Roman’s story is one of FAITH triumphing over fear and the miraculous healing of our Father!
Although Ben and I (Jessica) had casually discussed the possibility of adoption throughout our marriage, the call came fast and furious one missions night at church.
An adoption advocate and adoptive parent himself, Randy Bohlender from Zoe’s House Adoptions, came to speak at SomaChurch. My husband was deeply moved by The Spirit that night & rushed right over to me when service was over. I was teaching a SomaKids class when he whispered in my ear, “I just wanted to tell you, we’re going to adopt!” Little did he know that The Lord had been preparing my heart as well through recurring dreams just a couple weeks prior.
There was such a spirit of unity and urgency from The Lord that we jumped right in. We began by contacting Christian Adoption Consultants who connected us with an amazing consultant, Casey Zaruba, who walked us step by step through the entire process. The whirlwind of paperwork, background checks, home study, etc. was finished in less than 3 months. Then the miraculous financial provision began pouring in through our church body, first and foremost, and then through other friends, family, and even strangers.
In a very short time, we got the call about this tiny baby boy who was born at just 27 weeks gestation and was already 6 weeks old, and my heart leapt in my chest!
Then the fear swept in…
We could hardly find out any information at all about his medical prognosis, and we were scared we couldn’t handle it. We reached out to our friends from Soma, Marvin and Andrea Slaton on the day we were supposed to head to San Antonio to meet him because all we knew was that we needed to pray! An indescribable peace washed over us and God gave us a determination the grace to walk this road of complete uncertainty by faith.
It was just 4 months after The Lord called us that He placed my son in my arms for the first time—my tiny 4 lb. 6 oz. baby boy who couldn’t breathe, eat, or hold body temperature like a normal infant, but he was perfect! And I just remember my tears falling on his precious face.
The medical staff proceeded to tell us that shortly after birth, both his lungs collapsed due to the ventilator causing great trauma to his body and a brain hemorrhage that resulted in grade 3 bilateral hydrocephalus. He had 2 surgeries before leaving the NICU, just 3 months after his birth. He was also diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) with severely damaged optic nerves. Before we left, the Neonatologist sat down with us and explained how Roman had been the sickest baby in their level lll NICU. She said the things she had to do to him just to keep him alive were extreme, and she just marveled at the little miracle about to come home with us.
We brought him home (7 lbs. 1 oz. at 3 months), and our girls, Olivia and Lexi, also adopted him as their sweet little brother in an instant. Everyone fell in love.
His name is Roman Josiah. Roman comes from Paul’s epistle. Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” Josiah means “Jehovah has healed.” Such a perfect testament to who he is and what The Lord has done in his life.
He is now 5 years old, and despite a few minor fine motor skills (which are developing rapidly), he is a joyful, healthy, active, hilarious little boy on target developmentally and loving life.
Ben and I are nothing special. In fact, if left up to our own humanity and fears, we would not know the unbelievable blessing of our son. It is only through The Holy Spirit in us, who overcame our fear and replaced it with Faith, that we have the privilege of walking in His goodness! We have zero medical background, and The Lord chose to give us the “sickest baby in the level 3 NICU” because His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20
So Ben and I want to encourage you with this final thought:
All of God’s most extraordinary, extravagant blessings are on the other side of your fear. Take His hand, walk through it, and come out on the other side with bigger Faith.