In our early months as parents, there were so many ways that Jada's orphanage life was evident. For one, she was in the 10th percentile for weight when we first brought her back to the US, and this was after she had eaten well during the two weeks we had her in China. She continued to pound the food in those first few months, as if trying to catch up on 7 1/2 months of not always getting to eat her fill. She latched onto us within three days, since that probably represented the longest consecutive stint any one adult had been present in her life. And to this day, while she's a happy kid, when you look into her eyes you can tell she's a deep soul - fiercely independent, and with a healthy, spunky chip on her shoulder.
So that's what we started with on Jada. As for Aaron, he was well cared for and well fed by the nanny my parents found to care for him while we were waiting to get him out of Taiwan. When he wanted to be held, he got to be held; when he wanted food, he got food. As a result, he was in the 95th percentile for weight when we first received him here in the US; and by six months, he is crawling around with impressive speed and head control. But it also means he's having a hard time adjusting to our relative tardiness in responding to his need to be fed and held. He is much less able to be by himself, much more sensitive to noise and pain and discomfort.
Obviously Jada has two years on Aaron, so maybe Aaron'll evolve over time. And I do think that Jada and Aaron are fundamentally different in temperaments and preferences. But I wonder how much of those differences were enhanced by the different experiences they had in their first few months, while they were waiting to meet us.