CBAP Seeks AGAP

No, this isn’t a singles ad.  I am not looking for someone who enjoys long walks on the beach.  I am a Crazily Blessed Adoptive Parent seeking an Advice Giving Adoptive Parent.

As I wrote about yesterday, we are in the process of working through the implications of Odette having an approximate birthday.  We have been talking to her about transitioning to the 4/5 classroom at her preschool, and she was actually asked to join the 4/5 gymnastics class by her instructor.  Needless to say, she has heard a lot of the numbers 4 and 5 lately.  Odette is smart kid and knows that she is 3 and that her birthday isn’t for a while.  In true inquisitive Odette fashion she has begun asking about why she is joining the 4 and 5 year olds if she is only 3.  Is it almost her birthday?  Is she 4?  Why?

That’s where I need your help?  What do I say?  Do we tell her that she might be older than what her birthday reflects?  Do we tell her now that her birthday was created?  (Yes, she will know that later as we have no intention of ever hiding any part of her story from her, but is now the time?)  Do we try to skirt the issue for awhile as it really shouldn’t matter much after the next year or two?

Help.

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4 thoughts on “CBAP Seeks AGAP

  1. I would say once you have all of the facts (doctor, dentist etc.) just tell her that there was a mistake and she is actually 4. I would round down (if 4-5 and she is more on par with 4 go with that). She is young enough I don’t think it will scar her, especially if you are well attached. I think if you with hold info from her she will always wonder what you aren’t telling her. What is important is that she knows you will always be her mommy.

    There is another blog I follow where the children actually knew they were the wrong age and essentially told to lie (this is a completely different issue) so they didn’t have the same issue.

    We adopted a baby boy from the same orphanage as you guys. Odette is looking wonderful and happy in your blog.

  2. Hi, this is Erica. A couple of suggestions. First, has Odette seen a dentist yet? Dentists can evaluate dentition present and give you an good approximation of age but it would not be exact, it could have a one or two year range. There is a type of x-ray testing that medical doctors can do of the bones in the wrist to approximate age due to development. Also, we have done some studying and seen that adoption specialists state that they would wait at least a year after arriving home to legally change the birth certificate to reflect what you really feel is the child’s age. That gives you and the doctors a year to observe and evaluate. I have already discussed this with our special needs section of our school system. They said when the time is right, they will do a complete scholatic eval and we are planning to get a complete medical eval at an adoption clinic.We are going to be in the same age range. As we battle with USCIS to complete our I600 and they question how they guess ages for abandoned kids, I have to wonder myself sometimes. Our kids both appear to be two years older in pictures than their birth certificates state. This will cause us the same problem you are having. I suggest being honest with Odette and explaining that sometimes when children come from different places in the world, their Mom’s and Dad’s are told when the kind people caring for them think they were born but it might not be right because they didn’t see her do so many things that you know she can do. A teacher can eval a first grade class or even kindergarten and guess as to which kids were born in the early Fall and which are born later.There are true differences in the level of development they have acheived. In the meantime, ask the teacher for higher level work in school to keep her challanged and maybe make her a helper to kids who are obviously younger and need help. All teachers love to have helpers. This is a great way to develop empathy and compassion for others.

  3. Here is my advice. I did not adopt but I raised two children one non-bioligical but still my son. I would tell her she is doing such a good job that she had been asked to join the older class and you are very proud of her. As for school if she is moved up ,and you are your child’s best advocate, i would tell her you are so impressed with how much she has learned since she has come to be your family that she needs to move to a different classroom to learn more and she will make new friends and learne all kinds of new things and how proud you are of her! A Nannan’s point of view.

  4. Hmmm, those are great questions, Odette! I would tell her that often kids change classes or grades because of their ability and not their age. That there are older kids in some classes with younger kids and you get kids in some classes wih older kids. As a teacher, I could care less how old my students are, but I do want to know that they are placed in the appropriate grade based on ability.

    Personally, I would wait for the discussion of “you might be older than you are” until you decide what/if you are going to do something about the age thing. If you do feel like addressng that, I would say something like “In the Congo, kids don’t get birh certificate ages when they are born, so sometimes they don’t know exactly how old kids are and have to do their best to guess.” Then leave it at that and let her mull it over awhile, coming back to it a little at a time as she asks more.

    Good luck! This is hard, but go with your gut. Whatever you decide will be fine. We often over analyze when it is fine to give a basic and simple answer.

    .

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