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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…!

Our Second Son Turns 18

thWe now have two 18-year-old boys and two younger teen girls. Makes for an interesting household. Our second son from Russia expresses his joy over turning 18 and we’re here to celebrate with him. However, at times, our hearts are heavy.

What will his future be like?

He has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. In everyday English, that means that his brain is fairly pickled from alcohol that his birthmother ingested.

Sad, but true.

He’s not a basket case by any means. Probably the most infuriating area indexconcerns his lack of memory for anything but the most ridiculous. As far as the things that count in life such as studying for a test, remembering a teacher’s name, or shaving every day, he has no recall.  It’s called a Swiss cheese brain where things come and go, and slip through holes here and there.

Set his alarm to get up in the morning? No can do.

Brush his teeth or wash his face before bed? Oh, I forgot.

thWhat clothes is he going to wear tomorrow? Um, I’ll ask my brother.

It’s every. single. day. Yes, every. single. day.

Sometimes.

What school subject are you doing? Science? Aren’t you supposed to be doing math this hour?

Then, the convoluted reasoning or rationalizing results, clearly demonstrating that not all of the spark plugs are firing. None of it ever makes sense. Ever.

Usually.

So I bake him a cake and we toast him with sparkling grape juice and we try to get him gifts that he will enjoy, despite the factth1 that he buys odd gifts for his siblings, things that maybe a 5-year-old would enjoy. These are the parameters we have been dealt.

And every day we try to stretch them and broaden the borders of his box-of-a-life. He sketches, he draws, and seems to possess some talent. Onlookers have told us that he could model, but I wonder about being a perpetual stage-mother to a child-adult, going on dozens of look-sees in different cities, only to have a potential employer realize that “he’s not all there”. Not to mention any predators he might meet and not understand the danger. He’s good with numbers and might be able to function as a bookkeeper of sorts.

As long as he wouldn’t have to show up for work every day. Every. day. Or brush his teeth, or learn which bus to take to and from home.

What home? Will he be living with us when he’s 40? It would certainly be challenging for him to live on his own. Maybe with a sibling? Which sibling? No, his antics wear people down.

index2He likes languages and is studying French on top of Russian. When I quiz him and his sister about the epicerie and what might be purchased there, he recalls more than her and has an excellent accent.

So here we are, on the cusp of adulthood with no maturity in sight. In some ways, he has proved his resiliency simply by surviving the things he’s survived. We spent four long years tracking him down, petitioning the Russian government to let us adopt him, and wondering why their prognostications for him were so grey and bleak: an invalid, a troublemaker, an oligophrenic in the imbecile category.

Though it’s definitely not anywhere near the awfulness of brain deficits that Russian doctors portrayed, there are days when something is certainly not clicking.

And it needs to click. Yet, I know numerous individuals who don’t click for one reason or another all their adult life. So, I continue to pray that one day, lightning will strike, ignite a fire in him and take him to the next level. Meanwhile, we love, and nurture, and educate, and expose him to various life experiences.

Routine is our friend. Pasha is our son.

Happy Birthday, Pasha!

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