Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Marie Fischer
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000451A
00:29 Hello, I'm Shelley Quinn.
00:30 And we welcome you again to Issues and Answers.
00:33 This is a program where we're talking about
00:35 problems of today's society,
00:37 things that are happening to all of us really,
00:40 and some biblical solutions.
00:42 Today we're going to be speaking about
00:44 something that we don't really
00:46 I don't recall talking to this topic very much.
00:50 We're going to be talking about step parenting
00:54 and doing it God's way.
00:55 Returning to us today is Marie Fischer
00:58 from Jay, Oklahoma.
00:59 And we're so glad you're back.
01:01 I have to say, you're lot of fun.
01:03 We've had a lot of fun on this set
01:05 and it's a good thing we are today
01:06 because I've had very little sleep
01:09 and you're keeping me awake.
01:11 Praise God. Amen.
01:14 You have weird number of children.
01:17 And some of whom, most of whom are stepchildren or adopted,
01:22 you don't have any biological children.
01:24 So explain to us how you ended up with all these stepchildren?
01:28 From a very messy life
01:30 that God blessed me to have the children through,
01:31 but I had multiple marriages
01:35 and so, therefore, I ended up with stepchildren from them
01:38 and also adopted children from them.
01:41 And those multiple marriages,
01:42 I want to, just for some that may not know you
01:44 or because of you had a whole pattern of abuse in your life,
01:50 you were sexually molested, you were physically abused,
01:53 verbally abused, mentally abused,
01:55 spiritually abused.
01:57 So this was something
01:58 that you made wrong choices in your life.
02:01 Marrying people who weren't God's ideal for you, right?
02:04 That's correct.
02:06 But I don't want to blame my bad choices
02:11 on my life, on my messed life either
02:13 because I did make these choices,
02:15 you know, I manipulated my life and made excuses for my life
02:19 and chose the people that I chose
02:21 because I was living a sinful life.
02:23 I wasn't living a life for the Lord.
02:25 So I can't just blame it on my past.
02:28 I've to take full responsibility
02:30 that I made those choices.
02:31 Absolutely. That's good. That's good.
02:33 But you ended up...
02:35 You always prayed
02:36 and that's something else we have in common.
02:39 I always wanted six children
02:40 and I prayed so hard for children.
02:43 But I also prayed, "Lord, if I would outlive them,
02:45 then I just do not have any."
02:47 And unfortunately, we were not able to have children.
02:51 Tell us your story
02:52 about your heart's desire for children.
02:54 Well, ever since I was about ten years old,
02:56 I started praying for children.
02:58 And I think I prayed for them
03:00 because I felt like that would be an unconditional love
03:02 that that child would love me no matter what.
03:04 And so I was trying to fill a void really.
03:07 At that young age, I wanted children.
03:09 I babysat, I wanted children.
03:11 And I wanted to have 12, and I told the Lord,
03:13 I said I want 12 children, Lord.
03:15 I want a whole dozen of children.
03:17 I want them to love me and I want to love them.
03:19 And I started praying that way,
03:20 but I too had a really hard time conceiving.
03:25 And so you ended up...
03:27 You did have what you were...
03:28 You did go through one pregnancy,
03:30 but unfortunately you miscarried that baby,
03:32 is that correct?
03:33 I had an ectopic, what is tubular pregnancy.
03:36 So which had developed up to almost nine weeks
03:40 which is really unheard of, but I had eight children
03:43 and I used to say eight is enough,
03:45 that's what I had at that time
03:47 when I found out I was pregnant at 36.
03:49 And I was devastated because my youngest one was 13,
03:52 so I was like I don't want another child,
03:55 you know, eight is enough and everything.
03:57 But I truly believe the Lord
03:58 allowed me to be pregnant long enough
04:00 because my little Dylan needed a home.
04:03 You know, and I was not going to...
04:06 My mother had already asked me, this is her great grandchild.
04:08 This is my brother
04:10 who was murdered when he was 28, his grandson.
04:13 And my mom was begging me to take him.
04:15 I said, "Mom I've raised eight children
04:17 that are not mine that I adore and love,
04:19 and I'm so grateful to have them
04:20 but I'm done."
04:22 You know, and she says "Well, I'm too old."
04:24 Then I said, "Well, find somebody
04:25 that really needs a child."
04:27 Well, then I found out I was pregnant.
04:29 And I think the Lord allowed me to be pregnant,
04:32 ectopic pregnant long enough
04:34 so that I would resign myself to the fact
04:37 and get excited about having another child,
04:39 having a baby, you know.
04:40 And with that being said,
04:43 after it ruptured and I nearly died,
04:46 and I got Dylan two weeks later and he was 13 months old.
04:51 A beautiful boy, he's such a beautiful, beautiful baby.
04:55 He's not a baby, but he's my baby.
04:57 No longer a baby.
04:59 No longer a baby, but he'll always be my baby
05:01 and I tell him that every day.
05:02 You'll always be my baby.
05:03 Okay, so you have six stepchildren
05:05 and you adopted three children.
05:07 And then there is, you always...
05:09 When I talk to you, you always talk about ten.
05:11 So where's number ten?
05:12 Well, that's Jamie.
05:14 And Jamie was a neighbor child and she was the same age
05:17 as my youngest stepdaughter Tara.
05:19 And Tara and Jamie came home one time and said,
05:23 "Kathy and West don't want her anymore."
05:25 And I'm like, "What?"
05:27 She was 12 at the time.
05:29 And I said, "What!" And I said, "That can't be so."
05:31 So I ended up taking Jamie
05:34 I ended up getting custody of Jamie and raising her.
05:37 She is what the courts labeled "a throwaway child."
05:41 Bless her little heart.
05:42 And bless her little heart.
05:43 And she is a wonderful, wonderful,
05:45 wonderful young lady, a Christian young lady
05:49 and has two beautiful children of her own
05:50 and she has been a blessing to my life,
05:53 a wonderful blessing to my life.
05:55 Praise the Lord.
05:56 I know for me not having children
05:59 was probably the biggest disappointment of my life.
06:03 But the Lord has given me many spiritual children
06:06 and then we are nana and papa
06:08 or some of them call us nanny and dado to their children.
06:13 JD and I is who I'm referring to.
06:15 But I think that one thing that I have always believed
06:21 and I noticed is that parenting techniques
06:26 aren't something that you can just say,
06:27 "Here's one through twenty of the way you should parent."
06:31 Because every child's personality is so different
06:35 and every child needs something a little bit differently.
06:38 When you are parenting six adopted children
06:42 or excuse me six stepchildren,
06:45 three adopted and then one for whom you had custody,
06:48 what was your greatest challenge in learning
06:53 how to meet the needs of these various personalities?
06:58 Well, at the very beginning,
06:59 I have to tell you, I was only 21.
07:02 So I was 21
07:04 and took on five of those children all at one time.
07:07 And so the oldest one
07:08 was only four and a half years younger than me
07:11 and the youngest one was five.
07:14 So what, that's 16 years?
07:16 So I had a 5, and 8, 13, 14, and 16 year old.
07:21 So the biggest challenge for me was learning how to be a parent
07:26 all at one time and a good one.
07:31 And it's very difficult when you have teenagers,
07:33 and you don't really know them
07:34 and you're throwing all together.
07:36 Especially when you're not that much...
07:37 The age difference was pretty narrow margin...
07:42 Yeah, minimal, it's a good word.
07:44 You're almost could be like considered sister to the old.
07:49 So how did God lead you?
07:53 Well, what's really challenging
07:54 was that their dad worked on the railroad
07:56 so he was gone a lot,
07:58 so I was kind of just thrown into the situation.
08:00 But I've always had a deep love for people.
08:04 You know, I have always felt connection to people.
08:07 And I could always see their need,
08:08 it's a gift that God gave me.
08:10 And I wanted them to have
08:14 something that they didn't have.
08:15 I wanted them to have a stable home
08:17 and an environment that they could be part of
08:20 like a whole family, not just a mom, and a dad that was gone,
08:24 and a step mom that was there to tell them what to do.
08:26 I wanted to mingle with them and I didn't know how.
08:31 Like you said, kids don't come with a manual.
08:33 And step parenting especially isn't easy,
08:36 especially to teenagers.
08:37 And I had one, Lisa,
08:39 she was the oldest of the three girls.
08:43 And she turned around when she was about 14
08:45 and told me, "You can't tell me what to do.
08:47 You're not my mother."
08:50 And I handled it all wrong.
08:53 I got angry and retaliated.
08:54 I was 21 or 22 at the time, you know.
08:56 We'd only been a family for a year,
08:59 and I handled it all wrong.
09:01 But later on after about a year of being a stepparent,
09:04 I went to them and I asked them biblically,
09:07 I always kind of turn to God
09:08 because I wanted to know how to be a good stepparent,
09:13 not just a stepparent that said...
09:15 The wicked stepmother that said, "Okay.
09:17 Well, you live here, you have to do it this way."
09:19 So I went to God and then I went to them.
09:21 And I said, "I'm sorry, I've done things wrong.
09:26 I know that I've done things wrong,
09:28 I've handled that situation,
09:29 God's just as disappointed with me as He is with you
09:33 because I handled it wrong.
09:36 But I've never been a parent before
09:37 and I've never been a stepparent before.
09:38 And so can you help me?
09:41 Can we do this together?
09:42 Can you help me?
09:43 Show me what you need.
09:45 Show and I'll try to fill in the gaps
09:48 and be a family unit for you."
09:50 And that was the turning point for us.
09:52 We started learning about each other differently
09:56 and each child I started looking at
09:58 and trying to find out their personality
10:00 and what their greatest gift was to my life.
10:04 So one had humor that I just adored,
10:06 and so I lifted him up with that humor, you know.
10:09 And one had a need
10:11 that she needed to feel like daddy's little girl
10:13 because she wasn't the baby of the family.
10:16 And that little girl is with the babies
10:17 and they were daddy's babies, you know.
10:20 And so I made her feel special,
10:22 I'd go and envelop her and love her
10:24 and she'd say, "I hate my mom."
10:25 And I'd say, "No, you don't.
10:27 You don't hate your mom,
10:28 you hate the things that maybe she's done
10:29 but you love your mother."
10:31 And I stopped trying to be a mother,
10:33 I started trying to be just what they needed.
10:37 That's kind of a sacrificial type thing
10:39 that when you're having to, I mean, it takes sacrificial,
10:43 unconditional love to be a parent.
10:45 But to be a stepparent,
10:46 even I would say you have to magnify that.
10:49 And you do,
10:50 and you have to spend a lot of time on your knees,
10:52 and going back and saying, "I'm sorry.
10:54 I messed up again," you know.
10:56 But I think even as a natural parent,
10:57 when I stopped looking at myself and saying,
10:59 "Oh, they're only doing this because I'm their step mom."
11:02 When I stop looking at that
11:04 and realize that even if I was their natural parent,
11:08 they have issues, they have arguments,
11:11 they have all these things that happen in a real life,
11:14 you know, in a real biological parenting.
11:17 So I stopped looking at that as,
11:19 "Oh, if I was their real mom."
11:20 Because their friends didn't treat their mothers any better
11:23 than they treated me.
11:24 And I started looking at it, "This is parenting.
11:28 This is a class,
11:29 like I kind of looked at it as parenting one on one.
11:31 This is a class I'm taking
11:33 and I'm going to get good at it,
11:34 just like I did all my life.
11:36 I had to be perfect at everything."
11:37 So I started looking at that in that way.
11:40 And what child needed the most of what particular thing.
11:45 But, you know, to me,
11:46 it seems like it would be much more difficult in that,
11:50 you can't always just walk in and be the mother,
11:53 especially, when they're older.
11:54 And your case is an unusual case
11:57 where there was such a minimal amount of difference in age
12:00 for the oldest and you.
12:02 But you can't step up to the plate and say suddenly,
12:06 you know, "Well, I'm your mother,
12:07 you're going to treat me like your mother."
12:09 This is something that for children,
12:13 you want to be a parent,
12:15 you know, and often people will say,
12:17 "Well, kids don't need a friend,
12:19 they need a parent."
12:20 But with step-parenting, you have to befriend them.
12:24 How did you gain their respect
12:27 so that you could exercise
12:32 a certain degree of authority if you will?
12:35 Yes, that's a good question.
12:38 Because at the beginning of the relationship,
12:41 I never wanted to be their mom.
12:43 I wanted to love them.
12:45 And I told them straight out.
12:46 I said, "I'm not here to replace your mom,
12:49 I'm not here to be your mom.
12:51 I'm here to help you and to be a family unit.
12:54 And your dad's gone, you need someone that will be there
12:57 to take you to school, to help you eat at night."
12:59 And when you say dad's gone,
13:00 he traveled in his business a lot.
13:02 Yes, he was a railroader.
13:04 So he was gone quite a bit, you know, on the road.
13:08 So I try to look at their needs and say,
13:10 "This is what I am here for, to fill those needs for you.
13:14 I don't care if you call me Mom,
13:16 I don't care if you call me Marie.
13:18 But you will respect me, and I learn to respect you too.
13:21 I mean, it's a mutual give and take,
13:23 and we had to learn that together.
13:25 You know, each one of the children added something
13:28 so beautiful and unique to my life,
13:30 and changed me into the person I am today
13:33 that I wouldn't change one child for one of my own.
13:40 And it's something that, you know, you've said
13:43 that you're still very much attached to them,
13:46 they're still very much attached to you.
13:48 You told me once that you had written a letter
13:51 to each one of them that hasn't been delivered yet.
13:53 Tell me about that?
13:55 Well, one day and this was probably,
13:59 I would guess probably 20 years ago,
14:01 I wrote these letters.
14:03 And one day, I was just thinking about the children
14:05 and all of them
14:06 and how unique my life has been because of them,
14:10 and how blessed my life has been because of them,
14:12 and what special trait each one of them have.
14:15 And I wanted them to know how valuable they were to me,
14:19 and how important those kids were to me,
14:21 and how precious they are to God.
14:24 And so I sat down one day and I wrote a letter to Gary,
14:28 to Raymond, to Lisa, to Regina, and to Tara,
14:31 you know, just the five step kids,
14:33 those five, those first five.
14:35 And because I didn't have the sixth one yet.
14:40 Anyway, so I wrote those letters to them
14:42 and I sealed them.
14:43 And my intent was, I had watched an Opera,
14:48 mother's day thing.
14:49 And it was children that were supposed to be
14:51 writing in letters about their mother.
14:54 And I was like, "Oh, Lord.
14:56 I would never be a mother
14:59 if it wasn't for the children that you gave me."
15:02 I want them to know that how special that is to me.
15:04 How blessed I was to have them in my life.
15:07 And how each one of them have just added something
15:11 so unique and I sealed it.
15:13 And I never intended to send it to Opera
15:15 because she wasn't doing a show on that.
15:17 Had she been doing it, I might have sent them in
15:19 and let my children all know how treasured they were.
15:23 But I just thought what an awesome thing to do
15:26 and so I wrote those for those children
15:28 and I stuck them in a drawer.
15:30 And I just recently saw them maybe a year ago.
15:32 And I was like, "Oh, well when I die."
15:35 When I die, they'll have a little surprise or whatever.
15:38 But you know, to me, the reason I wanted to talk about that is
15:41 because that was your focus
15:43 is that you looked for their strengths,
15:47 you looked for the things
15:50 for which you could affirm them,
15:52 that you could hold them up and tell them
15:55 this is what's good about you.
15:58 Now what happens though
16:01 when there is discord in the home?
16:05 What, I mean, there is with all children and their parents,
16:09 so how did you go about picking your battles?
16:13 You know, you have to be...
16:16 You have to really want to love the children.
16:19 You really have to take your focus on your own self
16:22 and put it aside.
16:24 And that doesn't always happen.
16:25 Even in a biological family situation,
16:29 it doesn't happen that you don't
16:31 put your selfish desires first and you say,
16:33 "I'm the mother and that's what I said
16:34 and that's why it's going to be the way it is."
16:36 So you have to look at that child
16:39 and you have to look at yourself and say,
16:42 "God what is it
16:45 that's really worth fighting over?
16:48 Is this really worth tearing apart that child
16:51 or yelling at that child,
16:52 or is this really worth telling their dad that this happened
16:55 because he responded so violently sometimes
16:59 in different things?
17:00 Is this really worth it?"
17:01 And when I would do that,
17:03 I would find myself saying 90% of the stuff wasn't worth it.
17:08 You know, that is so true even in marriage.
17:11 I mean, most relationships, there are...
17:13 When we first married, I would think, "Okay."
17:17 And this shows you how my mind worked.
17:19 I had a scale from 1 to 100 is,
17:22 if it weren't at least in 80 or above,
17:24 I'd say, "Okay, then it isn't worth arguing over,"
17:27 if it's not an 80 or above.
17:29 And I cannot tell you how often that I would go to bed,
17:33 something would be right up there
17:35 and I think this is a 78 to 79, Lord, it's getting close.
17:40 And I would pray about it and by the next morning,
17:44 the Lord would just handle it.
17:45 I mean, within 24 hours, he would handle the situation.
17:49 But I think sometimes, we argue over with...
17:53 We see parents arguing with their children
17:55 and making life miserable
17:59 because parents want control.
18:03 That's exactly right.
18:05 And I think that's basically what it is.
18:07 It's surrendering your parental position
18:10 to win their hearts
18:11 especially, when you're in a step-parenting situation.
18:14 I would surrender my parental position...
18:17 Okay, what do you mean
18:18 by surrendering your parental position?
18:21 Well, a lot of parents would simply say,
18:24 "Because I said so." Okay.
18:26 You know, do this because I said so.
18:28 Because I'm the mom, or I'm the dad,
18:30 or I'm your parent and that's way it is.
18:32 And I, as a child, was probably antagonistic
18:36 because I would always say, "Give me a reason.
18:41 You know, "Why can't I do such and such,
18:42 or why can't I eat that if I want it?"
18:45 Because I said so, you know.
18:47 And that's not good enough.
18:49 And so when I realized that I was making so many mistakes
18:52 as a stepparent,
18:54 I started looking at my own life.
18:56 And the things that I really hated that my parents stood on
18:59 because they were my parents,
19:01 you know, that didn't make any sense.
19:02 And I was doing the same things to my children,
19:05 my stepchildren.
19:07 And I said, "No, you need to give up
19:09 that parental position to win their hearts.
19:13 Because if you want to love them
19:15 and you want them to love you,
19:16 it can't be like this all the time."
19:19 Now naturally, natural children love their parents
19:22 even if they fight
19:23 and even if they're abused by them.
19:25 Especially if they're abused by them,
19:26 they want to love that parent even more,
19:28 they want their love even more.
19:30 But a stepchild and a stepparent
19:34 have other issues.
19:35 They don't naturally love them.
19:37 You have to look for ways to get into their heart.
19:41 And so I started looking for their needs,
19:43 individual needs and trying to meet those individual needs.
19:46 And I tried to separate myself as being a parent,
19:50 even though I still need to fulfill that role.
19:52 I still need to let them trust me that I did love them,
19:56 that I was there for them, I wasn't against them.
20:00 I wanted to make their life better not worse.
20:02 And we actually enjoyed each other's company.
20:05 We would go horseback riding,
20:08 and we would float down the river,
20:09 and we would do things that were fun as well.
20:12 And that was really a bonding for us
20:15 that I didn't always have to be that parent standing
20:18 on that position.
20:20 You know, David Asscherick said something
20:22 so fascinating one day when he was preaching
20:24 at one of our camp meetings.
20:26 He said that his children know
20:29 that whatever they're going to ask him,
20:31 they can assume that the answer is yes,
20:34 unless it's breaking a biblical principle
20:37 or it's unhealthy for them.
20:39 You know, if it's dangerous or unhealthy for them
20:41 or breaking a biblical principle,
20:44 they can assume yes.
20:45 He said most people's mindsets are no, no, no, no, no.
20:50 And kids just get to where they're fighting
20:52 that no all the time.
20:54 He said but, you know, God's mindset
20:56 when we go to Him,
20:57 He's just like yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,
20:59 unless it's dangerous for us
21:01 or it's not good for our health,
21:03 or it breaks one of His scriptural principles.
21:07 And I think that's just fabulous advice
21:10 because I think most parents do.
21:11 It's kind of like, "No, why not, because I said so."
21:15 This is something that quite often parents
21:17 don't realize how antagonistic they are being.
21:22 You know, they look at their child
21:23 as being antagonistic.
21:25 But if you are in a frame of saying yes
21:28 for the child's benefit most of the time,
21:30 then I believe that when they come to you
21:33 and you have to say, "No,"
21:35 that they're going to understand, "Oh, okay.
21:37 This really is dangerous for me.
21:39 Or this is breaking a principle of God.
21:40 Or, you know, this is something that is not good for me."
21:44 So I think that there's some real sound advice.
21:47 I believe that totally is true. And I look at Matthew 7:9.
21:53 And I kind of think about this as being a stepparent
21:55 because I did look back at that and it says,
21:58 "For what man is there of you, whom a son ask a bread,
22:02 and you will give him a stone?"
22:03 And instead of being a parent that was like no, no, no,
22:07 or I don't want to do this, or I don't want you to do that,
22:09 and I want to be in control of everything that you do,
22:12 I start asking God,
22:13 "What can I do to give this child
22:16 that will make them a better person
22:17 or that will show them that I love them?
22:20 How can I show them Christ?"
22:21 And I wanted them to go to church
22:23 and I wanted them to go
22:24 into church schools and all this stuff.
22:26 But how can I show them Christ if I'm the evil stepmother.
22:28 You know, I need to look at their best interests.
22:30 And I took that verse as this God saying,
22:33 "I want to give you all great things,
22:34 why would I give you bad things?"
22:36 And so I started wanting to give the children good things.
22:40 I do have to say though.
22:41 Being from an abusive background,
22:44 I was overprotective, I was over controlling,
22:47 I didn't want anything to hurt them,
22:49 I didn't want anything to get near to them
22:51 that could cause them pain.
22:53 And so that is a form of abuse as well
22:56 when you manipulate situations
22:57 to keep your children too close to you,
22:59 you don't allow them to explore things.
23:02 You don't allow them to go places
23:03 that could possibly hurt them
23:05 because they could go down the lake
23:07 and drowned, you know.
23:09 So you don't let them go with their friends.
23:10 "No, I don't think you should go with your friends."
23:12 They're 15 and 16 years old.
23:15 They're 16 and 17 years old now,
23:17 you know, 18 and 16 or whatever they grew up."
23:20 And I still wanted to protect them.
23:23 And that causes them to pull away from you.
23:25 And we do that even without step-parenting,
23:28 even in real parenting, we overprotect them sometimes
23:31 because we think we're doing the best thing for them.
23:35 But we haven't taught them how to make those choices.
23:37 We haven't given them wings on how to be responsible
23:41 or make good choices
23:42 because we don't inform their whole entire life.
23:44 And I did that with my babies that I adopted.
23:47 I didn't want anything to hurt them.
23:50 Well, and especially coming from your background,
23:52 I can see that, that protective desire would be
23:56 even more magnified
23:58 because of the abuse that you suffered,
24:00 so I understand that.
24:02 But as you are working with these, I mean, in really,
24:05 we're talking about step-parenting,
24:07 but you also were an adoptive mother,
24:10 a little different relationship
24:12 but it's still a challenge sometimes.
24:17 As you are learning to love these children
24:21 and that's what you're asking the Lord to show you
24:23 what they need, you're learning to love them,
24:25 to meet their needs.
24:27 How easy was it for them to reciprocate
24:30 that love for you?
24:32 I think, you know,
24:33 the first year is always difficult.
24:36 But I think after a couple of years,
24:39 we were very close.
24:41 My oldest stepdaughter
24:42 and I are six years apart, Lisa.
24:44 And we're like best friends today,
24:47 and I'm divorced from her dad for almost 30 years.
24:50 And we're like best friends,
24:52 we talk to each other on a regular basis.
24:54 She's a nurse,
24:55 she's a wonderful Christian woman.
24:56 She has beautiful children,
24:58 you know, and we're very, very close.
25:00 She still introduces me to this day as her step mom.
25:04 And I love her to death.
25:05 I can't even imagine my life without Lisa in my life.
25:08 Same thing with all of my children
25:09 in a unique way.
25:11 I don't have a close, close relationship with the ones
25:14 that have moved away to Idaho and stuff but I love them
25:17 and they have added things to my life
25:19 that I can't even go into depth with that have taught me
25:23 to be a Christian in a way
25:25 that I would have never been able to be without them.
25:28 And I want to just touch for one second
25:32 on one of your adoptive sons because that's a special need
25:39 is learning how to mother someone who is serving time
25:45 in a penal institution.
25:46 Tell us about that just briefly?
25:50 He is my son, his name is Anthony, we call him TJ.
25:54 And he has been spending
25:55 the last eleven and a half years
25:57 in prison for murder.
25:59 And he was the very child that I protected the most,
26:03 because he had been in six different foster homes,
26:07 in different families.
26:08 I should say, not all of them were foster homes.
26:10 But some family members and some foster homes
26:13 before I got him.
26:15 And so I took him in and I protected him.
26:18 God literally had to let me let go of him
26:22 and put him in a place
26:23 where I could love him from a distance
26:25 and let God work on him.
26:27 But I loved him.
26:28 No matter what your child does, it's just like Christ.
26:31 He loves you no matter what.
26:33 And this child was actually sexually assaulted
26:37 and he murdered someone
26:39 because he was protecting his wife and child
26:41 from the same thing.
26:43 But my point is in asking this question,
26:45 we're running out of time, you wrote him a letter recently
26:48 that I just want you to touch on
26:50 and we've got about 30 seconds.
26:51 Tell us about that letter?
26:53 I let him know how precious he was to me
26:55 and how special he was to me
26:57 because he said he felt all his life
26:58 that he was a curse and that he cursed us.
27:01 And I said, "Absolutely not, God brought you into my life
27:04 to help me to grow as a mother and as a Christian
27:07 and I wouldn't trade a thing."
27:09 And his response was?
27:11 That was the best letter...
27:12 It was a Christmas letter, and he said,
27:14 "That was a best letter I have ever gotten from you, mom,
27:15 because I needed to know that."
27:17 Praise the Lord.
27:18 And I just wanted to point that out because to me,
27:20 that it shows your loving heart
27:22 and how God has taught you to meet
27:25 the needs of your children and your stepchildren,
27:27 that's what it's all about.
27:29 Marie, we're already out of time,
27:30 we can't believe it but thank you
27:32 so much for being here.
27:33 I hope for those of you at home that if you know somebody
27:37 who is trying to stepparent, have them get this program
27:41 because I think there's a lot of wisdom here.
27:43 May God bless you richly. Bye-bye.