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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…!

How Are The Children? End of Year Update

IMG_0817Often, around Thanksgiving, I give a status update on our children from Russia.  Obviously, this year has been quite busy if I’m only getting around to it now-!

Overall, we are very blessed.  Life is good 95% of the time.

The children were adopted as preteens at ages 7.5, 11.5, 11, and 8.5.  They have been home 8 years, 4 years, 3 years, and 3 years.  Currently, in order of age they are:  Petya (16), Pasha (16), Mashenka (14.5) and Sashenka (12), two boys and two girls.   They are not older child horror stories, however, each has faced adjustments whether complex or simple.

The boys were friends in the orphanage and it took us four years to bring the second one home due to Russian politics and regional anti-American sentiment.  The girls were sisters and adopted simultaneously from a different region than the boys.

Each has his/her challenges, each has his/her flashes of genius.  All are polite, well-mannered, and attractive.

And yes, it’s taken a lot of work, but yes, it’s worth it to help shape a young life.

None are on medication of any sort, except for the one boy on acne meds for six IMG_0495months, now coming to an end.  Certain days I might feel like medicating some of them, and if not them, then maybe myself, however, we seem to be on a fairly even keel given the fact that they are teens.

What do I envision for their futures?  Without trying to stamp our own image upon them, I see them as Michelangelo viewed a block of marble:  that a figure was trying to escape from deep within, and his chisel was helping to free them.  Our goal is to release their God-given gifts and talents, however elusive or hidden they may be at times.

Starting with the youngest, Sashenka is growing into a lovely young lady.  She’s an outgoing personality who may do well in any profession where talking figures prominently. Her impulsiveness concerns me.  However, in terms of sales, she could turn out to be a tenacious high-producer if given the opportunity.

Her sister, Mashenka, is as much a shy wallflower as her sister is the life of the party.  She is trying to take on more responsibility, volunteering for small projects where I may monitor her progress.  I am thankful for her commonsense and willingness to apply herself, somewhat an exact opposite of her sister.  But then she melts down at the drop of a hat, so the consistency is simply not there.  Yet.

Pasha is two months’ younger than Petya in chronological age, and about 10 years younger in maturity.  I’m sure that alcohol in utero had a part to play there, so all we can do is repeat-reinforce, repeat-reinforce the desired behaviors.  He’s good with numbers, and art, and handwriting, and demonstrates a meticulous attention to detail.  His original career aspiration was to be a clown, so I feel that we’re making progress in moving beyond that.

Petya is the oldest, and home the longest, and most secure in so many ways.  It’s possible that I over-rely on him in a multitude of situations.  He’s fun, and low-key, and knows his limits and talents, and is always available to help anyone, anytime.  Petya enjoys history, and science, volunteers many hours in various aspects of archaeology, and dreams of playing non-stop tennis, while being recruited to play for the high school team in one of the states where we have a home and where they just voted to allow homeschoolers to play public school sports.  He’s beginning to drive and is very responsible.

All of the children are active in our local congregation, and recognize that a love for the Lord necessarily implies an honest caring for their fellow man.  They pray for friends, and animals, and tragedies, and international situations.  We’re getting there.

The kids speak three or four languages, depending on the particular child and their mood on that particular day of the week, plus a smattering of random phrases in other tongues.  Some days they forget their times tables while excelling in Euclidean Geometry.  One might  perfectly diagram a sentence, yet in real life, neglect to capitalize the first letter of a sentence and overlook the fact that every sentence does indeed require both a subject and a verb.

Their lives are a series of contradictions and confirmations.  As soon as I feel that I understand them or what’s going on with them, they will surprise me.

Alright… shock me… as in hair-on-end with high-voltage-electricity-coursing-through-my-body.

Most days, we’re glad they’re our children.  Even more days, people ask us the secret of our success.

For us, it’s been constant training and direction, discussion and prayer.  We carry in our hearts and relay to our children on a daily basis that, “With God, all things are possible.”  Our family is living proof that the negatives of “the past can be forgotten, the future be rewritten”.

I pray that it’s true for your family, as well!



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8 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Shelley says:

    Fantastic update, Alexandra! Thanks for sharing it. I wish my kids could meet your kids. Oftentimes it helps to step back and look how far you have come. You’re doing a great job! Happ y New Year!

  2. avatar Greg says:

    Great update! So happy for all of you. With Him all things are possible!

    • avatar admin says:

      Thank you, Greg! The kids went to the dentist the other day and there’s a Russian hygienist who is amazed at their transformations over the years. We are very thankful to the Lord. Naturally, the whole office was talking about Putin….

  3. avatar Greg says:

    I am amazed at how much coverage and conversation that surfaced about the Putin/Russian ban on adoptions. Many people asked us about it and we adopted from Ukraine! Our two year anniversary coming up in early February. It was a challenging first year but things are very good now. Maybe you needed to include extra emphasis on the word “constant” in the second to last paragraph! Sometimes I was amazed at just how much attention a 15 year old can need.

    Meant to include an “indeed” on the end of my previous comment. 🙂

    • avatar admin says:

      You played the demographics right with two bio teens, and one adopted teen. Whereas we have four adopted kids, and only two parents-! The numbers are skewed in their favor…. Happily, the two dogs never take sides, but offer pure love to all.

  4. avatar Sybil says:

    Great update. Your children sound like they are doing so nicely despite every child having their “moments”. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful 2013 together.

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