She was a bit on the extreme end, but something nevertheless that Jenn and I have witnessed to one degree or another with nearly all of the adopted kids we've seen, including Henry (and we'd say all of the kids around whom we've spent more than an hour). In fact, while we're not yet adoptive parenting experts (tune in next week... har!), we can certainly understand how adopted kids can grow into spoiled brats if their parents aren't very consciously staying on top of things. It's as though they leave the orphanage and become exposed to new people that want to shower them with love and attention, and they don't know how to respond. It takes them very little time to display a sense of entitlement, and then it's just a short leap to very manipulative behavior. We've seen it in our own hotel room. We're not sure if the shower of love they experience in such a short time is overwhelming for them, or if their little neuropathways aren't hardwired to deal with the new emotions that they're feeling, but we've personally witnessed this entitlement-mentality and manipulative behavior on so many occasions that it's our current working theory.
Again, if you've been keeping up with this little blog, you won't be surprised to see me draw an analogy to our own lives. How soon after we acknowledge that there is a God (who loves us whether we acknowledge that aspect of His character or not) do we start placing irrational or tedious demands upon Him rather than simply slowing down and experiencing His love? Even the God-deniers do this. Like these kids, we often think we know what our Father's love ought to look like, and when our circumstances don't meet our preconceived expectations, or when we hear Him say, "No," we freak out, or pout, or question His love for us.
In just eight days, there have been times when we've had to say, "No," to Henry or do something for/to him (such as give him a bath or change his diaper) and watch him fuss and whine and cry because of his lack of full knowlege of the depth of our love for him... and I imagine our Father has experienced this feeling a time or two throughout human history. But as Henry gets to know us, and as we get to know our Father, those seemingly uncomfortable or tough times will be seen less as a lack of love and more as a true manifestation of love in the big picture. Another lesson from adoption...
This morning after breakfast, most of our families took some taxis over to Shamian Island. That's where the White Swan hotel is with the Red Couch (Google it and see how many hits you get), but it's closed until 2014 for total renovation. That's why we're at The China Hotel. And while this hotel is very nice, and the staff has been nothing short of friendly and tolerant, we wish we were at the White Swan because Shamian Island is beautiful and a very nice place around which to take a stroll.
There's more paperwork on tap today as we prep for the Consulate appointment on Thursday. I think I'm now going to try and nap.