Being A Healing Home Nanny
When we tell the stories of children in our Medical and Healing Homes programs, we often mention the nannies. The crucial role that these women play in the lives of the children in their care cannot be underestimated. Healing Home nannies typically spend more time with these children than anyone else has in their entire lives. The first real relationship that many of these orphaned children will have with an adult is with their nanny.
One of the former nannies in our healing homes program, Liu Yan, tells us about her experiences and feelings — from the nanny’s perspective.
My favorite thing about being a nanny at LWB’s Healing Homes is that I can meet so many babies and see them heal under our attentive care. What the nannies want most is to see smiles on these lovely babies’ faces and their good health. We feel that patience, love and carefulness are the most important qualities for a nanny.
When a baby comes in our healing home, he or she becomes part of our big family. We’re with these babies every day through their recovery and healing. They become part of our lives. We watch them grow and see their personality develop. We share their joys and sometimes, their sorrows.
Even when I have a day off, I wonder if the children are having a good day at the healing home.
When a child graduates or leaves for surgery, it is very hard for us nannies to say goodbye. We know we will miss him or her and may never see them again after so many days of being together.
I still remember the day when one of my favorite healing home babies left. Her name was Dawn. I felt that I was losing her forever, and my heart broke. To be honest, I was so in love with her that I even wanted to ask my mom be her foster parent. Now I know that she was adopted by a local family. She is being loved by her forever family. I’m now very relieved and happy for her.
Generally speaking, the healing homes are a happy workplace. We’re a big family. Within this big family, each nanny has their own smaller family with usually three or four children in their individual room.
Every time the healing home buys or receives a batch of clothes and toys, the nannies are all very excited and want to choose the best for their children. They are all very “selfish” at that moment. They always want the pretty ones for the children in their room. This shows that they always want to give the children in their care the best. Now that I have my own daughter, I know that kind of feeling. I want her to have all the best.
The Chinese New Year has just finished. This important holiday is traditional for family reunions. Our healing home nannies gladly sacrificed time with their own family members to care for the children during the New Year holiday.
The nannies chose new clothes and hats for the healing home children for the new year. Preparing for the spring festival is very fun. The toddlers especially really enjoyed the festive atmosphere of the new year.
In 2009, I escorted one of our healing home children to Shanghai for his lip repair. His cleft was so wide that it went up to his cheek. The surgery was very tough and lasted a long time. On the first night after his surgery, the baby and I did not sleep the whole night. He was very fussy and wanted to cry, but he could not open his mouth. He could only stare at me sadly. You can imagine how scared he was and how he wanted to be comforted. You can imagine how much he relied on me.
I held him in my arms as I walked along the hallways of the hospital. I made sure that he could see my eyes all the time. The walking and the eye contact made him eventually calm down.
At that moment in Shanghai, so far away from home, we were connected together during this important time in his life. I realized that at this moment I was his dear mom, a mom who wouldn’t let him feel lonely, a mom who wanted him to be brave and strong.
~Liu Yan is a valued member of the LWB team. She works with the children in the healing homes and ensures that donors and sponsors can get updates on the children that they support.