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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…!

Why We Have No Reality Show

People have asked this over the years: why no reality show based on our family? We’re fascinating, fashionable, and fast-forward. We travel the world, shuttle between a couple of homes, speak several languages, and have our fair share of drama with two preteen girls, two teen boys, and two of the cutest dogs on Planet Earth. Problem is, we’re not a train-wreck waiting to happen.

That seems to be the criteria these days.

Those who move rapidly from non-celebrity status to notoriously-known status have a hidden desire to self-implode. Add TV cameras and prime time limelight and it’s a recipe for outrageous outcomes.

My cyber-friends tell me that they’re casting now for a new show about the Russians of Brighton Beach, NY. Successful applicants will get to live for 6-8 weeks this summer in a big beach house full of Russian strangers.  They’re looking for outgoing guys and gals between the ages of 21-30, which is like, so totally “me”.  Should we just not mention the four kids for now?

Then again, a big beach house full of Russian strangers sounds familiar.  Gee, you could find that at my house any time this summer. Minus the vodka, fur coats (in summer?) and wild parties that the co-creators promise.

We tend to be the average, atypical, typical family.  Probably too much reality, not enough circus sideshow curiosities.  You see, we don’t fit one of the many stereotyped niches that are currently out there for reality TV programs. I mean, there’s no mermaid girl, little people, or family members numbering a dozen or more. We are not professionals making chocolate, or lifesize cakes, doing salon or restaurant makeovers with plenty of foul language to boot.  No entire-body tattoos here (yes, you may send me a condolence card), no drugged-out rock band personas, no paranormal problems.  Rounding up either the kids playing outside, or the dogs trying to hide in the laundry room and rummage through the sacks of dog food, could approximate a storyline similar to the bounty hunter, but I don’t think anyone wants to see Benedetto’s chest hanging out of an open shirt, or me in spandex and poofed-up hair right behind him.

I would imagine that adoption stories hold some interest beyond a baby being placed in somebody’s arms. For us, that’s when things just start to get interesting, especially when the “baby” is an older child. Many friends have told us that we have an amazing story, fascinating, attention-grabbing, and that we need to promote ourselves.  I don’t know, I have enough friends who are willing to do it for us, lol.  Here’s a blurb they wrote about us:

“Every year in America, over 200,000 children are adopted from around the world. This touches multiplied millions of lives in terms of extended families, neighbors, educators, medical professionals, and those considering adoption themselves, not to mention other new immigrants facing similar challenges when settling in.

How does this play out in real life? What are the adjustments of a new family, particularly one where the preteen and young teen children are learning English in a fast-paced lifestyle with their on-the-go parents, shuttling between two homes each week? What are the stereotypes of older child or international adoption, and what are the realities?

There’s never a dull moment in this household as the young people move from no running water, lice, and abject poverty, to a loving family, computers, and managing a couple of passports as dual citizens. Whether it’s cooking internationally-flavored meals, going abroad, trying to figure out if the children have been permanently damaged by institutionalization, or struggling with everyday English and modern appliances that were unknown in the Old Country, this makes for cutting-edge TV that’s mainstream enough to appeal to a certain demographic, with enough twists and turns to make it riveting. Imagine “Coming to America” to the nth degree. Listen as stigmas and stereotypes about adoption are shattered by clips with leading neuropsychologists, pediatricians, therapists, and educators.

The parents met years ago in Jerusalem. Her family background is Russian, his is Italian, and they speak enough additional languages to make it interesting. They are trying to teach the kids in their spare time, and the verdict is still out on how much can be accomplished with different stages of resistance along the way-! They aim to keep life as normal as possible, planting a garden, going on educational field trips, playing sports… before cruising the canali of Venezia, or investigating the villages of India. As much as possible, the family likes to travel together communicating by Skype with the grandparents who can never seem to get it to work properly….

These folks enjoy seeing the humorous side of life with an at-times emotional storyline. There will be lots of laughs in the midst of some very serious topics. The children are coming out of backgrounds of trauma and deprivation, so therapeutic parenting is the order of the day. Plus, some of the kids are way behind in their schoolwork, having never attended school in Russia, thus their parents constantly push and prod to move them up the academic ladder:  college prep meets Russian shtetl. The dogs are virtually untrainable beyond “sit”, but lovable enough, and always up to something. Altogether, they are a very photogenic and fun family, appealing to a target audience of 25-54 year olds.”

There you have it.

Yeah, I know. Ho-hum. Nobody pushing someone into a swimming pool in a drunken stupor. No housewives gossiping about who’s the next to get a divorce or lose their home. We’re not skimpily clad, and every other word would not need to be bleeped out. There’s a babushka who makes borsch, and children who say “please” and “thank you”. *Yawwwnnn….*

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