Meet My Parents (part 1)Family Journey . Katie . Katie, the Cleaning Lady
This blog is something I have started off and on over the years, but have never published. This is a chapter in the story of two extra-ordinary people, who disguise themselves as simple, plain people. This is the story of my parents, Robert Floyd and Patricia Faye (Rowe) Linton.
They are extremely private people, so don’t tell them I wrote this post about them. 😉
My parents are the first to tell you they are simple people with simple faith in a really Big God. They don’t like to draw attention to themselves and believe in keeping their private life, private. But as I sat this morning praying for them, I realized if Yeshua tarries, and my sisters and I all go to rest in Him, who would tell the story of my parents to our grandchildren and great grandchildren. So, it is for their sake I write this story today, and for the Glory of God.
This past couple of weeks has been some of the hardest days of my parents lives. My brother, Bubba, Michael Asher, got Covid and because of his medically fragile condition it has developed into severe pneumonia. This is overwhelming for anyone, but Michael is special. Michael is in his thirties and still lives at home. He has lived on his own or in group homes a few different times in his adult life, but recently he had to come back home to live with mom and dad. Michael has Prader-willie syndrome, he is cognitively impaired, he has cerebral palsy, and severe asthma and allergies. Michael was born with these conditions which he inherited from his biological special needs parents.
So how did Michael become my brother, and my parents son?
That story starts many years ago when my mom was married to my dad. My mom was born and raised in a small town in Michigan, USA. She was born into a home were she was neglected and abused. But for as long as she could remember, she knew that the life she was living was not the life she wanted for her future. I can’t recall my mom telling me any stories of her childhood, but I did over hear them when she told them to the many foster children that came into our home. She would share her stories with them, to help them know that they weren’t alone and the there was hope. When the opportunity for my mom to leave home, and start a better life for herself came she jumped at it.
That opportunity came in the form of my dad. My dad came from a home of hard work and good American morals. He lived on a small Michigan farm with his family as a child, and his parents taught him about hard work, integrity, and commitment.
When he met my mom and asked her to marry him, she dropped out of high school and did just that. As they began married life together, they soon were blessed with a daughter, Rebecca Ann. Daddy called her Becky. Life was routine and steady, and a couple years later another daughter was born, Katherine Eileen, Katie. Yeah, that’s me. It was at this point in my mom’s life that everything would change.
I heard my mom tell this story so many times to people as she shared her testimony with complete strangers going door to door , or in a church full of people. The story goes something like this, as she sat holding her baby, me, she realized she needed and wanted something more for herself and her daughters. She just knew there had to be more. So, she decided to go to the local church on Sunday. She packed my sister and I up, and went to church that next Sunday. She says, she felt the love of God that she never knew before in that place, and the message that the preacher shared of a loving Savior spoke to her. She went back the next week, and then she asked dad to join her the following week. In quick order, both my parents, knew and understood the love of Christ and made Him the Lord of their lives. They were what is often called, “Radically Saved.” They jumped into this faith lifestyle with both feet. Every time the church doors were opened we were there. If there was an outreach event we were there. If there was Bible study my parents were there. They began looking for opportunities to serve God and share His love with others. This lead them to become foster parents. During this exciting time of growing in their faith, my younger sister was born, Mary Elizabeth, whom we all call Chopper.
As a very little girl, I remember some of the first foster children my parents took in. Two older very troubled boys, a baby boy, and a teenage girl. But the thing I remember most about my parents and all the foster children they took in over the years was their love for them. They loved and treated every child the same as they treated my sisters and I. They loved them just as deeply, they cared for them just the same, they invested in them just the same, and they did it selflessly. Being a foster parent is so hard. Often when I was a foster mom, I would want to guard my heart from the pain I knew was coming when the children would leave my home and go on to their next home. But, my parents had shown me the way, the only way to really make a difference in those children’s lives is to be all in, to take the risk.
(There are many, many more stories about my parents faith and God’s faithfulness to them. Stories of how they trusted Him and He did miracles in their lives and the lives of those they loved. Stories of how they left their home in Michigan and moved to Arizona to minister to native Americans. Stories of how they let God guide them every step of every day. But this post is about their love and calling to the children.)
Over the years my parents took in hundreds of foster children. Some stayed a day, some stayed years, but they all eventually moved on. Some came back and left more than once. But, never in all the years of being foster parents did my parents ever consider adopting these children. They were there to be a help to families in a time of crisis, to minister to children during the unexpected traumas of life. One of the things that gave my mom a great deal of joy was being a foster mom to newborns in transition to adoption. She would often take a newborn home from the hospital while the necessary things to complete an adoption was processed, and then she would have the joy of handing that baby over to their forever family.
But one day everything changed. That day was in January 1985.
I remember it like it was yesterday, my mom went to the hospital that was only two blocks from our house. We lived in a city in Indiana, right in the heart of the city. My mom went to the hospital and brought home a baby boy. That baby boy would be put up for adoption, because his parents would not be able to care for him, though they loved him dearly. My sisters and I were in our teens now, and we all loved this precious baby boy, and when social services asked mom and dad to consider adopting this special needs baby boy, we were all excited about having a baby brother. As things often are in these types of situations, the process of adopting him took a while and by the time it was to be finalized the birth parents had another baby boy, and mom went over to the hospital and brought him home too.
These two brothers, Michael Asher and Alexander J, would become the first of fourteen special needs children that God would call my parents to adopt, and give a forever home.
My parents have given their whole hearts to these children. They never knew what a commitment it would be to be the parents of all these precious, special children, but in faith they obeyed the calling.
Today, three of my siblings have gone to rest in Yehovah. Two of them live with my sister, who cares for them day and night as they require constant care. One lives in a group home that gives her the 24 hour a day care she needs. Three, including Bubba, live at home with my parents. Three have been able to overcome many of their afflictions and live on their own. Another one lives with his special needs wife and son nearby. The last one lives with my son and still requires much assistance with managing life.
My parents care for all their children daily. They call them. They take them to appointments. They help them with their bills. They get their groceries. They counsel them. They pray for them. They want the very best for them. They love them.
Michael is in the hospital in Detroit, in ICU. We are not allowed to go in to see him or sit with him. We are unable to comfort him or assist him. This is hard for families to not be with their loved ones during a time like this. But for my parents who give their whole heart to their children, this is almost unbearable.
This is to me a picture of the love of our Lord. I can not image what it was like for Yehovah, God the Father, to allow His Son, Yeshua to come down to this earth as a fragile baby to suffer and die. I can not image what it was like for Joseph and Mary to raise such a son, and to know that He was the Messiah, and know He must die for them. This pain and sorrow I feel as my brother is alone in a hospital bed, and my parents are unable to comfort him, this pain and sorrow is real, and yet it is nothing compared to that which my Lord and Savior cares for me and you.
What agony God must feel when he sees us lost, alone, and far from Him. But we do not have to be alone or afraid, for if we know Him and trust Him, He is with us and never leaves us.
I hope this little glimpse into my parents life blesses you. I hope it gives you hope and encourages you to walk by faith. I hope it blesses Yehovah and brings Him Glory for the things He has done in their lives and the many lives of all their children.
I often wonder where those children are today. I hope that the time they spent in our family was a time of hope, healing, and happiness. I hope that today they are in the palm of the Creator’s hands.
Yehovah be praised for the Great and Mighty things He has done!!!
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Written by Katie
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