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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…!

When We Can’t, God Can

It’s a marvelous situation: our oldest son (21 in September) actually listens to us. Parental words of wisdom and encouragement are soaked up by him. He is growing and going because he believes that with God, all things are possible. All of our kids come from trauma and abuse backgrounds, leading to Russian orphanages before…

Petya Turns 19

He’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…

Pasha’s 16th Birthday

Today our second son turns 16.  We are so proud of how far he’s come in the four years that he’s been home from Russia. Four years is the same amount of time that we fought for him, seeking to get him out of the orphanage penal system, one could say, where kids are basically…

Tutoring and Trauma

I’m not entirely sure that tutoring is traumatic for my kids, unless you factor in the idea that they might have homework to do afterwards.  Yet, it does seem to conjure up a post-traumatic stress syndrome of sorts. When my father passed away in the late summer, our children’s main Russian chit-chatter disappeared overnight.  The…

Sashenka-isms: Words & Phrases That Make No Sense

Sashenka is our youngest, a cute blond girl turning twelve soon.  She has a mind of her own, that is generally unlike any other mind I have had the privilege of meeting.  Plus, she talks a lot.  This particular combination may prove dangerous to the mental health of any unsuspecting  bystander. “They’re Germans,” she whispers…

Five Ways to Encourage Your Newly-Adopted Children

Whether they’re two or twelve, your newly-adopted children need tons of encouragement.  And that’s a tall order to fill… particularly if they’re constantly messing up.  Which they will.  Because they don’t know all of the things that you would normally teach them from the age of birth on up. Here are a few ways to…

Petya Prioritizes

Around the turn of the year, our 15-year-old son, Petya, launched his website to help adopted children.  The idea involved chatting with, or reading stories to, new adoptees from Russia (or elsewhere).  He would speak with them in Russian or English, and help them to make the transition to a new life in a new…

I Believe You

Your experience in adoption, good, bad, or otherwise, is real.  There will be some who will try to convince you :  You’re mistaken, You’re overwhelmed, You’re deceiving yourself, You’re blowing it out of proportion. But parents know.  And sometimes only one parent knows as the other one tells them they’re crazy and simply imagining things….

Eight Years Ago…

We met our first son, Petya, in Russia, eight years ago this week.  Silently falling snow wrapped Moscow like a blanket.  We sipped steaming borsch on a high hotel floor overlooking Red Square. St. Basil’s, jewel-like and picturesque, created the magical scenery outside our suite.  What a contrast when we arrived to our region, hours…

Did You Say “Birthparent”?

There are reasons why people adopt from foreign countries.  Generally, they don’t want anything to do with birthparents and other assorted relatives. This is not to say that you cannot ever contact them, should you so wish to say something meaningful, taking into account that no one around them might ever have known that they…