Eldercare for my Adoptive Mother

Written by on 27 April, 2014 in Adoption, Eldercare with 0 Comments

HospiceElder-care wrenches the gut for many, but especially for those of us who were raised in poor adoptions.  In all sincerity, I want to do what is right by my adoptive mother.   I believe that it is ordained by God, and that I have the ability to change my adoptive mother’s eternity.

As an adopted child, I bore the brunt of extreme physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of some of my adoptive relatives and their friends, while at the same time hearing how lucky I was that someone took me in and placed a room over my head, clothes on my back, and food on the table.  Without a doubt, I knew how it felt to be a pooch in the pound.  My childhood didn’t seem lucky to me, but at the age of 32 I gave my life to Jesus Christ.

I love Jesus, but I’m far from an in-your-face Bible thumper, and I struggle with day to day relationships but with the help of the Good Lord I improve some each day.  Forgiveness is the key, and forgiveness releases me from the bondage of getting caught up in old issues I can do nothing about except feel anger and resentment.  Those feelings earn the holders such gifts as cancer and heart attacks.  I want neither.

My a-mother has lived with us for the last eight months, and I have learned a lot about myself and her at the same time.  My a-mother suffers from so many ailments that the list is long and includes spinal stenosis, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, dementia, congenital heart disease, and COPD.

Dementia is the most amusing because you must have a sense of humor when dealing with it.  Sometimes she knows who I am and sometimes she only knows that I am Charlie’s wife.  Sometimes she remembers taking her medication and sometimes she doesn’t.  She’s relentless about it too, because she knows if she doesn’t get it she will be in immense pain.  Criticizing meal time habitually happens even if she admits to enjoying the food.  My husband, Charlie, makes her oatmeal every morning, and she loves it.  Today she counted 32 raisins in her bowl and complained that it was way too many.  It will upset her entire day, and we will snicker every time she brings it up; I consider our snickering a gift from God.  We could get angry instead; we understand that it is a phase of life she really can’t control.

She’s not looking very healthy today and I suspect the onset of pneumonia, so we will notify Hospice who have helped us with her for the past few months.  That organization is wonderful and a tremendous help; they monitor all of her medications, give her three baths a week, send a social worker once a month, and the clergy comes twice a month.  They are so caring and loving; I look forward to their visits myself.

Like a baby, mom gets her days and nights confused.  She will look out the window and see total darkness but argue that it’s morning and demand her bowl of oatmeal.  At that point, it’s easier to get her a bowl of oatmeal than argue.  She sits at the table every meal time and watches the bird and squirrel feeder on the deck where she enjoys the blue jays, cardinals, and finches.  She yells at the squirrels; they scare away the birds.  I’m not sure what goes through her head at midnight seeing the darkness, but she seems happy eating her oatmeal.  Since, I retired this school year, it doesn’t seem so bad getting up in the wee hours of the morning to deal with this bit of an inconvenience.

I can still see her sitting up late hours at the sewing machine making my majorette uniform when I was in high school, and sewing miniskirts that I could wear to school.  After sitting up all night, she would get up at 5:30 AM and head to the factory where she worked a press all day before coming home, making dinner, cleaning house, and attending school functions where I participated.  My a-father didn’t always make things easy for her; he was a real chauvinist who periodically like to exert his authority.  He died in October 2000.

My a-mother tried her best to do what few others had done before her, get married, adopt a child, and do better than her parents.  Children do not come with manuals, and the adopted child is yet another mystery because there are so many different variables.   She had no way of knowing prior to my adoption that her family of birth would be so heinous or even that there was such arrogance and hate toward outsiders.  She and my a-father both assumed I’d be accepted out of respect to them.   That never happened.

I probably should have saved this for Mother’s Day, but at 90 years old I won’t make assumptions for the future.  God is very pointed about telling us not to do that.  God is good – ALL the time.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  I Peter 4:8 NIV


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