Monday, April 02, 2007

Travel Journal: 3-12-07 "Enyo"

Enyo--"It's okay." Ewe language

What a day! My day started at 5:30am when I heard a repetitive sound outside my window at Hands of Mercy. It was a few boys from HoM sweeping the courtyard--thoroughly. Swish...swish...swish...

Edward was set to pick me up around 7am and I was more than ready by 6:30. Just before Edward got there Paul asked me to stay and please have "tea" before I left. So it was around 7:30am when we left but I had a lovely breakfast of eggs on toast (and swollowed a few sips of tea to be nice).

Traffic was horrid getting out of town. It took from 7:30am until 1:00pm to get to Eugemot. The conversation was good though--I'm so glad to have Edward here!

Before I realized what was happening we were pulling into Eugemot--comes upon you fast! I asked Edward to video tape my first few moments with Bright and he obliged. When I came in Bright was fast asleep. He is SO much smaller than I was preparing myself for! He is about the size of a healthy 9 month old in the states. He is so beautiful. Instant connection.

I held him for a long time as he slept. There was no way to wake the boy! Then Mama E asked me to put him down so I could eat. They had prepared a lovely meal of chicken and rice. Yum!

While we were eating I learned that Bright's father has some issues in his life that have kept him from caring for his children. It was Bright's uncle Isaac that initially instigated his coming to Eugemot and advocated for him to be adopted. I also found out thtat Bright has 3 brothers (knew there were 3 sibs)! They are Wise (4), Steven (7), and Promise (10). The family very much wants them at the home as well, but when the boys are brought to Eugemot they run through the bush and go back home, so Eugemot will no longer take them in. I asked if there was any way I could meet Bright's birth family and Mama said she would try to arrange it.

After lunch I walked around a bit and took photos and video. All of the kids were in school so it was a bit boring. =-( After my photo session I couldn't stand it anymore and went to pick up sleeping Bright again. After a bit I laid him back down so I could go to the bathroom. When I came out Immelda (his main caregiver) said, "Mommy, your son is awake!" Yea!!! We were getting ready to leave at that point and I worried about taking him while he slept. I managed to charm him at that point and everybody seemed quite impressed with me (I just got lucky). We headed to the guesthouse from there--Bright didn't cry the whole way! Too good to be true?


When we pulled into the Afegame Guesthouse the honeymoon was over! He began to cry and didn't stop for more than a moment for the next 2.5 hours. I soon realized that no matter what I did (rocking, cooing, bouncing, toys, food) it wouldn't make a difference. Bright seemed equally distressed by my white skin and my American English. He got visibly more upset the more I talked. I know one Ewe word--Enyo--"it's okay." Eventually he tired and fell asleep in my arms. We both slept for an hour or two.

All of the time I was dealing with Bright Edward was combing the countryside for the ONE guy in the area that could exchange dollars for cedis. He spent HOURS doing this. Must remember to exchange money before I leave the airport next time. I am so blessed to know Edward.

As soon as Bright saw Edward he was much happier--"Here's someone I know! And he's brown!" It was 5:20pm and getting dark fast. Edward said if we wanted to go back to Eugemot (I did) we would need to go now. So off we went.

When we pulled into the drive a toothless "age old" woman smiled and waved. I returned the gesture.

Bright was SO happy to see his orphanage "family" again! Immelda took him and for the first time I got to see his real personality. They say "ahhh--toooo!" (hug) and he gives hugs. He waves buy and points to what he wants. He is a smart cookie! =-) I felt kind of bad because he would cry if I tried to hold him. I did get a few games going with him when he was on Immelda's lap though.

I was talking to Daniel (Stacey's son) when Immelda said, "His family is here." I thought she meant Daniel's family. She meant Bright's!!! Bright's father was "in the bush" but his Uncle Isaac, 3 more uncles, an aunt, his grandparents, and his 3 brothers all came! What a blessing!

I was able to tell them how much we treasure Bright and that updates will be sent to the orphanage every year if they want to check in on him. Then a big family photo was taken (a treasure to be sure). They were all very kind. I was especially touched by his grandparents presence. They were so stoic and yet...grandmas are grandmas the world over. Before she left she was making that classic "let me hold the baby!" motion that all grandmas make. =-)

It was getting dark and the family had a walk ahead of them so they set out. Edward wanted to get back (doesn't like to drive at night) but Mama insisted we stay for a meal. Cold water (yum!) and nan interesting dish consisting in part of cabbage, corned beef, spiral noodles, and eggs with some sort of mayo-like sauce. It was...nice (but I haven't craved it since). ;-) It's funny how un-picky one gets when you know that your meal was a sacrifice to make.

Once again we set out for Afegame and once again Bright fell apart. Poor baby. When we got home he was easier to console than last time. Crying...stopping for a few moments...remembering that he is mad and scared...then crying again. However, by a little after 7 he was out. He's laying next to me on the bed as I write this.

So...Bright! He's such a mixed up baby! He looks to be around 9 months old, but from the games he plays and his gestures he's more like a toddler. He can't crawl and can't pull up to stand, but if you stand him up he's steady as a rock and can stand there for quite some time! His 12 month clothes fit good. He is grieving like the toddler he is. He can hardly stand to look at me--literally looks the other way or turns his body away from me. If I leave him on the bed I catch him taking short glimpses of me but on my lap it is just too much for him. He's so angry and so scared. Yet, he cuddles right against my bosom when he needs to rest from his grief.

I was reassured over and over again that Bright seems completely fine--totally healthy. But as soon as I heard his cry for the first time I knew I did the right thing by coming. He has a very "off" cry. The "wah" part comes out as a fairly soft hoarse sound, and the breath afterward sounds horrible. It is as if he is literally gasping for air. He also has a cough. Maybe this is just a passing thing, or maybe it's the precursor to heart failure that Dr. Connie spoke of. I've got to find out.

Edward has convinced me to take him to a doctor friend of his and have lab work drawn before taking him to the expensive Nyaho clinic. I've agreed. We leave first thing tomorrow morning for Accra and he will call his friend when we get there.

In adoption matters, Edward said it could be the end of next week before we have Bright's passport. Not good. But God is bigger than all of the details. I am trying not to think about it I have to bring Bright back to Eugemot. I am trying not to think about if he needs to be hospitalized. I'm trying to concentrate on the simple pleasure of watching my son sleep next to me.

*POST TRIP NOTE: (1) The first hospital we took Bright to was La General Hospital in Accra. I wasn't impressed. (2) If there is anybody out there who may be interested in adopting Bright's 3 older brothers please write to me privately.


7,812 Miles 9:16 PM  

Oh Anita! The picture of Bright's family will be such a blessing to him in the future - it is fantastic that you were able to meet them and take the picture to keep for him. What a very handsome family it is...

Gardiner Family Blog Spot 10:03 PM  

I can not tell you how much I am craving to hear about your journey, your baby, your family!! It is all so wonderful Anita!! I'm so happy for you and I hope and pray that he is able to come back home SOON!! You're an awesome mommy!! Love Ya, G

Kya Blu's Mommy Candy...aka KiKi 1:12 PM  

Thank you so much for posing this...BRIGHT is beautiful and I LOVE the name...I cried through your whole post. How moving to have his whole birth family come there. Wow...what an awesome experience!!! Candy and Kya Blu back in T Town