web analytics

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…!

Kicking Chaos to the Curb

I have lowered the boom. We are quashing chaos. My children come from backgrounds where their lives were out of control. That’s putting it mildly. Ending up in the Russian orphanage system signaled a definite upturn in events for them, which only proves how chaotic things had become. It was desperate. Sad as that may…

Our Russian-American Kids Voted

So proud of our three oldest children, two of whom voted for the first time in this year’s early elections. The discussions regarding candidates and showing the kids how to research candidates’ statements and records bordered on the hysterical at times, but we got through it. If ever there was a case for changing the…

Group Activities for Adopted Children

When newly-adopted, often children long for friends. That’s normal and to be expected. Unfortunately, those arriving from domestic or international situations generally do not know how to read local social situations. The kids can easily be preyed-upon by unsavory elements. In my opinion, this is why placing adopted children into school immediately remains less than…

Adoptees & The Shame of the Past

Sashenka will be turning 15 later this week. Fifteen going on three. She seems arrested, retarded in her emotional development, constantly depressed. Is it a type of survivor’s guilt, that she now has a great life, while orphanage playmates were left behind? Or, could it be angst over her birth-day itself, that she was born…

Mouth-Watering English

A tantalizing fragrance filled the house. Something delightful for dinner was in the oven.  Our youngest, Sashenka, aged 14.5, tried to guess what it might be. The kids’ English still lacked in 101 ways, speaking like my grandmother, straight off the boat from Russia. Often, I refused to help them, making them work for words…

Instant (Selective) Memory Recall

“I can’t remember!” Sashenka insisted. “Well, all of your siblings know they need to write four or five sentences in their diary each night, and use at least three spelling words.  You’re the only one writing two sentences….” “It’s because I forget!” she claimed. “Alright, we all forget things, and that’s why we write them…

Sweet & Sour Children

In Chinese food, sweet and sour combos are fine, such as pineapple and vinegar added to a chicken and vegetable dish.  However, sweet and sour children are another matter.  If your kids experience mood swings monumental enough to make your head spin, it may be time for outside intervention. Particularly for those of us with…

Adopted Kids Not Feeling the Love

My daughter is sure that I hate her.  How she gets this idea is beyond me. She’s 15-1/2 and all I can imagine is that anyone female reminds her of her birth mother.  Now it’s the holidays and all of this happiness-and-togetherness is a recipe for her to crash-and-burn. She flipped out once again, becoming mouthy…

Dreams for Your Children

Enjoying a winter wonderland of glistening, barren trees, shrouded in sheaths of ice as snow falls, my thoughts turn toward the future.  What is there to do but research and dream, and enjoy hearty soups and fragrant teas? And so I came to that inner corner of the soul containing dreams reserved for my children. …

Italian-Russian Adoptions

In the latest adoption non-news emanating from Russia, Pavel Astakhov is back to his dubious declarations as Ombudsman for Children.  He states that national adoption, not international, is their current goal. Except that Russians don’t adopt.  At least not in numbers sufficient to cover the thousands of orphans now in orphanages, while many are coming…