By Susan Mires
BUFFALO—Susie Adams admits she was reluctant to become a caregiver. When she and husband, Russell, moved back to Missouri from California, she expected to spend time traveling and shopping with her mother. But it soon became apparent her mother could not live by herself.
“I didn’t want to be a caregiver,” Adams said. “I did not want to take care of my mom, but God had a plan for it.”
So, Adams took her mother into her home and for the next eight years, devoted herself to providing for her physical, medical and spiritual needs.
“Care giving is hard work, but it’s also a privilege and a gift from God,” she said.
Adams shares insights about that gift in her book My Mother, My Child. A few years into caring for her mother, Adams felt God’s leading to write about the experience, so she started keeping a journal.
“I just wrote and got the book published and have been amazed at what He has done for it,” she said.
Adams’ husband is the director of missions for Dallas County Association in Buffalo, and she serves as his assistant and women’s ministry director. She has given presentations at numerous women’s groups and ministry events. The book has also opened doors for her to speak to caregivers and health care professionals.
“One thing I hope they get out of the book is that whoever they are taking care of realizes that is the state they are in. Accept them right where they are,” Adams said.
Readers have found inspiration from the book, whether they are caregivers, parents of young children or have aging parents. One woman, who was not a believer, told Adams it changed her perspective of God.
Adams shares her own heartache in watching her mother gradually lose her ability to speak, then her physical abilities. She also relates the joys in sharing precious moments together, like moving the table into the living room so her mother could join the family for Thanksgiving dinner.
“I did get tired,” Adams acknowledged. “I wanted my mom back. I wanted her to wake up and be okay. I missed going with my husband. But I just know God was with me every minute of all eight years.”
The challenge of constant care giving can make a person feel isolated. Adams wrote in the book, “I want to honor every child, parent, and spouse whose care is consistent and whose heartache, unbearable at times, is real. I want to remind you that God sees and God cares.”
She shares tips for caregivers, such as taking time to care for yourself and nurture your relationships. In terms of health care, be the person’s advocate to make sure they are getting the best treatment. She related some of challenges they faced in receiving medical attention. Adams said her doctor read the chapter for accuracy and assured it was vital that patients know the information. Also realize there are times when it is best to admit a person to a long-term care facility, she said.
“Make a decision with God’s guidance and don’t look back,” she advised.
A section of the book is devoted to how Adams ministered to her mother’s spiritual needs, even when she couldn’t speak or respond. It’s an issue of special concern for her.
“I honestly believe many people in nursing homes are cranky because their spirit is hungry. There’s no one there to feed them,” she said.
Most of all, however, her advice is to treasure and love the person who are caring for. Adams knew her mother had a difficult journey through childhood and most of her life, so she was committed to making her elderly years the best they could be.
“God let me give her the childhood she didn’t have,” Adams said. “And she was one pampered child.”
To order a copy of My Mother, My Child for $13.95, contact Adams at www.oneadamsacres.com, or Tate Publishing at www.tatepublishing.com or 888-361-9473.