Monday, June 18, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Recently, our family learned the wonderful news that my mother-in-law was contacted by a son who she had made an adoption plan for some 50 years ago. She was ecstatic to say the least. She explained that that was why she always had a special place in her heart for our little Noemi. She loved watching us interact with her and just genuinely and naturally love her and that she prayed that he also experienced that kind of unconditional love from his parents.
My mother-in-law was able to meet her biological son on Saturday, May 12th, 2018, the day before Mother's Day. They had a beautiful intimate meeting, just the two of them like she had wanted and dreamed about for years. Sadly and unexpectedly, she passed away the following night. Noemi has lost her bubu (Marshallese for grandmother) and with this untimely passing has come a whole new series of questions regarding her own birthmother.
When we first told Noemi about her "new" uncle she was shocked (as we all were!), upset, confused and happy. She said she wanted to be the only adopted one because that made her special. She wanted to know every detail about when and how he was going to meet Bubu. She wanted to know when she was going to meet him and did he know that she had a birthmom too. She wanted to know why my mother-in-law choose not to parent. We answered what we could and were able to meet my brother-in-law ourselves on Mother's Day.
Then she passed away. Noemi became detached, caring yet distant and we could tell something was bothering her but she wouldn't talk about it. We asked if she was sad about Bubu. She said she was sad but wasn't sure if it was because Bubu passed away or something else. We gave her time. A couple nights later, she was able to tell us why she was upset. "Will Mama Rosita die after I meet her too? Is she still alive? What if she dies before I meet her? We need to go to Majuro now so I can see her before she dies!"
Once again, as it has many many times on this journey, my heart ached for my little girl and I had few answers. Noemi was angry with God for doing that to her new uncle. For letting them meet then taking her away. She kept asking if he was going to the viewing, if he was ok, who told him that she had passed away. And she kept worrying about not making it to Majuro in time. I offered to set up a FaceTime with Mama Rosita so she could at least see her that way but she didn't want to. She wanted to fly out that very night. After the tears dried up and her mind relaxed, she understood that God needed his angel back and she'll go to Majuro when it's the right time. (We had initially planned on going this summer but she asked that we wait to go until we she was 10. She didn’t feel she was ready now. Her wisdom and maturity stuns us sometimes.)
She has moved on like the resilient child she is. She is learning about life and death as we all did, with the births and deaths of our loved ones. But she’s also learning something I never had to: How to love and cherish someone you barely met and have no memory of and how she would process the news that might come from across the ocean one day.
I know how Noemi processes and I’m afraid that she’s going to hold back loving Mama Rosita to protect herself from what may come. We will need to help her nurture that love which honestly will be difficult as we don’t know much about her either. But for now we just need to comfort her in her two losses; the loss of her Bubu and the loss of a relationship with her birthmother.