An adoption ceremony was held Wednesday morning for the Haitian daughter of a Pella couple who was rescued from Haiti in the days following the deadly earthquake in January. The ceremony for Maya Poulter, who was adopted by Matt and Mandy Poulter of Pella, took place at around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning in the Marion County Courthouse. Matt Poulter tells KNIA/KRLS News that the ceremony went smoothly, thanks to a little outside help and support.
“The judge was wonderful. He was kind enough to move up the finalization, and our lawyer was great to work with,” said Matt. “And it was nice to have some friends and family there for the occasion too.”

Matt’s wife Mandy said the adoption ceremony brought closure to what had been a lengthy process for their family.

“It was amazing because this was our final step in this whole journey that we started over three years ago,” said Mandy. “This was it – making everything official with the paperwork and changing her name, all the official documents… We were just really thankful because the judge and our lawyer made it very personal, she [Maya] got to go up and she got to bang the gavel afterwards, and then everyone clapped for her. She got to pick out a little present that the judge had for her, so it was just a very personal day too. It’s a big relief to have everything done and completely final.”

The ceremony indicates the court’s finalization of a legal name, and will also begin the naturalization process to make Maya a United States citizen. An adoption ceremony was also held for Mark and Jamie Kriegel of Pella, who had adopted brothers Eleyse and Jeremiah from Haiti in 2007 and 2009. Dave and Andrea Vanderhoff and Les and Tracy Fuller of Pella – who also adopted pairs of siblings from the same orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as the Poulters – will have their adoption ceremonies next week.


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