Tina and Marvin
A TESTIMONY OF GOD’S GRACE
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death.
It was 1954 and at age 25 Rebecca found herself in a local mental health facility. From the beginning, Rebecca had emotional outbursts of anger and was unstable emotionally. She had just experienced major rejection from a man whom she had intended to marry. This had pushed her over the edge.
The physicians diagnosed Rebecca with schizophrenia, and she was treated with insulin shock therapy and electroshock therapy. During her treatments, Rebecca claimed that she was pregnant. The physicians didn’t believe her. They believed it was just one of her delusions. Rebecca was released in July of 1955. In August, she gave birth to a baby girl. This baby girl was placed for adoption.
Prior to her illness, Rebecca was a teacher with a bachelor degree. After her release, she returned to her teaching position. This did not last long. Soon she became ill again and had to return for more treatments and was given a double lobotomy. During her second set of treatments, she met Marvin. Marvin tested out with an IQ of 52 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He and Rebecca made plans to marry after their release.
Just as they had planned, Marvin and Rebecca married soon after their release from the mental health facility. It was not long before Rebecca was pregnant again. She gave birth to a daughter, and thirteen months later she gave birth to a second daughter. Rebecca returned to her teaching position and Marvin went to work doing odd jobs for cash. While they were at work, the babies were left alone in a playpen with a loaf of bread and a baby bottle. Relatives soon found out and began taking care of the girls. This lasted for five years and then the girls were released for adoption.
In 1963, Rebecca became pregnant again. This time a baby boy was born. Rebecca and Marvin were not getting along well, so she took her infant son and went with a male friend to Little Rock, Arkansas. It was there that she sold her son for $1,000. Rebecca went back to Marvin, and they had another girl thirteen months later. Rebecca named her Tina. Marvin was still angry concerning his son, so he took Tina to Little Rock and attempted, unsuccessfully, to trade her for his son. At this point there was no reconciling their marriage. Marvin and Rebecca divorced.
Marvin remarried. Soon he and his second wife, Iris, had a son. He was immediately placed for adoption.
Rebecca soon married again. She kept Tina with her, and Harvey, her second husband, had three out of four of his daughters with him. They lived in an abandoned building in St. Louis. Tina and her stepsisters were severely neglected. The older stepsisters slept on dirty mattresses on the floor, and Tina slept in a baby bed on a mattress that was oozing its stuffing and coated with baby elimination. When a social worker found them; Tina was naked, coated with scum, and nearly dead from starvation. Harvey’s daughters were placed with his extended family, and Tina was placed in a home for retarded children. She was nine months old.
Rebecca and Harvey eventually had four children of their own. The younger boy and girl were taken to a local hospital for treatment and left. They were quickly placed for adoption. The older boy and girl lived with them until they were five and six years old. They endured much abuse and were removed from the home when Rebecca was seen chasing the boy from the home with a butcher knife and stabbing him in the back.
Russell and Vera Roark had three children of their own. Their youngest was born ten years after the first two. She was the only one living at home, and she was lonely. The Roarks decided to adopt in hopes of giving their daughter a companion. After their application was accepted, a 22 month old little girl was brought to their home. Russell sat her on his lap and removed the shoes from her feet. (Shoes that were much to small.) She was much younger than they were hoping for, but they quickly fell in love with her. Tina had a new home.
The agency was in a hurry to find Tina a home. They were fearful that her lack of stimulation and time in a home for retarded children would cause her to be developmentally delayed. Tina’s doctors were convinced that she would not be as normal as other children. Tina would take one step forward and stumble back three. Vera would have to cut her food into small bites or she would shove a large piece in her mouth. Tina never had anything but a baby bottle and baby food up to this point. Whenever Tina would see a mentally handicapped child she would begin to scream hysterically and hide behind Vera. Vera would wake up in the night and find Tina banging her doll’s head on the wall of her room.
Soon everyone’s fears were put to rest. Surrounded by love and prayers; Tina slowly began to improve. She was very much a normal child. In fact, she entered the first grade when she was five. By the time Tina was in high school, she was running on a track team and on the school honor roll. God will be glorified.
Vera attended and was very active in her local church. From the time Tina arrived at the Roarks’ she was attending church with Vera. Tina accepted Jesus as her Savior at age eight. This was just one month after the Roarks officially adopted her!
It may appear that Tina’s troubles were behind her, not so. At the time that she was growing up it wasn’t cool to be a foster child or adopted. Tina’s schoolmates did not accept her. They made fun of her, calling her names. They tormented her when the teacher would leave the room. She was stolen from, beat up, and even spat on. It was not until her senior year in high school that she gained some acceptance.
The Roarks were close to Vera’s sister and brother-in-law. They spent much time together on weekends and vacations. Tina would spend two weeks every summer in their home. Unknown to the Roarks, Vera’s brother-in-law was a child molester. Every time he was alone with Tina, he would molest her. This went on from the time she was six or seven until she was fourteen and was able to fight him off. The last time she was in their home, Tina became ill with toxic shock syndrome. She nearly died. This scared Tina’s aunt so badly that she was no longer invited to stay in their home. Praise God!
On Tina’s eighteenth birthday, Russell sat her on his lap, once again, as he did her first day in his home. He told Tina of her three birth siblings, and that he would do whatever he could to help her find them. Less than a year later, Russell died of a heart attack.
Almost exactly one year after Russell’s death, Tina married John. They had met four years earlier on a church hayride. Like Tina, John was active in her church. They were close friends for three years before they knew that they were to spend their lives together. Tina and John moved to a small town in Mid-Missouri, and soon their family began to grow. Before long, they had two sons.
Tina had tried, unsuccessfully, to find her birth siblings when she was first married. Now, five years later, her young sons triggered her desire to search again. It was Thanksgiving weekend, 1990, when John and Tina went to the St. Louis Library to do research. On their way there, Tina prayed, “Father, let me find them so I can tell them about You?” Their research proved once again to be unsuccessful.
In her first search, Tina unknowingly made a valuable contact. The very week after Thanksgiving, Tina received a phone call from this contact. She was told that her older birth sister was trying to contact her! On December 1, 1990, Tina and Doris met for the first time. They spent the day looking at photos and sharing their lives. Tina found out that she did not just have three siblings, but there were fourteen, including her! God has a way of proving Himself faithful.
Over the next few months and years all but two of the siblings and relatives were united. Tina did have an opportunity to share Jesus with her siblings. They were raised in homes where they heard the gospel, but only one other than Tina was living for Jesus. They were not receptive to hearing of the Lord, and Tina was left praying for them instead.
Tina and John’s family continued to grow with the birth of a daughter. No more children were born after this, but their family continued to grow in the Lord. Tina was set free from the pain and hurt of the abuses she suffered in her life and has turned them around to help others. The children have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and the family now has a ministry of sharing music and the word of God. They have seen the lost come to know the Lord, and they have seen lives changed and people healed.
God is still proving Himself faithful. Tina recently received a phone call from one of her brothers telling her of his family’s salvation and a desire to serve the Lord!
Tina is living proof of the love of God and His faithfulness. No matter what your life experience, He can change it. He can heal you and set you free! The very purpose of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is to see people saved, healed, and delivered from the snare of Satan.
How can you be saved and set free? The Bible tells us that if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ we will be saved!
If you would like to do this, just say this simple prayer:
Jesus, I recognize that I am a sinner and am lost without you. I believe that you died for
my sin. I confess my sin and ask you to forgive me and be my Lord and Savior. Thank you
for coming into my life and saving me. In the name of Jesus. AMEN.
If you said this prayer, tell someone, your local pastor or a friend. Feel free as well to contact Healing Word Ministries.
Healing Word Ministries
301 Stella Rd
Montgomery City, MO 63361
E-mail: ps107_20 at peoplepc dot com