Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who are these kids?

The children we have in our home now are completely different than the ones we brought home from Ethiopia. Now I can see how CrazyMom and I were a little irrational during the child selection process. When we were pouring over a photo list of kids, we assumed that the expression captured in the photo reflected in some way the personality of the child. Then when CrazyMom and I saw a 20 second video clip of our children, it felt like we knew them. F.G. was soft spoken and shy; K.D. was nonverbal and mischievous.

Well, we were wrong. We did not know we were wrong when we picked up the kids in Ethiopia because they were still like they were in the short video clip. But half a year in America has changed all of that.

It reminds me of the age old debate of nature vs. nurture. I can’t tell for sure if our kids’ personalities have changed or if their true personalities are now emerging. Either way, F.G. is clearly not soft spoken and shy and K.D. can talk your ear off.

Another thing that has either changed or emerged is that both F.G. and K.D. are real jokesters. On a trip this summer CrazyMom and I were helping manage the food line at my sister’s house as nine kids went through. After the kids were taken care of, the adults went through and got their plates of food. As we finally settled into some chairs outside ready to enjoy our first bite of food, K.D. came busting out of the house yelling.

“Mom! Mom! Me spilled my food!”

CrazyMom groaned and began to set her plate down when K.D. laughed, said, “Just kidding!” and disappeared back inside.

We were shocked. It was the first of what has now become normal behavior.

Then the other day CrazyMom sent F.G. down to the basement to get some potatoes. F.G. came back and said she could not find them. CrazyMom explained again, very carefully, where the potatoes were. A few moments later F.G. was back unable to find the potatoes. A little annoyed, CrazyMom set off to get them herself and as she started down the stairs she found the bowl of potatoes concealed a few steps down. F.G. thought it was so funny that she got a bad case of the Uncontrollable Giggles.

The lesson is obvious. You can’t really know the personality of a child from a 1” by 1.5” photo and a 20 second video clip. It is only later, under a different set of circumstances that one gets to discover who a child really is.


Kris Long said...

Half a year in America????? How did that happen so fast? Hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. It's only been 2 and a half months for us. But still, it's like opening a package. And wondering what's inside. And the package is really pretty but you wonder how long it will take to fully unwrap this amazing gift! (Reality check: it doesn't always feel like a 'gift'...the pouting isn't very 'giftish' but we know they are precious treasures as all our children are.
Charlene Ruff

Anonymous said...

Good for you! I really like people that take that step above the rest.
I wish you best of luck with your family!