Friday, May 6, 2011

Age... 4, 5 or 6?

Whenever people hear about our adoption plans for little Thomas, they invariably ask "How old is he?" A sensible question, right? And one to which we invariably answer along these lines: "Ha, ha! Well, we heard he was four in December. But we thought he seemed older than that, and the bone scan and doctor in Ethiopia said he might be six. So we thought we would say that he's five, and everyone agreed. But now some people in Ethiopia say he can be four or he can be six, but he can't be five unless we want to go through court again. So now we are saying his birthday was in December, and he turned four, just as the original data suggested." By now the questioner has had his or her eyes glaze over and is walking away. Some more intrepid individuals question why in the world you would question the birth date in the first place, which is probably instantly regretted as that segues into another long answer about the Ethiopian calendar, lack of reliable data in the third world and possible deliberate under-aging of children made available for adoption.

Can your four year old do this? None of mine could... and he can jump rope well, too.

I was pretty set that being five would work out the best, so it's frustrating to have this change. I am fairly confident that Thomas is older than four and a half. So why did we pick four instead of six? Well, if we leave his birth age at four, he will enter kindergarten at age five plus and will have a whole year of home life in America under his belt. My plan before was to try to homeschool him for kindergarten the first year, and I was beginning to worry that this might be too stressful for both of us the first year home anyway. The second major consideration was birth order. We really think it is best for the family as a whole and the twins in particular to have a younger brother, not a same age sibling. So four it is. It's worth noting that due to Thomas's small stature, he won't be noticeably different in size from his grade level peers.

I know the artificiality of "picking an age" just seems crazy to most people. It is. But what can you do? Choose, and hope for the best.