Dear Jake & Janel-
The blood test verifies that Justice has sickle cell trait which means he has only one copy of the abnormal gene. This should not cause any symptoms. He may always have a mild anemia but should not be bothered by this minor defect.
PRAISE GOD!!!!!! It had been our hunch way back when he was said to have sickle cell anemia that something just wasn’t right with that diagnosis. Now to see it on paper that he is only a carrier is absolutely beautiful. Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful.
Now, let’s talk age. Impoverished families in Ghana do not have a way to keep track of age and birthdays, let alone have a copy of a birth certificate on file (or really any bookkeeping records for that matter). So, with Justice’s situation and many other children in his boat, it is left up to the social welfare workers to guess the age of many of the children who are being adopted. When the birth certificate for Justice was typed up they gave him the birthday of August 5th, 2004 which makes him 6 years old currently. Jake and I have a sort of gut feeling that he is more around the age of 8. Now that he is up to speed nutrition-wise and gained some weight and grown in height, we are better able to compare him to his peers. In just being around the kids at Jake’s gym, Justice seems to fit right in with the 2nd and 3rd graders (8 & 9 year olds). It’s almost a perfect fit. In fact, Jake has let Justice start practicing with the 9U boys team to start developing some body awareness and physical coordination. I am posting some pictures and video below of his first practice with the team from Monday night. You cannot even imagine the JOY that filled my heart in getting to watch him out on the court.
Along the lines of age, I had taken Justice to his first-ever dentist appointment last week as well. I wanted to post about an interesting find, in case any other families who have adopted older African children find themselves in the same ‘freak out’ mode that I was in last week! Towards the end of the check-up the dentist noted to me that Justice’s 12 year molars were almost in. This indicated to the dentist that his age was more around the 11 or 12 year old range. As I let that sink in I went into sort of a ‘freak out’ mode for a few hours. Once the initial shock was over, I ended up calling a good friend who had recently adopted from Ethiopia to talk some things through with her. I have a really hard time processing things internally. I have to figure things out verbally (which is why blogging has become such an outlet for me!). And, I know it was God-directed that I would give this friend a call because she shared some interesting information with me. She said that at a recent adoption conference they had specifically noted that this has been coming up a lot with children adopted from Africa…..their permanent teeth are coming in years sooner than a typical American child. It has to do with malnutrition, and early tooth decay of the baby teeth. Sure enough, after she shared this with me I looked this up online and found quite a few studies being done in African countries regarding this exact thing. One study did indicate that in a few of their subjects 12 year molars were in around the age of 9. Studies are also currently being done on the Indian population. In short, American dentists do not regularly see African patients (and surely not our dentist in Ankeny, IA) so they are just comparing them to what is typical in an American child. So my conclusion from all of this was that our gut feeling was likely still accurate…that he is around the age of 8. In case you are wondering how all of that works, when we refinalize the adoption it is possible to petition for an age change. This is something Jake and I are prayerfully considering about what to do, however no decision needs to be made right now. I know that God will provide the perfect wisdom for us regarding Justice’s specific situation!!!!
And, now let’s talk basketball! This was so exciting getting to see him out there!!!!!!!!!!!! Picture quality isn’t great b/c of the gym lighting, but I still have to post these!
And I snapped this picture right after the coaches explained the 3-man weave......
Justice bites his fingernails when he is nervous and I could tell he wasn’t really sure how to do the drill. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I didn’t get a video of his first attempt at the 3-man weave. It would have been cool to see his progress. The first, second, and third try he messed up the drill so the coaches stopped his group and physically walked Justice through the drill. Then, the next time he had the drill figured out, but his coordination/skill is still a little off. Here is a video:
Don’t you just want to jump out there and help him?! I am going to have to start getting used to being a parent in the bleachers now! Normally I just have to chase around rugrats, not pay attention to what is actually happening on the court! It was sort of nerve-racking watching it all…..but oh the JOY of getting to see him run around out there!!!!! :)