The First Signs

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As early as Mea started school, her teachers shared that she had a strong personality.

We thought, sure! How else would she have survived what she had, if she was not tough – a fighter?

In pre-school, the teacher said that she wanted her to comply with class rules, without breaking her spirit. She was emphatic about the latter. Not having a rule follower was new to us.

In Pre-K, the same thoughts were shared: Mea was a good listener, unless she was more motivated to be silly or make her peers laugh. She almost always followed directions, unless she was not in the mood.

The boys were never as socially attuned as Mea is, and she’s a girl. We thought, this is just how it is.

I noticed during the five months I was not home during the work week that Mea struggled to “listen” to me during the weekends. It seemed that she was Queen during the week, and then I returned to usurp her throne. But wasn’t this “typical” too? I had subconscious feelings of resentment toward my Mom when I was older, when I was told what to do. But this was when I was a teenager. We started to think, we have a 5 year old going on 15 – haha!

We continued to have conversations with teachers every school year about Mea’s sassiness and silliness. Usually, it was seen as both an endearing and, at times, a difficult quality to control.

We started to ask her principal for a teacher who was caring, but firm – someone who knows what’s going on in the room and who Mea will respect.

During specials and when she has substitutes, she struggled. Even with her favorite teacher, the librarian, there were times when Mea would slam a computer, walk away while being given directions, or talk to a peer during the read aloud.

For a long time, we were clueless that these behaviors were indicators that she was still struggling with aspects of her life before us, and from her adoption.

We just thought we had a strong-willed child.

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