nor heard the stories of that trip, I'll be documenting them in each Sunday's blog. When we get to the end of the story, I'll put the posts together into an extended and separate blog page and then have it printed by one of the blog-to-book(let) services for my kids.

In 2004, we had never heard of Kazakhstan. This was before Sacha Baron Cohen used Kazakhstan to represent a backwards developing nation to serve as a backdrop for his eccentric Borat. We had a misty familiarity with some of the "istans" -- the multiple post-Soviet countries clustered to the west of the Caspian Sea. "-stan" means "place of" in Persian, "settlement" to the Russians written in Cyrillic as "ctah," and is related to the Latin that gave us "state" and "status." So Kazakhstan is the place of the Kazakhs.

And who are the Kazakhs? The Kazakhs are the descendants of a blend of Turkic groups, Mongols and Huns. Yes, like Attila the Hun. When you talk about the Kazakhs, you must keep in mind that the term can indicate two different and overlapping groups: ethnic Kazakhs, who tend to be handsome Asian Muslims, and Kazakh citizens, who are about 50% ethnic Kazakhs and 50% ethnic Russians. It's quite a binary society - Asian or Caucasian, Muslim or Russian Orthodox. The largest group of minorities is German, but that population is falling as the Germans repatriate after the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin wall. For the same reasons, Kazakhs who had fled Soviet rule or had been scattered are now finding their way back to the homeland.

This is the thumbnail version. We learned much about this country in the year-and-a-half between making the decision to adopt and getting on that plane on Halloween, 2005, bound for Chicago, then Frankfort and then Almaty, Kazakhstan. And the value of what we learned and gained there is immeasurable.

My husband hates flying. Why did we go to the other side of the world completely on faith? Because we found this picture.

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