Where has a year gone? I'll tell you! It's gone in diaper changes, late night cry fests ( baby and mommy), rolling, crawling, walking, running, climbing, biting, talking, kisses, hugs, and many many laughs. Noemi is growing up before our eyes into a beautiful energetic little girl. Shes developing on target and is slightly advanced in her social skills. The Dr even had to give us the "terrible two" talk a year early. Shes learning to sit and play independently and now loves to crawl into our laps with a book. To us, she's absolutely perfect!
With the holidays coming up, I can't help but think of Rosita and our Christmas last year. This will be a very difficult Christmas without her. She shared with us the greatest gift a mother could give and we gave her our assurance that Noemi will grow up loved and cared for. Although we had our moments with Rosita, we know she loved her dearly and would do anything in the world if she thought it would be best for her.
As Noemi personality develops, we've definitely seeing Rosita in her! It's amazing how simple things from a raised eyebrow or a smirk to a full defiant stare makes you think you're staring straight at Rosita. As odd as it sounds, sometimes I even do a quick double take, because she looks so much like her in those moments!
We've sent a few packages and know she's received them through the CAA and have also sent items to Grandpa Peter. Usually we just send pictures and household items; sponges, hair brushes, hair clips, towels, tape, toys, and for Rosita makeup :-). She loved my makeup when we were there so I always try to include a little something to keep that bond going. It was really the only thing we knew we had in common. We hear she's doing well and had a job at a take out (a walk up convenience store). we have not had any contact with her directly but others have seen her around and peter tells us about her.
To our surprise, we HAVE received a couple phone calls from Peter lately! He's been calling to let us know that he received the packages. He told us they've been using the mosquito netting we sent on the children and that no one in the family has gotten "the sickness". Its still strange to think that we have family half way around the world that we barely met/heard about a little over a year ago.
Maybe its because we're approaching the year mark or maybe its because of the stresses of everyday life but Shawn and I really miss the Marshall Islands and are constantly talking about our return trip or how feasible would it really be to move there for a year or two. We even looked into employment and housing in Kwajalien! I think its just the slow island time that we miss the most. The ocean sets the pace for life not the clock. But then of course reality sinks in and we know it wouldn't be the best situation for us or Rosita. So we just keep countimg down to our return trip, approx. 4 more years.
We've decided to do our return trip when Noemis around 5-6years old so she can have memories of the island and is still innocent enough to freely ask questions but also young enough where the concepts of what a family is are still being formed. We talk to her about Rosita and about the island far far away and we're anxious for the day when the questions will start but hopefully we'll be ready and she'll understand that everything done in her life was for love. Rosita loved her so much she allowed us to parent her and we loved her so much we accepted.
Well my plan for next year to is try to write once a month and share more about her culture, RMI history, memories from the island that we havent shared, and of course Noe's growth and development. I know future RMI families are reading this blog and i also know many blogs (like mine!) sort of end once we arrive home and no more is shared on development or growth concerns. There is very little out there medically on marshallese children so i will try my best to research ans share what i learn. Also with Noe's privacy in mind, i will share what we feel is appropriate for the public.
If you're in Mn and would like to meet little Ms. Noemi or have questions regarding the adoption decision/process/travel, please feel free to contact us. As you can tell we love sharing our story and what we've learned. I also plan on polling the other families that have returned and asking for their tips and advice for all you still in the process.
Take care, thanks for reading and Happy Holidays!