Team 31:8

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” Proverbs 31:8

At SomaChurch, we love adoption! God’s heart is clearly for adoption in how He calls His church to care for the orphans and the oppressed  just as HE has saved us and rescued us. We believe that caring for the fatherless is God’s love in action (James 1:27).

Team 31:8 is Soma’s Foster and Adoption Team. We organize events and initiatives throughout the year to support children in the foster system, foster parents, and social workers in our community. Our mission is to pray for, support, and encourage children who do not have a safe place to call home and to come around those who are taking care of and fighting for these children to be in an environment where they can thrive.

For more information on how to talk part in what Team 31:8 is doing, contact Morgan Matthews at m.c.matthews29@gmail.com.

Lydiah’s Story

While we were engaged, Marvin and I (Andrea) discussed our desire to adopt one day whether or not we could have children biologically. We both believed adoption is a great way of fulfilling James 1:27, taking care of orphans. Soon after we were married we had a son, Judah, and not long after that another son, Isaiah.

When Isaiah was a few months old, Marvin and I decided that our family did not feel complete yet but that we wanted to adopt our next child.

We knew there were many babies in need of families so rather then have another child biologically we wanted to adopt one.  Marvin called a friend through Modern Day Missions, Randy Bohlender, who had adopted several children himself and was starting his own adoption agency, Zoe’s House, in Kansas City. We asked him a bunch of questions to learn about the adoption process.

A year later, we applied through two Christian adoption agencies, Zoe’s House and Loving Alternative.

Because we already had two sons, we did specify that we wanted a girl. We were so excited when we finally had all of our paperwork done, had fundraised for the expenses, and were officially eligible to adopt.  Daily we hoped for a call from one of the agencies saying they had matched us with a birth mom and we were going to have a daughter.

As we prayed and waited, a year went by and we had not been matched. Then another year passed and as we were nearing the end of the third year we had become discouraged, wondering if we would ever get the call.  Each year we had to go through the laborious and expensive process of re-doing paperwork, health exams, background checks, and home studies to remain eligible.

As we were approaching the time to renew all of that for the third year, we prayed that God would make it clear to us whether to continue trying to adopt. Then just a few days before Christmas 2019 we received a call from Zoe’s House and they had found us a match!

Our long-awaited baby girl was due at the end of January.

Marvin and I chose the name Lydiah for our daughter, after the story of Lydia in Acts 10.  Our Lydiah’s story is full of God’s faithfulness. There are too many amazing details to write here, but  the ways the Lord used a pregnancy resource center and Zoe’s House to impact the birth mom’s life and bring Lydiah to our family is a true “beauty-from-ashes” miracle.

We had the blessing of getting custody of Lydiah in the hospital immediately after she was born. Our lawyer got us into court the day after we were released from the hospital, and the whole adoption was legally finalized only a month after Lydiah was born, which happened to be days before our home study was about to expire and we would’ve had to renew all of that paperwork again.

Although we had to wait longer then we anticipated to see our dream fulfilled, once it happened it was full of God’s favor and miracles. Lydiah is almost a year old now and she brings us so much joy! Every day we thank God for her and for her birth mother. We can’t imagine our lives without them.

Roman’s Story

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.