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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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Holiday Terms, ESL Style

As homeschoolers, we can have fun with spelling vocabulary around this time of year.  Christmas and Hanukkah bring up terms and ideas with which many new English speakers may struggle, not the least of whom are our Russian children. We practice three ways to spell Hanukkah, with two k’s, or two n’s, or with Ch…

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To Search (or Not) for a Child’s Past

Birthfamily searches conjure up strong feelings in a lot of hearts—from child, to adoptive parent, to birthparents or other relatives. That’s why some adopt from abroad—they have no interest in maintaining the triad, nor in sustaining an open wound for children of trauma and abuse. So here I was, two years after adopting the girls,…

Talk Therapy for Trauma and Abuse

I’ve shared with you how some of our internationally-adopted kids are a never-ending verbal loop of loopy experiences. If you went through what they’ve been through, maybe you’d want to get it out of your system, too. So, we talk. Or rather, they talk. Constantly. It always comes out when they are feeling relaxed and…

Ten Secrets of Our Success: Older Child Adoption

Many have commented that our adoption of four older Russian children is a slam-dunk success story. This comes from professionals–agency people, neuropsych, social worker, as well as family and friends who declare that ours is “the most ideal” of a family in anyone’s definition. Not every day would I agree, particularly last Saturday when Sashenka…

The Older Adopted Child’s First Year as Newborn

Most of my “newborns” have been in the 40 to 90 pound range. It helps one’s mental health to think of it this way, since the newly-adopted international child is often at this diminished emotional or psychological level. If you consider the child simply to be needy, demanding, uncooperative, etc., etc., it will wear you…

Russian Spy Rings & Adopted Spy Kids

Just about the time the ten (make that eleven and counting) Russian undercover agents were being arrested for spying in America, our family invited five Russian students home for dinner. If they were planting microphones for information-gathering purposes, they’d get an earful at our house, that’s for sure. “She took my pencil!” “I don’t know…

A Child’s Looks: Let’s Be Honest Here

Our first son’s referral photo was so cute. He stood tall and straight like a little soldier. Just before we traveled to meet him, more photos came to us. These were disturbing. The bright smile was still there, but now his back appeared misshapen, and his head spread wide and flat. Could it be the…

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…

A Virgin Birth and an Adoptive Family

God can do anything. Of this I am firmly convinced. How He forms families is beyond me, simultaneously both wild and wonderful. I have family members to whom I do not feel particularly related, and non-blood relatives to whom I would give my last drop of blood. My husband and I share no genetic connection…