Wednesday, September 26, 2007


(Pipo at maybe 5yo in Haiti)

It is possible for a child to grow up in a 3rd world country and be spoiled. It is possible for that child to occasionally think that the world revolves around them, and that they are 'special' and are to be treated differently than the rest of the household.

When Pipo first got here, we let a lot of things slide. I understood how many adjustments he needed to make, and that he needed the time and space to come around on his own time. Much of this had to do with food. I knew things were so different for him here, and in the first months, we were fixing seperate meals for him, or arranging family meals around his preferences. Slowly, he bagan to try new things and learn to like much of our american food. It's been almost 2 years now, and he eats what everyone else is eating. But occasionally, the old Pipo breaks out and wants his "own" seperate dinner. And it drives this mom nuts!

After speaking with many of the people who spent time down in his village, specifically in the hospital, I have realized he was catered to there. Poor sick little Pipo, all alone in the hospital, with both his parents gone, and his grandmother off to the market every day. Now I am not downplaying any of this. He has had a hard life. To be a very sick little boy with both your parents dead is a tough situation to put it mildly. But this boy learned to work it. I have had people tell me that if he had been told "no" by anyone, all he had to do was show his big puppydog eyes and give one of his charming smiles, and he would eventually get what he wants. Well puppydog eyes don't work in Fitzville.

Honestly, this kid has come so far in less than two years. But somedays, he is just one of 7, and I don't have the patience for "I don't like that, I want something else." Tough beans kid... take your puppydog eyes to dad... he's always a sure bet to say yes.


Heather said...

Wow! This is a very interesting post. I really like it and it is a lot of food for thought (no pun intended!). K & O were definately not spoiled whatsoever when they were in Haiti. However, I often used to wonder about how much we 'spoiled' them when they first came home. For the first year or so our decisions re: parenting were so often informed by our adoption-related concerns. They were babies, and had 'issues' (understatement of the year), and we were worried about attachment, etc., etc., etc. Having never been a parent before it was my first experience. And I think a LOT about how different it would probably be with a bio. child. I'm very interested in families like yours who have both bio. and adopted children. Thanks for this post.

patjrsmom said...

I think it is a very fine line as an adoptive parent (but even as a bio parent when you have a kid with special needs or who is going through a difficult time) to give them the support they need without undermining their ultimate success as the people God has called them to be by coddling them. I know we've struggled with the same exact kinds of things.