Four year old Jacob is very warm and caring. His Ayi tells us that “When he has something good to eat, he would always share it with you. If he has a toy in his hand, he would get one for you too. No one had to teach him to do that. He is naturally compassionate. His thoughtfulness is especially surprising when demonstrated in an unusual setting. Once I went to visit his kindergarten during lunchtime. All of the children and teachers have already been seated at the table. Upon seeing me, Jacob immediately dropped his spoon, left the table, went into another room and fetched a chair, set it beside me, and patted on it to ask me to sit down.
“Jacob knows how to eat and drink, and to go to the toilet by himself during the daytime. He wears a diaper during sleep at night. He likes to copy the adults (e.g. using adult eating utensils, wearing adult shoes, etc.). Seeing the innocent smile on his face as he tries to mimic the adults makes us feel quite amused. “
Jacob came to the orphanage as an infant with a serious case of pneumonia. He has a cleft palate which has not been corrected. Because of this Jacob cannot speak clearly. Instead he uses signs and pointing to get his ideas across. Here’s his Ayi’s report on Jacob’s communication skills: “Although Jacob is not able to speak words or sentences yet, he is more than willing and able to expresses himself using sign language such as pointing to his mouth to indicate “thirst”, touching his bottom to indicate his need to go to go to the toilet, touching his hair to indicate “bath”, pulling you to his side and patting the chair to indicate “sit here!”, pointing to someone in complaining “he did it!”, and pointing to the ground to say “this is where I fell!”. He knows how to drink through a straw, and sometimes he can blow out air. An ordinary thing can cause him to be so tickled that he erupts in laughter, for instance, putting on a hat or wearing a backpack. Because he cannot express himself verbally, he can get very frustrated and cry loudly when he cannot do what he wants to do. But when we show him that we understand, he is immediately comforted and laughs happily.”