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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…!

English Language Learner Anxiety

There’s anxiety going on in this home and it has to do with being English Language Learners (ELL), also known as students of English as a Second Language (ESL).  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the kids who are learning who are anxiety-ridden, but moi. We are discussing the weightier matters of life around the…

The Facts of Life… in Russian

When my girls arrived home at the ages of 8.5 and 11 years old, we had to make up for lost time.  There was a lot for them to understand about life, from needing to brush their teeth (little one had some rotten, black teeth, plus 21 cavities), to throwing the used toilet paper IN…

The Monday Mug Club: #2

I vascillated over this little mug: “ Should I, or shouldn’t I?”  much like many adoptive parents question their decision to bring home a new child.  Sitting in the Moscow market all by its lonesome, the cup had a fragile quality to it, and I wondered if it could go the distance without being shattered…

Taking Custody of Your New Child

We have cyber-friends who are soon heading home from Ukraine with their newly-adopted teen daughter.  Congrats, you guys!  Which brings us to an interesting topic:  what’s it like to take custody of your new child? Well, it all depends on their age and prior experiences.  Remember that they are going through massive, mostly unknown-to-them, changes…

Getting Kids to Care About Others

Empathy. It’s a subject that was not emblazoned into the psyche of my kids, so busy they were with merely surviving Russian winter, year after year, without food or adequate clothing. But now it’s time for them to reach out and think about others, if not for the simple reason that Mama may need her…

First Impressions of Russia

Over the December holidays, I’ve been waxing nostalgic. It was earlier that month that we went to visit our first son, seven years ago, when he was just seven. My first impressions of Russia will always be with us. I grew up amongst Russians, all older. These were in the days when nobody got out…

Introducing International Adoptees to Holidays

      There is no December 25th in Russia. I mean, the date is there, right after the 24th, and before the 26th. But it’s not Christmas.   When we visit Russia in December and workers in the dyetsky dom (children’s home) are erecting their large, artificial “New Year’s” tree, they decide to quiz…

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

    Before the month ends, I feel behooved to mention that there are plenty of children here and abroad who need parents. For the most part, these are decent, loving children who would make a wonderful addition to your family. Younger or older, black or white, there’s a child for everyone.   But many…

“Feelings” and the Internationally-Adopted Child

Many of our kids have never had an identified feeling in their lives beyond “happy” or “sad”. They’ve experienced plenty of negatives, for sure, but always stuffed them deep inside. Navigating the course of new life in a new land calls for them to be self-aware, whereas in the orphanage, most did not have any…

The Swiss Cheese Internat Education

When we first learned of Russian boarding schools for orphans, images of freshly-scrubbed children in crisp uniforms engaging in serious studies flooded our minds. The more accurate picture might be more like a sinister Soviet penal gulag with a bit of learning thrown in for good appearance. “How many months are there in one year?” …