Friday, December 19, 2014

Making a Christmas Tradition

This is one of my favorite Holiday traditions !

A New Take on a Russian Tradition 
A favorite Russian Christmas Eve Traditions is  “ The Holy Supper." The family gathers around the table to honor the coming Christ Child. A white table-cloth, symbolic of Christ's swaddling clothes, covers the Table. Hay is brought in as a reminder of the poverty of the stable  where Jesus was born. 

A tall white candle is placed in the center of the Table, symbolizing Christ as "the Light of the World." A large round loaf of Lenten bread, "pagach," symbolic of Christ the Bread of Life, is placed next to the Candle. For our take on this Russian tradition, we have a gold tray in the center of our dining room table, on it is a white cloth doily, a single candle stick with a white candle and a miniature bale of hay. 

This is just one example of the many ways you can incorporate your child’s heritage and your own to create your own family tradition. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Our Children's Heritage

 Ever since the adoption of our first child from Russia, we've tried to incorporate our children's heritage into our daily lives after all, we are no longer a German, Irish, Cherokee, American family. We are Russian by virtue of adoption.

  We celebrate Russian Holidays and Christmas Eve Traditions. Sometimes we make it up as we go along. Like when we combined Russian name day and Adoption day. My famous Snowball Cookies have been are renamed Russian Tea Cakes. (they were virtually the same cookie anyway)

  We make future plans to visit Russia and talk about all the places we want to go to. My ballerina needs to see the Bolshoi and my son wants to visit St. Basils Cathedral to see if it actually looks like the street vendors oil painting which hangs proudly in his room.

 We have read all the books about Russia; Eyewitness Russia, Eloise in Moscow, Count to 10 in Russian, Boyra and the Burps, and of course my favorites Anna Karenina and  Dr Zhivago.  We have Language CD’s and Berlitz dictionaries, count to 10 in Russian, and name all the table setting. We say Spasibo for Thank You and Nyet for No.

   We've seen performances by the Moiseyev Ballet at the Performing Arts Center and my daughter has been an authentic Russian dancing the part in the Greenville Ballet’s Nutcracker, and Coppellia. And we've seen the Russian National Theater and the Moscow Circus. 

  So now our life is a balancing act, or a dance if you will. Sometime it leaves your head spinning and other times you have to take a step backwards before you can move forward. Who knows where it might lead?  Maybe one of our children will end up on dancing with the Stars!

The Greenville Ballet


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spending Quality Time

   We love all activities with our family and children. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and focus on quantity, not quality time. Quality time isn't just an activity with your child. It is one on one, undivided attention. No television - no cell phone - no computer - All of your attention on your child. Being engaged during the activity is what truly carries the deepest meaning with someone who communicates love through quality time.

Some great idea's for this season are; take your to pick out the Christmas tree, snuggle on the sofa and watch Rudolph, make Christmas cookies, or read them your favorite story childhood Christmas story. Set aside time each day, to engage with them. Ask them questions to show that you validate their thoughts and feelings. Ask them about their day: their likes or dislikes, their favorite Christmas memory or wish, etc.

Spending quality time with loved ones, will make your child [or spouse] feel loved, Your children won't be small forever - spend this time wisely to grow ans strengthen your relationship. Take time the time to nurture a happy and healthy child into an amazing adult.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Shopping with Children

It’s the holidays; you've got Christmas shopping to do. The hustle and bustle is more than enough to make an adults head spin. Imagine the sensory overload that your child must be experiencing: Christmas music blasting, glimpses of Santa, visions of Sugarplum dancing in their heads.  

If you can, the best thing you can do, is leave your child at home while you do your holiday shopping. Going from store to store, store to car, etc., can lead to transitional meltdowns. If your child must accompany you on holiday errands, try to keep your to do list small.  Limit it to no more than 3 stops per outing.

Don’t squeeze in shopping with a trip to the mall to get your child’s picture taken with Santa. Few children want to spend three hours shopping in their holiday clothes. Making it a special event will be more meaningful for everyone.

Sticking to your child’s routine, maintaining good nutrition, and balancing plenty of rest and activities, will help your family have a safe and healthy holiday, while keeping everyone off Santa’s “naughty” list.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Playtime and Toys

When choosing Christmas gifts for your child, keep in mind that children learn through play. While playtime may appear all fun and games, essential learning is occurring. Both social and emotional development is occurring. 

Make playtime fun for parent and child, and remember that children model their behaviors; both good and bad, after their parents. Parents should plan playtime each day with their child. It will help strengthen your relationship and as a bonus improve trust, and help foster attachment. 

For more about playtime see:

Best Christmas Toys 2014

Playing with Your Child: Games for Connection and 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Talking to Your Child About Adoption

We often get asked for advice on when should I talk to the child about their adoption? There are many approaches and suggestions, but we believe in being open about it from the beginning. Using the language, helping the child to understand and embrace they were chosen and placed in your family because they are special.

A good tool to use is children's books. Using children's books as aid can be very helpful. "Tell me Again about the Night I was Born" by Jamie lee Curtis is another  favorite, and chronicles when the family gets "the call". "Boyra and the Burps" is a really cute one about a boy adopted from a baby house in Eastern Europe.

Some others are less conspicuous like Little Miss Spider:  "For Finding Your Mother, There's One Certain Test. You must look for the creature, Who loves you the best." 

All can be helpful to children, in a non-threatening way, to approach the subject of adoption.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Four Factors of Adoption

The four primary factors to consider when deciding which type adoption of adoption is best for you are: age, race, medical/health and cost.

Age as a factor includes your age, the age of the child you want to adopt, and the age of other children in your home. Do you want to adopt a child of the same race or are you open to adopting a child of a different race? What are the health risks of an individual child and how much medical history will you have about the child and her birthparents.

Adoption costs include not only the cost to complete an adoption but long term care of a child. Compare cost and understand the differences in services you may be receiving.

Secondary factors include: travel, time frame to complete an adoption, matching process, available children, which child can you parent, program requirements, your health, other children in the home, career and childcare options.