Frank and Tammy Spiker got their son from Walmart.
The Christian couple had made the decision early in their marriage to take in the children that “no one else wanted.”
9 adoptions later, just as the Spikers felt their capacity had been reached, they received an unusual call from social services. Officials asked Tammy if she could meet at a secure location to pick up two children in desperate need of a home.
It was late.
It was dark.
They needed a well lit, open area.
Walmart it was.
She was in no way prepared for the shock awaiting her.
A toddler, covered in grime and reeking of human waste, clung closely to a carseat containing what appeared to be a newborn.
Spiker was confused. She had been told that they would be receiving a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old. This infant looked like he had just emerged from the womb.
When she learned that the tiny baby, a boy named Noah, was suffering from a criminal case of neglect, she felt ill.
“I had never seen anything like him,” she admits, “he was like a little, vegetable boy.”
Due to severe malnourishment and complications from maternal drug abuse, the 11 month-old weighed only 11 pounds.
Tammy recalls that he appeared to be nothing more than skin stretched over bone. Small, dark, eyes rolled lifelessly up into their sockets and pencil-thin arms hung listless at his side. He was incapable of even holding up his own head, and could do nothing but lay still and cry.
“If you put that little circle thing in his mouth, it will help him to be quiet,” the little boy, named Reign, offered sweetly. Tammy was later informed that he had taken it upon himself to care for Noah for quite some time now. The boys’ mother would leave the house at dawn and not return until late hours of the evening, sometimes not at all. Child services were alerted when a neighbor heard crying coming from the home and realized no adult was present. Social workers were shocked when the preschooler answered the door and lugged the languishing Noah onto the front porch. “I took care of him the best that I could,” Reign later said with sincerity. The mother returned home three hours later, claiming that she had simply made a stop at the neighbors. When the workers left to obtain the necessary paperwork for taking custody of the children, she understood their intent and attempted to flee with the boys across state lines. Authorities managed to locate the trio later that night and collected the brothers without incident.
Tammy vividly remembers fearing that Noah would “break” as she buckled him into the car for the ride home. It took four people to give Noah a bath that night. He was so fragile, multiple sets of hands were needed to support his head, back, and limbs, while Tammy gently scrubbed away at the accumulated layers of dirt and grim. It required three separate washings to get him completely clean. Tammy remembers praying, “Oh dear God, what have I gotten myself into?”
Severe complications from a common cold landed Noah in the hospital during the first weekend he spent with the Spikers. He was so small that nurses were unable to locate a vein for IV insertion. A special light had to be shone over his skin to reveal the veins that Tammy recalls looked like, “pencil markings.” Doctors were outraged at Noah’s feeble condition and quickly gave Tammy a more complete background on his medical history.
Noah had been born at an average-sized 6 pounds and discharged from the hospital with his mother in a routine fashion. Family members recall her proudly referring to Noah as her little, “crack baby.”
This was not an understatement.
Due to her heavy drug use during pregnancy, Noah’s optic nerves failed to develop, leaving him completely blind. Further complications arose when Noah showed difficulty eating. Rather than employ different methods, his mother simply stopped trying. Unsurprisingly, Noah stopped growing and was re-hospitalized under the label, “failure to thrive.” He was given a feeding tube and after showing improvement for several months, was once again sent home.
Based on the pathetic condition in which he was discovered, the mother found the process of pumping nutrition through the tube too burdensome and simply…didn’t. If authorities would have been alerted a few weeks or even days later, Noah would most likely have died of starvation.
Despite these offenses, the Spikers would eventually develop a relationship with the mother. When the time came for the courts to grant custody she called Tammy and asked, “If I sign over my parental rights, will you promise to adopt Noah? You are the only Mom that Noah knows and I would never ever take him away from you.” Though Reign would go to live with his biological grandfather, Noah soon became an official Spiker. “For all the things she did wrong,” Tammy said, “She did the loving thing.”
After the initial hospital scare, and the discovery of Noah’s weakened immune system, the family made the decision to keep him out of the public for nearly a year. Every visitor, even siblings, were required to wash their hands thoroughly before touching or holding the delicate infant.
The first few months were admittedly rough going. Noah woke up screaming every fifteen minutes. “It was more like he was startled awake,” Tammy explained, “he was scared to death.” She placed him a bassinet beside her bed so that she could easily reach out and comfort him. As soon as he felt a comforting hand, he would settle down and fall back to sleep. The human touch that he had been missing for so long would continue to play a critical role in his healing process.
Medical personnel had arrived at the house with a feeding pump and explained how to use the elaborate, metal contraption. Noah required a feeding every 3 hours and each feeding would take an hour to complete. They suggested laying Noah on the bed while allowing the nutrients to slowly leak into his system. After considering the amount of time this would leave Noah alone throughout the day, Tammy made the decision to hold him through each session. Frank went out and bought a rocking chair with high arms rests, and Tammy sat…and sat….and sat.
“We lived in that chair for year,” Tammy jokes. She used the opportunity to pray and read Scriptures over Noah, constantly encouraging him with sayings like, “Noah, you can be anything that you want to be. You are so special and so smart. God has blessed me with you and you can do anything that you want to do.” She even turned the little sayings into songs, which Noah still remembers.
“No, your eyes don’t work, but that doesn’t define you. God says that you are amazing, and that you are the apple of His eye.”
Though the Spikers had no guarantee that their son would ever progress beyond this vegetable like state–ever walk, ever talk, ever understand a word of human language– Tammy continued to pray and continued to sing, hoping for a miracle…
((*Read Noah’s Book Online for free…here…with the chance to “leave a tip” for Noah’s family!*))
The double dose of consistent food and human affection caused an almost instantaneous transformation. His eyes rolled down from his head and he began gaining muscle control. Noah gained weight and started responding normally to human interaction. It was like he had been reborn. Due to the trauma of his first year of life and a thyroid condition caused by his mother’s drug abuse, Noah would remain extremely small for his age. Seven years later, he has just begun transitioning into preschool sized clothing.
Birth to three became immediately involved in Noah’s case and worked diligently to bolster his development. Though everyone was pleased with his physical progress, no one knew what was going on inside of his mind.
After a year of intense speech therapy, Noah had yet to utter a single word. “Is this crazy?” Tammy remembers asking the speech therapist, “I feel like something is in there but nothing’s coming out.”
The Spiker’s prayers were more than answered one day when a two-year old Noah turned towards his mother and announced with perfect diction, “I want a drink.”
He has not been silent since. The Spikers were delighted to learn that Noah had always been listening and soaking in the conversations around him. When he decided to speak, it wasn’t in singular words, it was in complete sentences.
“He was this itty, bitty thing using words like actually and eventually,” Tammy laughs, “We were like, ‘How does he even know what that means?!’ ”
Getting to peek inside of Noah’s world proved to be more exciting than the Spikers had ever hoped or imagined. They discovered that the size of Noah’s personality dwarfed even the size of his huge vocabulary. Extremely affectionate and caring, he often asked for “cuddle time” and showed unusual patience towards his siblings. He giggled constantly and displayed an incredible ability to understand complex jokes and engage in banter with adults. In Noah’s own words, “Some people tell me I have a sense of humor.”
When it came time for Noah to walk, he would often argue with the logic, “I don’t think you understand, I am blind. I can’t see so I will run into things. Therefore, I am not going to walk.” Even though he had already turned three, his therapist agreed to stay on an extra year without pay until Noah was able to take steps on his own. He can now be seen running throughout the house and sneaking up on his mother for “chin attacks.”( These consist of jumping on her legs and jabbing her with his little chin as hard as he can. The attack ends when both parties enter fits of hysterical laughter.)
Noah began displaying a keen ear and talent for music. He could easily memorize an entire song and sing it with perfect pitch and timing. When his church hosted a community talent show, Noah immediately volunteered to perform. He has now been the favorite act for two years running. For his first performance, he dressed up as Mowgli from the Jungle Book and sang, “The Bare Necessities.” The audience nearly fell out of their chairs when he began to sing and were rolling as he let out a whooping, “Yeahhhh man!!” The following year he chose a Christian version of the song, “Dynamite,” and had the whole audience joining with him by the final chorus. “Come on everybody, let’s LIFT HIM UP!” he shouted. Rather than shrink under the spotlight, Noah seems to thrive. Stage fright is not an issue for Noah since he cannot see who is watching him. Crowds are always amazed at how such a powerful voice could emerge from such a tiny child.
Noah’s talent has continued to expand after his parents purchased him a miniature drum set and signed him up for piano lessons. His instructor is highly impressed with Noah’s natural ability and says she is excited about the possibilities the musical world holds for his future. “He hears a song one time and can play it back to me,” she told Tammy, “I can’t even do that!”
Noah soon developed an unusually active sense of imagination. He constantly tells elaborate stories and invites everyone to join in his adventures. The backyard is actually a jungle filled with friendly bears and hungry tigers. His room became the African savannah and his bunk bed doubled as a spaceship. Everyone in the Spiker house remained in constant danger of being eaten by the dinosaurs that lived behind the couches and the hyenas that roamed the hallways. Noah is not merely a little boy. He is a rabbit, a policeman, or a knight who flies around the house on pixie dust wings. Edmund was constantly being captured by the wicked witch, but not to worry, Aslan was on the move.
Noah’s imagination is a particular source of amusement since he has never seen any of the things that fuel his extravagant fantasies. What is a blind child thinking when he asks his mother if she can buy him a hot air balloon off of E-bay so that he can visit his friends in Arkansas?
“I don’t know how he knows the things he knows,” Tammy admits with a smile and says that Noah’s most profound moments are found in his prayers.
Ever since Noah has been speaking, he has been praying. The innocent, yet sincere dialogues he shares with the Lord are an inspiration to people who have been walking with Christ their whole lives. “He just talks to God,” Tammy explains, “Noah has no doubt that God is listening and is going to do exactly what he’s asking for.” When a group from his church went on a mission trip to Haiti, he prayed every day for their safety and that, “Lots and lots of people will hear about Jesus because of them.” When the family forgets to pray for a certain subject at meal time, he reminds everyone very loudly of their mistake and interjects his own little prayer after the Amen.
Noah’s prayers were a steadying force during the recent bout of health issues facing both of his grandmothers. He prayed for both of them everyday, “You know God, we’re gonna have lunch with Grandma Sheila today and we’re gonna bring her mashed potatoes because that’s all she can eat right now, but that’s ok, because I like mashed potatoes.” When she passed away, Noah asked to sing at her funeral. There was not a dry eye in the house as the tiny child climbed on stage and sang his heart out. “I’m sad because I will miss her,” he often told people, “but I know that she is in Heaven with Jesus.”
When his Grandma Betty wasn’t feeling well, he asked if he could see her before she went to bed. Tammy took Noah to her little apartment attached to the Spiker house. He stunned both of them when he fell to his hands and knees beside her bed and began praying, “Ok God, give Grandma Betty a goodnight sleep and make her stronger.” When he was finished he simply said amen and stood up.
“I don’t know how he knew to do that,” Tammy says, “he has never seen anyone get on their hands and knees to pray.” Noah often demonstrates the behavior of a mature Christian, even when he has never witnessed this behavior for himself.
Noah’s most profound moment came one morning this past spring. His homeschool curriculum includes a daily Bible story, often read to him by sister, Tiffany. The day’s lesson had been on the baptism of Jesus. When the story was finished, Noah excused himself from the table and informed his sister that he would be back. He found his mother in the middle of teaching his brother Isaac and blurted, “Mom, we need to talk.”
At first she dismissed him, promising to talk when school was over. Noah wouldn’t budge, “This is really, really important.” Isaac left to get a drink and Noah quickly crawled up into her lap.
“You know Mom, I think that I want to get baptized, but first we need to take a minute, you and me, and we need to pray. I need to ask Jesus into my heart, because when something happens to me and I die, I want to go live with Jesus forever.”
He then insisted on praying for himself and asked his Savior to come into his life. As Tammy sobbed tears of joy and gratitude, Noah was puzzled and asked why she was crying.
“Because I’m so happy!” she explained.
“That’s a little crazy,” Noah responded, “I thought people were supposed to cry when they were sad.”
Noah was baptized a few weeks later on Easter Sunday. He was so excited that he got up at 4 in the morning and woke up everyone in the house shouting, “It’s baptism day!!!!”
The whole crowd cheered in approval as the pastor submerged Noah and hoisted him a good three feet into the air, his little arms stretched wide towards the sky.
When the pastor later came to check on Noah, fearing that the whole experience may have frightened him, he responded by saying, “I want to get baptized AGAIN!”
Noah continues to inspire his church family through the intensity of his worship. He asks to attend the adult service rather than children’s church so that he can listen to the worship band and the sermon. As the music plays, Noah seems lost in another world. Completely oblivious to the crowd around him, he lifts his hands in the air, dances, and claps his hands. It is not uncommon to note a few tears streaming down the cheeks of onlookers. Throughout the sermon he remains still, face furrowed in concentration. “You can tell he is listening,” Tammy says, “He doesn’t have to sort through all the visual distractions that we do.” In this way, Noah’s handicap somehow becomes a blessing. Jesus is as real to Noah as the physical world is to the rest of the population. Since Noah has never had to see anything in order to believe and trust in its existence, faith comes easily to him. He shares his love for Christ without the slightest hesitation or fear.
When Noah fractured his leg this past Mother’s Day, local doctors opted to send him to Children’s Hospital in D.C. for more specialized treatment. Upon arrival, Noah quickly escalated to celebrity status. Medical personnel from all specializations used their breaks to visit the “incredible” little boy in the orthopedic wing. Doctors were enchanted and impressed with this pint-sized child and his quick wit. When one asked him where he got his manners, he answered unflinchingly, “Well, I was baptized a few weeks ago and ever since then I’ve been a different person.”
One of Noah’s assigned doctors was short in stature and desired to encourage Noah about his small size. When she picked Noah up to transfer him to the examining table she told him, “You’re a big guy! I’m a little person just like you.”
Noah responded sweetly, “My mom says it’s ok because good things come in small packages and she says that I may be small but I am mighty!”
Doctors are uncertain if Noah will ever reach a normal size. They are certain, however, that this will not hinder Noah from living life to it’s fullest.
The Spikers are certain that Noah’s destiny is anything but small, and are excited to watch God’s plans for his life unfold. “Frank and I always say that she [Noah’s mother] gave us the greatest gift,” Tammy says.
Brooke Hamlin, blogger at theunboring.com, was recently inspired to write and illustrate a book based on Noah’s life and creativity. Entitled, “Noah’s Invisible Adventures,” the book explores Noah’s ability to “see” through the eyes of his imagination and most importantly, his faith. Readers are invited to join with Noah by personally inviting Christ into their lives and embarking on their very own, “invisible adventures.” Though primarily marketed as a children’s book, the book’s message stretches across age gaps and provides powerful truths for the entire family. Portions of the proceeds will go towards funding Noah’s mounting educational expenses.
As the book thoughtfully concludes,
“Miracle of miracles…A boy who has never seen a sunrise, or the colors of a rainbow, has glimpsed the heart of God. A child who has never seen his own face in the mirror, has been used to make the Invisible God, visible.
…This adventure isn’t JUST for Noah!! It’s for YOU too! …Jesus is in this very room with you, RIGHT NOW, and is ready to take you on an EXCITING adventure into His heart. The only question that remains is, ‘Will you say yes?’ ”
So will you?
Noah wants to know.
*If you could share this story and help Noah to go VIRAL, it would be a great help to his family and further education. Most all, though…I think he would like you to pray for him 😉 *
Read Noah’s book FOR FREE online…here.
You can find Noah’s book on Amazon...here.
Or check out his website at www.noahsinvisibleadventures.com
Watch the Youtube trailer for his book here.
Watch Noah Sing “Dynamite!”…Here….You will NOT regret it!
Watch Noah perform “The Bare Necessities”…here.
*As always, feel free to COMMENT below if this story encouraged you. I would LOVE to hear from you!*