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Plucked From the Fire

by Nancy Grubbs

The infant's small white limbs dangled from the arms of the woman. The fire below the child flickered. Those watching waited in anticipation of the event. The bowl was filled and placed over the child's head. Slowly the woman poured the fluid over the child and the onlookers smiled. The child's sister watched from the hip of her mother as she was held tightly. The eyes of those watching glowed red. The women were all very large with loose fitting dresses which were fallen open on many of them to reveal their breasts. The men were smaller and more of the background. The women were obviously in charge of this ceremony. A Wiccan ceremony of baptism. The child was being dedicated to Satan, just like her older sister had been. Just like all the watchers.

This is one of the pictures I have of my adopted daughter's first "baptism." Over a fire in a Wiccan ceremony. The pictures were given to me by their grandmother who had taken custody of these children when the neglect they suffered became such that she could no longer stand by and watch. Her grandbabies were covered in scabies and impetigo. They slept in feces and played in an open window. The oldest was almost a feral child when she was removed at 18 months. Her younger sister had rarely seen the outside of a infant swing. Her voice was a raspy bleat that belied her attempts to scream for attention and food. They were left alone and with strangers. Their ear infections were constant and their other needs seldom met by a birth mother who was too young and in bondage.

We had received a call from a friend who was hoping we could help to find an adoptive family for these two girls. Their grandparents wanted to place them with a Christian family. The family needed to be foster parent certified and the process would involve birth parent visits etc. My husband and I talked and prayed. It truly seemed that God was preparing us for this situation. We had just adopted a little boy six months before who had been drug exposed and oxygen deprived. He was almost seven months old and we weren't sure what his medical needs would be. He'd been resuscitated four times and had an apgar score of 1 when he was born. He seemed to be doing fine, but we knew it would be a while before we would know. God had prepared us for this child and we knew God was preparing us for more. But was this them?

All we knew at first was the details of the situation that the girls had been in regarding their neglect issues. Their spiritual situation was unknown to us until right before we were to get them. We made preparation for their arrival, we prayed. This would be quite a challenge we were told. No one could have foreseen what this kind of a challenge would really be like. The logistics alone are daunting with three children in diapers and only 17 months between all three. Add to that the extensive histories that each child had already survived in addition to the behavior that was difficult at best, impossible regularly.

When I learned the news of the girl's spiritual challenges, I was in awe of God's care in this situation. Having experienced much spiritual warfare in both my conversion to Christianity and my subsequent conversion into the Church and marriage to my husband, I had more than an awareness of the "dark side" and it's tactics. This interest had motivated me to take several workshops on spiritual warfare and to attempt to become a warrior and intercessor in the fight against evil. I had just completed the final course offered by the sisters at Bellwether, a spiritual community in Omaha who called themselves, Intercessors of the Lamb.

When the facts came out in one of the final discussions with the grandmother, I began to quiver. I was in what I can only describe as, a call to battle. I knew why God had chosen us for these children. We had been given our marching orders and now we needed to arm ourselves. I placed our son in his backpack and walked the two miles to our parish and into the Blessed Sacrament chapel. I then began to pace and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as I beseeched God to remove all doubts from us if this situation was to go forward. If it was to go forward, please prepare us and these children. I bought children's rosaries and a children's cross and had them blessed. I stocked up on holy oil, blessed salt, and began to pray and give thanks.

The day arrived. We picked the girls up, now 11 months and 2 years. The oldest called us "Mommy" and "Daddy." We loaded their things and left. We made sure our house was safe and prepared for the onslaught of these two little people. They were both very mobile and very active. Nothing in this world could have prepared us for what happened next. They arrived late in the afternoon and it went all right as people came over to visit them. Our son who had begun to scream and cry whenever he was set down was getting worse with all the activity. Night came and the little girl, the middle child, began to cry and we took her to our bed where she tossed all night and looked around with big frightened eyes.

After a sleepless night, I was suddenly taken sick and vomiting. All my strength and energy was gone. My husband tried to get ready to go to work as it was a very busy stressful time at work, yet he couldn't leave. Our son was screaming, the girls were screaming and tearing our house apart. The oldest one was like a wild animal. She had no control over her emotions or her actions and did not respond to any sort of discipline. The younger one could take the childproof locks off the doors and climb anything in her path. We put an emergency call into my husband's father and he came with child proof gates and more locks. I still could hardly move I was so weak from vomiting. I found my husband standing beside my son's crib with Matthew in his arms. They were both crying. He looked at me and said through his tears, "What have we done?" We had already discovered that our son wasn't safe anywhere near the oldest girl as she was so violent. We were afraid for his life, and for ours.

Shortly after that, it dawned on me that something else was going on here. I went back to my bathroom and began to pray for deliverance from the spirit that was making me sick. I prayed that Jesus would take authority over it and then I went out, already feeling better. Within 30 minutes I was back to normal and ready to attempt this task ahead of us.

I took the girls to see a deacon who had just come into my life after 20 years absence. He was now running the Catholic Charismatic Center in our area. God had sent him to me in this time of need. He began to pray over each girl while anointing them. We couldn't baptize them as they were considered foster children until the termination of parental rights was complete. He said a sort of prayer of exorcism, such as one would say in a baptism. The younger child sat on my lap and allowed this to happen. The older one kicked, screamed, fought, and we had to stop before the prayer was over. She made it impossible to finish. The deacon said that there was definitely something attached to her and we needed to try and starve it out with constant prayer, consecration and anointing. I contacted Bellwether and they began to pray. I surrounded them with Christian videos, books, music. It took about six months until I began to feel that we were dealing with the child and not the spirit. The younger child was delivered from a spirit of screaming and soon regained the use of her true voice which has turned out to be the sweetest 3 year old voice I've ever heard.

My oldest daughter now declares herself to be married to Jesus. She is in love with Jesus Christ crucified and tells everyone she meets about her "husband." She has put her adoption story together after a memory she had of being locked up. She had accused me of this when she was just three years old. I explained that the mommy whose tummy she had come out of had not been able to take care of babies and that Jesus had wanted them to go to a safe place where they could get the food and care they needed. She soon began to piece the story together, sometimes in tears and sometimes very matter of factly. After about a year she began to pray for her birth mother. She prayed that Jesus would come into her heart and she would learn to take care of babies. She told me that she forgives her and she still loves her.

One day she came in from watching a video I had recently given them of the gospel from Mary's perspective. My oldest daughter asked if her birth mother had a video about Jesus. I told her I don't think she did. With that she stated that she would like her to have one so Jesus could come into her heart. It was a couple of months away from Christmas and so I purchased the video "Jesus" with the salvation message at the end. She wrapped it and on a Christmas card she wrote "I forgive you." I made arrangements for the birth mother to receive it on Christmas.

She did and I heard that it was very moving for her to receive this. My daughter continues to pray for her and seems to have great peace now about her past with her birth mother.

Today at almost 4 and almost 5, they are quite a pair. Polar opposites, one extroverted and impulsive, the other withdrawn and in her own dream world. I occasionally see their past as I observe how fearful my younger daughter is and her great fear of being left. She took 2 years to calm down and learn to relate to new people or situations without terror. In the one-upmanship style of siblings so close in age, she has declared that she is married to God. We don't know if there will be a vocation here, but we are assured that there is a profound reason that these children were literally plucked out of the fire. They also have the opportunity to minister in their own family as their dear brother, now 3.5, has been diagnosed with autism, retardation and hearing loss.

The last three years have been more than I could have ever imagined in my worst nightmare as we have struggled to cope and not just to get by, but to excel. Our weaknesses have been shoved in our faces daily and God's mercy called upon constantly. He is faithful, we are humbled. We are humbled that He would trust us with so much responsibility when we often feel that we do not deserve it. But the fruits are ripening and planter is preparing a great harvest. We are awed at our little garden plot and the care that the Master Planter has sowed. We can't wait to see how this garden will grow.

Glory to God in The Highest

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