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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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Post-Adoption Support: My Son’s Great Idea

If you’re like most a-parents, or most adoptees, there are times when you feel lost.  Or disappointed, discouraged, and defeated.  Sometimes all you need is a good friend to listen.  Other times, you need professional intervention. Not all internationally-adopted children experience problems.  Yet, enough do, and enough parents are in the news having beaten their…

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Guardians of our Children

You send your kids off on the schoolbus, or to the sporting event, and entrust them to the teachers and coaches.  Unfortunately, as we are hearing on the collegiate level, many of the caregivers and authority figures are not reliable. We had something happen last week.  The three younger children were at a sport which…

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And the Answer is…Nyet

Petya, our ever-effervescent son, did not get the volunteer position.  The e-mail arrived on Rosh HaShana, citing the director’s delight in interviewing him, while noting the “plethora of qualified candidates for the current openings”. Oh, come on. I must say that he took the news better than I.  He was truly in disbelief that they…

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Post-Placement Preparations

Fortunate the family with children young enough to not understand when post-placement reports are upon them.  For Russian adoptions, your licensed social worker who performed the family’s original home study (with dozens of supporting documents declaring you suitably fit to parent, as though any bios have had to jump through such hoops) comes to visit…

The Unknowns of Adoption & Taking the Plunge

Notice to all pre-adoptive parents:  Accept the fact that you will know virtually nothing about your adopted child.  Nothing. To argue otherwise is to deceive yourself and set yourself up for a rude awakening. Yes, ask questions, and yes, have all the documents translated.  You will still know nothing. Whatever you’re told is likely a…

Turning Around Abandonment and Abuse

Mashenka squirmed in her seat as young Sashenka recounted some story about their birth grandmother and the cow that was killed. The elder rolled her eyes and tried to tell her sister to be quiet. It happened every time their past came up:  whether sky-high empty bottles from alcohol, or dangerous persons coming and going…

Self-Sabotaging Behaviors in Older Adopted Children

Our older daughter, Mashenka, was turning twelve. This would be her very “first” birthday ever and I imagined that she would be on her best behavior in true orphanage wheedling style. How soon I forgot. While the wheedling and ingratiating behavior happened on a regular basis when more computer or TV time was sought, our…

Older Adopted Children and Identity: Who Am I?

  I had a no-nonsense type of mother who came from rugged Russian immigrant stock and worked at a university where many youth of the 70s had the luxury of “identity crises”. “You ever want to know ‘who you are’?” she would tell me, “I’ll show you your birth certificate.” Case closed, simple as that….

Teaching My Russian Kids: Russian!

Do you think your Russian kids speak real Russian? Unless they’re teenagers, think again. Our kids were adopted over the years from the ages of 7.5 to 11.75. Except for the oldest, all speak a substandard form of Russian. Only a fluent, native-born Russian would detect this. Not that I’m in that category, butchering and…

Kids Need Time… and You

If your family is anything like ours (and it’s probably not… and you are probably thankful for that…), there is a constant tug-of-war taking place for your time. Especially at the holidays, we have the choice to nurture home life or hoopla. Nothing wrong with hoopla–whether parties, special events, outings to the theater or shows–maybe…