I wanted to address (and did in that first long gone entry) what happened in the very beginning - like first meetings with our kids! A dear friend asked about this and I think it's a good point to ponder.
DS2 was HYPER and very obviously a favorite in that home. He had learned how to act the way each person liked him to act. He knew that certain caretakers liked girls better and he would act totally feminine with them around. He knew the ones that liked to see him dance and he would dance for them. At the time I thought it was sweet that he wanted to please and I hoped that it would transfer to an easy-going, get-along kid at home. I guess we all know how that worked out. It was his great acting skills in the early phases. We did have a honeymoon period once actually home in the US...but even our first few days with him were full of red flags. He flipped me off more in one day than I'd ever seen in my life. He LITERALLY flipped off the top of the curtain panel (9 feet high) landed with a thud and had no emotional reaction!
DD was quite the opposite. Very unliked by her caretakers and emotionally embattled. They called her the fat kid (yes, they told us this) and would often take her food to try to help her lose weight (they seemed to think this was a kind thing). Of course, we still deal with food issues galore. She wanted so badly to please us and was constantly looking for re-affirmation, but was stiff board when we tried to hug her. Our first few days together were a control battle and she tried to win by crying non-stop. I would fix her hair and she would rip it out (not just the rubber bands, but the HAIR). I would put a shirt on her and she would pull at it until it ripped.
We had spent a total of 3 hours with each child prior to getting custody. We did not have a first trip to meet them (due to a lost referal and a kind judge) and our situation was quite different. I wonder if I would have figured things out better with a bit of time to think about them between two trips. I don't know. A friend of mine mentioned that she wanted to warn us about the crap that could happen before we went down this road. She could have, others did - we listened to all the training and read all the books...but how can you ever think "yep, it'll happen to me"? That's just not human nature.