Karen loves watermelon

We adopted Matan only 3 months ago, and the high has been amazing. But all good things must eventually change, and this week I crashed a bit. It all suddenly seemed overwhelming. I should start thinking about going back to work, but even now, when I’m not working, it seems like I’m giving 100% to the kids and its still not enough.

Matan is being treated by early intervention specialists. So far, we’ve begun addressing his motor skills, which are only a little behind. We won’t get to see a developmental specialist doctor until July. The good news is that his pediatrician thinks he is doing really well.

It’s Karen’s situation that has a black cloud hanging over me this week. She has always been rough, and has had problems with hitting other children in the past, but it is continuing, and not really improving much. Sometimes it seems she’s getting worse.

She understands that her actions are causing her to lose friends and to have her teachers, and us, angry with her. She gets no benefit, but just can’t seem to control her anger. When we first brought her home, she was a very angry little girl. She destroyed anything she got her hands on and often hit and bit me. We’ve come a long way since then, and I can’t remember the last time there was an incident with her acting violently towards DH or me.

But she can’t control her impulses at school. Almost every other day I hear that she pulled someone’s hair, hit, kicked or spat on someone. Often it is the same girl. The teacher tells us Karen is envious of her because she has nicer dresses. On the one hand, one of her teachers tells me that Karen usually acts out in response to someone doing something to her, but just as often, it seems to originate with her. We have been working on this issue with our social worker, but she’s been ill. The sessions we have had over the last 1+ yr don’t seem to have any long lasting effects, although after a series of sessions we did see the physical violence decrease.

I’m afraid that Karen has been using her improved speech abilities to say things aimed at hurting her friends’ feelings. One day a girlfriend came over to play. She didn’t want to play what Karen wanted, and I walked in to hear Karen tell her that she doesn’t want her over and that she wants the girl to leave immediately. The poor girl started crying, and I had to comfort her.

I’ve gotten Karen a referral for a developmental work up, but I’m afraid they won’t be interested in addressing her emotional development. I’ve read that children adopted as toddlers will only have the emotional development of a child the age of the years that they have been with their family. In other words, Karen has been with us for just over 3 years, so the theory says that she has the emotional age, approximately, of a 3 yo.