GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXMI) — At 58 years old, Monette Rodriguez says she feels wanted.
“I feel like somebody claimed me. I’m not a foster child anymore, I’m now an adopted child. I’m just her daughter," she said.
At a young age, Rodriguez was placed in the foster care system. She said she bounced around from home to home in Southern California.
“I don’t know how many, I don’t want to try to give an amount, but many, many, many, many foster homes,” said Rodriguez.
At age 11, Rodriguez began living with Rosalee McEntyre.
“She had beautiful long hair and she was very, very social,” said McEntyre.
Traumatized from past houses, Rodriguez ran away from McEntyre’s home at 14 years old. Trouble followed her into her young adult life, which strained their relationship.
“By the time I had got to her, I was pretty well figuring that nobody was going to ever stick with me or love me,” said Rodriguez. “That I was just going to keep getting passed around like a potato.”
Rodriguez eventually made her way to Michigan and reclaimed herself. She got married, raised two daughters, and earned several degrees around age 40.
It’s during that time that Rodriguez and McEntyre reconnected.
“I think once she seen that I was being more productive and stuff that, that gave us the chance,” said Rodriguez.
Nearly 20 years later, they talk and visit each other whenever possible.
“She always so thoughtful,” said McEntyre, when describing her daughter. “She sends me cards all the time. They’re just beautiful cards she has looked up and found.”
With the relationship strong, over the summer, 85-year-old McEntyre asked 58-year-old Rodriguez if she wanted to officially be adopted.
This week, the two signed off on the adoptive papers. Rodriguez is now awaiting the family certificate so she can get a new birth certificate with McEntyre’s name on it.
“With her being 85 and me going through cancer, it was just a nice time for it to happen for both of us,” said Rodriguez.
It’s a moment not too soon that shows even the darkest days can be bright.
“It’s lovely to feel like you belong and you’ve got a family,” said McEntyre.