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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…!

Favoritism in the Adoptive Family

Ah, yes, Joseph and his coat of many colors yet lives.  Is the complaint of favoritism any different between the children of an adoptive family and of a bio family?

You bet it is, particularly with older adoptees.

For years, our kids lived in the orphanage, trying to get an extra ounce of attention or bread.  Make that a gram.  Every day, there were perceived injustices or advantages dispersed to minions.  All eyes were upon the stray bit of cabbage, the odd heel of bread, or the intact shoelace.  The kids learned to jostle and jockey, vie and vaunt, for the most advantageous position or the best handout.

Bring a child like this home to a family where there is one or more additional children… and watch out.

“He got a bigger piece of chicken!” one starts.

“He’s twice as big as you, and he plays sports after school.  You’re tiny and you play with dolls or color.  You barely finish what’s on your plate….” I explain to a child about the size of a chicken wing.

The constant comparisons serve no purpose except to add emphasis to the oft-used and preferred phrase, “It’s no fair!”

Whether a child is old enough to sit in the front seat of a car, stay up an extra 30 minutes or so at night, or do some of their schoolwork on the computer, you can be sure that these slights have come into their life simply because you’re a meanie of a mom or dad.

“She has monkey slippers!” another complained, enviously eyeing a sister’s present.

“Would you like your aunt to think of you as a monkey, also?” I innocently ask.


God help us when in the future we progress to issues such as cars, curfews, and clothes.  Right now, we’re stuck on portion control, fuzzy slippers, and electronics.  Gee… I wonder who they got those issues from-?

One cozy night, we sit on the couch to watch a movie.  Everyone tries to muscle in on each other’s territory.

“I sit next to Mama!” one screams.

“I sit next to Papa!” another shouts.

“Umm, you know what?  Mama wants to sit next to Papa….”  It’s hard to resist the urge to push them off the couch entirely.

I insist on a certain seating arrangement except for the dogs–Misha wedges inbetween husband and wife, and Grisha sits on the soft and poufy couch back behind us, becoming a pillow for our heads.  Somehow I have turned into the homebound version of the cafeteria or school assembly monitor, assigning seats which are non-negotiable, lest a food fight or shoving match erupt.  To think I used to be able to curl up next to my own mate once upon a time.

“Sashenka says she’s never getting married…” Benedetto reports to me late one night.  It used to be we had other things to talk about.

“I don’t doubt it, unless these kids learn some social skills…” I concur.

“Well, she did think better of it after a few minutes, and said she might marry me,” he laughed.  “I told her that I was already married to Mama and I couldn’t marry her.”

“Did she understand that?” I wonder aloud.

“She said she was sure you wouldn’t mind….”

No fair.


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