Friday, September 7, 2012

Years Ago

Years ago I would tell my mom about my friend Ashley and her journey to adopt a little Serbian girl named Olive.  Olive the tiny... Olive the beautiful. 

My mom would ask about her... wondering how she was doing.  She would ask how she was adjusting to life in a family... with people who love her. 

Later I would tell my mom about Faith.  I would talk to her about Faith's journey to adopt Robyn and then her decision to adopt Etta. I would tell her about all of the other mothers I was meeting online.... about the lives of these children without families. 

During this time my Mom would ask "Why do these people spend money they don't have to adopt from over there when there are children here at home that could be adopted for so much less?  If they want another child, why not get one here?".  Like many of you, she didn't understand why they spent so much money and travelled so far.  She didn't understand why they did things "the hard way".

My mom would hear countless stories about Susanna and her mission to save little Katie... and how close she came to losing her before she ever came home.  Katie-bird was so fragile when Susanna travelled to her country to bring her home that she had to spend time in the hospital... and then have a nurse travel with them on their journey home so that Katie could survive the trip home to a larger hospital.  It was frightening... and inspiring.  Mom loved to hear Katie's story and to know that she was healing.  That she was cherished and loved. 

In hearing Katie's story and following it, my Mom finally learned those people did things "the hard way".  She no longer criticised or thought "they're crazy/stupid/idiotic" for adopting sick children who lived half way across the world... children who weren't healthy and would need a lifetime of care.  She understood. 

The day I told her that Jason and I were committing to adopt Christiana and told her all of the issues that we knew of and some that we only suspect... I expected to hear "adopt one at home", "you already have one disabled child, you don't need another", "how will you pay for it", "you can't handle it".  I expected her to disapprove.  I expected her to have the same attitude that others around me had - that it's fine and noble for people to adopt sick/disabled children, but it's not something "we" (family and friends) want to have in our own homes. 

I underestimated my mother.  Not only was she not critical of our decision, she and RaRa (grandma Rita) became our biggest supporters.  She shared our story at church and with everyone she knew.  She and Daddy put Christiana's photograph in their living room for everyone to see.  They told everyone about their newest grandchild-to-be, the little girl across the sea.  Even her hospice nurse knows all about Christiana and our adoption journey.  Her name is Crystal and she may be beginning the same journey soon. 

My mother passed away on Wednesday evening and I don't know how to live without her. 

Since my oldest son James was born (and Mom retired), we've spent almost every day of our lives together.  And when we couldn't see each other due to illness or life interrupting... we spoke on the phone.  She has been my best friend for the last 7 years.  She's been the person I turned to first after my husband who is the other half of my heart and soul.  She's been my cheerleader, my rock, my inspiration. She taught me how to raise my children and that it's OK to be less than perfect.  She taught me how to love unconditionally... to give without expecting anything in return because the greatest reward isn't in the receiving, it's in the giving.  It's in seeing a face light up with joy. 

I walk though life thinking things like "Mom would love those earrings" and "I should tell Mom about that".  But I can't.  I can't buy her pretty things anymore or share the latest news.  I have a loving husband, and loving Rita, and 3 beautiful. loving sons.  But I feel alone in a crowd.  No one will ever understand me (and misunderstand me) the way my Mom did. 

I've learned one thing from my Mom's death.  I've learned the last lesson she had to teach me - that no matter how old you are, your mother is the center of your heart.  I've learned how very much my children must love and need me.

I've learned how vital a mother is to a child. 

Soon... we will have travel dates.  We will have permission to meet our daughter across the sea.  Knowing how much she must need me, even if she doesn't know it, yet breaks my heart. 

Please... please help us get to her.  Help me give my daughter what my Mom gave me.  Love.  Unconditional and eternal love.  Help me hold her and teach her a mother's love for her child. 


  1. Lisa, this is the most beautiful tribute to your beloved mother. I've never met either one of you, but the love you had for each other is evident in your words, and it's a love that transcends mere bodily death and can never really be broken. My deepest condolences on your loss.

  2. If I had any money at all it would be going into your chipin in honor of your mother. This is such a sweet tribute and it made me cry. My Mom is my best friend too... she reads my blog, even though she rarely comments, she knows who I'm talking about when I say "Guess what Katie did!" or "Look how big Amelia is getting!" or "Please, please pray for Christiana's family". I'd be lost without her, and I know that's what you're going through right now and I can't put into words the comfort I want to offer you. It's just not enough. Words are not enough. So please accept my most heartfelt prayers for you and your family and your mother's sweet soul. She'll still be watching Christiana come home... but she'll get to see it through God's eyes. What a blessing for your dear Mama, and what an angel your sweet children will have. Just remember, for us, it may seem like a long time until we get to see them again, and that hurts, but we have to take solace in knowing that our loved ones in Heaven are not feeling the same pain, because in the space of eternity, there is no waiting for them... it is all joy. Nothing but joy and knowledge that before long (for her - for us it seems like forever) you will be together again. Love you and always praying. Also, you should come to Ohio and meet me and Faith and Etta and Cohen and Morgan and Aggie. I'm not going to lie, there's nothing sweeter in the world than holding that baby girl. <3

    1. There is nothing I would like better than to be able to give them all great big hugs! I adore Faith. I also wish I could meet Amanda Unroe and Christina Scott.... to name just a couple.

  3. Lisa I'm sobbing!I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm so sorry you have to finish this adoption without your mom right beside you. this post just broke my heart.

  4. Mother loss is something that changes you in so many ways. God bless you for moving forward.

  5. God bless you and be very near to you in this time!

  6. I'm so sorry you've lost your mother. I pray the Lord keeps you close and comforts you.

  7. i'm so sorry to hear that your mother passed away. i pray that Our Father in heaven would be with you right this minute & bring you comfort the way only He can. i pray for your adoption journey & will be sharing it on my FB. i pray that funds will come in & you will have her home soon.

  8. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Although my mom is still alive,my first born daughter passed away at age 28, eight years ago. I miss her every day. She was my biggest supporter. Losses like these are great. But you are right, we must go on for them.
    (((HUGS))) and prayers

  9. So sorry for your loss and hurting. How wonderful your mom was able to know of your plans, accept them and enjoy knowing about Christiana.