I invited my sweet friend, Leslie, to write a guest post that I think you will find very interesting and informative. I’m posting Part 1 today, and Part 2 tomorrow.
“Wow, she is so tall!” Tell me about it! She grew 10 inches in 2 years, from the 12th percentile to the 90th percentile for height! Being tall for one’s age is considered a great thing, while being short often goes unmentioned. Growth is part of life, and children who have had early childhood (even prenatal and infant) malnutrition are frequently shorter than their American peers. It is nothing short of amazing to see how quickly children who have been adopted grown once they are in loving families with good nutrition, which even the best orphanage can not replace. We all cheer when children who have been under their growth curve or in single digit percentiles cross the growth curve lines and start growing.
Even that word is something that makes many adults uneasy enough to lower their voices and avoid the subject altogether. Many people would prefer to ignore the subject for as long as possible; after all, eventually kids will realize their bodies are changing without us saying anything about it, right? Puberty makes us adults think about sex, which is something we are uncomfortable thinking about and talking about, especially in the context of our growing children. Although we know covering our eyes doesn’t make it go away, we still act that way at times.There is an intersection here with adopted children. That is, when children who have been nutritionally and growth challenged come into our loving, nutritionally rich families, they miraculously begin to grow. Sometimes when that happens, their endocrine system begins to work faster than normal, which can continue and can lead to a greater risk for precocious puberty for our internationally adopted children. The timing of puberty can vary depending on race and gender, but generally speaking, when signs of puberty begin before age 8, you should talk with your pediatrician. If you have a daughter of African descent, you may have to push to get her evaluated for precocious puberty because the “normal range” for puberty for African American girls is now considered to start at age 8! All I have to say about that is, it may be more common now (in a way that shifts the average/ range), but it can still cause many challenges.
Read part 2 tomorrow.
Have a great day, friends.