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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…!

Lost & Broken

If you’ve come from a communal or Socialistic setting, the responsibility of personal property ownership is all but unknown.  This means that adopted kids, in the beginning not long separated from their institutionalized backgrounds, often lose or break just about everything in sight.

Our children listen to educational CDs or cassettes in the car, which can foster games of avoidance, a shill shell game.

“I don’t have my player,” Sashenka conveniently announces when we’re hundreds of miles from home.

“So where did you leave it?” my husband asks.

“I think I forgot it at the dacha,” she hedges.

“Before, you said it was at the other house.  It can’t ‘not be’ in either place,” I note.

“When was the last time you had it?” Benedetto wonders.

“I don’t know,” she claims, which is her second-favorite response after “Not me”.

“Probably if we knew the answer to that question, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” I say under my breath.

“Then I suggest you check under your bed,” he instructs.  “No TV, or movies, or computer time until you find it.”

The player that had been lost for several days or weeks turned up in no time.

Then it was Pasha’s turn, absentminded professor that he was.  If his ears were not attached to his head….

“Uh, Papa, I don’t know vhere are my headphones….”

“Where did you last see them?”

Here we go again.

“In my bedroom.”

“Why in your bedroom?  You’re supposed to always keep them in your rucksack,” his father explains.

“I vas listening to music.”

And so it goes.

Pasha has a history of not understanding much when it comes to expensive items.  Upon arriving home from Russia, we repeatedly reminded him not to slam the car door.  He could not remember.  SLAM!  Anytime we got out of the car.  SLAM!  We reminded him before exiting.  SLAM!  We reminded him after he got out.  SLAM!  Finally he broke the door and window combo, and we had the dealer freeze the window in the upright position, otherwise, it slid down and could not be raised at all.  He was totally forbidden from closing the car door.  We did it for him.

The girls had issues of their own.

One day, one of them wanted to take a bath.  Could Papa show them how to run a bath?  Entering the bathroom, he was surprised to find a part of the bathtub missing.

“Where is your bathtub drain stopper?” he asked the girls, spying the empty hole.

“Huh?” they replied in customary fashion.

“The big metal part that goes down the drain, keeping out hair, opening and closing the drain?”

“I don’t know,” Mashenka replied.

“Well, you’d better find it if you want to take a bath,” he told them.  “When did you see it last?”

Here we go again, I rehearse inwardly.

“I think it was on top of the trash can,” Mashenka tries.

“Why?” he asks.

“We didn’t need it.”

“So YOU THREW OUT PART OF THE BATHTUB?”  he’s becoming upset.

“Not me,” says Sashenka.

“I suggest you check under your bed, then,” he tosses in her direction, since everything seemed to end up there.

We as parents had memories like elephants.  We remember the shoes destroyed within one week of purchase after dragging them over and over again when riding on a swing, the black dress slacks which had a huge, white bleach spot upon exiting a public restroom, the items left in a rental car no matter how many times we said to check every nook and cranny.

“These things belong to you,” I emphasized.  “You’re not going to get another one from the state by losing or breaking the first.”

It was a very difficult idea to grasp.  In the Russian orphanage, items had appeared and disappeared at whim.  They were often stolen by other children, or taken by the administration.  There was no sense of personal property.  Everything was communal.

I wondered to what extent our children were lost or broken, and therefore they treated their belongings similarly.  After a couple of years, they were well on the road to recovery, still occasionally slipping into these old behaviors of really not caring, or not remembering that they were supposed to care.  On the other hand, there were episodes of extreme possessiveness.

Do your kids break or lose a lot of things and why do you think that is?



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8 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Winnie says:

    I can’t say that’s an orphanage behavior at all. My oldest (bio) is a walking breaking and losing things disaster. He can easily trash a pair of shoes in two weeks, jeans might last a day sometimes. Video games, toys, you name it. The little guy is way more careful, just his nature I suppose.

    Something I have noticed is that they will step on ANYTHING that is on the floor. Doesn’t matter, if you don’t want their foot on it do not put it on the floor they will both walk right over like it never existed there. Amazing.

    Though there might be some component of orphanage life there, I tend to think it’s just kids being kids no matter how aggravating it may be.

    • avatar admin says:

      Entirely possible… I’ve heard my husband saying, “Remember that they’re kids” (or boys)… but the losing things is baffling. Maybe we’ll need to do an unofficial study, lol.

  2. avatar Greg says:

    The reason Apple stock has done so well is because of all the lost charging cords I have to continually replace. I tend to agree with Winnie. I believe it has more to do with the individual kid then where they have come from. Although, I can tell you that Natasha (our adopted Ukrainian) is absolutely the roughest on equipment of all our kids. She gets her learner’s permit this year…..pray for us (and anyone else who may be on the roads at the same time!).

    • avatar admin says:

      If you want to talk Apple, you need to speak with my husband. He can weave the wonder of Macs into any conversation– product, stocks, stores, lol.

      Maybe I don’t get around much, but our Russian kids (other than #1 who dropped straight from heaven via Russia…) can destroy anything and everything without the blink of an eye. These are not toddlers, these are teens. I just don’t get it. I don’t believe it’s intentional, it’s just non-thinking.

      HER LEARNER’S PERMIT-!? Greg, you are a brave man. I told our kids that this is why bicycles were invented… that they might learn to drive when they’re 40 and probably drive solar cars…..

  3. avatar Babuska says:

    OH my gosh, to Greg, my suggestion would be to NOT let her drive until she is closer to 18. Remember most of these kids are at least 2-3 years behind. That means if she is 16 chronologically, that means she is 13-14. You would not consider letting a 13-14 year old drive, would you? Also make sure she has a job to pay her insurance and her deductable in the bank. Then when she wrecks the car, and she will, she will have the deductable convered. Even though you might feel like she is entitled to the same treatment as your bio kids, she is not the same as your bio kids so therefore the same rules do not apply. She will be frustrated, that is ok, better that then to have her kill someone. Extreme I know, reality it is.

    • avatar admin says:

      Our oldest Russian son is about to turn 15 and he is maturity personified (oh, my little clone!). The second Russian son is 2 months behind in age, but about 5 years old some days. The first has figured out that he may learn to drive some day soon, but he’s fine if we don’t want him to drive for whatever reason (insurance $$$-!). The second son may not drive till he’s 45, if ever. He just doesn’t have the focus or attention span that one would imagine is important when it comes to driving. I like that some states require an adult to be with the child when he’s driving for the first year or whatever, or have them drive only during certain daytime hours, etc.

      It can work, we might just need to find wide, country farm road… kind of hard in the city….

    • avatar Greg says:

      Hi Babushka- that is very good advice. In my attempt to be brief in my comment, I left out a few points that would have shown us to be in agreement. We have a 17 year old bio-boy, a 15 year old bio-girl and a 15 year old adopted daughter home now for 7 months. Neither of our girls will be ready to drive at the 16 and 6 months that our state allows. That certainly doesn’t keep me from working with them in the local school parking lot on developing their skills. When they ask when they can start driving “for real”, I just tell them that we will know when they are ready. Don’t worry though, it is a fair distance off!

      • avatar admin says:

        Oh my, Greg, does that bring back memories! When I was young, my parents sent me to a professional driving school, really worth it. They had me driving in the city in “circles” with five major roads entering at once. This was back in the days of platform shoes (like last summer, lol) and the instructor made me change first thing-! Fast forward to being married, traveling a lot abroad, and my husband thought I should learn to drive a stick shift. I was very enthusiastic, he guided me in a parking lot: give it gas, clutch, shift, more gas, etc. By then we were on the road in his small hometown, visiting, a little old Italian man sweeping his walkway when he told me I should downshift. I asked how? He said to do the same thing, but shift down: 3rd gear, 2nd, etc. So I did… while giving it gas! He never said to let up on the gas to downshift! The little old man jumped out of the road while I screeched past, as though I was trying to kill him. Thirty-some years later, we still laugh about it…. Poor guy.

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