Posted by: Kristin W | August 27, 2010

The Calendar

Today marks the eighth month waiting mark, and still no news, While we watch the calendar slowly tick by, a little lesson about the Ethiopian calendar.

The Ethiopian calendar has twelve months of 30 days each, plus five or six extra days which comprise a thirteenth month.  (Just think…they don’t need a silly little rhyme to remember how many days in the month!)  The sixth extra day is added every four years without exception on August 29 of the Julian calendar, six months before the Julian leap day.  The current year according to the Ethiopian calendar is 2002, which began on September 11, 2009. The year 2003 will begin on September 11, 2010.  I guess that by their calendar, we haven’t even started waiting yet!

In addition to this difference in time, most children in Ethiopia are born in villages, with no Bureau of Vital Statistics.  Therefore, they don’t usually have a birth certificate.  They also do not celebrate birthdays, so most kids don’t even understand the significance of their date of birth.  Therefore, while we have requested a sibling pair UNDER AGE FOUR, there is no way to really know how old a child is.  Families who relinquish children often state that the children are younger, in hopes that they will be easier to place.  Since malnutrition is so common, many children look younger (or are smaller) than they would otherwise be.  Therefore, we really have no way of knowing how old a child is until we get back to the US where we can have dental x-rays or a bone scan to more closely determine the age.  Our home study is written for a child up to age five, so if we accept a referral and then find out the child is slightly older, we would still be able to finalize the process.

Of course, once we get back, we’ll get a US birth certificate for the child.  We may be able to adjust the dates on that if we have some evidence that the original age is incorrect.  However, we likely wouldn’t do that, as I’d still prefer they get a year of preschool and time to catch up on their language skills before starting kindergarten.  We’ve already got one kid who’s the tallest in her class.  If the new kids end up being older than their classmates, maybe that will be a family trend.



  1. Ooooh, great lesson! Congrats on 8 months!! We’re nearing the 10 month mark…unbelievable!

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