Putting Patience to the Test

Claire - Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan
Entered on March 18, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

My aunt and uncle appeared to have everything: stable jobs, a good home and two children. But they soon realized that their lives weren’t complete until they had another child. So, instead of having one of their own, they made the decision of adopting a baby from China. They traveled halfway around the world in mid-October of 2002, and returned two weeks later with a tiny baby girl by the name of Grace.

We soon realized just how much of a character Grace was. She quickly learned to walk and speak, which lead to dancing and singing. If asked, she could recite almost every song from the musical “Annie” and sometimes even added lyrics of her own creation. She had no trouble being herself around new people or strangers. She would talk to any one who would listen. But along with her creativity and uniqueness came stubbornness and disobedience. While most toddlers overcome their defiant phase, Grace never seemed to grow out of it. She continued to be troublesome when she was four and even five years old. When asked to do even the simplest of tasks, she would shout in protest. She sometimes had trouble getting along with others her age and, as a preschooler, was sent to the principal’s office on more than one occasion. Having run out of ideas, my aunt and uncle decided to take her to a psychologist to see if her issues were associated with her upbringing in China. Studies have found that children who spend their first year living in an orphanage can develop attachment disorders and behavioral problems. No disorders of that nature were detected; however, the psychologist was almost immediately able to diagnose her with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She was prescribed a drug to help her focus, and while now she is slightly better behaved and mannered, her personality remains the same.

These past six years with Grace have taught me and my family that patience truly is a virtue. Although taking care of her can sometimes be frustrating, almost to the point of giving up, I’ve realized that remaining calm, instead of overreacting, is key. Grace can be overwhelming and even exhausting, but she does have good intentions. Her good qualities are often overshadowed by her bad behavior. Only with patience can these traits be revealed.