Sounds horrible doesn't it? To be clear, I've been dreading sharing that we officially changed Melia's Birthday. I figured maybe people would piece it together when I posted pictures on Thursday about her turning 2, since she just turned 1 last May.
When we received Melia's referral last September and according to her birthday she was only 4 months old, but she looked much older in her pictures. At that time we were not thinking at all of changing her b-day, we just wanted to get her home and give her lots of kisses!! We also wanted to put some meat on her bones (she only weighed 14lbs.). Hannah Hope got that process started and chunked her up while she waited to come home (she gained 10 pounds in her 3 months there)! Then when she came home all we were thinking about was loving her and bonding with her or "cocooning" if you will. When we broke out of our cocoon every where I went people would comment on the kids (lots of people wonder if I have a daycare!) and ask about their ages. People were always shocked when I would say Melia's age, sometimes they'd argue with me "there's no way she's ___." Really, folks?! I feel the need to say that my friend, Georgia, is often amazed at the advice and crazy things people feel free to say to me, really I could do many posts on the comments I get.
Based on the adoption reading that we had done we knew that it was frowned upon to change your child's birthday. There are a lot of really good reasons for that. A few of those reason are: for adoptive children to get caught up developmentally and it's a date that was given by their birth family. It all made sense to us so we didn't spend much time thinking about switching the date.
Then we had to fill out forms to get her birth certificate and on the form it has a section about changing the b-day. So I started thinking about it and pray about it. After lots of praying, Michael and I decided that changing the date made a lot sense. Developmentally she is tracking with all the other 2 year olds that she hangs with. We really are amazed at how quickly she has developed in the short time she's been home. 10 months ago today we met her for the first time and she was not even crawling yet. She's now a runner, yeah it's a waddly run, but a run none the less.
Then there's the idea that her birth date was given by her birth family..... well folks, the reality is that not everyone is like us Westerners who are a little over the top when it comes to celebrating birthdays (don't get me wrong, I love me so birthday fun but we can go overboard with it). In many parts of the world dates just aren't very important. Things are based more on the seasons than on a specific date and even exact minute of birth. Melia was born in a remote village in southern Ethiopia, it's such a small village it was difficult to find a map while we were in Ethiopia that had her village on it. So I'm guessing that the day that my wonderful baby came into this world wasn't documented and that the documented date came from a social worker who was helping a sad mother as she relinquished the rights to her beautiful baby.
Writing this is difficult for me. So is talking about it when people are insensitive to the topic. Everyone (well, most people) is so good natured with their comments "maybe she's this old" or "wow that's crazy that you don't know her actual birthday". People are quick to say the first thing on their mind without thinking about the people they are talking to. It's hard for me to know that I don't have a specific birthday for her, I don't want her to be different than the rest of our family. It's also strange to have people decide her age in front of me based on her development "she must be older because my kids never spoke so clearly at that age" umm... not to be mean, but maybe she's really smart! Don't get me wrong, I love talking about adoption and I really don't mind these comments too much, but I'm done with dealing with them. It really only bugs me because these comments are always in front of my kids. As she gets older I don't want to feel the way I feel when people say things. I feel like I'm not communicating very well, this feeling. And I can't explain it so I guess that's as good as it's going to get ;)
So we officially changed her birthday to October 14, 2008 and since we changed it we felt such a peace about our decision! It feels right and good and we praise the Lord that He lead us in that direction.
Even though I wasn't excited about writing this I'm glad I did. It's a little like therapy for me. Most things about adoption are incredible but I want to be real about the stuff that is hard. And I also want people to stop talking to me about how old they think she is. hehe :) If I sounded bitter about comments I've received, I'm really not- I promise. :)