Randy and Evelyn James were told to abort their sixth child, Paul. After refusing the doctor’s advice, they started a nonprofit organization to help pregnant women and mothers in need instead.
The James’s were thrilled to find out they were expecting their sixth child. In fact, Evelyn had already picked out a name years in advance, after the name “Paul” came to her during prayer.
But months into their pregnancy, during Evelyn’s first sonogram, the doctor informed her that their baby had a diaphragmatic hernia, a hole in the diaphragm that would prohibit normal lung development. The diagnosis was fatal.
“This doctor said, ‘Your baby has a diaphragmatic hernia. Would you like to have an abortion?’” Evelyn recalls.
Evelyn and Randy refused.
Later in the pregnancy, more doctors recommended that they get a late-term abortion for Paul, the Catholic News Agency reports.
Again, they refused.
Five weeks before Paul’s due date, Evelyn went into labor and required an emergency C-section.
She pens, “One of the nurses stood behind me during the C-section and whispered Psalm 23 and other Scriptures in my ear.
“Over a year later, I learned that this nurse was not seen or heard by anyone else in the room. I am convinced that my guardian angel visited me, coming to my aid in my most desperate time of need!”
Baby Paul survived for 41 minutes after birth, time their family treasures.
Randy remembers the joy they all felt when in meeting Paul. “Delivering our baby, holding our baby, kissing our baby, taking pictures, and having our family come in and hold Baby Paul.” The family had Paul baptized, and “brought their other five children in to meet their new baby brother.”
The couple named their baby Paul Stefan, in honor of Fr. Stefan Paul Starzynsk who was a great help to Evelyn and Randy during their pregnancy.
Now, the couple has begun the Paul Stefan Foundation where Fr. Stefan serves as the organization’s spiritual director.
The organization runs a home for pregnant women who are in desperate need of shelter and food. It also provides pregnant women with healthcare and helps them and new mothers acquire life skills and training.
According to CNA, the organization has helped hundreds of women, including Samantha Mikelson, who used to be homeless.
“I was literally struggling, just by myself,” she said.
Speaking of the organization’s educational opportunities, she added, it “actually is paying for us to go to school and has a guaranteed internship at the end … They’re supplying laptops and everything.”
Scripture tells us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Paul Stefan’s story is one mixed with tears and tragedy. Yet in all moments, even the most difficult ones, God can use all things for good.
Photo from The Paul Stefan Foundation.