Nature vs. Nurture

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Rain Story

Our son Seko was born in a village in Ethiopia called Shebedino. It is a very rural community. A six hour, long, bumpy drive from the capital city of Addis Ababa. Shebedino is a community that widely consists of very poor subsistence farmers. They grow to eat and to live. To them, rain is extremely important and in very bad
times, infrequent. The one time I was in Shebedino, while on the trip to meet and bring Seko home to our family, it rained. Hard. Only for a short while, but for long enough to make the colors in the village come alive. In a matter of 15 minutes, my surroundings went from dry and dusty to vibrant greens and golds – that would inevitably be completely absorbed in the same short amount of time.

Seko was adopted at 6 months old and became part of our family in 2009. We live a half a world away from where he was born in Ethiopia, and from the time this boy was crawling, he began doing something that has touched and amazed us. The first time it happened, it was sometime in late June…

Seko crawled to our deck slider door, banged on it and cried until I opened it. It was beginning to rain but it was warm, so I let him out on the deck – wearing nothing but his diaper. He crawled to the middle of the deck, sat up, closed his eyes and smiled as the rain hit him. This was remarkable to me because it was adorably beautiful, but also because this child was rarely still for more than a fleeting second (still isn’t). But there this baby sat, still, for a long time. Head up, eyes closed, smiling. I could not be more certain that something deep within him needed to feel and appreciate the spring rain. To my delight, this was not an isolated incident. It has happened now for years. In the spring, Seko will just stand still in a warm rain and appreciate it. He just does it. So dependably in fact, that I knew this time it was going to happen when he shouted “Mom! I need to go out for a few minutes!” It was just that kind of spring rain – So I grabbed my camera. He was in Kindergarten when I took this picture. I haven’t taken any others of the similar moments since. I just enjoy watching them in real time. I hope that no matter how much “nurture” there is at our house, that this “nature” from his birth family and from where he was born stays in his mind and his heart always.

-Susan Donnellan

To submit your story and photos email: kbernstein@whfc.org

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