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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…!



Choose Your Battles-?

I have four teens in the home. I guess we could stop right there. For most moms, that’s shorthand for: I’m aging faster than the speed of light. Generally, our kids are good, so we’re blessed. Really. Of course, I’d have to acknowledge that I run a very tight ship, which probably is shorthand for:…


Our Girls… Five Years Later

It was around this time, five years ago, that Benedetto and I found ourselves in a remote region of southern Russia, adopting two sisters. The weather was hotter than hot in a land with seemingly no air conditioning. Before my husband arrived, I remember sitting in a tiny square near the orphanage, a quilt placed…



A homeschool graduation can be any number of things, even as homeschoolers themselves mirror every color of the rainbow. Whether unschoolers, or classicists, co-op kids, or those tied to workbooks and DVDs, you’ll find them somewhere on the spectrum and their commencement ceremonies reflect that. Ours was an affair with multiplied friends of the young…


A Model Adoptive Family

In those odd hours of lengthy computer work, I occasionally turn on the TV. Benedetto wants to pull the plug entirely, but I really do enjoy the occasional program, generally those that are educational. I really can’t name any fictional series that I have tuned into in recent decades. Not to say that many of…


On the Eve of 16

I tried to research what it’s like to be a girl turning 16 in America today. It’s possible to obtain statistics on drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual activity patterns among high-schoolers. I can access forums where parents ask others’ opinions about their 16-year-old dating a 24-year-old and all I can imagine is…


Graduation Celebration

Deep undercover planning is going on behind the scenes here as our first son prepares to graduate from high school. Never mind that it’s homeschool high school, we’ll have a proper ceremony in front of a crowd one way or another, lol. When you think about it, only in a homeschool setting could your child…


Current State of Ukrainian Adoptions

With all of the ruckus of Russia invading Crimea, we thought our friends would like an update. Ukrainian adoptions are still open, but Crimean adoptions, for all intents and purposes are closed with Crimea being illegally annexed by Russia. The American Embassy in Kyiv (Kiev) is trying to get it all straight, but just as…


SAT Score Increase

Looking ahead to early March and taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which could be termed an American college entrance exam of sorts, we are attempting to help our oldest son test at the same level as he tests on his regular school exams.  As I’ve written before, the rub is in the fact that…


A House Divided Over Kids

Before we can leap into the joys of Valentine’s Day with a loved one, we must discuss the very possible reality that your mate may not be on your side when it comes to the kids.  Adopted children often have an uncanny way of dividing parents, in much the same way as some bio kids….


The Five-Year Focus Plan

This summer, our girls will have been home for five years, our second son for six years, and our oldest son will soon mark ten years home from Russia.  Only now am I beginning to breathe… and it’s not always easily. For some years, I was an outsider in my own home.  This one or…

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