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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…!

Russian Adoption

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An Adoptive Child with Brain Damage

Big brain damage we can spot a mile away, but slight brain damage… it’s a tricky thing. You might think that your adopted child is being difficult. And she is. But it might not be her fault entirely. Such is life with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Unless a child is severely affected and you’ve made the…

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Meaningful Family Meals

Benedetto and I were raised in two different types of families. His felt that family meals were important events and did everything in their power to delay dinner until all of the kids came home. My family, on the other hand, came and went with an air of independence, while still enjoying most dinners together….

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The Adopted Child Behaviors

This, too, shall pass. Or, will it? Whole lotta adoptive parents asking the same questions. Is this normal toddler, adolescent, or teen behavior… or is it deep-seated and deep-rooted? Will it hinder or hold back the child… for life? Could be the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) from a birth mother who drank. Might…

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Positive Peer Pressure

How do we keep our kids on the straight and narrow in this day and age, you ask? Carefully, very carefully. In a nutshell, we limit their access to everything. The goal is to keep them safe until they can make wise decisions for themselves. Do we ever let them mess-up? Only every day. However,…

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Rough Times in Russia

Russia’s day of retribution is coming. You mistreat orphans, you invade other countries, and it’s going to come back to haunt you. According to my worldview, whatever you sow, you’re going to reap. It may be sooner, it may be later, but life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Many of Russia’s actions in recent years…

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Me and My Matryoshkas

The image has followed me in my dreams since childhood. My grandmother sent me a matryoshka when I was a small girl and it was an incredible gift. I knew of no one else who possessed such a wooden-crafted, handpainted, Russian nesting doll. Crafted since the late 19th century, these mysterious images had not been…

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Back at the Russian Embassy

Everywhere we go, we create an international incident of some sort. Filling out the online form to renew our kids’ Russian passports is adventure enough. We did it last year for the boys, and now the girls needed theirs renewed after five years in the US. As I’ve explained numerous times how to apply (hit…

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The Russian Need to Speak French

It was the beginning of the 19th century and upper-class Russians spoke French… and hardly any Russian at all. Maybe a little to the family servants, but that was it. Some could not even read nor write in Russian. A friend of ours from Paris once gave me a beautiful, old book in French about…

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Learning to Drive… in Other Languages

Our kids continue to study Russian Lite throughout the year. I take them through the paces, the key to our limited success being that we need dialogs which will engage them. In college, you can use the normal, “What are you studying?” and “Do you live in the dorm?”, but for now, we need more…

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When Adoption Doesn’t Work

Some adoptions don’t work. Just like some marriages don’t work. And often, you get a package, two-for-one deal. My inbox is full of those who have no one who believes them. The toddler/ teen/ young adult is a terror on wheels, and often one spouse never sees it. The smirks, the backtalk, the violence… always…

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