About two weeks ago, a young man died at 32 years of age. A tragic senseless death.
He was the son of a friend of mine. She is also a single mom who has been involved with foster care and adoption for over thirty years. She had adopted him when he was a toddler, I am thinking right around a year old. Him and his sister. Fot his blog post, i am going to call my friend Anne, and the son I will call Lee, though these are not their real names.
For years, Anne has lived in a double house with another lady. they both have done foster care for YEARS and have had many many children. They are now both nearing 70 and have slowed down but back in the day, they used to each have six children pretty much all the time. Anne adopted Lee and his sister and one other girl, who has disabilities. The other lady, whom I shall call Lena, adopted two children. A girl with Downs Syndrome who is now in her late twenties, and a boy who died years ago of a brain tumor when he was 18 or so. I actually know Lena a lot better then Anne and have a lot more contact with her but I have also known Anne for a long time.
I have known these 2 ladies for about exactly ten years which is quite a long time to be friends with someone. But even then, they were not in their prime anymore. They did have a lot more children running around then, then they do now, but certainly not six apiece. They have always fascinated me in many ways, I guess simply because they have lived the life I am now living. They are now getting old and tired. Sometimes I see them looking at me with my brood with a look in their eyes. Of remembering, maybe some pain, maybe a bit of envy, wishing they wudnt have to get old and slow down.
Anyway, one Saturday morning, Lena calls me and tells me that Anne's son Lee had died the evening before. they had gotten a phone call around supper time from Anne's married daughter, that Lee's girlfriend had called her and said she is taking him to the ER, that she is not sure whether he is alive or not. Shortly after that, they got a phone call that he is gone. He was deep into drugs and alcohol, that day, for the first time, he had been using heroin. I don't know whether he died of an overdose or because of a reaction from mixing the wrong drugs, but somewhere somehow something went terribly wrong.
A phone call like that is the worst kind of a mother's nightmare. To top it all off and make it even sadder and weirder, Anne had had surgery that day on her shoulder. It was outpatient surgery but it was still a long day and with a lengthy and painful recovery period. She left the hospital late that afternoon not all that long before her son was brought in. So that evening she was exhausted and drugged when she got the news. Another strange twist to this story is that Lee died 13 years to the day after Lena's son died. How unusual is that?? They had grown up together under the same roof, just on the other side of the wall from each other. Lena's son had some disabilites, and then died 2 weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
We did not know Lee at all. It was a little strange, but as well as I know Anne and Lena, and as much as I had heard about Lee, I had never met him. he was grown and gone by the time I came on the scene. Anne has legally adopted the three children that Lee had fathered. At 70 years old and in failing health, she is raising them and caring for her adult special needs daughter.
Lee had been raised in a Christian home and went to church all his growing up years. As a teenager, he accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptised. I don't know what went wrong after that, or how it all happened, but he ended up in the lowest pits of sin you can imagine. In and out of prison, using all kinds of illegal substances, divorced, losing custody of all three children. (who by the way are all three full siblings, he was married to the same woman for a couple of years. The children were taken from them by CPS before they separated)
I took my children to the viewing, along with Ashley, my youngest sister. Lee had not been going to any church for a long time, but Anne's church was kind enough to offer to have a funeral and burial for him. So that evening we drove to the little country Mennonite church house. I dreaded it, knowing what a sad time it would be. We drove into the parking lot past a huddle of people grouped around a couple vehicles. They were smoking and carrying on but as I walked past with my five innocent children pressing against me half in fear, they fell silent and stared at us. I felt great anger rise up within me as I saw what kind of people they were and I said aloud, "Satan, you WILL NOT have my children." they were the people who had dragged my friend's son down into the pit of hell, and they reminded me of vultures, hanging around the fringes, looking for their next victim.
Inside, Anne sat beside the casket of her son while family members, church people, Lee's birthfamily and other friends streamed by. And mixed into the crowd were the people who Lee had associated with. In they slunk, many with sagging jeans and t-shirts, with long stringy hair pulled back into a band, an amazing number of them appeared to be toothless. their faces looked old and dried up and like those warning ads you see that say, "this is the face of meth."
Ever since that evening, I have been more burdened then ever for my children's future. The devil has no mercy. I believe that foster and adoptive parents are in the front battle lines. I believe that is why christian foster and adoptive families have so many battles, the devil is ANGRY with them. He does not want children being placed into Christian homes. I have my own testimonies of Satan's attacks right over the times when my children were placed with me and especially over the time of adoption finalizations. He thought he was going to have these children and he does not want to let go.
My sister Mary asked me why I think Anne and Lena have had such an incredible amount of awful things happen to them. And that is my belief. They have been in the frontline for years. Satan does not give up in trying to hinder and discourage.
Praise God that he is SO much more powerful then Satan. There is hope and victory. Evil heritages can be broken and made totally null. But so much lies on us, as parents. In this day and age, parents cannot afford to be lax, and adoptive parents for sure not. I am still so learning this and I really don't have a lot of answers. But one can never go wrong with praying, with covering your children with God's word, with staying connected to their hearts.
I think of the verse in Lamentations 2:19.
Arise, cry out in the night; in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water in the presence of the Lord.Truly, we have gathered in
our children from the streets. They were faint with hunger for the love and security that God's people have to offer. And it says to get up at night to pray for them and cry out to God for them. A couple years ago, when Marissa was going through her hard time, I did this on a regular basis. I would get up at 3 AM and get out of bed and pray for her for awhile. I want to start doing this again, at least a couple times a week.
I believe it does not have to end like it did for Lee. Not in our own power and might, but because of the power available to us through God and His Word. Teach me, O God.