What's In a Birthday? (a call for advice)

By | 2:00 PM 8 comments
As is not uncommon in the world of international adoption Eli has had three different dates of birth recorded for him:

The first we heard about was December 14, 2006 - The date he was admitted to Layla Orphanage, since they didn't have any official birthday.

The second was November 10, 2006 - The "official" birth date as deemed by the court officials in Ethiopia and recorded on his new Ethiopian birth certificate. Really, it was just sort of arbitrarily given since the December birth date obviously wasn't the real one.

The third is March 22, 2007 - The real birth date as told to us by Eli's birth mom...told to us with such quickness and clarity that I have no doubt that this is the real one.

No big deal...right?


Unfortunately, it is a big deal. Without boring you with a bunch of technical jargon...basically we can change his birth date to the correct one when we do his readoption...but I have heard from numerous sources that we can run into problems with the new North Carolina birth certificate not matching his Ethiopian birth certificate. You know...little things like not being able to get a passport for him.

So. We are not sure if it is worth changing? But that has Eli turning four very soon. And he is not a four year old in any way, shape, or form. Do we just keep it on paper and celebrate his real one in March? Does that create its own set of problems in and of itself?


All that rambling to say that I'd love any advice from any other adoptive families (or just about anyone with an opinion on the matter). Because the government websites are just oh so freakin' helpful about these matters.
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There is a 7-8 year gap between the ethiopian calendar and our calendar. We found that this often made converting dates very difficult. I don't think Eli's birthmother was wrong in her date, but she could have meant March 22, 2007 (instead of 6, becuae 2006 would mean he is 4.5!)!
I would pick the date that seems closest to you, and if you can't decide, then go with the one on his Ethiopian BC...much easier!

Megan - thanks for catching that...I had switched the years. I meant to write that we believe his actual birthdate is march 22, 2007. the date his birth mom told us was then translated by the translator...and that is how we came up with the 3/22/07 date. Shew. This is even confusing me =)!!

Thanks for the advice!

Our Family said...

I would probably keep the paperwork as simplistic as possible and match his "paper birthdate" to the date on the Ethiopian birth certificate. Then I would celebrate his actual birthday that his birth mom stated. Then, when he is old enough to understand he can make the decision of which date he wants to celebrate on ... that is just my thoughts. I just know how confusing paperwork can be with out throwing another wrench in it by trying to change the date on paper.

I am sorry that there is not an easy answer ... just go with your gut and it will work out!

Kathleen said...

When we adopted Maria, we also did not know her actual birthdate. After having a bone age study done (which gave such a wide range of possible dates that it wasn't really helpful), we picked a date. Our dentist says we still made her too old. Anyway, her passport matches her Romanian birth certificate, not her Michigan birth certificate. We found it too hard to change her passport, so we have decided just to leave it as is, but we use her other birth certificate for school and the day we actually celibrate.

I think I would stick with the paper date since there is not a huge difference (if it was years, I would change it). But whatever you decide will be right!

Briana said...

i'm not basing this on practical things like passports or paperwork, or any sort of adoption experience whatsoever.....however, you know i love to express my opinion so i say change it to the day his birth mother said because, really that was the day he's born and when he's older he will want his birthday celebrated on that day. I'm sure you can figure out the other stuff though it might be a headache i think you will probably be glad you did it now. ok, there's my 2 cents.

Ashley said...

We adopted twin boys (we're another AAI family!) and when we met their mother she shared with us that one of the was actually born after midnight, so they have two different birthdays. We LOVE birthdays around this house, so I was super excited that they would each have their own day! We did change his birthday on his American birth certificate, and no one told us it might cause us problems later on...yikes! Thanks for sharing, so I'll at least be somewhat prepared.

I think it's important that he not be expected to act older than he feels / is developmentally. Our (adopted) kids have had some major setbacks in their lives, and unfortunately, our society is not very forgiving when it comes to that.

I think you're in a hard situation, good luck!

{Staci} said...

TOTALLY struggling with this right now. I don't know what to do. All the dates we have are arbitrary. I want to go with one that's a month younger because it seems to make more sense with his development, but my husband is loathe to change paperwork. He wants it all to match. I say the first date was pulled out of someone's heinie anyway, why not go with the second date that makes more sense. It will be a painful day anyway (potentially) since we don't actually know waht month or day... I am so torn and wish I had the right answer.