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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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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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Our Second Son Steps Out in Art

You all know about Petya, 17.5, recent high school grad headed for college in the fall, great internship-part time job, with another part-time job on the golf course which is his second-favorite sport after tennis. He’s got stuff going on right and left. His younger brother, not so much. Pasha is the same age, from…

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Our Girl’s Good News

We’ve been chatting with the kids about summer jobs. Granted, half the summer is over, but still, they can dream. Their ages are 17.5, 17.5, 16, and 13.5, two boys, two girls, all who arrived from Russia at older ages. The first boy is headed to college in the fall, the second boy is entering…

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Passport Photos: Me and My Fat Head

It’s been five years and the girls need new Russian passports. Been there, done that with the boys. Happily, with the 10-year variety, now they’ll all be in their 20s when they need to renew again. Benedetto was going to be the parental co-signer, so we listed his name on the electronic form submitted in…

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Another Funny Summer Flick

Do you want a movie full of adventure, a bit of Russian language, and dogs? Look no farther. This is a film with no swearing and plenty of good messages. The bad guys get into trouble, and the good guys/dogs come out on top. On Netflix, our family watched yet another in the series of…

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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…

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