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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…!

Keeping the Dream Alive



Four long years. We spent four long years trying to bring our second son home. Friend of Petya, Pasha was embroiled in red tape and bureaucracy. How did we keep the dream alive and not give up?


(And may I say for the record, that sometimes, giving up is the only smart thing to do. No judgments or condemnations here. If the ship is going down, there’s a time to realize that.)


Okay, we prayed. A lot. We’re not the “que sera, sera” type of people who believe that everything and anything that happens will eventually turn out okay. No, there are battles to be fought and victories to be won. An orphan child fell into the category of “worth fighting for” in our minds, at least.


We prayed to know what to do when we had exhausted every natural avenue. We prayed for the officials to relent and allow us access to him. We prayed to find an agency willing to work with us to adopt a “known child”. Petya prayed for Pasha each night, that he would remain strong and safe.


Not always advisable, we made plans for him to be home. (Do you want to see the baby boy twin clothes in my closet??? Never happened.) We kept Petya’s outgrown clothes, having no idea what size or shape Pasha might be these days. The three of us bought bunkbeds, believing that one day, the two boys would be together.


Holidays were hard, but not excruciating. With every passing year, there was a noticeable absence at the table. But we always thought, “Next holiday” and tried not to dwell on what we didn’t have, instead, what we did have.


We put Pasha’s photo in a frame and hung it on the Christmas tree. This tradition began with Petya. We had visited him in December, and went to court in March. In the meantime, it struck us to place his photo as a hanging ornament on the tree. So we had done this for both boys and kept their old photos up there year after year, preserving part of their otherwise-nonexistent childhood.


Then the girls asked, “Why are we not on the tree?”


“Because we never waited for you over the holidays!” we laughed.


They wanted their photos up. Last year, they had practically just come home. This year, they really wondered why they were “missing”.


“Can you put our photos there, too?” they timidly ventured.


“Soodohvohlst’veeyem!” (with pleasure), I responded. “I think we won’t go with the shaved-head photo, okay? Let’s use the first ones we ever saw of you,” I suggested, meaning their referral photos.


Taken from an odd angle, these two pictures made them look like midgets. We got the usual facial shots, that concerned me enough, but the full length ones were just as unusual. In true Euro-child-chic manner, the youngest was dressed in red, semi-high, chunky heels, blue tights, and a mini green sweater dress. She had a poufed-up, shag-style haircut, that made her look like a young, white Tina Turner. The elder had low-rider jeans that made her top half look twice as long as her truncated lower half, dressed in a cheap sweater. So one had long legs in high heels and a mini, and the other had a long torso with short, stubby legs in dirty jeans. The odd couple.


I had to check if we had any non-sullen pics of Sashenka’s face, troubled little soul that she was. Mashenka’s photo would be okay with its half-smile. I remember first seeing them and shuddering at the younger with her ugly glare (this was supposed to “sell” us on her, lol), yet envisioning her potential that has truly come to pass.


So this year, we’ll put the girls’ photos up and revel in the fact that they are home, nestled among the welcoming branches holding Russian women with hleb and sol (bread and salt), woodcutters with trees, stout women with samovars, and fishermen straight from the Volga with their catch.


Whether your dream has come to pass, or is yet to come, keep it alive this season. Believe, and keep on believing.



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