Sunday, December 9, 2012

Filling in the Blanks (Part 1)

Today is Sunday, Dec 9. The care center is closed to visitors on Sundays so we're missing Wynray today. This is the first down day we've had since we arrived a week ago. Thankfully no one is sick. No earth shattering, psyche rattling events happened today. We took our exhausted hearts, minds and bodies over to the Hilton for some much needed r&r including swimming, french fry and ice cream eating, walking in the gardens, playing on the playground, and having afternoon tea next to their lobby Christmas tree.

A lot has transpired since court earlier in the week that we need to catch up on...

I mentioned to Fredrik the day we met Wynray that I was perplexed with how happy he is.  We know the child has endured loss, hunger, and being moved from his family home to two care centers. So what's with the non-stop killer smile?

On the day we arrived at the care center on Thursday the 6th, there were two women I didn't recognize sitting in the courtyard of the care center. They were striking in appearance. Ethereal. As a matter of fact, when we got out of the van and our eyes met, I felt compelled to give them a little namaste (hands in prayer) bow, which they returned.

Fredrik, Kysa and I then hurried into the nursery to scoop up Wynray and love on our newest official family member. About ten minutes later we were all playing on the floor, when I looked up and noticed the ladies were making their way across the courtyard towards the nursery. I mentioned to Fredrik that I thought two birth mothers might be coming in. Because there isn't much room in the nursery Fredrik took Kysa outside to play and give them room.

I was alone with Wynray as they walked into the room. They saw me with Wynray and lit up. "Wynray! Wynray! Wynray!" they repeated and came and took him from my arms and started hugging and kissing him.

Huh? How did these ladies know Wynray? WHO were they???

...and then Betti, Wynray's primary nanny at the Addis care center tried to explain.
She pointed to them and said "Gambella"

I'm thinking some of Wynray's relatives have now shown up. My heart stopped. I'm not sure if I should celebrate or freak out.

...and then Betti tries again. She walks over to them and says "Gambella" and then puts her hand on her chest referencing herself and says "nanny."

And then I got it. They were Wynray's nannies from Gambella. Sweet relief. Gratitude.
I took each of their hands in my hands and looked them deeply in the eyes with my teary eyes and said thank you, thank you again and again.

There was a lot of laughter and love and I realized Fredrik and Kysa were missing I yelled out for them to come back.

Fredrik returned to the nursery very confused thinking the situation he had just avoided would have been very somber and uncomfortable. An adoptive mother finally loving on her new son, while a birth mom was most likely saying goodbye. What he walked into was an impromptu family reunion with hugging, laughter, and photos being taken.

"Honey, they KNOW Wynray! They were Wynray's first nannies!!"

...and then Betti, with her dry and understated humor and very limited English said, "Yes, they KNOW Wynray." And then she bust out laughing, implying that they know ALL of Wynray and his big and happy personality.

I then asked Betti to tell them how thankful and grateful we were for taking such good care of Wynray.

Thankfully our driver was 2 hours late that day. Typically, we're only allowed a single two hour visit a day. But on that day, we played with Wynray and his first nannies, we took photos and spent quiet time in their presence. We got to see how much love they him and how much he loves them. We observed their gentle touches, their humor, their sense of play.

They thought Kysa was hilarious. After Wynray went down for his nap we played outside with the older kids and they gave Kysa flowers to put into a flower arrangement she was making with two older children.

When it was time to go, I went to say goodbye to the nannies. They both drew me into deep and warm embraces, and kissed my face with what felt like a thousand blessings.

By meeting Wynray's Gambellan nannies, we were able to fill in the blank of a period of his life we didn't think we'd ever know. We had met Betti, his wonderful and loving nanny here in Addis Ababa, but we'd expected to meet her. While, the Gambellan nannies couldn't share details of Wynray's time in their care center because of the language barrier, what they transmitted to us was the depth of their care and love.

By meeting Wynray's Gambellan nannies we were also able to start solving the mystery of that incredible smile.

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