One thing we learned and now have experienced with adopting a formerly institutionalized child is that we can experience a range of developmental stages at any given time or day. It comes and goes. Sometimes our 7 1/2 year old acts like a 16 year old--but my bio kids were like that too. Sometimes he acts like he is a toddler--ie language development. Except with him everything progresses at a more rapid pace.
At the beginning of our time home, he and I even had some "baby" time. After a bath I would gather him up in a towel and cradle him and talk to him like a baby---he would giggle and purse his little lips. We haven't gone "that" far back very often, but I do tell him I wish I had been there when he was a baby. And that I'm sorry I wasn't there when he was 2 and so on. The stages he goes through don't necessarily go in order either. He can jump around all over the place on each day. It isn't really that obvious to most people that encounter him. But, I notice it because I am with him practically 24-7.
Most of the time I'd say he acts like a 5-6 year old. Professionals say kids who spent time in an institution can be developmentally behind by 1 month for every 3 spent in an orphanage. That puts our boy at about age 5. Sometimes I do think that is about where he is at. He can get away with it now too because he is still pretty small for his age.
Physically speaking he is STRONG! I mean the kid is toned and can get himself around very well. So that part I don't think is "behind".
In the past several days he seems to be "stuck" at about age 3. Everything is "WHY"?
"Go get your pajamas on Lucas"----
"We are going to the store"
"I'm going to work now"
"Plants have leaves on them"
"It's time to do your math"
Sometimes that question can just be annoying--as anyone who has raised a 3 year old knows. And sometimes I feel like it is a form of disobedience--to question our authority. But, the reality is he is playing around with the language. And he is learning. He wants to know how much information he can get out of a person.
So, head's up---
if you plan on having a conversation with the boy....be prepared to answer the question "why" about 30 times. And sometimes you will even get a "why" response to your answer to the first "why"....
This whole experience is like child development in fast forward mode. I turn around and he has the next thing mastered and is progressing rapidly to another thing. And then again sometimes he takes a step backward to pick up something he left behind previously. It's quite entertaining and keeps us on our toes.
He really is a lot of fun right now. And his personality has been blossoming like crazy. We are really blessed!