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Victor's story

"Victor's story" Continued...

Issue: "Food stamps surge," Nov. 19, 2011

He later told his church that he often thought he could battle cancer by his own will and his own strength. "Through God's grace, I met the Watters family. God decided He wanted to move me into a Christian family. So I became a Watters." Those events, he said, showed him that God is sovereign over all things, even cancer.

As his family and social life blossomed, Victor's health continued to wilt. "We never told him what the doctors were telling us: that he had very little time to live," Deb said. "We wanted him to enjoy being a kid and enjoy life." The cancer worsened this past summer, and 14-year-old Victor became bedridden and had to go on oxygen support.

He spent that time in the Watters home, welcoming visitors young and old. "He wanted to share the gospel. He wanted to say goodbye," Mike said. Victor shared his faith with each of his biological siblings, some of whom expressed faith in Christ. He also shared with neighbors, friends, and strangers. "I love you with all my heart," he said to his family, "and hope that you stay strong in the Lord and that you never leave Him."

Victor died the morning of Sept. 7, 2011.

A columnist in The St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote a column about Victor and his family. Hundreds attended his funeral, including his biological mother and siblings. Thousands saw videos on YouTube about his life and a message by Rev. John Piper based on 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 titled, "Victor Watters Converses with Death." In the vein of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, the message simulates a conversation between death and Victor.

While cancer took his young life, Victor's story continues to spread the idea-to believers and nonbelievers alike-that adoption based in Christian love can change a life and touch a community.

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