So apparently Bobek will be waiting for us in Shymkent.
Quietly in the background of our lives, the journey to our second child continues to make progress. The most recent development is the largest to date as we found out that our dossier has been assigned to Shymkent.
This is really the first piece of the child's forever history that we have. We still won't know gender, age, or ethnicity until we actually arrive in Kaz, but we now know that we will meet that child at the Baby House in Shymkent, Kazakhstan.
In many ways, this one detail adds the first glimmer of realism to an exercise that, to date, has remained mostly abstract.
In the long process that is Kazakh adoption, the assignment of your region allows focus. With the assistance of the internet and adoptive family blogs I was able to read stories of families who have adopted in Shymkent, to see images of the baby house and surrounding city, and to read about the history of the region, within just a few hours.
We are still being guided to think of the fall as the most likely time frame for us to travel to meet Bobek. (Just to reiterate, Bobek is the Kazakh word for baby and has become the moniker for child number two in the absence of any gender. age, or ethnicity information.)
Just last night KJ and I finally wrote down our own personal predictions for both our Letter of Invitation (LOI), and our arrival date in Kaz. I guessed that we would receive our LOI on 22 July and would arrive in Shymkent on 14 August while KJ predicted we would receive our LOI on 03 September and travel on 15 October. There is nothing scientific, or even well thought out, about any of this, just a fun guess. Feel free to make your own guesses.
On the map above you can find Astana(Tougy's birthplace) in the northern part of the country, while you will see Shymkent in the south. The map does little to demonstrate scale or show its place in the world, so I will just add that in terms of physical distances and relative positions, if Astana were New York City, Shymkent would be somewhere in Georgia, and Afghanistan would begin around Key West. Kaz is the 9th largest country by land mass and is the largest landlocked country in the world.
Given its location roughly 600 miles south of Astana we expect that the winters are a good bit more mild, though we still hope not to find out first hand.
For those of you who followed our time in Astana (Nov/Dec 2007), you will recall that our general feeling was that the city lacked any genuine authenticity, history, or sense of self. Shymkent appears not to have that same issue. Its history and importance date back to the 12th century when it was a trading stop along the Silk Route. Over the centuries it found itself more than once at the center of military conflict and turmoil. In its more recent past it gave much of its resources and environmental well being to the Soviet machine. First came a lead processing plant followed oil refineries, and phosphorous and cement factories.
I must admit to being more than a little excited to explore both this city as well as this region. For whatever reason, it has been difficult to find a great many images of the city's markets, bazaars, and cultural elements. I would love to change that to some degree. Maybe I am kidding myself and will find that all the 'charm' of such places were sucked away years ago during the Soviet era. Time will tell. Take Care.