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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…!

Cannibalism in Krasnodarsky Krai

russian-orphansPeople, I can’t make up this stuff. I don’t want to invent stories like these because I understand that every country has its fair share of “crazies”.


As an adoptive parent of older children from Russia, I have monitored with interest the idea that life for a Russian child is better in Russia. I would need to disagree on that one.  Big time.

As a Russian-American adoptive parent, I can tell anyone and everyone that my children knew very little of Russian foods, culture and even language before they came home to roost in our home. Strange, but true.

Not to mention love.

In our boys’ case, we took them to a regional Russian restaurant for pelemeni, the delicious steamed Siberian dumplings eaten in broth, or examwith butter, or with smetana (sour cream). When our girls came along, I brought them to our Russian apartment and prepared the pelemeni, myself. Not one of them had ever eaten the popular dumpling dish. And they were older children, preteens.

The same with piroshki, the small, baked dough pies, often in a crescent, half-moon shape and stuffed with cabbage and onion, mushroom or meat fillings. Absolutely delicious, but unknown to the kids.

The same with vegetables, which necessitated our youngest daughter’s inquiry: “What are those green things?” pointing to the foreign-looking peas which I had spooned onto her plate.

“Garoxee,” (peas) I explained.

fresh-veggies“I don’t do peas,” she dismissed them.

“You do now,” I smiled, as she took her first bite, eyes widening in amazement at their sweet tastiness.

Butter helped.

Our kids knew nothing of Russian history, politics, ballet, writers or composers. Their Russian language abilities were substandard since nobody ever corrected their mistakes as a parent would. In essence, Russian life came alive once the children were removed from Russia….

Sure, maybe the kids could have thrived there if Russians had adopted them, but that wasn’t happening. Russians wanted children of their own, or at the very least, a baby of someone else’s, not an older child. When the fostering system started as adoptions to other countries ceased, it became very clear that Russian families thought nothing of returning “damaged goods” to the orphanage, returning kids in droves.

As foreigners, we were warned to never even think of such a thing. Over the years, one or two famous “returnee” cases had been prominentlykrasnodar-23 featured in the news. There were others that only those of us closely connected with Russian events knew about. It was known to happen, very frequently with Russians and upon occasion with foreigners who felt they had been duped into accepting children who were extremely neurologically impaired.

The Ministry of Education which oversaw adoptions wished to impress upon us that life was better in Russia. If they were to allow us to adopt one of their “gems”, it was only due to the largesse of their soul. And they rarely made mention of the horrific conditions that landed the children in the orphanage in the first place.

Over the years, we journeyed to numerous Russian cities and provinces, so many beautiful locations. One that I jetted into alone had a traveler’s advisory issued by the US State Department that it was too dangerous for Americans to visit. Yet, I went. Our daughters were there.

Another area that I remember with fondness was Krasnodar in the south of Russia. A lovely area with bookstores, outdoor markets, indigenous eateries and delightful parks either with a church or a cafe in the center, and generally, both.

cannibalAnd now the news hits. I try to ignore it, but the reports from a few months back seem to be true: a Krasnodar couple practicing cannibalism for about 20 years has chopped up and eaten about 30 persons reported missing. Turns out that the guy’s cell phone had been found on a city street and, as most would do in order to learn the owner’s identity, the finder flipped through photos on the phone.

The photos showed human body parts being popped in the owner’s mouth, tasty delicacies. Cannibalism. The finder rushed the phone to police and they located the owner, apprehending the cannibalistic couple.

As I mentioned before, every country has its share of crazies. But this? No, no, no.

Meanwhile, Russia is said to be entertaining the idea of reopening international adoption as long as they can assure that the children will be treated properly. Americans are said to be a dangerous bunch.

According to an investigative journalism piece in The Moscow Times by Yulia Latynina published on December 25, 2012: “Obviously, the official statistic that a child is 39 times more likely to die if adopted by Russian parents is an understatement. We know that the real numbers are much higher.”


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