Monday, November 04, 2013
Original Three Sons and A Princess ClubMom Blog

Exciting news!

You can access my original vintage Three Sons And A Princess Club Mom blog

That used to reside at -

By clicking on the dates July 6, 2006 or  May 14, 2013.

If that doesn't work you can go to and type in and then click on Mom Answers and then Mom Blogs and then Meet The Bloggers and scroll down to the one that says Jennefer -  Three Sons And A Princess.

Read the whole story of our adventure adopting a child from Russia!




Saturday, May 14, 2011
Traveling To Russia : What To Pack
Whether you are traveling to Russia to adopt or to bring your adopted Russian child on a cultural experience it is good to know what is useful to pack.

We traveled to Russia three times over the course of our adoption and we bought a lot of stuff that people recommended, but only some of it was really useful.

This is what I recommend

Packing list for Russia

airplane pillow
make-up (women)
dramamine (if needed)
necessary papers, tickets
nice shirts (everyone dresses nice there)
nice pants (shorts will make you look like a tourist)
sweater/coat (if necessary)
comfortable shoes
swimsuit (if wanted)
medicine (Tylenol, ibuprofen, scabies cream if adopting)
face wash/lotion
camera (charged)
lap top
travel voltage converter (for outlet)
video camera (charged)- If adopting, video as much of the orphanage as you can inside and out. We were too nervous/excited to film as much as we should have. The little video we have is so valuable now. Piney has watched it several times and it helps her deal with her past.

If adopting:
change of clothes for child,
child coat, gloves (if winter)
buy shoes in Russia as you won't know size

Things you may not have thought of:

band-aids - ( I needed one when I was there- my feet were getting blisters from walking- and I couldn't get anyone to understand what I was talking about)

Franklin Speaking 14 Language Translator with Merriam-Webster Dictionary EST-5014- This proved invaluable in the subway when we got lost. We typed in "How do we get out of here- then the electronic thing changed it to Russian and we were able to show it to people who directed us. No one speaks English there.

If traveling in winter- super warm coats (Its freezing). I recommend Lands End coats.

Franklin Language Travel Phrase Card Translator (ET-2011 11) - we had this in actual paper cards with the translation, but I couldn't find them anymore. This looks like the same idea, yet less bulky.

We purchased a Russian cartoon in Russia and a music CD (make sure they are compatible with U.S. CD/DVD players) to play for our daughter upon her arrival home (which was 2 years old). Neither the cartoons or music ever appealed to her, but they might be something she cherishes in the future.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011
Mommy And Me : Find Similarities With Your Adopted Child
Mothers Day is coming and so I decided to participate in the MOMMY AND ME HAIR pic project in honor of the day (Thanks Debbie for the info). It is a project where you submit a photo of you and your child with matching hairstyles.

I am normally blond, but I died my hair with a non-permanent dye and so for a little while Pineapple Princess and I could have matching hair. It is not the most flattering on me, but it is fun nonetheless.

I knew that having matching hair and getting our photo together would make Piney happy. She likes to know how she is similar to any member of our family. This is one way that she feels like she belongs. Periodically I will point out things that are the same between her and me or her and other family members.

Nobody likes to feel like the odd one out and so it is especially reassuring to adopted children to feel included and part of the family. So join in the project if you like (hurry! Deadline is today) or check out the final project on Mothers day and make your child feel special.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011
What To Buy For Your Adopted Russian Child: Keep Their Culture Alive

The best time to obtain keepsake items for your Russian child such as this Haba Russian House is when you are in Russia.

Souvenirs (such as nesting dolls), items from the orphanage, a Russian newspaper are all good ideas.

But Russia is not the only place to purchase items for your child that help them hold on to their culture and country.

One of the first things we purchased for our daughter before even bringing her home was a Anna Speaks Russian Doll. She speaks a few Russian phrases when you press her palm and knee. At six-years old our daughter really cherishes the doll.

You can purchase many Russian toys online. Check out these stores:

The Russian Store


Adopted From Russia store

Matrioshka Wooden Toy shop

Kids Culture Center

International Toys

From Russia

Some people find shopping from Amazon the most convenient. Click on a photo for more about that product.

Traditional Nesting Dolls

Russian Barbies

Russian Alphabet blocks

Russian Dora

Russian Tank
Talking Russian Doll "Inna"

Russian Plane

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Friday, April 08, 2011
The Russian Adoption Timeline
If you are thinking about adopting from Russia and are wondering what the process might look like- here is a brief overview and rough time estimate.

First year

Start discussing adoption. Things to consider: gender, age, nationality, etc. 

Start researching adoption agencies. Make sure your agency is accredited and won't be losing accreditation soon. Email and call the agency with questions ( also see here). Become a member of FRUA. Buy books about adopting from Russia (I recommend: The Russian Adoption Handbook: How to Adopt from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova ). Realize that you can not move to a new home during the adoption process which may take up to two years.

Choose an adoption agency. Get your home ready for the homestudy. Make sure you will have met all of the requirements. Take photos of each room of your house and yard.

Gather the required paperwork for the dossier (takes up to a year to compile) to be turned into your agency. The agency will submit this to the country for approval and then you will wait for a referral (could take up to 8 months).

Second year

After receiving your referral you will wait  0-3 months to travel to meet your referral child in Russia. If you accept the child you will return 0-6 months later to travel back to Russia for the required court date.

It is a lot of hurry up and wait. Good luck!

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Monday, April 04, 2011
Adopting From Russia Blog
I have made some logistic decisions. I have decided to move my blog about my family here and turn this blog back into a Russian Adoption blog.

This blog will post information about Russian Adoption which will include:

Russian Adoption News
Adoption Process
Adoption children issues
My own experience with adopting from Russia
My own experience with raising a child adopted from Russia

So please follow me at both places! Thanks!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011
My Russian Adoption: What Ever Happened to Pineapple Princess?
Adam, Piney, Conner and Braden taken Sunday, Mar 20 
Dear family, friends, former readers and new readers,

I need to start from the beginning. I started blogging about our upcoming Russian adoption in Jan 2006 about the time Piney (short for our nick name of Pineapple Princess) was turning one in Russia. I started out here and then tranferred my blog over to to continue blogging about my Russian adoption experience. I met a lot of great people who also adopted and were a great influence on me.

I received 75,000 hits to my blog on the day we brought Pineapple Princess home. It was quite an experience. You can see the videos in my sidebar. My readers followed me through the next year with her until clubmom shut down. I was able to preserve all of my blog writings in Blurb books (you can google: Blurb Jeneflower to find them) but then I had to start all over on my blog right back here at my humble beginnings.

It was about this time that I started learning about all of the problems society was causing to the environment. This became such a strong interest of mine that I started writing more and more about this and less and less about the adoption. This caused me to lose a lot of my readers (why I didn't consider making a seperate environment blog at that time is a mystery to even me). People still wanted to read about Pineapple Princess, but she was starting to integrate into our family and with 3 other children I could no longer make her more special then the other children in our family. She was no longer the Russian adopted child, but simple our fourth child.

At the same time, because she was adopted and 2-years-old she was very difficult. People wanted to hear about the happy ending, but I couldn't write about it anymore. I needed to break away from blogging so I could get through the next few years with her. She was a lot to handle and blogging took too much time. So In 2008 I quit this blog- with only a few entries here and there.

Now Piney is six years old. She is healthy and happy and I have a lot more time. So I have decided to post an update in here about once a week about Piney and the family for those who are interested in whatever happened to Pineapple Princess.