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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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Big Bully Putin…At Home & Abroad

President Vladimir Putin of Russia is either paranoid or vitamin-powered, because the guy is busy 24/7 putting out fires at home and abroad.  It’s hard when everybody hates you. As his piece de resistance, the Sochi Olympics, came to an end, protesters again flooded Moscow’s streets.  So he blocked the websites of his critics, and…

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Maslenitsa Merrymaking 2014

Blini, blini, and more blini.  Russians everywhere have been celebrating Mas’lenitsa during the past week.  Both a pagan and Orthodox Christian holiday, it includes eating lots of rich pancakes comprised of butter, milk, and eggs.  Of course the American variety is thick and fluffy, and cakelike, whereas the Eastern European type is the lighter blini…

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Defender of the Fatherland

On the off chance that you were simply lolling about this weekend, and didn’t receive the memo, Sunday was “Defender of the Fatherland Day” in Russia. (They may need a similar day soon with all of the unrest in Ukraine, but I digress….) Nowadays, the semi-holiday has turned into more of a Father’s Day, or…

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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…

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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….

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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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Alternatives for Out-of-Control Kids-?

The United States needs help in the area of affordable healthcare, however, as many adoptive parents realize, there’s another huge problem lurking underneath the surface, threatening to blow-up as adoptive children reach their teen years.  International adoptions hit their peak about a decade ago.  Many of those kids were adopted as babies or toddlers.  A…

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Sweet & Sour Children

In Chinese food, sweet and sour combos are fine, such as pineapple and vinegar added to a chicken and vegetable dish.  However, sweet and sour children are another matter.  If your kids experience mood swings monumental enough to make your head spin, it may be time for outside intervention. Particularly for those of us with…

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Creative Back Doors into College

Those of us with older internationally-adopted children are often highly-educated.  We sort of expect our kids to follow in those footsteps.  Nothing wrong with working in a fast-food place or on a lawn-mowing crew, it’s just that we never imagined that to be their future. I receive tons of e-mails asking, “Is it possible to…

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What a Difference a ‘Do Makes

Sashenka, age 13, wanted a new hairstyle.  Her long blond hair wasn’t doing it for her anymore, layers or no layers.  It was long, straight, and attractive, yet she wanted short and shaggy. So be it.  As long as it didn’t involve her obsession with bangs, which would simply deposit more oil onto her forehead,…

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