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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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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…

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Genius Mode: Learning the Language of Learning Disabilities

As homeschoolers, we apparently have very few rights. We pay taxes and ask nothing of the government, but when, for the past seven years, we sought some type of evaluation of our second son Pasha’s needs, one would think we had come down with leprosy to dare to ask for such a thing. Our family…

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Spets Shkola and Special Ed

Other than our oldest, who had not yet been shipped off to orphanage boarding school (the Internat, not to be confused with the internet), our other three kids experienced the Russian spets shkola. This would be similar to a special ed school where mentally-challenged and some physically-challenged children were gathered. However, in the Russian orphanage…

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Concrete -versus- Abstract Thinkers

Our second son, Pasha, may have some brain issues that affect the way he thinks. These could stem from fetal alcohol exposure and one of the areas it impacts has to do with concrete versus abstract thinking. Literal as opposed to theoretical. A figure of speech or else meaning exactly what is said. He generally…