Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How old are they?

"Oh, they are so cute ... How old are they?"  That is the question.   We get told this statement followed up with this question many, many times!  That's not a bad thing.  It must just be how many people think ... a conversation starter of sorts.  I don't mind that.  The problem is, I've struggled with how to answer the question.  We really don't know how old the boys are and honestly, we are 100 percent okay with that.  We knew this was a big question when we first read the boys' life story.  It really doesn't matter ... until it comes to things that we do here in this country, like preschool and school for starters.  Then later in life things like going through adolescence at a completely wrong given age and driving a car.  Just like everyone seems to ask us "how old are they?" these later questions are the ones that we ask ourselves over and over again as we ponder the thought of asking for the boys' legal age to be changed.

We are currently feeling like we need to get the paperwork done to legally change their age so we've been thinking about all these things lately ... here is what we know.  The birth date that we have for the boys makes them just over 4 1/2 right now.  We were told by the staff at our agencies transitional housing, the Dr.at the hopsital that did Buche's cast and people that lived in the village that the boys were born in that they were probably around two (2) to  three (3) years old, not (4) years old like they were then.  So, they were telling us that the boys were about one (1) to two (2) years younger than listed on their birth certificate.  Although they are creditable people, that is still a guess.

When we took the boys to the dentist we were told that they have all their teeth for a 2 year old, but that accessing age on how many teeth they had didn't matter after two till they started to get 6 year molars in, which is typically when they are around 6 years old.

We just had a bone scan at the clinic to assess bone age.  Many of you have asked about that.  The boys' had an x-ray picture taken of their hand.  The results were giving one boy the age of 1 year 6 months and the other boy  2 years of age.  We know malnutrition plays a role in this test and that is why we waited until they had been home for 6 months to do the test.  We also know that one of the boys were more malnourished that the other and that can help us understand why the results came back not at the same age. But, we have heard that a bone scan is not very accurate.  We asked our Dr. about that, and he agreed that we could not take it with complete accuracy. The boy's did not reach the 2 year old growth chart when we came home this summer.  They are just now reaching that chart today. With all that in mind, our doctors hunch is that the boys are around (3) years old right now.  Again, it's a hunch.

So, we've been trying to pay very close attention to the details that we know.  One of the boys decided about a week ago that he was going to wear "underwear" like his daddy and has had just a few accidents since. I believe we have the "potty" training thing licked with him.  My other little guy could care less about going potty in the toilet.  Now, "kahkah"... that's a different story.  They trained them both in Africa to go "kahkah" in the toilet.   They both have done that since they came home.  They are speaking in full English sentences and they didn't know any English 6 months ago.  They both love to do puzzles and one of the boys is better at it than the other.  And, yesterday while we were coloring they surprised me at how they are really starting to care about coloring within the lines. I'm not saying that they do it perfectly, but they are proud when they do it.  They care and try.  One of the boys is an amazingly fast runner and has really good large motor skills.  The other boy has more difficulty with large motor skills but can dribble a ball like nobody's business.  His fine motor skills are better then the the other little guys fine motor skills.

With all that being said I'm not sure if having twins makes it easier or harder to determine an age.  "Twins" can be an another whole post one day.  I find myself wanting to "compare" the boys since they are twins.  I know that is not okay ... they are individuals!  I feel like society will compare them with each other enough.  They are twins.  They are both boys. They have the same color skin.  They have the same color hair.  They have the same color eyes.  They are from Ethiopia.  As their mom I need to let them be who they are as an individual and help to make sure that others do that for them too.  More on that another time.

But they are indeed the same age and we are trying to figures out what age that is.  I think we've come to the conclusion that we will ask a judge to change there age to what would be 2 1/2 right now.

I'm open to opinions.  Any thoughts?  I know others out there have experienced this same situation as us.


Jennifer said...

I am blown away that they taught them to ka ka on the toilet there. Little A is a little over two and showed no interest there (neither did the others his age) and no interest here. Little A also has no clue about crayons. I mean he makes a few wild scribbles, but that is it. He does use words a lot.. just really started in mid December, but they aren't complete sentences, and he can't do puzzles. He has been home almost 10 months. At the same time I would try to age them with a "safe" age. If they are six months older, no biggie. However, I wouldn't want to overestimate their age.

Rachael said...

Thanks for the info Jennifer- that helps! I'm guessing that little A was in the baby house... Our boys were in the big kids house. They really looked like babes with all the big kids! I think that might be why they knew to go Kahkah in the toliet. It was routine every morning as soon as they woke up.

JessicaChubb said...

I have a friend who brought home a baby girl from Ethiopia. They ended up changing her b-day when they came home. It has been good for them but they had a hard time deciding as well. But I think in the end it is up to you and your family.