Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Year of Growth: Stunning!

On October 27 of 2010, before we received our referral of Seth and Lizzie, our children's height and weight were measured for the first time by the doctors in Ethiopia; when we received our referral almost a month later, we received these documents.  We were more than a little shocked by how tiny our kids were.  Most children coming from Ethiopia are pretty small at first; however, they seemed like giants when compared to how tiny our children were.  We could hardly bear to believe that the measurements were accurate; however, subsequent measurements were consistent with the first, and when we met them in February, they were simply dwarfed by other children of like ages.  We were simply left hoping that they were ok despite their size and circumstance.

The adoption pediatrician that we consulted with when we received our referral indicated that she could not guarantee that there would be no issues as a result of their extreme malnutrition.  They were so tiny that they could not even be plotted on African growth charts, which are designed for smaller statured people than our western growth charts.  Though they are still tiny for their ages (I get comments all the time when people find out how old they are!), they now factor onto (the bottom of) western growth charts, a huge jump from just a year ago.  Much more importantly, we are so thankful that their brains seem to be functioning just fine; although their height and weight were severely affected by their circumstances, their bodies did their jobs by protecting their heads/brains from the most severe effects of malnutrition.  We have been measuring and weighing them regularly to monitor their progress.

Just this morning, the kids had appointments with our regular family doctor to monitor their progress and start them on vaccination regimes.  She hadn't seen the kids since two days after we arrived home from Ethiopia (our other appointments have all been with the infectious disease clinic doctors), and she was astonished by how much progress they've made physically, by how well they understand and speak English, and by their bright eyed and curious demeanour.  I couldn't agree more.

I can hardly bear to think that just a year ago, my then five- and three-year-old children were so terribly tiny and fragile, the size of my bio child when he was just a few months old.  It is even harder for me to record these measurements on paper here, because seeing it in black and white makes me cry, to comprehend the hunger and suffering that we know now they endured.  Take a look for yourself at the astounding progress they've made:

Height on October 27, 2010:  78 cm (30.7")
One year later:  104 cm (41")

* he grew 26 cm (10.3") in a year!!!!  That's almost a foot!

Weight on October 27, 2010:  10 kg (22.0 lbs) - I can hardly bear to write this down...he was five.
One year later:  19.5 kg (43.0 lbs) - he gained three pounds just in the month of October!

* he gained 9.5 kg (21 lbs) in a year!  That's just shy of doubling his weight in a year!

When we first brought Seth home, just five months ago, he was wearing clothing in a size 2, sometimes a size 3.  Today he is solidly in a size 4 with sleeves that are becoming a little short, and I noticed on the weekend that his pants (which were dragging behind him three weeks ago) are now at an appropriate length on his ankles...if he keeps growing at this rate, he'll be in size 5 pants within weeks.  Absolutely astounding.

Height on October 27, 2010:  75 cm (29.5")
One year later:  92 cm (36.2")

* she grew 17 cm (6.7") in a year!

Weight on October 27, 2010:  7 kg (15.4 lbs)
One year later:  15.5 kg (34.1 lbs)

* she gained 8.5 kg (18.7 lbs) in a year, more than doubling her weight!

When we first brought Lizzie home, she was wearing clothing for an 18-24 month child.  She's progressed through sizes 2 and 3 in the past five months and is mostly into size 4 now; today she wears size 3 or 4 pants, and size 4 shirts.  I'm very grateful that so many friends have given us a lot of their kids' clothing...otherwise we'd be in the poorhouse trying to keep her clothed.  We're totally amazed by this kind of growth, and so thankful.


It's hard to comprehend how so much can happen in just a year...I can't wait to see what the coming year brings, as they continue to flourish with good nutrition, vitamins and supplements, and a whole lot of love and care!


  1. Amazing isn't it? We get so excited when we weigh and measure Mekuria every month!
    So happy Seth and Lizzie are doing so well!

  2. Their bodies and minds and spirits are all flourishing with good nutrition/supplements; secure shelter and provisions; loving and caring family (immediate, extended and first family and community); home schooling with a mom who reads to them; and play, as children 'ought' to be able to do! How exciting to see them thriving, just as you've also watched Matthew thrive since infancy.

  3. That makes me want to cry...it brings the scripture to mind "He will not leave you as orphans. He will come to you." He did not leave your sweet precious children. They are thriving!!!

  4. P.S. I quoted that wrong...it is "I will...I will" oops!!! I'm tired!

  5. Oh Ruth! That makes me want to cry. I look at the measurements you had for Seth in October 2010 and they are exactly the measurements for height & weight for Addis last month and he is 16 months old. I'm so happy that both children are getting bigger and stronger each day. You are doing a great job with all your kids!