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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…!

Dreams Versus Realities in Adoption

Any big step in life is fraught with peril: learning to drive, going to college, marriage, career, children. But we imagine that the benefits outweigh the detriments and therefore, we plunge forward.

Adoption is very similar, yet few of us can take an adoption roadtest, or grow up observing a successful adoption over the years, or figure out if a high-priced Ivy League-like adoption is worth the price tag. So we do the best we can and hope that the sugar plum dreams come to pass.

How many people would get married if they knew they would divorce one day? So, too, we embark on domestic or international adoption with high hopes, hopefully coupled with the knowledge that dreams become realities through hard work. Marriage requires time and effort, just as an adopted child requires time and effort.

Our family is living the dream life (with the occasional nightmare moment or two thrown in for good measure, just to keep us on our toes)-! People have asked how we take on some larger than life tasks, work, travel, and stay sane with four older adopted kids from Russia. In case you’re living a Nightmare on Elm Street, instead of It’s a Wonderful Life, here’s how to turn it around, and get back your equilibrium and positivity.

1. Whatever you may be facing, realize that it’s temporary. The bad will become better, and the good will become great. Most of us are always moving and changing, and with a little bit of work, that movement will be forward motion. Surround yourself with good coaches, be they friends or professionals, those who will be a helpful sounding board. (Emphasis on helpful.)

2. Your thoughts affect your outcome, so keep them positive. Think back to what you once envisioned. That’s your roadmap to the future. Don’t lose the map. All dreams start with thoughts. Your child(ren) will be wonderful, and you must start that process. There are a few with ultra-severe issues, but most need a lot of everyday tweaking. You might hate me for saying so, but it honestly helps if you make this your full-time job.  It will feel like it, in any event.

3. Your words are also vital. Nightmares dissolve away in the dark of the night when you refuse to give voice to them. This is not the same as ignoring a serious problem, which would not be wise, but it’s that you refuse to obsess about it. Once you label your children to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bio parents have been embellishing their kids’ abilities and accomplishments for eons. Go ahead, and follow suit. Talk the kids up and you will begin to believe it, yourself.

4. Catch the children doing something good and praise them. Watch their faces light up with joy that you noticed and cared. They want to please you, but often, don’t know how, or can’t remember how. They truly go blank during times of stress. Your praise reinforces good behavior.

5. Drop the anger. Yes, they’re going to do wrong things. Yes, you’ll feel like punishing them “forever”. Don’t. Deal with it and then drop it. Kids can be versatile chameleons, loving you one minute and resenting you the next. You be the adult.

Often, when you change, they change. The kids could definitely be the problem, but you as the parents are the solution.

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