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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…!

Petya Turns 19

PetyaHe’s cute, he’s sweet, he’s manly yet compassionate and understanding. He’s our son, Petya, adopted from Russia when almost eight years old, the one to come home at the youngest age, but our “first-born” in every way.

The orphanage described him as a real “muzhchina”, a man’s man, strong and capable. They were proud of him.

The three of us, Benedetto, Petya and I gained permission to walk two steps off of the dyetski dom’s (children’s home) property into the frozen village. Traditional log izbas and some one-room dachas scattered along the muddy, rutted lanes, patrolled by loud and aggressive geese. I saw tough, local kids eyeing us from afar, ready to pounce and harrass an orphan.

I felt sorry for them. Pity, really. Petya had just won the lottery and his smile spread ear to ear.100_1864

We had our good first few days and rough first few days. But he was a good egg. I shared my chai with him and he oohed over the blueberry yogurt I bought for him. Everything was a series of firsts. Everything.

Then when we arrived to Moskva, just outside of Red Square he was amazed by the people standing on top of a golden plaque marking the middle point of the city.

Before you walk through the gates and enter the Red Square you cross a plaque that marks the middle point of Moscow. From here all distances are measured and it is seen as good luck to stand in the middle of this circle and throw money into the air. Or over your left shoulder. It means that either you’re beginning a new path in life, or it means good luck. Or maybe it means you’re a tourist.

IMG_2302Anyway, Petya knew exactly what it meant: coins for him! He leapt into the air like a ballet dancer on steroids, catching the coins before they hit the ground, dismayed mostly-Muscovites glaring at him.

“Petya, nee dyelai etah…” (Don’t do that) I whispered to my new son, turning crimson.

“Pachemoo nyet?” (Why not?) he wondered, and rather than go into some whole long explanation, I told him the money was dirty.

So he said he would wash it back at the hotel, which he did, but not before turning his sight to blind beggars who had dropped a coin or two from their cups and which he promptly scooped up to put in his own pocket. He was used to hunger, want, deprivation and survival of the fittest.

Fast-forward almost 11-1/2 years and Petya’s a good friend and giver to all. He goes to university IMG_4398part-time and works part-time. Yesterday, he bought his first used car, a BMW, while grinning ear-to-ear, getting truly the deal of the century. He works out at the gym and on the tennis court, he loves God, he’s kind to all and an excellent role model. He visits elderly friends in the hospital and he teases his favorite cousin.

He melts my heart. I pray for him every day that he would be guided and protected and make a difference in this world.

Happy 19th Birthday, Big Guy!

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