Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mia. . . So How Old Is She?

Before I even start this post I have to share with you how GOD is moving mountains!

I am almost speechless... thank goodness it's only "almost" because you don't want to miss out on this!

Things have been going in the right direction with Mia but it's been baby steps. 
as a cautious Momma I want to be sure she is not pulling the wool over my eyes and doing what she needs just to do to get what she wants- so I am hyper-vigilent when it comes to our daughter Mia.

The smiles have been increasing!
The hugs have been more comfortable.
All good news!

Mia has been in our room for the last week.
The first night we had her sleep with us... it was heartbreaking. She silently cried 3 times throughout the night. The rest of the time she laid motionless and scared to death to even move. 

After that we had little ones (Anna, Ava and then Abby- each a different night) sleep with us and Mia slept on her mattress on the floor. We wanted her to see that children actually want sleep with their parents and she does not need to be afraid.
The next night hubby was out of town and Sarah slept with me. Mia slept on her mattress on the floor.
So far so good!

When Hubby came home from out of town Mia was not so fond of him so we felt that she needed to be back with us.
It actually went well because she cuddled with me all night long!

The following night she cuddled with Daddy. To the point that her head was on his shoulder and she was sucking her thumb!

Oh, God bless this sweet little big girl!

Are you sitting down?
If not, please do so!

Tonight she said to both Daddy and I... 

individually and accompanied by a genuine smile...


in the sweetest, broken English you could EVER imagine!

I am on cloud nine!
(hubby is on the couch snoozing- he was on cloud nine- now he is on some other cloud!)

I know, 
I know, 
I have to share with you all what we have found out about Mia's age-

 so here goes!

Mia's BD is supposedly 10/14/2001. Which makes her 11 years and 4 months old.

She had a bone density test came out as 8 yrs 10 months...
That surprised us... I did not think it would come out so young...

The scale is plus or minus 11 months. Which means she is somewhere between 9 yr 9 mos and
7 yrs 11 months according to bone age.

This week she went to the dentist. 
His best guess, based on her teeth is that she is around 10 years old.

Mia's finding add was in 2007. We have not received any documentation of her prior to 2007.
We feel that she probably was NOT found at one day old as stated on her referral (since EVERYONE from that orphanage seemed to have been found at one day old) but instead was abandoned sometime in 2006 or 2007.

So... how old do you think our daughter is? Give me your best guess? 
What would you do? 
Can you give me a potential birthdate and why?

She is 4 ft 4 inches and 60 lbs.. 
Well below the growth charts for Chinese children her age.
(Which is smaller than American children.) 

We are praying and talking about it now.
We would love your input!

(All pics are old... hey, we are trying to bond... I can't smash a camera in her face all the time!
I gotta be happy with what I can get...
BUT after this bonding phase is over and we have accomplished what we need to do...
look out Mia and say CHEESE- Momma's got her camera!)


Angela Black said...

The way she looks compared to the bone test and dentist and what you don't know about her nutritional history, I'd say that she's 9 almost 10 or young 10. "Our girl" (not yet... but...) is built about like Mia and at 8 years she was about 56lbs and 4ft tall.

Jerry and Christy said...

Our daughter is 11 from Guangdong Province. She is 4'6" tall. People from southern China are on the shorter side. That being said I think Mia is probably 9 or 10.

CeLiA said...

Hello, I come from Hong Kong. I think Mia is about 9 years old if I only see her lovely pictures, not older than ten. This is Mia's Potential age in an Asian's eyes. BTW, thank you so much for adopted those Chinese children and give them a sweetest and loving home.

Patty said...

Well....if I compare her to my little chinese sweetie....Mia looks 11 to me. My daughter is turning 10 in about a week and we adopted her at 11mos. She is just tiny---maybe 45lbs now. If I compare Mia's photos to the other adopted Fchinese girls in town that are the same age I could say that maybe Mia is 10. I really don't think she looks younger than that! I wouldn't change anything until she can communicate--or ask her in Chinese what her "sign" is....I bet she knows if she is year of the tiger or sheep or whatever....ask her and it will clue you in to her real age.

So glad she is doing well!!

Jodi said...

ohhhhh how precious!!!! She is such a beautiful little girl! and will blossom right before your eyes!! Thank you Lord Jesus!!!

Angie said...

Since most of our children from China have an approximated birthday anyway, I'd say go with what the Lord is speaking to you. Personally, I'd err on the side of being younger. The children are usually younger emotionally, and need time to catch up academically, so why rush it and make her grow up faster than she needs to. You are so good about keeping the kids close and on'll make the best decision, I'm sure! PTL for the love growing!

kippi said...

Just want to say that I will pray with you on how and when to handle this decision. So glad to see how all of your children are thriving. God bless you guys!

Julie said...

She is so sweet - what wonderful leaps she has made. I have a daughter from Ethiopia who is about to turn 9. She is about the same size as you daughter and her teeth development (from what I can tell) looks similar. Her birthdate is an estimate and it was suggested that she also could be older (we adopted her at 5). As the years have gone by we have decided she is probably about where they estimated her - maybe up to a year more. So all that to say, I would guess 9-10. So lucky she has you and that you homeschool so it doesn't really matter too much! Blessings - Julie

momto12 said...

If she already knows the 10/14 part of her birthdate I would do 10/14/03. That would make her 9 years 4 mos. She looks about 9-10 to me. You could also do 10/14/02 which puts her with the dentist's estimate and at least close to the bone density.

amatta2 said...

I have 9 adopted daughters and have been through this many times. Mia looks a young ten to me. I would back it up a bit and choose for her 10th birthday soon. The excitement of a birthday and the attention of family and friends can be a great bonding experience.

Joy said...

Could you just have her turn 10 on her next birthday?

Rebecca said...

My Ansley just turned 11. She changed so much from 10-11... I absolutely think she looks as if she's turning 10. Definitely not 11, but older than 9:)

Sherri said...

She's just beautiful and I so enjoyed following you on this journey! She looks young to me and I would think 9ish!

Sue said...

Jean, you know my youngest girls.
Jenny: age 9 yrs 4 months adopted at 23 months is 59 pounds and 4 feet 3 inches
Katie: age 9 years 6 months adopted 25 months is 71 pounds and 4 feet 6 inches
Monika: age 10 year 6 months adopted 10 months is 61 pounds and 4 feet 4 inches.
So with Katie almost a year to the date younger, she is 10 pounds heavier and 1 inches taller then Monika and they are all thin. So it is hard to say.
I will pray for you.

Sarah said...

Well, Grace is 8 years and 4 months. She is about 46 inches tall and 38 pounds. So, from that, I'd guess that Mia could be around 10 years old. It seems to fit with the bone density test and what the dentist said, as well. One reason you might not want to put her age too young is then if she actually is older, she'll start puberty when she is very young (according to her given age). That could be pretty traumatic to her.

Does she know her age? We seriously would consider changing Kaikai's age, but he knows his age and we think that it's right too. He's just tiny-small. He's nine years old, 42 inches tall and weights 42 pounds.

And Yay! for the I love you's!!!!!

sasass said...

I think when she is more comfortable in a few months/years you will learn more about her past. If she was born in 2001 that would make her 5 or 6 when she was abandoned which I would imagine she would have some sort of memories of moving to the orphanage. I would say just let it be right now and eventually she may be able to help you piece the puzzle together!

Cari said...

I'd definitely say go with your gut. My two cents...age nine turning 10 especially if she acts younger than 11. My daughter adopted at age 12 in 2010 is turning 15 in a couple months but she keeps saying that she's 12 turning 13, because that's the age of all the kids in her grade level at school. She even acts 12 turning 13 but looks like a 15 year old. I wish we could change her age, but we know for certain her birth date as we have the birth certificate from her country (which is not China).

Penny said...

Well, the problem with the bone density and teeth charts is that they're not allowing for malnutrition, so that throws a potential curve ball into the calculations. I agree with the comment about puberty....she doesn't look less than 10 to me, based on her face. Somehow it's a not a little girl's face.

Hanna said...

It is hard to say about Mia's age in these pictures but she looks about 9 years old and the only way is go with your guts.

Julie said...

My daughter is 8 1/2 and her facial features and teeth structure (lost teeth, teeth coming in, etc... are similar to Mia's. Tori looks just a bit younger to me so I agree with the poster that said I would switch the birth day to 2003 and have her age at 9 years 3 months. So happy things are going so well!!

thesleepyknitter said...

Love, love, love this post! So happy to hear how things are going, and that all at least appears to be going well with Mia. How precious to hear that she loves you! May she know with 100% confidence that you love her, too!

Since you have done older adoptions multiple times, I am wishing that you would write a post that tells "all" of the things that you do to help older children begin to bond with you. For instance, you required that your children hold your hand while you were in China. That wouldn't have occurred to me. I know you don't normally write "how do we" posts, but as the resident expert :-) on adopting older children, would you be willing to take some time and think about the things you have done with your older ones that you feel have made a difference? We had such a bad, bad experience with an older one that we adopted, and part of it was because she really didn't want to be adopted -- she was in a fairly good orphanage (one that you were in recently) and was content there -- but a lot of it was because it was an emergency adoption for an age group with which we had no familiarity, and we simply didn't know what we were doing. :-( I know, I know: nobody "knows what they're doing." But you have done some things consistently that have worked well with your older ones. Would you be willing to think about that for a while and come up with a list? I do want to adopt older ones again -- I just need a lot of wisdom from other people who have done it, not from books. :-)

As for Mia's age -- just from her face I always think she is nine or ten. Our oldest one that we adopted (and whose adoption we eventually had to eventually disrupt -- she's doing so much better in her second family) is the size of a third grader, but she is 15 years old -- it was medication, five years on a common steroid for orphans in China, that had stunted her previously normal path. Our nine-year-old daughter from China is in second grade but is smaller than most of her American classmates who are two years younger than she is. We have not done a bone density test.

And since I'm writing a too long response anyway (sorry!!!), I just have to add that I love your banner photo SO much -- it makes me smile every time I open your blog. Such a beautiful family, a beautiful photo.

--shawnee :-)

Susie said...

Well, my 8 years 4 month old who was adopted at 8 months from China is 2 years 8 months delayed on her bone age. If we had adopted her as an older child and tried to use bone age alone to tell us the accuracy of her age, we would be off. By a lot! I will ask the dentist when she goes what he thinks of her tooth age! She has lost 8 teeth she informed me today. I wonder if he will see older teeth or teeth like her bone age! While her formula was not as healthy as a similac or something (sugar was a big ingredient!) she was 16 pounds at 8 months and although smaller than a US baby not tiny by the standards of the kids in our large travel group. Today she is 45 pounds and 44 inches. I think it is likely you can reduce her age to 9 turning 10 and then as she can communicate with you better you may need to revise it if it is accurate. Can you really change it legally in the US when you readopt? If not, then I guess it is ok to revise it if she tells you more info later!

Wright Family said...

congrats on doing such a great job with bonding !! Our son, adopted at 11 (supposedly) and abandoned somewhere between ages 6-8 and home a year has recently been able to tell me the story of his abandonment ( it is heart breaking). I wouldn't expect him to know what age that happened because Chinese, especially poor rural Chinese, don't keep track of birthdays. Kids can be all over the map with size. One son, adopted at 11 was already in full puberty. If I hadn't seen him at age 6 when he first arrived at his orphanage, I would have thought I was bringing home a teenager. ( I suspect the improved nutrition of the O put him in early puberty.) Mia might be one of those kids who grows by leaps and bounds her first year home.

Debbie said...

I am a little confused. Do you mean you will change her birth certificate or you will just tell her she is a different age? I haven't adopted older kiddos so I'm not sure of the advantage of all this. I'm sure you will figure it out with lots of prayer. But I hope you keep her birthday Oct. 14th because that's mine and it reminds me to pray for her!

Jennie said...

Jean, Inadequate nutrition (i.e., not getting the appropriate foods for a growing child) can also lend to inaccurate assumptions. Mia looks like a 10 year old beauty. Her face always radiates. And so happy to read that she finally uttered the words "I love you". In one of the photos, has she already polished her plate of food? Or is Sarah having seconds :) I enjoy your posts and photos - and check your website regularly to read how the 3M's are adapting to American life. Cheerio for now.

Jennifer P said...

Both my kids tested 2-3 years behind in bone age. But the dentist put them somewhere close to where they are claimed to be. It is a mystery.

Vicki said...

Ah. I am experienced at this one. I would suggest to go with your gut...and go younger. I'd have her turn 9 on this next b'day...maybe 10 if that "feels right"; however, with older child adoptions (and yes, you are the expert)...there are NO NO No rules to follow. Do what you feel best for your child/your family. In the grand scheme of life, it won't matter - but it does matter NOW...with education, with fitting in, with needing to be/act younger, to reclaim some childhood. It's controversial to some people but SOOOO not an issue to me. It appears to others looking on that it could affect the child's psyche, whatever. I'm telling you...transition has been smooth when/where I know this has happened. Those who wish they had changed a birth year seems to wish they'd gone younger when they had the chance. Bone age tests, teeth, nutritional necessarily good predictors of accuracy. Pray. Do what you believe is best for Mia. In my humble opinion as the mom of an older child who had an age change, it wasn't a big deal - for us!! Blessings.

Suzanne said...

Based on my completely unscientific opinion, I'd say she looks 10. I would have her be 10 yrs 4 m, and keep the same "day" as her birthday. But, I would celebrate her half birthday coming up so that she doesn't have to wait so long to have some kind of birthday celebration. By reducing her age by just a year you may avoid some of the issues mentioned above with regard to puberty.

Janet said...

She is the same size as my daughter who turned 9 in Jan...adopted at 13mo. But Emmi is on the large side of Chinese kids. So, I would make Mia 9 keeping the same Bday, but change the year.
We have a son who is supposidly 10, but I wanted him to be 9, but didn't want to go thru the hassel for just 1 year. On his bday in July he turned 10, we had cake, gifts, etc. A few months later, another child had a bday, in conversation, the 10yo said he was I told the other kids not to say anything, and just go on letting him think he is 9=).

ourchinagirls said...

I would wait until she can tell you more. Changing things could be sending her the message that you don't like what you know about her. If she reads this blog later on in life she will see that you have had a problem with her age way before you even met her.

Kim said...

I agree with those that posted to wait until Mia is able to talk with you freely about her age, her abandonment, and her life in the orphanage before changing her age.

I was in a lecture this past summer by Dr. Changfu Chang, and per Dr Chang, most Chinese people are not concerned with DOBs. He is not sure how old he is or when his exact birthday is. He inform the audience that orphanages only provide the kids DOB in order to satisfy the adoptive parents. He was very interesting! Here's his web-site, He's directed and produced many documentaries. (One day we'll buy them.) (He showed parts of "Daughter's Return" during his lecture.)

Thank you for keeping your blog! I've been following you for about 2 years now, because Abby and one of our friends had the same disease.

I pray that God leads you to the decision that will be best for Mia!

Wendy said...

My daughter is 10 almost 11 from China. We do have proof of her birthdate. Mia is smaller than her but looks older. I would keep the birthdate and change the year to 2003 which would make her turn 10 this year. Bone density can be wrong based on nutrition. Not sure what you did with the other kiddo's birthrates. I do have some experience interviewing many adopted adults and the one thing that I heard loud and clear is their identity was directly related to birthdate. Years ago, children who were placed for adoption did not have an exact birthdate in order to protect the birth mom. Of course, they knew within a couple days the birth but not exactly. I was surprised at just how much this impacted people. One's identity is linked to their birthday. Not sure if you have heard of Halfsky but if Mia was involved with Half sky, you can email and request all her records. I found that I did not get everything when we adopted our daughter but I got a whole lot of information when I contacted Half Sky. It was nice to get baby pictures of my daughter. Good Luck!

cara said...

My son matthew is exactly the same size as Mia. He is 9yrs 4 months. He is not chinese, he is ukrainian. We adopted him at 26 months. He was a premie, and severly manurished when we got him. He had bald spots and all. I know all this probably won't help u much but I love yourblog and hadto add about my son. I do have a chinese daughter too. She is 3, weighs 28 lbs and a huge blessng. I am praying for my husband to change hismimd and let us adopt two more from china!

blstmama11 said...

Miss her! I have thought about this often since meeting Mia. My feeling is 10. If you change the month/date she needs a special day because she is a very special child of God. I would chose a birthday anniversary of my grandparents...blessings!

Sammy said...

I'm so glad you're blogging this. People adopt and take their paperwork so literal. I can't tell all the things I have learned that was opposite from what we were told.