#2 of a 4 part series | “Stepping Out in Faith”
In November 2011, I read a post entitled “Because One Little Boy’s Life Matters.” It talked about a 3 ½ year old orphan boy in Taiwan who was born with multiple complex special needs and needed a family. God spoke to me that day, more clearly than ever before, telling me this child was our son. Matt came home from work that afternoon and I showed him the information and photos. After many discussions and a lot of prayer, we knew this little boy was to be part of our family. At Thanksgiving dinner that year, we announced to our children that they would be getting a new brother. They were overjoyed and immediately wanted to see photos and videos of their new sibling.
We worked tirelessly getting the necessary paperwork done so we could bring him home as quickly as possible. This little boy had lived in a hospital and nursing home his entire life and it was time for him to join his forever family. The people we met along the way have become lifelong friends. Jeff and Abbey Land helped us complete all the necessary documents here in the United States. Deana and Luke Pan worked on the Taiwan side of things, pushing paperwork through the courts in record time.
Only seven months after first reading his story, we were boarding a plane to Taiwan to bring our son home. Up to this point we had been so busy getting everything ready that I hadn’t really stopped to think about the complexity of his special needs. We were about to bring home a 3 ½ year old child who couldn’t eat, walk, talk, or even sit up. Matt and I don’t have backgrounds in the medical field and didn’t even know how a feeding tube worked. There were a few moments of panic thinking about how “unqualified” we felt to parent a child like this. During that time I learned that God doesn’t necessarily give special needs children to special families who are equipped to handle them. Instead, if God calls you to adopt a child with any type of special need, He will equip you. Nobody has special qualifications to adopt children with special needs. It’s simply a matter of answering the call and letting God do the rest. So, we went to Taiwan and God was with us every step of the way.
After days of travel, we finally arrived in Taiwan during a hurricane. Our flight from Taipei to Taitung, where our son lived, was cancelled. Matt and I decided to take the train to Taitung. Neither of us speak any Chinese and we weren’t even sure we had boarded the right train. We were traveling along enjoying the countryside, when our train came to a sudden stop. We were told to get off and that we would be bused to the next station. When we got off the train and walked around the corner, we saw the first three cars of our train dangling down the side of the mountain. The hurricane had caused a mudslide to cover the tracks and it derailed our train. God was watching over us and we eventually arrived safely in Taitung.
The next morning we went to the nursing home where our son lived. Due to his special needs, no orphanages were equipped to properly care for him. I will never forget the first time I saw him. A staff member at the nursing home picked him up out of his crib to hand him to me. His head was completely flat and his little ears were squished from laying on his back for so many years. The atrophy in his muscles was almost unbelievable and he couldn’t even bend his frail little body to sit up. He was placed in my arms and my entire world was changed forever. I could not believe how blessed I was that God was giving me one of His most precious children to call my own.
We spent almost two weeks in Taiwan completing the last of the paperwork and getting a passport to bring our new child to the U.S.A. We toured Taiwan, enjoyed the wonderful Asian cuisine, and got our feet wet as parents of a special needs child with two emergency room visits when he pulled his feeding tube out of his nose. Finally, Keaton Zachary Poulter was officially our son and we were so excited to bring him home to meet the rest of his family.