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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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Is Summer Camp Good for Adoptees?

In a nutshell: not. so. sure. Leaning toward not. And mind you, my son is not the nine-year-old, gone away for his first time to sleep-away camp. No, he’s the 19-year-old camp counselor. Here’s the rub: very little has changed since my days at camp, you know, back in the Stone Age. We were not…

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What’s Changed in Moscow?

I’ve been asked by many to report more in-depth concerning Moscow. Many adoptive parents have not been there in the past decade when international adoptions began to close. No matter what region you stayed in, most of us had to end up our trip with several days in the capital. Is it the same? Yes…

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Mixup in Moscow

I am enroute with my oldest son on our way to the Mid-East. It was to be a simple layover in Moscow. As a Russian-American, he required no visa and I obtained the new, three-year multi-entry visa so we could leave the airport. We made reservations for a nearby Russian hotel and would take the…

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Our Girls & the Transgender Restroom

The one time we turn our back. Occasionally, occasionally, I as a mother have stuff to do. Like run empires on several continents, etc. This time, my husband was multi-tasking while our whole family was out and about. I stepped into one establishment, while he went to get gas and snacks with the kids and…

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Mashenka’s 18th Birthday

This is not how I wanted it to go down. Let me say that. Let me repeat that. Unfortunate things happened and I could not be there, despite my best efforts. It was Mashenka’s 18th birthday and I was going to be MIA. Not good. Like it or not, everything revolved around me: I would…

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Making a Russian Embassy Appointment

No matter what you do, or how you do it, you will soon come to the conclusion that you cannot make an appointment at your local Russian Embassy or Consulate. You might try phoning, e-mailing, even sending smoke signals, but you’re not going to get through. Ever. So, after completing my online form (in Russian…

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Russian Customs to Keep in Mind

A couple of times in the next couple of months, I plan to be in Mother Russia. No matter that I come from these origins in terms of family background, I find it best to review matters that don’t immediately dawn on foreigners. While there are entire books written on the subject of Russian customs…

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Back at the Russian Embassy

Who knows if they operate like this worldwide, but the Russian Embassy in our part of the world brings rather predictable behavior to the table. Visiting them repeatedly over the past decade, I imagined that some things would change, yet instead, they remain pretty much the same. With a few minor changes. If that makes…

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More Wisdom Teeth to Go

Our teens love any kind of takeout food. Apparently, they love takeout teeth, too. Petya had his wisdom teeth removed, then Pasha, now it’s time for Mashenka, who turns 18 in another month. Straight down the birth line. So today’s her day. We drove most of the night in order that she could be in…

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Special Ed Help… But Only If You Ask Correctly

(Continued from “Spets Shkola” and “Genius Mode” blog posts from a few days ago.) So I wrote an e-mail asking our Individualized Education Plan team to reopen our case. How we even had an IEP team without an actual IEP was anyone’s guess…. I basically requested that the team gather their own data on our…