Sunday, December 9, 2012

Filling in the Blanks (Part 2) Birthparent Meeting

Fredrik, Kysa and I returned to the hotel after meeting the Gambellan nannies, and we were ecstatic. We couldn't believe our luck or the kindness we were feeling from all directions here in Ethiopia. Now that we'd seen Kysa through her sickness, we were beginning to get excited about sight seeing. We started making plans. Just 24 hours prior we were thinking we'd change our plane tickets and come home early for Kysa's sake, now we were starting to see the possibility of some fun! The next day (Thursday) we returned to the care center in the morning, did some shopping in the afternoon and enjoyed an early dinner of fasting fir fir (shredded injera with spices) in the open air cafe at the hotel. Even as I write the words my stomach lurches, and I am reminded of how quickly our plans seem to change here in Ethiopia.

I went down fast and furiously, but I spent a few hours in denial that it was food poisoning. I attempted to treat my symptoms with homeopathic medicine, sprite, coke and goldfish crackers. Fredrik was also showing signs of sickness but he wasn't as bad off as me...but we refused to let ourselves admit food poisoning. We both woke up on Friday morning with fevers. I went back to bed and slept until 1:00pm while Fredrik and Kysa watched videos in bed and played in the hotel. Fredrik had somehow dodged the bullet and was feeling better, so I sent Fredrik and Kysa to the care center for the afternoon to be with Wynray while I spent time in bed sleeping and watching Downton Abbey. 

By the evening, I decided to take Cipro, desperate to get rid of the awfulness I was feeling. Our meeting with Wynray's birth father was the next day, and I needed to be of sound mind and body for that meeting...not only for myself, but for Wynray. 

Our meeting was scheduled for 10am, but when I woke the next day I was so weak I could barely walk  or be away from the bathroom for more than 10 minutes. The nausea was unbelievably intense. I asked Fredrik to call the care center and ask if we could either move the meeting back until the afternoon or arrange for Wynray's birth dad to come to our hotel. We all agreed to wait until noon to decide what to do next. 

The gift I most wanted to give Wynray was photos and videos of our time with his birth father.  I wanted him to see us all together, holding him and loving him. If his father came to the hotel, we would not be able to have any group photos with Wynray. It was this thought alone that made me drag myself into the shower and rally.

I can only say that once I made the decision to do it, the Universe stepped in and took over. When we arrived at the care center and walked into the office with Wynray's birth dad I stopped feeling sick. My focus shifted beyond my physical illness to something much bigger.  I emptied myself of any discomfort so that I could absorb as much of that precious time as I could. I invited every moment into my cells.

Here is where I must leave you for a while, dear friends and readers. I need to shut the door of privacy on that meeting. The things we learned in that time will be Wynray's story to tell. We had an hour and a half with Wynray's birth father.  It will most likely be the most important meeting of my life. I will treasure the miracles that transpired in that time always. 

Fredrik and I have spent many hours debating what we should share with our community, and what should be sealed away in the vaults of our memories and files until Wynray is ready to hear and understand his story. We realize that by never speaking of Wynray's mother it may imply there is something shameful about her absence from his story, while there is nothing farther from the truth. So I will share with you what we will now begin to tell Wynray...

Wynray's mother is an angel. While on this earth she loved him deeply and cared for him as best she could. Wynray's birth was the happiest day of his birthparents' lives. They were blessed with many happy moments with Wynray as a newborn. They considered Wynray to be the greatest gift from God.

Wynray's mother was a tall, beautiful, noble Gambellan woman, and his father is a kind and loving Gambellan man, both from the Anuak tribe. They loved each other very much and will continue to always love Wynray.  

As our time with Wynray and his birthfather came to a close, I surprised him with a hug. His embarrassment was tender and sweet. We both wished each other "selam" peace, as our eyes allowed our souls to speak one last wordless conversation. Fredrik then stepped in to give him the half hand shake/man hug, but his birth father pulled him in to a deeper, stronger embrace. I saw Wynray's birth father close his eyes tightly and for a single moment rest his head on Fredrik's shoulder. That moment alone will allow me to sleep at night, and give me some peace in the years to come.

I will share with you only one detail from our conversation because I believe you can help. We asked Wynray's birth father what we could pray for. Without hesitation he said "peace" and explained the danger and civil unrest against his people. Please read our post Thankfully Unexpected for more information about the situation with Wynray's family's tribe. 

So in the days, weeks, months and years to come...if you think of our story, please pray for Wyrnay's family, our now extended family, living in Gambella. Please pray for their peace and safety. 

In meeting Wynray's current nanny, Betti, his Gambellan nannies, and finally Wynray's birth father, we are blessed to fill in all the blanks of Wynray's short life so far and solve the mystery of the brilliant smile. The precious baby boy we now call our son, has been treasured and surrounded by love his entire life.  

In these last few days I've been remembering a conversation I had with my hero/friend/midwife, Lesley, a couple years ago when I told her we were starting an adoption process from Ethiopia. She asked why Ethiopia and I explained to her what we knew about how deeply Ethiopian people love their children. Lesley said, "Allison, you can make up for nutrition, but you can't make up for love." How prophetic her words have proven to be....

While there has been loss, heartache and even hunger, Wynray's family gifted him with the one thing they had in abundance: Love. That mega wat smile is the reflection of their undying, unconditional, deep and abiding love. I will treasure that smile and honor their love for Wynray always. We humbly and respectfully take our place in line behind those who have loved and cared for him so wholly and beautifully.

I believe my mother's prayer will always be:
Please let me never take for granted the miracle of Wynray's smile. 


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful experience, thank you for sharing it. Praying for peace for all our Gambellan families.