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!