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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…!

What Do You Want to Read About?

If you have a pressing need, or theoretical situation, or a friend-of-a-friend requires assistance, we’re here for you! Keep in mind, that your situation, as unique as it may be, has probably happened to someone else “once upon a time”. Through our collective wisdom and insights, the 3-D wise sages are here for you.

What would you like to hear about on the blog at Destinations, Dreams and Dogs? Drop a comment to this post and let us know.

Maybe it’s about Adoption: How do you “know” this child is the one? What to do about a reluctant spouse? How to handle a child’s therapeutic needs when the money runs out after adoption, but intervention is necessary? Ways to handle bios or earlier kids who do not accept the newly-adopted child? Your agency is lying, cheating, and stealing from you—is there any recourse?

Maybe it’s about Family Life: How to organize boys, girls, dogs, and parents to be up and ready for the day at an early hour? What do you cook for three meals every day? How to make everyone feel like they’re part of the same team? When family photos turn ugly…. Dogs who are intent on killing the postal carrier…. Family get-aways that do not make you regret ever having/adopting children…. What to do when some kids have friends, and others do not, yet…. When the extended family does not like your new child… or you…! How to conserve finances in every area.

Maybe it’s about Travel: How to travel there and back again without losing or misplacing half of every child’s schoolbooks, toys, sweaters, or shoes. How to make international travel stress-free (okay, as close to stress-free as possible) for every family member. Finding a boarding situation where your furry family members are comfortable. What are the most enjoyable travel activities for children, or “How to enjoy a peaceful 45 minutes at a quiet café wtihout your child ruining everything”.

Maybe it’s about Homeschooling: Can the parent work while homeschooling the children? What happens when each child is at a different grade or ability level? How to homeschool one (BTDT), and how to homeschool multiple kids (doing that now)? Homeschooling for the busy parent who does not have hours every night to make up lesson plans for the next day, lol (that would be moi).

Maybe it’s about Dogs: How to keep the little buggers from taking over the family? How to let them know that you are the Alpha dog and they’re not going to be running the show any longer (good luck on that)? Who should take responsibility for the daily care and feeding of dog(s), cats, birds, fish, stuffed animals, and hopefully not snakes…? Car trips with your furry friends….

Maybe it’s about Food: How my children have learned to eat veggies without us needing to hide them in the rest of the meal-! How to cultivate proper table manners (that lovely, daily, uphill climb). What are kids’ favorite foods if adopted from Eastern Europe? Finding out your kids’ comfort foods that soothe them in difficult times. How to avoid hording and gorging among children who have been previously starved. How to avoid gorging among adults who have to deal with these children (if you find out, let me know, said the ballooning woman…).

Or any other topic listed, or unlisted.

You name it, I’ll write about it. Every day, I get zillions of comments to my e-mail. Feel free to leave comments here on the site. Who knows—they may help someone else.


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16 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Winnie says:

    I would like to hear how you blend both Jewish religious practices and Christian ones in your family as it seems you celebrate both? How does this work out with the kids who I’m guessing were raised to some degree Christian and then end up in at least a partially Jewish household?
    BTW love the insights into Jewish tradition in a real family, most blogs I come across are all VERY Christian oriented and I like seeing different viewpoints and traditions.

    • avatar admin says:

      That’s a great question, thanks, Winnie! We’ll come to it and put it in the lineup. Actually, though we were questioned in court if we would raise the kids Russian Orthodox (no, but we would take them to visit, which we did both in Russia and outside of Russia), most of our kids had never even seen a church interior prior to being adopted. Two were baptized Russian Orthodox (priest came to orphanage) and two were not. So they were somewhat of blank slates…. More later….

  2. avatar Kathleen says:

    I also would like to read more about how you blend the Jewish and Christian faiths. Also, the answers to the homeschooling questions you posed.

    • avatar admin says:

      See, that’s great to hear from you guys. Thanks, Kathleen. We get our biggest number of hits each day about adoption topics, but I’m enjoying our new magazine-like format where we can have more than one thing going at a time. (Kind of like real life-!) Okay, we’ll get to these…. 🙂

      • avatar Kathleen says:

        Well, we’ve got the older adoptees thing going too and that’s how I first got to this site, but I’m willing to diversify and learn new stuff 🙂

        • avatar admin says:

          There you go! That’s how I try to reassure our kids each day, “We’re ALL learning….” It just ends up scaring me, or making me wonder when I’m going to “graduate”, lol!

  3. avatar Shelley says:

    Has your husband always been supportive and helpful with the children or any issues that they have? I feel that we are not on the same page and it is causing stress.

    • avatar admin says:

      Same page? Some days we’re not even in the same book…! There are ways to turn this around and I’d be happy to write about it. (Maybe I’ll become the “Dear Abby” of adoption-!) I do have a gem of a husband, though, and give thanks every day for him. I firmly believe that any couple can become united–the old “where there’s life there’s hope”. There also has to be some motivation, too. We’ll cover it–stay tuned.

  4. avatar Phyllis says:

    Okay, since I mentioned it before, how do you keep your sanity when you ask questions and the little darlings come back with the most bizarre answers. : ) Is this fairly “normal” with Russian kids or just mine? I had homeschooled for 14 years before our boys joined us. I knew it would be w-a-y different, but could not have prepared myself for how different. A couple of your posts have made me feel like I am not alone. I’m just wondering if there are a whole lot more of us out there or if it is just the two of us. : )

    Also, I would like to hear your answer to the question of how to avoid gorging among adults that are dealing with these children. lol

    • avatar admin says:

      Sanity is very relative, but no, Phyllis, we are not alone from all of the reports that I receive! As for the gorging, I went to my doctor today… it will be bread and water (okay, veggies and water) for a while-! Have you ever noticed that holidays always tend to involve FOOD??? I would be honored to answer these questions… and hopefully keep us all out of the loony bin.

  5. avatar Lisa says:

    This morning is awful, my daughter is regressing, acting like she just stepped outside of the orphanage, disrespecting me, I’m thinking a kakushka meltdown is in the works. I’m a mess. We have been /are in therapy, she’s on meds, we’ve come a looonng way. I would like words of encouragement so I don’t punish myself all day, feeling like it is my fault. She’s been with us for almost 3 years, she’s 11 in June. I find hope in that the power of Jesus flows into me when I’m weak which I certainly am right now. However, I have to be with her when she gets home and need to strong against her incredibly cruel facade. Thank you.

    • avatar admin says:

      Lisa, I just got in myself, yikes! I hope she’s not there, yet. Of course it’s not you, why would you be nasty to you? It’s her, but it’s really not her, it’s her background. I’ve found it helpful to think of the kids as hurt puppies. (Turns out we sometimes have more compassion for hurt animals than hurt humans…. Might be because they don’t talk back much….)

      Our second Scottie came to us as a rescue. He was all of a month old or so, but pretty messed-up. Somebody must have been kicking him and hitting him with a newspaper. Even today, he hates feet touching him (he’ll jump sky-high and yelp or snap at the foot), and the rustle of any newspaper.

      Well, once, he was sleeping near our first son, and maybe Petya moved or something, but the dog snapped and took a major chomp into the boy’s face. My husband was ready to kill the dog who immediately understood what he had done, but it was a gut reaction, a knee-jerk kind of thing while he was still asleep. He was trying to stay alive and perceived anyone and everyone as the enemy. We tended to Petya and then put the dog in his crate. But with time, and telling the kids to not get too near him (or vice versa) when he’s asleep, he’s learned that we are a family.

      Sometimes it helps to have an outsider present when a child starts the downward spiral– a friend or neighbor that you can call. I’ve found myself in public having to greet someone that I happen upon when I really feeling like letting the kid(s) have it. On a dime, the child (and I) can present a pleasant demeanor, whereas if it were “just us”, it could go on forever-! When I step outside of the anger/resentment mode, I find that everything changes. Similar to a tug-of-war, it sounds counterintuitive, but if you take one giant step forward, the other side crumbles.

      Maybe do something nice for her and see what happens–not as a sign of your weakness, nor you caving in to her–but just to bless her. Then when she’s calm and relaxed, tell her you want to understand what’s going on? Is everything okay at school? Has someone been not very nice to her? Tell her you’re there for her and you know that the “real Olga/Lena/Snezhana” would never want to treat her loving mother like that, and that you’ve seen so many changes over the years (build her up when you feel like tearing her apart– I know, easier said than done).

      This is what a parent is, the shock absorber, who can handle what we really can’t handle on our own. Turning to the Lord for strength is great. He is always there with strength and insight.

      You know her better than we do, but remember you have friends here praying for you, and understanding a little bit of what you’re facing! Let us know how it goes. Big hugs.

  6. avatar Phyllis says:

    I just wanted to check to see if others had written in with more topics. I so appreciated Lisa’s request. We have had a bunch of “stuff” “hit the fan” around here for the past month or so. We are almost to 2 and a half years home, and right now it seems like it is just getting worse. I was crying this morning and just had to steer clear of the boys so that I wouldn’t lose it with them. So encouragement for those really rotten, tough days when you feel that you are not only taking steps backwards but RUNNING full speed backwards.

    • avatar admin says:

      Yep, we all need encouragement. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Most of us went into adoption for all the right reasons… and then some days, it all blows up in our faces. We hit the brick wall about a week or two ago shortly before I wrote about regression. I’m not sure if it’s the excitement of the holidays, a little time off from school, or just “spring is in the air”. A LOT of families are reporting wild kids right now. Maybe we can look at it like waves on the shore–the tide may be coming in and bringing them to shore, we see it inching higher on the shoreline and making progress, but meanwhile, the undertow seems to be dangerous and dragging us out, too…. I’ll start covering some of the topics tomorrow, if not tonight-!, and don’t feel shy. Jump in, post a comment for others, ask another question, it’s all welcome.

  7. avatar Lisa says:

    Thank you my friends, and thank God for new mercies every morning. My daughter and I had a wonderful conversation this morning. She was nervous about an event coming up and acted out. We were able to talk about it even though she has a tough time verbalizing her feelings. One important thing that is always hard for me to do is give the power struggle up and realize my part in it. Her behavior was unacceptable but I definitely was not the “shock absorber” I needed to be. It is so counterintuitive parenting her, I am constantly switching back and forth from my biological son to her.
    Ironically, we just adopted a puppy last week….what was I thinking?
    Thanks so much for your support.

    • avatar admin says:

      Oh, what a great report, Lisa! Most of us fall short of “ideal”, but that’s good for kids to see, too. I’m so glad that you found what triggered it for her. And puppies can teach a lot to young people. Dogs are very therapeutic, when they’re not chewing every wood item in the house. We used to have a dining room table with four legs….

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