Friday, January 11, 2013

Jasara Update

The biggest milestone that Jasara has reached since I last updated is that she is now potty trained (whoop whoop)!!!!! This is partly because she is a smart cookie and partly because the foster mothers had introduced her to the potty in Ghana. From what I am told, at many foster homes and orphanages it is typical for the children to sit on the potty before their baths which happen twice a day, sometimes 3 times per day. I am pretty sure they make them sit there until they ‘go’. So, from the start of when the girls came home in October, every time us girls took a trip to the bathroom Jasara would point at the potty, motion that she wanted a turn, and start trying to take her diaper off. She would get very mad if I didn’t let her! She is so keen on getting to try everything that her big sisters do that she gets really offended if I don’t allow it. Much to my surprise, the first time I put her on the potty she started pushing right away like she’d done it a hundred times and she went #2 (sorry if that’s too much information but I don’t know how else to say it!). From then on, I let her sit on the potty about 2 times a day and each time she went. I wasn’t ready to get serious about fully potty training her until after Jennifer went to school because there were too many other things that we were focusing on in getting them adjusted. For the past two months she had been staying dry in between diaper changes, and telling me every time she needed to go #2 so she could do so on the potty. Her bladder and bowel control was definitely working! On Monday of this week I put her in underwear and just made sure to set her on the potty about every hour. She did great, stayed dry in between potty trips, and went each time I set her on the pot. A few times she even told me that she had to go by saying her version of ‘potty’ which sounds like ‘peeee’ and then heading off to the bathroom. WOW! I was so impressed! It is now day 5 of her being out of diapers and in underwear and she’s only had one accident all week and it was a mild one. That was the easiest potty training adventure I’ve ever had! Whoo hoo!

Jasara’s birth certificate has her turning 3 years old at the end of April. From the beginning, Jake and I have felt that she is much younger than that. In Ghana villages, mothers typically give birth in their huts…they don’t go to the hospital because there is no hospital to go to. They do keep track of the day of week that their child is born (because it plays into what they name them in Ghana tradition) but they do not have a way to know the actual date, and honestly, village children don’t ever need their exact birthdate for anything anyways. If you ask any child in Ghana how old they are, they might tell you 8 years one day only to tell you 10 years a few days later. It is just a guess. For adoption a birth certificate must be printed, so usually a social worker guesses how old a child is and then picks a corresponding birthdate (this gets pretty difficult to get accurate because so many children on the adoption track are malnourished and appear younger/smaller than they really are – that was Justice’s case). Jasara is displaying toddler behaviors and developmental achievements that seem to put her anywhere between 18-24 months. She had her first dentist appointment a few weeks ago and her 2 year molars were not even poking through yet. You can’t always go by dental records in adoption, but so many things are confirming to us that Jasara is closer to turning 2 than 3. With adoption you are able to change your child’s age when you re-adopt them in your state (that is also when you can change their name). You just have to submit supporting evidence from a doctor or dentist and a teacher if applicable who can give additional testimony to the age change. We are actually going through the process with Justice right now. We already ‘verbally’ changed his age when we tell people how old he is (this past August we celebrated his 10th birthday although by his birth certificate it would have been his 8th). But we need to get it legally changed on his birth certificate so that for example when he can start driving, his birth certificate will reflect that he is of age. We re-adopted Justice in our state before we knew that we’d be changing his age. So we basically are having to go back and make an amendment on the adoption decree. Anyways, for Jasara, when we go through the re-adoption process we are planning to change her age to turning 2 in April instead of 3.

I have never in my life met anyone like Jasara. I know I’ve written about it on here before, but she imitates everything and everyone so intricately that it is striking! She can watch you do something once, and then go through the exact movement or sequence of what you did without you helping her. I cannot imagine what God is going to have her be someday because this trait of being able to observe and then imitate can be used for so much! I’m already thinking DANCE for her, because she’ll be able to catch onto the moves in no time! Jake is thinking POINT GUARD because she’ll be able to learn skills so quickly with her innate body awareness. I wish I had more videos displaying her observations and imitations, but they happen so fast and in the moment that going to grab my camera would cause her to stop in the middle of what she’s doing. I did manage to grab a quick clip on my phone of her cleaning her baby (my phone can’t upload very long videos so this one gets cut off towards the end).You can kind of get a feel for what I am talking about….watch for the little detailed movements….like her sound effects of putting water on the ‘sponge’ (Kleenex) – she came up with the idea to make the sounds on her own - and then watch towards the end when she squeezes the imaginary water out of the ‘sponge’. I know these things aren’t jaw-dropping by any means, but when you are around her all day and see her constantly able to imitate and remember your every move it becomes quite noteworthy!


Jasara’s imitating skills have really come in handy in the language department! She can repeat anything that we say, and like Jayla was at her age, she has become my little echo! I’ll say something like, “Jayla, lunch is ready!!!” and pretty soon about 2 seconds behind me Jasara is hollering her repeated version of what I said. It’s so cute. Jasara is really picking up on communicating in English and is now saying these words on her own: thank you, all done, baby, eat, help, open, go, stop, no-no, water, sleep, uh-oh, take, ow (ouch), yummy, come. Some of the words don’t sound perfectly clear but are spoken like a true toddler! Jasara can say all of our names, and she especially LOVES to holler at JJ because his name is so easy to pronounce! She is constantly yelling for him or trying to get his attention when he is home. About two weeks or so ago I started noticing that Jasara was referring to Jennifer as “ba-ba”. She can say the rest of our names really well, but I could not figure out why she never said Jennifer’s name or even called her Jenny which is what we often call her. After I noticed Jennifer answer to “ba-ba” I asked, “Is that what she calls you? Why does she call you that?” To which Jennifer said, “My name too in Ghana was Amma.” Ohhhhhh! Well that makes sense! Ghanaians often have around 3 different names that they go by, for sure at least two. They are named for the day of the week that they are born on, and are also given an English name - sometimes this is a biblical name, and even more have another traditional Ghanaian name, and some are named according to the order in which they were born in their family. Amma is the Ghanaian name for girls born on a Saturday. :)  I am sure Jasara had been calling Jennifer this all along, but I didn’t catch on until recently! Just for fun, here is a list of these ‘soul names’ that Ghanaian children get according to the day they were born:

Examples of Ghanaian Soul Names

Monday: Kojo, Kwadwo, Jojo, Cudjoe, Kudjoe
Tuesday: Kwabena, Ebo, Kobena, Kobina, Kobby
Wednesday: Kwaku, Kweku, Kwiku
Thursday: Yaw, Ekow, Yao, Yokow
Friday: Kofi, Fiifi, Yoofi
Saturday: Kwame, Ato, Atoapem, Kwamena, Kwami
Sunday: Kwasi, Akwasi, Kwesi

Monday: Adwoa, Adzo, Ajoba, Ejo, Adjoa
Tuesday: Abena, Abla, Araba, Abina
Wednesday: Akua, Akuba, Ekuwa, Kukuwa
Thursday: Yaa, Aba, Ayawo, Yaaba, Yaayaa
Friday: Afua, Afi, Afia, Efie, Efua
Saturday: Ama, Amma, Awo
Sunday: Akosua, Esi, Kisi

Characteristics of each day
Monday's child is the father or mother in the family; nurturing in nature, dependable and organized, and protective of his/her family.
Tuesday's child is the problem solver and planner of the family. They are structured in nature, neutral in all matters and never take sides.
Wednesday's child is fully in control of every situation, does not want to be told what to do, knows it all, is spontaneous, vibrant and cordial.
Thursday's child is quiet in nature and incredibly observant. They are generally listeners, not talkers, and analyzes situations very well.
Friday's child is a leader, not a follower. He/she is very temperamental but has a big heart. Generally the instigator of everything.
Saturday's child likes to take control of family situations. He/she runs the show and make the rules, but will go out of his/her way for others any time.
Sunday's child is the passive, sensitive and warm member of the family. He/she tends to be shy and likes to keep to his/her self, but is very aware of his/her surroundings and usually is the secret keeper of the family.

Let’s see, one other thing that I wanted to make sure and document is that we believe Jasara may be a secret Italian! You have got to watch this girl down a plate of spaghetti! She is loving anything with a tomato base….any form of pasta with a marinara sauce, lasagna, pizza, and chili are her absolute favorites! She will now choose these over chicken any day!

I also wanted to share these cute pictures….the other night I took the kids to the gym to run around during practices and it didn’t take long for Jasara to head out into mid-court to be right in the mix with Dad.

He had to set her down once or twice while he demonstrated drills and she just stood there watching practice almost like she was taking notes!
And here are my sweet girls, all snuggled up together (they did that themselves!) and enjoying their nightly treat of ice cream!
♥ ♥ ♥

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