Friday, May 1, 2009

Let's get to know each other...

We thought that we should all get to know each other before Kazapalooza. Since there will be over 60 families at Kazapalooza this year (wooohooo), we will be featuring a few families each week on this blog. We will be posting information from the registration form. Please let us know if you do not want your family to be featured on this blog. We are going to start with the four planners.

The Elrod family:

Hi, my name is Muriel, and I am so looking forward to seeing all of you. I have been married for four years to Jerry and we adopted Sophia Hope from Karaganda in 2007. Sophie will be three in July and our son Jack (home grown) is 8 months old. I am a trial lawyer and Jerry is in banking. We live in Chicago. When I came up with the idea of Kazapalooza I was hoping 10 families would come! I am thrilled that it has grown into such an amazing event. Adoptive parents are amazing people and we feel blessed to be a part of this community. See you all soon! Our travel blog is: We also have a private blog I would be happy to invite any family attending Kazapalooza to. Just e-mail me at murielcollison at hotmail.

***If you are interested in how Kazapalooza came about please read the sidebar!

The Struck Family

Hi, my name is Kristan. My husband Mark and I will be married 14 years in June and are the proud parents to our Kazakh angel, Sadie, 2 1/2, and her big brothers Ryan, 10, and Tanner 7. Sadie will be home two years in June.

Our boys traveled with us to Karaganda and the love affair between each of the boys and Sadie started there and has grown even more over these two years.
I have been a Stay at Home Mom for 9 years now. Prior to that I was a child and adolescent therapist working with children with behavioral problems as well as with attachment disorders.
One day in the future I plan to continue my career, but as what exactly is still undetermined, however I like the idea of using my background and experience to some how benefit adoptions.
Mark is an air ambulance pilot and we have a real estate investment business (we are not Realtors thought).
I am very excited about the 2nd annual Kazapalooza. The relationships that I have built through our adoption journey and beyond has far surpassed my wildest imagination. I love that I have continued to bond with families in the Kaz community since coming home, and in the adoption community in general, who understand some of the dynamics of our family that people outside the adoption community truly have no understanding of. I hope that over the upcoming years Kazapalooza will continue be a forum to further build relationships for Kaz families that last a lifetime. See you in June! Kristan

The Bilbro Family

Hi my name is Gretchen. My husband, Chris and I have been married for 6 years and have three boys. We traveled to Kaz May-July of 2007 to bring home one year old, Serik from Karakastek. Austin and Asa were born in Kentucky and we were thrilled to finalize their adoptions this past April. My husband and I own our own businesses, a trucking company and a rent to own company that specializes in storage sheds. I have been a stay at home Mom since coming home with Serik but prior to that I worked as a Registered Nurse specializing in Psychiatric care at a hospital in Nashville.

Kazapalooza was so fun last year. I can't wait to meet all the families this year! You can follow our blog and read more about us at Journey Far, Journey Near.

The Sapp Family

Hello :-) Sapp family here... I'm Michelle Sapp, proud mother of my two amazing children, Mateo Timur and Natalia Grace. It has always been a dream of mine to adopt since about the second grade. In October of 2005, that dream came true when I finally traveled to Ust-Kamenogorsk to bring home my children. Mateo will be 6 this month and is full of curiosity, energy, and courage. Natalia is 4 and has a tender heart, sassy spirit, and desire to talk your ear off :-)

I'm currently a special education teacher at a middle school. My primary focus is learning disabilities in reading and behavioral/emotional disorders. I believe my profession helps me to be a better mom and my parenting two children with diverse needs helps me to be a better teacher. I also co-direct the school musical, as music has always been something I have an appreciation for.

I have a passion for adoption and feel quite blessed that I belong to a community of people who have also shared this joy! Kazapalooza is such a wonderful event for both our children and us, as we meet and build relationships with people who have taken a similar journey! I'm looking forward to this year's event and the many, many more to come in the future!


Lori Printy said...

Great idea to get to know one another. These certainly are four beautiful and generous families. Thanks for all you do!

Regina said...

What a wonderful idea! It's so nice to learn more about each of your families. We can't wait to meet you and thank you in person for putting this kick-butt event together.

Alaina said...

Thank you again to each of you for all the work you do planning this wonderful event! We can't wait to see everyone again and meet new friends!

McCracken Poston said...

Hello - I couldn't find an email that would work so I will post here. I just learned about this group. I am father to three children who are from Almaty, Kokshetau and Esik. We are going to Culture Camp in Georgia this year and cannot make it to Nashville, although we are just two hours away! Can anyone tell me how we can join this group?


Muriel and Jerry said...

We are not a special group that you would need to join. We are open to everyone. Each year we have a weekend long event to which all adoptive families are invited to. We have families who have adopted from Kazakhstan from all over the US and Canada who attend. Each year the weekend is in a different location. Last year it was Chicago, this year Nashville. We try to rotate the events between the midwest and the south. All you have to do to attend next year is keeping checking this site and watch for registration deadlines. Probably starting in July there will be updates on where the event will be in 2010.