When I was 37 my husband took a job in Kazakhstan. We moved everything either into storage or took it with us, as we were agreeing to stay 3 years.
We did not have children yet and that was part of why I agree to go.
We were mature, solid in our marriage.
We had the support of both sets of families.
We were educated, healthy, making good money and the assignment had the potential to be lucrative (Although I can honestly say that we have never made a decision based on income.)
We love to travel.
We are used to pretty rustic travel and living.
I am a good home cook, making things from scratch is fine and I can sew.
His company sent us to Berlitz language school for 3 full weeks in San Francisco before we left. I grew up in San Francisco so even those 3 weeks had a level of comfort and familiarity to them.
We were in Moscow for 5 weeks before we went to Kazakhstan. Even in Almaty, we had money and the ability to make lots of choices about how and where we’d live. We got to be pretty good at saying “My name is ____. I’m from____. We are here with my husband’s work.” But to really function in that second language was something else.
It was exhilarating AND we grew so much AND we saw so many different things AND we had great R & R trips as it was considered a hardship posting. AND it was so incredibly exhausting.
Remember, we’d said yes to this. Oh it was so hard. And we had all the power.
The food was tiring.
The laundry was such an effort…two full days to get it done.
Shopping was something one was always kinda “doing” as you never knew when you’d see someone selling what you were looking for.
Learning and functioning in Russian….exhausting.
My husband fell off his bike a broke his hip which required 5 days in the trauma hospital in Almaty. If you weren’t traumatized when you went in, you were when you got out. He got medivac-ed to Finland where he had surgery. The Kazakh treatment plan was 3 months bed rest.
I just want to buy some grace for kids adopted at older ages. This is really a hard adjustment to make. Sure, just about every aspect of their lives is logically better here. I mean except for having lots of free time and a slower paced life (and the time to form really good friendships) there really is not a single aspect of life in the FSU that is even close to what we enjoy in the US.
But it overwhelms a child/teen unprepared to absorb it all. It’s so much to deal with. I left my middle aged parents and my sister without knowing for SURE if I’d see them alive again….but I think the security I was raised in was what allowed me to go.
Adopted kids really don’t know what they are getting in to. And often they do focus on the material aspects which can really frustrate their adoptive parents. I went away with my husband, who I trust in every way…and STILL there were times he was depressed over there and I’d spent the day tramping all over to find SOMETHING decent to cook for dinner and he wasn’t interested. I often wondered if I should head back to the US…and I didn’t, in part because I knew I could if I really wanted to. (I would not have left him there, but I knew I had that option, and knowing that made it easier for me).
Kids adopted as teens have no control. Even if they said yes in the court, even if they had been hosted and begged to be adopted….in the end they have no power and that is scary.
We know they are better off in families. Even if they can’t stay in the home all the time. They are better off with families. They are better off here than living in a pedestrian under-crossing in Moscow.
Just try to remember how the adoption travel was…the food and the water and the transportation and just about everything that was different…and just open up the timeline and expectations for those kids adopted slightly older.