Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trying Not to Freak Out.

Alright people's.
I interrupt this Disney vacay recap for something else at the moment.
Something a little more pressing.

I was just sent this photo of Joey.
{He's the one in the white}

Cute right?

But dude.
Look at the date stamp.


His estimated birth date is 4/2/2004. 
Which puts him roughly 1 month from turning 3 in this picture.

I know it's been awhile since I have had babies and toddlers waddling around my home but does this look like a child that is just a month shy of turning 3?
He looks way younger than that to me.
Does it look that way to you?
I would guess like 18 months?

My mind is blanking on how big my kids were and what they should look like right before 3.
I am seriously freaking out  concerned that we may be way off the mark when it comes to his age.
A few days, or weeks off I can live with.
But years?

Is Joey really only 6 1/2 and not 8? 

Did I put a 5 year old into first grade last year?

It's a bit sucky, awful, weird, disconcerning  strange  
to say the very least
to realize with the opening of an email that you may have been completely wrong about your child's age.
I feel like we just got sucked into a time warp.

It could explain a lot.
But I won't go down that road just yet.

Help me. 
What do you all think?
And more importantly,
what the heck do I do now?

On yet another note,
I can't tell you how many people came up to us in China,
and twice since we have been home
telling me he's not Chinese.
That he looks like he is from Thailand.
I didn't understand what the heck they were talking about at the time
as I'm not terribly dialed into the subtle differences in the physical appearances of the people in different regions of Asia
but gracious
comparing the two of these babies side by side now
I kinda get it.

Doesn't matter to me of course,
but sheesh.
I'm just feeling a little confused today. 



  1. Sonia,
    Not that it matters in the long run, but for a mama's heart it does...Joey does look like he is from mom was born and raised in Thailand as a missionary kid. I spent time in Thailand - he looks Thai. I got kiddos from China and biological kiddos - I would love a kiddo from Thailand :-)
    As for the age...I think your mama instincts may be right. One of our kiddos from China is for sure not the age they are telling us...guess that is where I pray for wisdom.
    Love your posts!!

  2. When we were in China adopting several people thought my husband was Chinese and he is Korean....

  3. I have a picture of Ivy that was dated a whole year BEFORE her date of birth. Does that mean she is a year older? I don't think so. She has lost very little baby teeth. So, I think her age is right, but maybe the camera is wrong? Also, I've had many, many comments about Ivy's heritage not looking Chinese. Even one from my adoption agency director, who is Chinese. Living in Guangdong, I'm sure many nationalities go to that province. You never know...

  4. I'll agree that he looks Thai. That being said, people move around a lot and he may have Thai heritage, but his biological parents could be Chinese citizens. Also, I'm with Cheri about the date on the camera - I've seen so many pictures with the dates wrong. Don't let it get to you too much!

  5. Hi, Sonia. Isn't there a procedure where they can see how old someone is based on their bones, or....? I think the camera could be wrong, too. I was adopted myself and I remember learning at about 15 that perhaps my birthday wasn't my actual birthday and I freaked out. I felt that being adopted, the few details we had were precious. All that to say, it doesn't change who Joey is, of course, but if his age isn't right it might be worth looking into. As you mentioned, it might be "easier" to know developmentally, etc.

  6. I do not think the child in the picture is close to 3. That said, I've had cameras that date pictures wrong for years (I had one camera every time I changed the battery it went back to the date it was manufactured and I was way to lazy to fix it).

    However, if there are other questions to his age, and you/he wants/needs to figure out a better estimate of his age, he is old enough that he could be x-ray for a bone age (which is typically just an xray of the right wrist). Now you can have delayed or advanced bone age, but it can give you another piece of information. And the picture you have to support it too.

    I'm not exactly sure of the benefits of legally changing your age. I know my aunt is legally several years younger than she actually is (due to her being adopted from South America). She has no desire to correct it, so she has not. I have friends that are in the process of legally changing the age of their adopted child. I forget their reasoning for going through the process to do so (which it is a process, but can be done). Being a military family, it might make a difference to you as it would change when he is a dependent...

  7. I got pictures of Joshua that were "taken" before he was even born showing a 4 year old. The dates are often off. Agree, get a bone xray. Amazing what they can estimate especially over the space of 6 months growth.

  8. Of our 3 (almost) Chinese children I have a total of ONE who looks Chinese LOL. Seriously, our son Cav we have no idea - maybe Korean but before daddy took them for their haircuts - ugh Mohawks - that boy's hair was starting to curl. Our new little guy from yunnan looks just like one of the Guatemalan orphans On Feed the Children advertisement.

    Bone age x-rays can be up to 3 years off if not more so they aren't very reliable. I think you said he was really little, how did he do in 1st grade academically and emotionally. How does he compare to the other boys.

    Our daughter is a dwarf and her file says she was 3 months when found. But really how many dwarf babies have they ever seen. Sure enough her pre-k teacher asked if there was a chance she was older lol! So even though her "birthday" is in sept we are starting kindergarten based on that info

  9. Oh and any chance you have the birthdate on the other little one? They look to be about 6 mos difference in age

  10. Our daughter from China was supposed to be four at adoption, but she was in 12-18 month clothes and resembled a toddler. Our doctor did the bone testing and determined that the age was probably fairly accurate despite her tiny stature. When she was almost six she lost her first tooth and that was when we really started believing her age despite how tiny she was. She is now nine and still in 5-6T clothes, and smaller than her younger brothers who are also from we think she must have just had tiny parents. No one believed us then (or now!) about her age, but I think the records for her are probably accurate. Do you have an immunization record that goes back to the birth year? How about his teeth? If he is significantly younger than stated, he might not have lost any yet. Teeth are tricky though because some kids don't lose them until they are eight, but they never loose them at three

  11. We brought our daugher home from China Sept 2011. After spending time with her and checking her size our Dr. asked us if he could do a bone scan to determine her true age. He felt she was not 12 as we were told. Come to find out after the bone scan (of her hand) she is only 10. We are petitioning to have her birthday changed through the courts and our Dr has written a letter to explain his reasoning. A bone scan is painless and truely helped us.

  12. Isn't Joey a heart kid? Don't heart defects result in stunted growth if left unrepaired? If the age is only off by a few years - yes, it makes a big difference now, but when he is 30 or 50, will it really matter? Anytime you adopt an older child, the literature says to treat them their developmental age. If you just treat him that way, I don't think what it says on a piece of paper really matters.

  13. We had them do the bone scan on both of our boys (it literally is just an xray of the hand) and it gave us a very different age from the paperwork. We knew that was probably going to be the case though and the adjusted age makes so much more sense. To us, it was worth doing the testing to find out a more accurate age because we wanted to make sure that any health or educational services would be granted based on their true age, not the age on paper. It has made a world of difference for our kids.

    More importantly, to us, is the fact that we literally have no history for our boys. Giving them the most accurate age we possibly can felt like giving them at least a small piece of their history back. In the long run, will it matter to them? I have no idea. But it felt worth doing on the off chance that it does matter.

    While we were in Uganda with our son, everyone told us he wasn't really Ugandan but actually Congolese. I have no idea how they tell the difference but I just assumed that they knew. Again, it doesn't really matter to us but it's just one more tiny piece of history we could possibly give him.

  14. Freaking out is normal and OK! :) Just remember, the date on the camera may have been set incorrectly. Also, our son is from Thailand...but does not look "typical Thai." Not to worry...God knows and in the long run, it only matters that he's home with you all and getting loved, loved, loved! Perhaps a dental exam could shed some light on his age?

  15. I agree, date stamps are a lot of times off. I think my aunt's camera still says 1999 when she takes a picture. LOL

    My daughter was 2 1/2 when we brought her home. She was only 17 pounds. So your little man may be just that. A little man. Our girl grew 6 inches and gained 10 pounds the first year she was home. But yes, at 3 she wore a size 18 month skirt (and that is only b/c it had those adjustable tabs for the waist).

  16. Yes, he looks like he could be Thai...just makes him all the more special!

    Yes, he could have been going on 3 in that pic...malnourishment and trauma can do that to their growth. A quick bone age scan can help you determine if his growth is close to his chronological age (or guessed age). Usually if you have them scanned when they first come home their body is WAY behind their age...but within a year they catch up....he's been home long enough now that his bone age might be closer to his actual age. Does that make sense?

  17. I get that kids can be little for their age, but would they really look that young? I think that he definitely looks 12-18 mos. in the picture, possibly even younger. Just wanted to concur and validate your mama instinct. As for all the adoption bits and pieces and bone scans - I got nothin. Keep us in the loop. What a wild ride this all is...

  18. OK, so as if you probably have time to read all of our replies, BUT for what it's worth...we have two daughters adopted from China. Our first was nearly 3 at age adoption, but was definitely the size of an 18 month old. In fact, she wore size 12 and 18 month clothes! Our second daughter looks Chinese, but ALSO has features that resemble the Pacific Islands. At her first dentist appointment, the hygenist asked me to confirm where she was adopted from. She said she has a very specific cusp on her molar that is ONLY found in people with Polynesian heritage. And so there you have it! Confirmation that sometimes we just know nothing and trust that God who knows EVERYTHING has it all under control. :-)

  19. I would just asivse you to go with what you have! We have one son home from Thailand for 4 years now, 15 on paper, recent bone scan says 11. But, has his 12 year molars! Our son from China home 5 yrs is 11 on paper, 13 from recent bone scan. He was at Philip Hayden and feel confident his records are accurate. Try to not freak out! Our 13 yo Thai son looks Chinese! LOL

  20. We adopted our son from China in Feb. & he turned 3 the beginning of April. He weighs 21 lbs. & by no means looks 3!& he acts 1 1/2. I really think lack of care & nutrition can se tthese little ones back so much more then we can fathom!

  21. Try not to freak! The date on the pic could definately be wrong. The x-ray seems like a good idea under the circumstances and you can do some sleuthing in the meantime. You have a timeline of things like when he had surgery. How does that fit with the date on the picture? Does his SWI hava a yahoo group where you can ask about the accuracy of their kiddos' files? Ask the person who sent the pic. Do you know who the other child is? How does this date jive with their birthdate?
    As for Joey looking Thai, sigh, who can know? Lots of people at home and in China have said Lily doesn't look Chinese, or she looks mixed, or that she doesn't look like she's from her province, etc. I'd love to know all the details of her life before she came to us, but we just don't. Maybe someday we will find those answers, but until we know the truth, I'm not going to speculate (at least not out load, ha!). For some fun and a lesson on how you can/not tell where someone is from just by looking at them visit and take the quiz. I stink at it, BTW! :)
    And can I just say: Baby Joey! So! cute!

  22. We've been through this too, both with age and ethnicity. Our oldest daughter's age is most likely incorrect but she's practically grown now so we are going to leave it be. The date could be wrong on the camera too. Do you have any other photos with date stamps?

    With our five, according to my Asian friends, we have Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Chinese and biracial. We are fairly certain our baby boy is biracial because on most days, he does not look Asian at all.

  23. I have one kid from China and one from Thailand so yes their are differences. What most people are meaning when they say, meaning other Chinese people, that he does not look Chinese is that he does not look Han, which is the what the majority of people in China are. There are also ethnic minorities in China. They will often look more like people from other areas and differ from the classic look of Han Chinese. So look up ethnic minorities, especially for the provience in China where your son is from and you will probably find some posabilities for others who look more like him.

  24. He certainly does not look 3 in that picture. I would check it out if for no other reason than knowing what is expected than school setting of an 8 year old and whats expected at 6 is vastly different. How frustrating for him to 8 year old expectations on him if he is 6. My son from Ukraine is 15 but functions at 11 to 12 when we were in court in Ukraine the judge asked us if we wanted to chance his birthdate, we said no thinking (stupidly) why would anyone ever do that. Well, now I know and I really wish I knew then what I know now.

  25. I think your son in the picture could be going on 3. A friend of mine just came home with a 24 month old who looks more like a 10 month old. Remember, conditions in orphanages are not great and lead to poor development.

  26. I think he looks like a three year old. The other little guy looks 18 months!

    We look at our boys, esp. Luke and we think... this boy has a caucasian Daddy!

    It is such a mystery with these children? Who knows when they were really born... Our Ellie came home on her 8th birthday and had ALL her grown up teeth!!

    Loved your comment about names- on my blog!! I tried for Sonia- but it was voted down ;-(

  27. Is DNA testing expensive?...wouldn't DNA
    testing validate what combination of ethnic
    bacground he may have?...If my mama brain had
    these sorts of questions, I'm the type that
    wants to find out ... may not matter in the
    long run, or it may. At least my curiosity would be satisfied, and the child would have
    some answers when he begins asking questions
    as a teen, or pre-teen. Also, if there ever
    develops some medical issue down the road, you
    would know earlier, rather than later..bless
    you all and your handsome boys. mm,vancouver,wa.

  28. My Earnie is half Chinese and tiny...all my babies are small, but he hasn't had the massive growth spurt his sister had. He's 4.5 and people ask me if he's 2. The doctor recommended a bone scan to see how he's developing (how old his bones say he is). His daddy said he was short when he was little too. But have you see Almost Famous? The mom puts her son in school too years (I think) early. "There's too much padding in the grades." If he was in China or Taiwan, he'd be doing harder school work already. God bless you. : )

  29. He is bigger in this pic than my Chinese daughter was and they told us she was 3 yrs and 2 mos when adopted. She had always been tiny and had to work at schoolwork. She is supposedly 15 now but the dentist says she ciuld not be a day over 13!!! Explains alot but she just finished her first yr of highschool and did well. :). We tease her about sending her back to middle school.

  30. My oldest was 12 pounds at a year old, so he doesn't look all that small to me when I think back to my oldest at that age. But when I think of my youngest... heh... my youngest is two (today!) and wearing clothes that my oldest did not wear until age three-and-a-half. Both of my girls were adopted at 11 months, and we are confident of their birthdays (definitely accurate to within two to three weeks, and most probably only days).

    As for nationality/ ethnicity... our experience was/is that many Chinese and Chinese-Americans have informed us, sometimes to the point of arguing (although it's difficult to have a one-sided argument since we just smile politely in response), telling us that our oldest is Korean, not Chinese. Nope. She's most probably Hakka, a minority group within China, since her county is over 75% Hakka. As for our youngest... most people (even in China) assume that our youngest daughter is a "western" baby or at least biracial. On that assumption - I have to agree it's a strong possibility. Then again, she has some medical issues that may be effecting her hair and skin color (not albinism). So - time may tell - and a DNA test will if we choose to go that route at some point.

    If you have sincere doubts and questions when you arrive home, I'd talk with your pediatrician. But from what I've learned, relying on bone scans and teeth isn't an exact science, since malnutrition can effect so, so much. Plus, even with malnutrition NOT a factor, bone scans are generally accepted to be accurate within 18 months or so, so this is likely only a valuable tool for people whose children’s ages could be off by more than a year.

  31. One of my closest friends has twin boys, Caucasian American, biological children, that were premature. They will be 2 in a few weeks and are developmentally and physically 9 months. Health issues can seriously set things back.