Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Wait is OVER.

As hopeful adoptive parents we talk about waiting.  A lot.  After all the paper work has been filed, the home studies are complete, and the nursery is ready to go all there is really left is waiting.  We wait with hopeful hearts day in and day out that today might be THE day.  Our hearts do a little flutter when the phone rings with an unfamiliar number.  We celebrate gotcha days with our fellow adoptive parents all the while waiting.  Waiting. Waiting.  Waiting.......

The last few weeks have shaken me up in my waiting state.  I have recently been reminded of something I have known all along.  I have been all consumed in the adoption journey and I am changing my perspective.  I have an announcement:  My friends I will no longer be waiting.  

My mother has multiple sclerosis.  She was diagnosed in her early 30's soon after she and my father were married.  Despite her diagnosis she successfully carried two babies.  My mother worked as a nurse until my teenage years.  She is a wonderful mother to my brother and I and was incredibly involved in both of our lives growing up.  My mother has fought her disease with veracity and true grit like I have never seen.  She is a fierce fighter with courage stronger than the bravest man.  Her faith is strong and she has always clung to our Heavenly Father.  I can honestly say I have never seen her give in to her disease, use it as an excuse, or even really let it get her down.  I know in my heart I could never fight back as hard as she has all these years.

If you know anything about multiple sclerosis you know it is crippling.  It is painful.  It slowly eats away at the nerves in the body until there is little coordination or control of movement remaining.  It can lead to paralysis.  It can be fast or it can be slow.  In my mothers case it attacked her legs and feet in the beginning.  She walked with a cane and progressed to a walker and now mostly she uses a wheel chair anywhere other than at home.  Her handwriting has deteriorated to the point I can no longer recognize my mama's signature on some days.  

I think most difficult to watch is the effect the disease has had on her mind.  Years ago it began as not being able to think of the right word.  Slowly, {thankfully} it progressed into not remembering names and dates.  Finally, it has gotten to the point of my mother's life being wiped away from her memory like an eraser moving across a chalkboard full of memories, stories, and major life events.  It's gut wrenchingly hard to watch at times.  Stress seems to make it worse.  Although, her mind can be quite clear at times!

This past Christmas seemed to mark a definite change.  We had all been going through a bit of a rough patch.  It was a particularly stressful time.  Christmas Day arrived and that evening my mama did not remember my father or my brother.  Everyone gathered at my house to open gifts which she did obligingly, but it was clear she really did not know why we were handing her package after package to unwrap. Her mind seemed to clear and return to her in the days following.  However, since then we have experienced many incidents such as these.  She gets confused particularly at night and thinks my brother and myself are her sister's children from years ago.  

As days pass she needs more and more help with daily tasks.  The disease is just ravaging her mind and body.  I hate it and not with just a little hate.  I hate it so much it takes my breath away.  Until now I have been pushing the thoughts, feelings, and emotions aside.  Fiercely fighting for her, taking care of her, reminding her, loving her.  This past weekend I broke.  I found my daddy sweetly bathing her and telling her how pretty she was.  Y'all I can't even tell you.  Words won't even come to me to begin to tell you how proud of both my parents I am, but how much it hurts at the same time.  Watching her slowly slip away from us is incredibly painful. 

After finishing help my father get my mother ready for the day, I just sat in my car staring.  Who knows how long I just stared into space.  I was praying.  I was asking God to take it from her as I have since I was a young child.  I begged God to take this trial from my father.  I bargained with Him to just leave my mama's mind if He was going to take her body.  I just pleaded with God from my heart.  Alas, I know it is not to be.  I know the day is coming when her memory will no longer return.  I just don't know the number of days remaining.  

So right then and there I decided.  I made my mind up.  I have new resolve.  I.WILL.NOT.WAIT.  I will not wait to say I love you.  I will not wait to hug.  I will not wait to tell my friends and family what they mean.  I will not wait to laugh, love, or cry.  I will not wait to live my life.  I will no longer live my life in a constant state of wait.  Life is going on NOW my friends.  As adoptive parents I know all of our hearts are waiting for our forever families, but life is NOW.  Mend relationships.  Heal hearts.  Forgive others.  Forgive yourself.  Talk with God.  It's what's going on during the wait that counts.  Who knows how many days we have remaining.  I urge you to grab life with both hands and live it!!!  

If the Lord is willing, I hope and pray that my sweet mama will know my babies.  My prayer has always been for the wait to be swift so that my mama will be able to know she is holding her first grandchild.

Please, please don't take a moment for granted.  You just never know how quickly time will pass.  Friend, do not let time pass you by. Don't wait anymore.



  1. Wow... What a beautiful and profound post. May God bless you all.

  2. This is beautifully written. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Wow... what a great blog post. Hard as it was to write!! You are a blessing - bless your Mom. My mom has MS as well but not to the same extent. We pray that the Lord will protect your Mom's mind and give all of you the grace of watching her with your babies.. knowing they are hers as well. Lord bless you!!

  4. AWESOME! With tears in my eyes, all I can say is I love you!!!!
    Kristy B.

  5. Oh I just had to say hello....I popped over from the adoption group on Facebook. This is a truly beautiful post. I don't even have words. Just beautiful. I hope you all feel God's presence and comfort like never before in the coming weeks and months. ~Bethany

    (I blog at 3sonsplus1.blogspot.com if you want to read about my family's adoption journey/family life.)

  6. You are right where the Lord wants your heart to be. You get it, so many don't. When we lose our loved ones to disease, you can't help but get the life lesson. God bless you and your family, and family to be.

    Signed, adoptive mom of 3, and motherless daughter for 10 months.

  7. You don't know me...I just happened to see your post as it popped up on the sidebar on FB. I just want to tell you that my thoughts and prayers will be with you, your Mom and your family. My Mom died 2 years ago after having Altzheimer's for 8 long years. I have not ever dealt with MS and haven't had a family member with it. But I do resonate with your feelings about your Mom's memory loss. It is a heartbreaking thing. There were times when I prayed that God would take her home so she would be free of the awful plague of confusion, fear, and not knowing where she was or who her family was. It is a horrible disease...as I am sure your Mom's disease is too. I pray that God will bless you with some sweet tender moments with your Mom....and I pray that the time will come soon that she will get to know her grandchild....even if only for a moment. And then as she forgets...that you can tenderly tell her all over again that she is a grandmother! My Mom became like a little child and I realized that I became like the parent to her. I helped calm her when she was so frightened as night approached. And I helped show her how to do simple things when she had forgotten how to do them. This will be your gift to your Mom as her illness progresses. That even as difficult as it is to see her like that...this is the time that you can be the support that she needs to lean upon. God Bless You...and God Bless Her as you go through these difficult days. I pray for God's peace to wash over you both. And that the same can happen for all of your family. Prayers from me will continue. All the best....Bambi Setzer, Winston-Salem, NC.

  8. This is beautiful. I just stumbled upon your blog. We are also in the process of adopting- and my mother in law is in the process of passing away from cancer. She just went off the cancer treatments- so we have a long road ahead as we wait for cancer to finalize its hold on her. I am praying she will meet our baby(s). Thank you for sharing your story.

  9. It is a beautiful post Allison ,having sadly watched a family member lose their body and mind to Altzheimer's I know you are right not to wait to live and love. I hope your adoption story goes well and you don't have to wait long and my thoughts are with you and your Mum x

  10. This is very powerful. I'm so sorry that your mom and your family is going through this - things like these are never easy. Thank you for the reminder to live and not wait - too often I forget this simple, but profound way of thinking. Prayers to you and your family!