Friday, December 11, 2015

Realizing loss

Today is our Family Day.  Today started tough.

Noemi put two and two together and realized her loss. She's realized Family Day is happy for us but sad for Birthmom.

Let me start at the beginning.  When we first arrived to Majuro on Dec 11th, 2010, we met our beautiful baby girl and her amazing birthmother. The next day both stayed with us for a couple days and then the day before court we were entrusted with her care. Because of all that, we prefer to celebrate the day we met instead of the day she was placed with us. 

Today we woke Noemi up with kisses and hugs and "Happy Family Day!"s. She was tense. Daddy asked her to sit by him and she refused. I had her sit by me as I did her hair. She was quiet. In the car, on our way to school, I asked how she was feeling. I asked if she was happy or sad about Family Day. She asked me, "what's family day again?". I explained, "well it's the day we met you and we all became a family." "So, it's the day my first mommy said goodbye to me?", she asked. My heart sank; I wasn't ready for this.  "No, we still saw her and she would come by to see you and hug you.". Silence. Then tears. Every question the trainings prepare you for; every sad "why didn't she keep me?""why am I not with her?" "I miss her" came flooding out. We both cried. At every stoplight, I'd reach back to hold her hand. I tried to explain the best I could that she was loved by so many but sometimes those who love us are far away but that doesn't mean they love you any less. I told her she was with us so she could go to school and have friends. She replied "I'd still have friends! I don't need to go to school. I wanna be with my mommy."  I told her she needed to go to school so she could learn and get smarter and one day, if she wanted to, she could go back to Majuro and work there or help there. She wasn't to convinced with my reasoning. I told her that one day we will all could go visit, maybe in a couple years. She liked that better.  As the tears dried up, I suggested we draw Momma Rosita a picture and at our celebration tonight at the Mall we could find things to buy and send her.

As the day goes on, she's been in class and having the luxury of working here, I've checked in on her. She seems fine. She looks happy. She's in routine. I know she's resilient and last time, she moved on after accepting her truth and it just became part of her norm. We shall see what the evening brings.

I knew this day was coming. I should have prepped for it better. I should have asked her if she wanted to celebrate, if she wanted to acknowledge this day. I just didn't think she was "there" developmentally. I'm still not sure if she is. Next year we'll approach this day very differently. Next year we'll ask how she wants to honor birthmom. We'll ask her if she wants to celebrate the morning of even if we've talked about it in the days leading up to it. Maybe we'll do something very simple like just a special dessert after dinner.....
We should also remember that Family Day INCLUDES birthmom. It's the day we ALL became family. It's the day Momma Rosita said, "Yes, I trust you both with this precious honor of raising OUR daughter." 

Such a learning experience for all of us every single day....

Monday, June 1, 2015

Little Ms. Smartypants :)

Our little Noemi is growing up! She just "graduated" from preschool and will be a kindergartener in the Fall. She was enrolled in a full day, everyday program at the school I work at, so we had plenty of time together. That wasn't always a good thing! 

Since her birthday is September 7th and the State of Minnesota requires kindergarteners to be 5 by Sept. 1st, we opted to test Noe for Early Admittance. She passed the assessments and we found out a lot about our munchkin. 

She was assessed in 3 areas: Academic, Social and IQ.
Academically: She's reading at a beginning 1st grade level and can do basic adding and subtracting. She can count to 100 and by tens and knows to count by 5's but never wants too. She wants to learn to tell time but doesn't believe me when I tell her she needs to count by 5's then. She can write out her whole name and nickname. She's also starting to write out sentences phonetically.
Socially: Noemi got to spend some time in a kindergarten room to be observed by the kindergarten teacher. We were told she participated in the dance activity and sat still to hear the story, then did the comprehension activity after the story. I believe she had to draw a picture relating to the story. She did all those things well and without much apprehension. 
IQ: We found out that Noemi has a nonverbal IQ of 139 (puzzles and such). Her verbal IQ is 111. So her average IQ is 128. We're considering a gifted and talented school for 1st grade but being that she's already the youngest, I don't want her to be the youngest in a group of gifted children. That might be very difficult for her socially or self-esteem wise. We have a year to decide so we'll see how kindergarten goes. 

Physically, she's growing! Noemi is now 41" and 40lbs. She's getting tall and lean and looks more and more like a little kid. I love the days when she actually eats a full meal and has a round little belly :). However, those days are few and far between. She still loves her fruit and veggies but is becoming more picky with meats and cheeses. She's a big fan, however, of "spring" cheese ;)

So that's our yearly update I guess ;). We're planning another trip to Springdale in a couple weeks so I hope to post after that to update on any new Marshallese stores or cultural activities we come across.

Until then my friends ~ Yokwe 😃