A friend texted me today, wanting to “pick my brain” because something in the way the Parkland, Florida school shooting is being reported was bothering her. She shared how the news reports were often referring to the shooter as “adopted” and to his parents as his “adoptive parents.”
Which he is.
Which they are.
But here’s the rub in my opinion as a mother through the blessing and miracle of adoption. (Which is what she wanted to hear, and I later felt was necessary to share with you.)
Is it possible that Nikolas Cruz struggled with his adoption? Of course. Many adoptees do. Could he have had an attachment disorder, mental health or sensory issues stemming from early or in-utero trauma? Absolutely. Were his parents perfect? I guarantee they were not. But this I know…they jumped through countless legal, logistical, financial and emotional hoops to make him their son. For better or for worse, that boy was wanted and loved. His mother, parenting alone after the death of his father when Nikolas was just a boy, repeatedly sought help for her son.
Yes, she and his late father had adopted Nikolas. But to consistently refer to her as his “adoptive” mother in the context of blaming how his family was formed for this act of violence is so disrespectful, so damaging to the covenant of adoption, that I had to come here to this space and speak up.
Adoption does not cause kids to murder. Trauma does. Trauma causes incredible, often irreversible damage to the brain of a developing child. And Nikolas had been through major trauma during his childhood, even if you only count the death of his father when he was around five years old. But he also lost his Mom just a few months ago! Can you fathom what was triggered in his already damaged and wounded mind? This boy had shown every sign of trouble and either no one knew what to do about it or they ignored it, thinking it would go away. I don’t know which is the truth, but when I look at that young man in chains, head bowed, I want to weep. Not only are seventeen innocent lives lost, but another is forever stunted. Blame is being cast on adoption and on guns. But, friends, think about this important fact: He is said to have heard “voices” telling him to commit this awful act.
Now THAT I believe.
So, why don’t we start blaming the REAL enemy? It is not adoption or guns. It is SATAN. And now he is using this evil act to cause harm to the very idea of adoption because he hates everything it stands for.
Adoption was GOD’s idea, not man’s. God sought us out, fought for us, DIED for us, to change our destiny and our very NAME. We are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters and our Father spends our entire lives trying to get that fact through our thick skulls. Nikolas was adopted as an infant, but it appears he never fully understood that he was a SON. His mother who, I have no doubt, spent many nights on her knees and shed countless tears for her boy, is his MOTHER. I cannot begin to imagine her pain and grief as she fought for him.
Let’s stop letting the media frenzy dictate who and what we blame when terrible things happen. Let’s see through the lies and stand against the enemy of our souls in Jesus’ name, refusing to let him win one more battle. Let’s speak up for truth and refuse to let fear keep us from walking forward in obedience to our Father. Do NOT let news reports like this make you believe adoption is going to produce troubled murderers. There is nothing that has been done by an adopted child that has not been done by a child who was raised by loving, biological parents. To continue to list adoption as a risk factor that should have been picked up on by the FBI is wrong and misguided. List trauma, list grief, list mental illness or, hey, here’s an idea…
Let’s list SIN as the biggest risk factor. Because I guarantee you, behind every murder, rape, or whatever violent crime you can imagine is the one thing no one want to talk about:
A life devoid of an intimate relationship with Christ. A soul that, for many possible reasons, has closed itself off to love and connection and is lashing out in anger and rage, wanting to hurt others as they hurt. A young adult deceived by Satan and choosing to cooperate with evil instead of surrendering to Jesus and allowing His blood to cleanse him of all unrighteousness. I pray for Nikolas, just as I pray for all of the families who walk the deep waters of grief in the aftermath of the shooting. I pray that, somehow, Nikolas can find the peace of Christ and live the rest of his life knowing his imprisonment will someday end and that the families of the lost students can find forgiveness so that they are not imprisoned, themselves, by hate. And I pray for his remaining family. His mother may or may not have been a good mom. I really have no idea. But I assure you, if she could see what he has done, her heart would be broken.
Oh Lord Jesus, come quickly.