Friday, January 16, 2009

Little Khan Tengri

As I launch this web log in mid-January of 2009 I find myself a soon-to-be divorced father of three. The subject of a divorce was first told to the children just three days after Christmas. Neither the divorce nor the timing of telling the children (almost nine, eight and a half and three years old) was my idea, but I admit that they needed to know, and soon. I was dreading that moment even more than the divorce itself. Their first reaction was predictable, and heartbreaking.

Later that very afternoon, however, I took them to the house that I had found just five miles away, on a mountain overlooking our small town and the place where my law office is located. You can actually see my law office from the front yard! The house was built in 1959 - the same year I was built. It is a small, three bedroom two bath house, but well built and in good condition. I took the children there that very afternoon.

The house had already had a strangely transformative effect on me, and immediately did on the children as well. High up on a historic small mountain on the site where a battle took place in the American Civil War, the views both East and West are incredible.

Mac and Alina thought that we were up on a great mountain, and they reminded me about the greatest mountain in the land of their birth. All three of my children were born in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Alina and Mac were adopted in 2000, when they were respectively eight months and four months old. We all went back in 2006 to get Cal, who was eleven months old. On our second trip, Alina, Mac and I went on many day trips and outings around Southeast Kazakhstan, and into the breathtakingly beautiful Tien Shan mountain range. Alina and Mac were interested in the country of their birth as they experienced it, and when they learned that the Tien Shan is part of the same mountain chain that leads to the Himalayas, they seemed more proud that they were from such a beautiful and impressive place. We learned from Emil, our driver and guide for the two month trip, that "Khan Tengri" is the highest mountain in both Kazakhstan and is on the border between that country and Kyrgyzstan.

Alina and Mac decided to name our new house in honor of Kazakhstan and the mountain Khan Tengri.
I told them we should add the word "Little" to the name of our home, as White Oak Mountain stands only 1,119 feet and Khan Tengri is 23,000 feet!

I have always tried to honor Kazahstan and all those who helped me have the great honor of being the father of these three wonderful children by teaching Alina, Mac and now Cal about the country of their birth, and by always flying the flag of Kazakhstan next to that of our country at our home. Even three year old Cal refers to our new home as "Little Khan Tengri."

Another irony is that "Khan Tengri" is Uyghur for "Father of the Sky." For my three, this is a perfect name for the home their father is providing for them, in the skies over Ringgold, Georgia.



  1. It was nice catching up on Facebook tonight. I wish you and your beautiful family all good things in 2009!

  2. Love the blog! It's a very pleasant surprise to find you on Facebook!

  3. I want to understand why people go overseas to adopt children. What motivated you and your wife to do that? I know you will be honest about what lead you to that decision. I thought of you as a prinicpled man in lawschool and I value your opinion. Your kids are real cute and I know they have your heart!