K is doing really well academically during her first semester of first grade. She reads, writes and does simple addition. She usually completes all her homework in her after school program so that she’s free to engage in other activities, usually sports, once she gets home. She’s doing well in both her tennis, 2x week, and her gymnastics, just once a week. This leaves her 2 weekdays when she can meet with friends or do something else. All good stuff that any parent would envy. The problem is friends. She has few due to her strong attachment and then aversion to any child she becomes close with. It’s cyclical with her.

We continue to get complaints that she pushes, hits and, most often, engages in annoying touching or destruction of others’ workbooks. One day she stood up in the middle of class and began going around the room kissing students. It proved to be very annoying to several students, and disruptive to the whole class. She has used kisses with me in the past to confirm love, but also at times she will aggressively kiss me or Matan. She seems to want to use an act that is supposed to be positive, in order to elicit a negative reaction. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s related to her grasping at, then pushing away friends. I believe aversion is partly due to wanting to test how much they really love her, just as she does with her parents. Testing a parent’s love seems to be a common behavior pattern with adopted children. Although most children test their parents to some extent, children adopted as toddlers tend to constantly test boundaries, hence the need for very clear ones.

I have posted in the past about K’s oppositional behavior. Wikipedia describes oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD behavior as, ” Children and adolescents with this disorder often annoy others on purpose, blame others for their mistakes, and are easily annoyed.” They also note that,”Common features of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) include excessive, often persistent anger, frequent temper tantrums or angry outbursts, and disregard for authority.”

While it is true that she has improved and is much less aggressive. I get the sense that she’s spending less time with other children for two reasons. First, she has few friends who want to meet with her after school hours and second, I believe she really doesn’t want to engage in behavior that will anger or disappoint us, or that will make children dislike her so she sometimes just goes off on her own to escape what we sometimes feel is the inevitable.

On the bright side, we have found the parents and the school to be much more willing to work with us than now. We even had a family field trip for her whole class last Saturday which was a lot of fun (See thumnail) But I saw K sitting on her own quite a bit. She did play with her friends, but she also seemed to want to play with DH and Matan. It was an interesting dynamic to see how much she preferred to be with friends vs. family. When they were hiking and playing, she was with friends. But during free times, and some of the games, she preferred to sit alone or hang out with family. Interestingly, she has such a strong attachment to the nuclear family that she has a hard time viewing even her grandparents as “real” family.