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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

A Child’s Life Before Adoption

imagesOur kids had it rough, there’s no other way to say it.  Before the Russian orphanage, it was much worse than being in custody, which is generally thought of as semi-awful.  So you do the calculations.  Life was hard.

We had our teens review “Good Things and Bad Things That Have Happened to Me”.  This is to assist in their overall Life Purpose Planning, to really analyze where they’ve come from, in order to determine where they might be headed.  I asked them to list items great and small, whatever made an impact on them.  About 99% of the occurrences happened pre-adoption.

One of our children listed the worst experience to be the death of a friend who drowned last summer.  For that 000019w7one, it was worse than being beaten or starved.  That’s how hungry these kids are for love and friendship, how much their hearts hurt.

Maybe you’ve never heard the story of older adoptees from Russia, or Ukraine, or whatever the country.  It could be anywhere.  It could be almost any child whose parents neglect and abuse them.

Our children are, for the most part, model kids:  sweet, polite, hardworking, studious.  They have their moments, for sure, most stemming from past issues, but they’re getting over a lot of it.

Maybe today you’ll pray for other children stuck in orphanages, or out on the streets, worldwide.  Their stories are very similar.  Their pain is very real.


Bad Things That Have Happened to Me

1.  I was beaten in Russia.

2.  I was starved in Russia.

3.  I didn’t have any clothes.

4.  Screamed at the dentist’s office.

5.  Had 21 holes in my teeth.

6.  I was dirty.

7.  I had lice.

8.  Said things wrong.

10.  Hit my nose on the pole in the playground.

(Alexandra’s Note:  I don’t know what happened to #9 above.)



1.  ______ died.

2.  I’ve been beaten.

3.  My birth mother starved me.

4.  I’ve been sent to an orphanage.

5.  I stole things.

6.  I’ve lied to everyone.

7.  I talked nasty.

8.  I ran away.

9.  I talked back and got in trouble.

10.  I lost my emotion and hit my sisters.

(Alexandra’s Note: I removed the name of the new friend in America who died – #1 above.)



1.  Had to get food for other younger siblings.

2.  My parents never were around.  If my mother and some man was there, then they would beat me.

3.  Never had a real father and mother that would not run with someone else.

4.  Didn’t have clothes for winter.

5.  My dogs died, one by running over a car (?), and another, someone killed her.

6.  Didn’t go to school for years.

7.  Had my head shaved.

8.  Had no love.

9.  Was separated from my two other siblings.

10.  Didn’t know God.

(Alexandra’s Note:  I think we get the idea on #5 above.)


I wish I had space to share their list of good things.  Maybe one day.  One child’s list of bad things is no longer out and about, or I would have shared that one.

All this to say that environment is everything.  Take them out of the horror of the past, and they can break free.  It’s still not easy, but it’s a start.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  There’s hope.

Maybe you can give hope to another child who has no one in the world to love them?




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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar hoonew says:

    This sounds like a great life review project for any kid. Maybe followed by Good and Bad Things That I have Done. I would be curious about what our youngest would say; I don’t think he remembers anything from his preadoptive life, but I’d like to know what he thinks his life was like.

    • avatar admin says:

      Excellent ideas, hoonew. We’re taking several such subjects, like skills and abilities and will eventually be drawing a Venn Diagram of sorts (interlocking circles). Where all of them overlap or duplicate, we might come up with some specific interests or callings in life. Not to say that our past dictates our future, but sometimes there’s a connection among all the pieces….

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