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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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Holiday Performance Panic

I have no problem with my kids being in holiday choirs, singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” or “My Dreidl, Dreidl, Dreidl”. For our family, the festival of Hanukkah and the celebration of Christmas are what this season is all about. Decorating the home, giving gifts, enjoying special foods—it’s all icing on the cake—and a…

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The Russian Embassy: The Final Frontier

We may be nearing the end of the line. With 10-year Russian Passports in our reach, it could be that we will no longer be “living” at the Russian Embassy for our four adopted kids. Back at the end of summer, we had completed the complex paperwork to update our daughters’ passports. Now it was…

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Our Second Son Turns 18

We now have two 18-year-old boys and two younger teen girls. Makes for an interesting household. Our second son from Russia expresses his joy over turning 18 and we’re here to celebrate with him. However, at times, our hearts are heavy. What will his future be like? He has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. In everyday English,…

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Petya’s First College Research Paper

Not so much a research paper as a response paper, Petya had been asked to give his opinion on a certain archaeological matter. The university gave first-time college students the opportunity to submit such a paper in order to firm-up their academic writing. The exercise did not count toward their final grade, but was more…

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Committed First to Kids or Mate?

A lot of parents struggle with a very basic understanding of loyalty and commitment. Who comes first: the kids or the mate? I tend to revert to a very mature understanding of life, using a complex equation to solve the situation. I say: it all depends. As in: who came first, the chicken or the…

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Sashenka Turns 14

Our youngest, daughter Sashenka, turned 14. It was a week fraught with giddy highs and skipping gait, along with sullen lows. Birthdays never used to do that to her, but as a Russian adoptee, I had heard of this behavior in so many others before. They rued the day they were born because apparently, it…

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Very Interesting Veliky Novgorod Finds

A friend sent me the New York Times article sharing some interesting news from Veliky Novgorod. At first, my mind traveled the snow-covered path to Nizhniy Novgorod, which I’ve written about before (http://www.destinationsdreamsanddogs.com/love-that-lasts/, http://www.destinationsdreamsanddogs.com/russian-adoption-delays-and-detours/). It was here my plane was diverted once for six long hours on Valentine’s Day afernoon as I tried my hardest…

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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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