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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…!

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My Newfound Positivity in Parenting

It’s across the board, I’m a semi-negative person. Maybe it’s too many years of editing everything from fashion ensembles to articles and proofing manuscripts to manners helps me pick up on problems first and foremost. I can see the tragedy and humor in just about everything. But not everyone comes from a melodramatic Russian-Jewish background…

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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…

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Happy New Year: Making Teachable Moments

Whether you’re a bio-parent or an adoptive-parent, holidays can prove to be rough. Different schedules leading to children’s dysregulation (if not parents’ dysregulation!) result. How to keep from going over the edge? I like to schedule down-time for the kids to unwind over the winter break, while not allowing them to totally veg-out. That’s when…

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Monday Mottoes – #113

My e-mails are flooded with adoptive parents needing help. Not that everyone has a rough time when new kids come into the family, but many do. Our oldest son was so smooth a transition, coming home at almost age 8, that other a-parents thought we were not telling the truth about our situation. Is a…

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Jewelry-Making Therapy

For some reason, our two daughters from Russia tend to act helpless and hopeless. I don’t know why. I try to model for them a capable, strong woman. But whenever it comes to them… they can’t, they won’t, they don’t know how…. On our few-day getaway, we brought some individual cereal boxes. I thought it…

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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…

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Mental Health & Adopted Children: Oppositional Defiant Disorder

In 2008, a psychological study done by the University of Minnesota examined 540 non-adopted kids, 514 internationally-adopted kids, and 178 domestically adopted kids, all ranging in age from 11 to 21. They polled the youths, the parents and the teachers of said children to determine mental health issues. The adopted children were found to be…

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Flush the Toilet, Please

The mind is a terrible thing to waste. And it happens a lot when you’re a parent. You find yourself constantly repeating, nagging, cajoling, trying to reason with the unreasonable…. It’s a well-known fact that most of the great minds throughout the ages did not have kids. But that doesn’t help me. I have kids…

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The Sisters at the Salon

So it was time for a hair trim at the salon. I took both girls and steeled my nerves for this mother-daughter time. We had talked about it for the past week—the split ends, the need to make it healthy again, what possible styles, the fact that Sashenka wants bangs. I negotiate with her, the…

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New Jobs for our Immigrant Kids

Our four teens don’t exactly fit the profile of other adopted teens. In some ways they do, in other ways, they don’t. It can lead to some hysterical outcomes, at times. So Mashenka, age 17, wanted a summer job. She scooped ice cream and helped at a mini-golf establishment for a month or two at…