The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 44 with Dan Kulp | Talking About Amazing Stories of Adoption

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast | Episode 44 with Dan Kulp | Talking About Amazing Stories of Adoption
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Listen to Dan Kulp and Jacob Barr talk about Dan’s amazing stories of adoption.

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and I want to share my experience from a recent podcast episode on the Pro-Life Team Podcast where I had the privilege of talking with Dan Kulp. We discussed incredible stories of adoption, highlighting its profound impact and significance. Dan shared his deeply personal journey, using stand-up comedy to express his pro-life advocacy and his efforts to support fundraising for life-saving causes. His book, “Confounding the Lies,” celebrates life, love, laughter, adoption, and the joy of children with special needs.

Adoption, for Dan, is a cornerstone of his life. He recounted how his parents, after having a child with Down syndrome, decided to adopt three more children with the same condition. This decision profoundly influenced his perspective on life and adoption. Dan’s own journey led him to China, where he and his wife adopted their first child, breaking new ground as this child was the first with Down syndrome to be adopted from China to the U.S. His story is one of overcoming societal biases and finding joy in what many might see as challenging circumstances.

Dan’s commitment to the cause of life is evident not just in his personal choices but also in his professional endeavors. He uses his platform and skills in comedy to support pro-life efforts, particularly in fundraising events for pregnancy resource centers. His approach combines humor with poignant storytelling, effectively conveying the message of life and hope.

Reflecting on these conversations, the themes of love, perseverance, faith, and the sanctity of life stand out. Dan’s experiences and his dedication to advocating for the vulnerable, particularly children with special needs, are truly inspiring.

#Hashtags: #AdoptionJourney, #ProLifeAdvocacy, #SpecialNeedsJoy, #LoveAndLaughter, #FundraisingForLife, #OvercomingBiases, #ParentingWithPurpose, #StoryOfHope, #DanKulpInspiration, #LifeIsPrecious

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Jacob Barr :

Welcome to the pro-life Team Podcast i’m Jacob Barr and I’m here with Dan Kulp. And we’re going to talk about some very beautiful stories of adoption, amazing stories about adoption and how for him and his wife, it was their plan. A Dan, I’m excited to be on this podcast with you. Would you introduce yourself as if you were talking to a small group of executive directors and pro-life friends? Sure.

Dan Kulp :

All right. Well, hello, friends, my name is Dan Kulp it is such a privilege to be here before you today. I have an amazing story and I enjoy telling it, but I use stand up comedy to do that, to kind of unravel it for the audience but it’s an extremely pro-life story, and I use my story to help tell your story all over the country and hopefully raise more money than you’ve ever raised to previous events that’s always my goal, but it’s because of your life saving work and you’re my superhero so it is really, truly an honor to be able to do that work and to partner with you for the cause of life.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome. So Dan, you wrote a book?

Dan Kulp :

I did what’s the?

Jacob Barr :

What’s the title of your book?

Dan Kulp :

The book is called Confounding the Lies, and it’s a celebration of life, love, laughter, adoption and the joy of children with special needs.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah and so i read this, you gave it to me at the heartbeat conference, right. And i read part of it on my flight home and i finished it up it was really good like I had a hard time putting it down it was really enjoyable to read if I could hear your voice, like the way you talk throughout that book which made it just enjoyable to yeah. So to tell I.

Dan Kulp :

Wish I sounded like Morgan Freeman for you because then you would have heard his voice, but unfortunately it hurt my Rochester, new york accent.

Jacob Barr :

So my first question for you is what does adoption represent to you how would you summarize your feelings or thoughts around adoption?

Dan Kulp :

Well, adoption, as you know from reading the book, was a huge part of my life growing up. My brother Matthew was born a year after I was i was my parents fifth child and he was their sixth and he was born in 1971 and he had Down syndrome and a lot of people told my parents the same thing they told him to get rid of them and put them away in an institution and forget he was ever born. And my parents, they didn’t like that idea very much so they made the radical decision back in the seventies to keep Matthew and raise him. And Matthew ended up being such a blessing to the family that my parents went out and they adopted three more children with Down syndrome. And that’s the experience I had growing up. You know, my older brothers and sisters were all ten, eleven twelve years older than I was. But my brother Matthew, who was only a year from me and my new siblings, we were all around the same age so again, that was a huge part of my life growing up. And so it shaped my being from at a very early age. And one thing that I noticed was, you know, growing up, people would see our family and they would say something like, so which ones are your real brothers and sisters? And I still get that today with my own children that we’ve adopted people say, OK, so who are your real children? And I would say as even as a little kid and I say it now as a dad, I’ll say, well, they’re all my real children or they’re all my real brothers and sisters because that’s how I always felt i and my parents treated us that way there was never a, you know, a difference in the amount of love that they had for their biological children as opposed to the children that they adopted. And I never sensed any difference between my biological siblings and my adopted siblings, too, because they, we, our lives are so interwoven from an early age. And you know, and I can testify to that as a parent, I don’t love my biological children more than I love my adopted children god. That’s, I think, one of the miracles of adoption.

Jacob Barr :

And your story with you know of adoption when it comes to going to China and adopting you, can you sort of give us an intro to your story when it comes to adoption, you know adoption in China?

Dan Kulp :

Sure well, so I used to years ago tour the country in a rock band and I was dating this woman, Elizabeth and we were kind of on again, off again. And at one point i was headed out on the road for about 2 and a half months and she felt this tug on her heart. She was a physical therapist she still is actually. And she just felt like God was calling her to as she put it and I love this phrase and i actually will say this at the events for the PRCS, she felt like she wanted to do something for something greater than just a paycheck. And see right there, I know that you know all of the folks that work for PRCS knows exactly what she’s talking about because nobody’s getting rich off of, you know, working at APRC. And she found herself because of that tug on her heart she found herself in rural China working in orphanages, and particularly orphanages for children with special needs. And when she was there, she witnessed some, you know, wonderful things about the people and the culture and the history of China. But she also witnessed some pretty horrendous things that would make your stomach just churn. And she came home on a mission that her first children were going to be adopted. She wanted to send the message to people that, you know, so many people look at adoption as a Plan B for their life you know, you can’t have children so OK, we’re going to adopt but she wanted it to send the message that adoption can certainly be Plan A for a couple. God is on board with adoption he’s very excited about it we have examples in Scripture of adoption. And often times that was his plan for his people. So she came home and she told me her story about the specific things that she witnessed and it completely changed my life. Prior to that I hadn’t really cared a whole lot about children, especially babies on the other side of the world. And God used her story to crack my heart wide open. And also since then it’s given me quite a platform to be able to share her story in a in a very powerful and poignant way and for my, you know, what I bring to the table is also humorously but so that. So when we got married, she said I have two requirements for any man I’m going to marry the first one is he has to be willing to adopt an orphan from China and she said I have to get one out if it’s the only thing I can do, I have to do that much. And the second requirement was that man had to be intensely good looking.

Jacob Barr :

Nice.

Dan Kulp :

So I think she nailed it right? I mean.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, check.

Dan Kulp :

Check i was in Atlanta, georgia at one time doing this bet, and some lady yelled out for the back of the auditorium. Who’d she marry?

Jacob Barr :

Oh, that’s funny. So when it comes to going to So what have you? What was your experience like when it came to day one in China like, what did, what did it feel like to be, you know, there in China when you went there at one point like what did it feel like when you got off the plane and you know there you are? What were your thoughts from back then?

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, it was a lot of wonder and excitement, but also a little bit of anxiety, you know, stress level because I’m the kind of person that really change isn’t i’m not always great with change and when I’m going into new situations, I i’m a little stressed i don’t suffer from severe anxiety or anything like that, You know, I don’t need a comfort monkey with me or anything, but I just, there was a little bit of stress like I’m going into this, you know, brand new country, different language, different money, you know, different even smell in the air it was just very different. The one thing I had though was my wife who had been there on two previous trips so she did that initial trip to China for a few months and then after we were married, she did another trip to China for a couple months again, I was on the road with the band, so she said, well, if you’re going on the road of the band, I’m going to go to China and work and she just felt such a calling to be there. So I had her with me so that helped a lot because she knew her way around she knew what we were getting into and we were with a wonderful adoption agency that provided us interpreters and we’re also for that, those two trips for two of our children, we were with a group of families that were also there to adopt orphans from China. So you’re kind of like on a bus together and you go to the hotel together and as far as being in China itself, it was actually a wonderful trip and by the second time we went, I was looking forward to it. You know the Chinese people and I’m kind of generalizing here, but they really want to please the visitors to their country and people who are there, you know whether it’s for business or whether it’s to adopt A child they want to kind of impress and they want to serve you whether they like you or not is sort of irrelevant. They just really want you to have a good impression And so we were kind of you know served and there were these neat trips that were planned while we were there you know got to see the Great Wall of China and we went to Beijing and really terrific trip to the point where the second time around i didn’t I wasn’t stressed about it i was like, oh, great, we get to go back to China, you know, later on, as you know, we went to Ukraine and that was stressful because neither of us have been there. And Ukraine is a whole different vibe they don’t like Americans all that much. Maybe they like them better now with all that’s going on, but they really didn’t. And even though we looked more similar than we do to the people of China, you know, they could tell you were American, which was really strange you could tell you were not from Ukraine. And we were met with a lot of, you know, harsh looks and, you know, almost felt very antagonistic. But then as you read in my book, there were some awesome, really wonderful moments and people that we met there as well so yeah, great tricks.

Jacob Barr :

How do you think your adoption story might have changed the Chinese government’s outlook on adoption and children with Down syndrome?

Dan Kulp :

Yeah so when we and it’s a it’s an amazing story how we got connected with Simon. He’d been abandoned in the woods in the middle of winter on the day he was born. And he was immediately he he was taken care of by the couple people that found him in the woods, snow beginning to cover his little body. And then relatively quickly somehow he got put into a foster home is a pay that was that were run by a British doctor and her husband as opposed to an orphanage. And so when he was in the foster home he met two wonderful people and their kids named Steven Curtis Chapman and Mary Beth Chapman and their kids who were there in China working like volunteering at the at this foster home because they were friends with this British doctor and her husband. And so if it wasn’t for that chain of events, we never would have ended up with Simon, who we’ve been told is the first child let out of China to the US who has Down syndrome. The Chapmans met him, kind of fell in love with him he was so adorable. And they lobbied the Chinese government to put him on the waiting child list. One of the reasons he’s the 1st is because at the time, China was a very prideful nation and they didn’t want the rest of the world to know they had what they considered to be imperfect children so they hide them and put them away, just kind of like they did in our country back in the seventies, like my parents were, you know, were told to do. And that’s what they would do. They would say they would say they were adopting out children with special needs, but they were very corrective, correctable issues like cleft palates, you know, or club feet in some occasions, things like that. But to the extent of Down syndrome, they had never even really considered doing that. Once we adopted simon, I don’t know from their perspective I how it happened, but after that they began to realize, oh, there’s parents out there who are willing to adopt these children. They didn’t necessarily understand it, but they were willing to put them on the waiting child list. And so, like I said, I give all the credit to the Chapmans, because if it weren’t for them, he wouldn’t have you know, he may be in an orphanage to this day, or even worse, set out onto the street to fend for himself.

Jacob Barr :

So tell us, tell us more about the family who found Simon covered in snow in the woods what was that family doing in the woods when that when they happened to come across Simon?

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, they were. They were hired by a wealthy landowner and that part I don’t quite understand, ’cause I didn’t know that you were allowed to own land in China it’s a communist country. But the story we were told, they were hired by this landowner to clear the woods of debris and, you know, downed branches and things like that to get it ready for the springtime now this was his birthday’s on January twenty eighth, so spring was just a few months away but apparently whoever owned this property wanted them. He hired these people who were relatively poor, he was paying them to go in and clear the property. And so as they were doing that, they came upon his little body laying there with snow, beginning to cover it. We had the opportunity the next trip, about a year later, to meet that man his name was mister hahn, by the way, and his wife. And when we went for the second trip to adopt our daughter, Danielle, my wife had this crazy idea like, hey, I’m going to go meet the family that found our son and saved his life. And at first I was very unenthusiastic because I thought, you know, honey, there’s a lot of people here, you know like how are we going to, how are we going to find this man and all of China are we going to find them but she had a one page police report written in Chinese. She hired a college student to be our interpreter. She hired a driver and off we went i think they were about, I don’t know, an hour, hour and a half north of Beijing. And if I, if I remember my geography correctly, I might be off. But we off we went and ended up going to the police station. They sort of translated that we showed on the police report they told us where the woods was listed on the on there. We went to the woods we walked around and then we got back in the car and off to this little village we went where the police told us was this man, where he lived mister han ended up finding him thanks to our driver he flagged down a person is walking along the road. Almost looked like a peasant, like an old school, you know, peasant. I hate to use that word but he just looked very poor and he was an old man he knew mister han, so oh follow me, he said in Chinese And we started walking through this little village, muddy dirt roads and almost like Hut like structures and he walked right into their house. It was a one room sort of house with mud dirt floors and their granddaughter was sitting there blowing up balloons and she got excited cause Americans were there and she said I’ll run into town and i’ll go get my grandpa and she went into town and he walked and met us and it was a beautiful time. We were able to tell him through our translator that hey our son Simon is alive and well we showed him pictures, him smiling, happy, running, jumping, playing and just were able to show him that our son had value he had a life that he was living because they chose to take care of him for a few hours until the police arrived.

Jacob Barr :

Wow.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, that’s.

Jacob Barr :

Wow, that’s a that’s such an awesome story of like just being rescued by people who happened to be there and.

Dan Kulp :

You know.

Jacob Barr :

How did how did how did they keep him warm or how did they warm him up from the snow to you know in a in a simple Hut like place.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, actually they I don’t. There was like a small, like shed on the property and they told us that they had taken them into there and they were just, you know, getting them warm and keeping them warm and one of the things mister han said to me was that he was strong he said that through our interpreter. He was a strong baby because he was, you know, awake and alert and you know, he wasn’t suffering. He was, he was doing pretty well. He had other stuff going on too he had a club foot he had what’s called an imperfer anus and that’s where his intestines didn’t connect to an exit and he had, he has on one thumb, my wife and I think it’s pretty cool it’s an extra little thumb. And so we’ll say, Simon. Three thumbs up, buddy.

Jacob Barr :

Wow. That’s oh, so And then and then you, it sounds like so then you told you mentioned Danielle so Danielle was when you yeah. Well, how many years later?

Dan Kulp :

Was one year later. Yeah which isn’t that typical adoption sometimes or like a two three year process at least they were at the time i don’t know what they’re like now i don’t even know if they’re allowing adoptions because of COVID. They probably have restricted those a great deal but and i don’t wanna deter anybody from choosing to adopt from there i just don’t know i I’m just not up on what all the regulations are now.

Jacob Barr :

But at the time.

Dan Kulp :

It could be a two three, year four year process, but when you check a little box that you’re willing to adopt A child with special needs, they accelerate that a little bit. And again when you were checking the box that meant you would take a child with a cloth palate or something very correctable and so his adoption process was accelerated and Danielle, she was listed on the waiting child list from China as the third child with Down syndrome being let out there was a second child he was spoken for a family said they were going to adopt them. So my wife found this third child said she had Down syndrome and that we should be her parents so it was only one year we everything got accelerated we went back to China. She was from a whole different province and A and a different set of circumstances.

Jacob Barr :

But if I remember correctly from your book, she didn’t have the you know, she had a different. Type of Down syndrome or something else that was unique?

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, it’s not Down syndrome actually at all. We got her home in a few weeks or a few months after getting her home we get called into a doctor’s office after they had done some genetic tests and they said we want you to know your daughter does not have Down syndrome. She has something much more rare called Elfie syndrome. It’s a genetic mutation the official name is 9 minus and it’s a deletion of her ninth chromosome she’s missing a chromosome and it’s very rare. At the time, they told us there was about 125 people in the country with it, 250 in the world. Those numbers have gone up it’s still pretty rare, but they’ve gone up because they’re better able to diagnose it now. But, you know, they said they kind of gave us what they knew about the condition. But I realized sitting in that office, the great sovereignty of God because if they had known that she didn’t have Down syndrome, something they were just becoming comfortable allowing out of their country, they but she had something much more rare and complex that they couldn’t necessarily explain. They never would have let her out they would have kept her in the institution for the rest of her life. And so i realized right then and there the great sovereignty of God, that he gave her a false diagnosis to bring her home to her parents.

Jacob Barr :

Wow because if the Chinese government would have seen that it was a more rare case, they may have responded differently, perhaps is that what you’re?

Dan Kulp :

Thinking they may have, and I am sort of doing some guesswork there, but I know that they, it’s so rare, they wouldn’t have really known exactly what to do with that possibly so. And Danielle had been abandoned at a hotel when she was three or four years old, and that’s most likely because that’s when her cognitive differences began to emerge. And so could you imagine bonding with your child for three or four years but living in such a culture that doesn’t value differences that you decide, oh, she’s different so you put her in your car, you drive her to a local motel and then just drop her off to fend for herself. And that’s what they did with Danielle.

Jacob Barr :

So how is so Danielle was found abandoned somewhere is that?

Dan Kulp :

Yeah at a hotel, yeah.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, wow.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah.

Jacob Barr :

So when you when you go speak at an event with for a prancy clinic and your goal is to help them, you know, raise support money, volunteers, what do you tell your story? You know what’s another? I’m sure you probably have a lot of good humor that you bring in at different spots. But when it comes to like your story, do you normally share the your adoption stories or is that something that executive directors usually experience when it comes to your you know the event topics?

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, so i use my story again to link to the great work of the PRCS life saving work that they do. And I do that in several different ways. But I, again, I use the first part of what I do is sort of stand up comedy, but it’s all about, you know, the typical stuff you might see from a dad who does comedy i’m talking about you know diaper changing and having a bunch of kids at birthday parties and you know really get bringing humor to it and the whole time on unraveling the story for the audience. But they gets definitely gets the points where there’s some great poignancy so it goes from you know laughter to like you know tears and being people being choked up. And of course that all culminates to the end of the story where I’ll lead into what is a very powerful what they call the ask, which is the financial appeal. And so I’m able to link that entire story to the work, the life saving work of the PRCS and really challenge the audience to partner with them for life that night. And I have a fairly good track record of getting people getting centers more than they made the previous years because of, you know, there’s sort of an art to the ask that a lot of speakers don’t necessarily know that art and all that goes into it. It’s not rocket science, but I learned it from some of the best speakers out there and was able to apply it to what I do and so now I have a pretty effective financial appeal. I don’t, you know, I don’t bat 100 and I don’t always bring in more than they got the previous year, but i have a pretty good track record for doing that.

Jacob Barr :

So what was, what was day number one when you when, you were the, you know, your first time speaking in front of you know of an event for a Tracy clinic? What did day number one look like was that before the adoptions or after your first adoption?

Dan Kulp :

It was after our first adoption and I don’t know if we had gotten to our second adoption yet i think we did but I did a terrible thing looking back on it. I wasn’t I didn’t do a very good job i didn’t really understand the and this was we’re talking like 15 years ago or so I didn’t really understand the work of the pregnancy care centers and I didn’t also really understand my role as the speaker for the event and it was down in North Carolina and you know they did fine they made about exactly what they made the previous year. But I think back on some of the mistakes I made, learning what I’ve learned over the years and again from kind of studying the best of the best when it comes to that, I just realized I made some mistakes you know, i had a ministry that I was connected with when I toured with the band that it was like a relief organization where I would do pitches to sponsor a child from a foreign country. And I was pretty good at doing that i did it that night and I think back on it, what was I thinking like that it was their event i shouldn’t have been pitching for this other ministry but I just, I didn’t know any better i was just kind of I felt like I was a hired gun and they wanted me to do what I always do. So I didn’t do a very good job so now I think you know i after having done probably you know hundreds of them i do a much better job and it’s really all about you that night. I yes I tell my story but it it’s all for you. I’m there to work on your behalf.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah so i think your story eventually the way it’s laid out in your book is extremely inspiring. And yeah it just feels like it’s just it’s yeah it’s got A and it’s got a strong i would say it has a strong ass promoting someone to think about adoption for their life as following God’s will and it’s it links adoption with following God and serving God and it’s just yeah that’s just really and I feel like you really hit it hit a home run right there but going but going back to that day one, you know even though you might have you know you obviously have a learning curve experience when it comes to you know knowing how things work and you know you didn’t have the advantage of doing it hundreds of times quite yet but what inspired you to make that connection and get onto that stage that very first time like what? You know, what did that what did it look like to get brought into that space of helping a princely clinic raise support?

Dan Kulp :

You know, I just, i got a phone call one day. I had been doing. I had been telling my story for a couple years up to that point and I had been being you know hired as a as a comedian or a comedic speaker a humor at whatever you want to call it. And i had been doing, but I’ve been doing sort of like youth groups and churches and things like that. And then I and I had a website up and i just got called one day from a woman who was a director down in High Point, north carolina And she said she was funny because she told me who she was, Said they hire comedians for their fundraising banquets, which by the way, a lot of center directors don’t understand this. But that is one of the best decision decisions you can make for your fundraising banquet. And I could get into why later but a lot of directors still have it in mind around the country that they have to bring in the saddest abortion story that they can bring in for their annual banquet, which is a huge mistake because first of all, you know, depressed people don’t want to, like, write a big check they want to be joyful when they give. And why make your banquet a downer it should be a celebration of the great work that you do. And also you don’t have to do like a sort of abortion apologetics that your banquet. Everybody there that night is on board with that idea they’re all pro-life that’s why they’re coming. So you can dispense with that you’re wasting time. You can just again celebrate the great work of the PRCS but anyway, out of the blue, I get this call and I can’t i don’t know how she stumbled upon me, but she somehow Google search or something and she found my story and she said, you know, we’d like to hire you for this banquet we do it every year. This is what we are we’re pregnancy Resource Center. I think they used to call them pregnancy care centers and you know it keeps kind of changing and evolving. And they what was funny is she said, you know we we’ve hired, we’ve hired through a booking agency in the past and she was trying to kind of bypass that she wanted to like go directly to an artist that wasn’t represented at the time. And so she said how much And I gave her a quote and she actually said, listen, you need to give me a much higher quote because we have much bigger budgets and you’re undervaluing what you do. And I. So I was like, OK and i still gave her a relatively, you know, very reasonable quote. And that’s so that was my first time I drove down to North Carolina from New York. It’s not because I’m scared to fly i fly all the time. It’s because if i love to drive for one thing but I always figure like if I can get paid in mileage as opposed to giving that to the airlines then i would that’s like a little bonus for me so I drove and I got some mileage out of it. Now with the gas prices i don’t know that it’s worth worth it i would I would probably fly to North Carolina now unless my book show is on the way there and the way back, which i tend to do frequently so yeah, it was great. You know i stepped out as you put it stepped out onto the stage. But I didn’t know enough. I just didn’t you know, i did my thing and it wasn’t horrible. It’s just that I know i didn’t know what I didn’t know and now I know so.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, well, yeah, Good for her to reach out to you and bring you in, because since then, how many, How many? If you were to estimate how many crazy clinics you have, you know done an event. Four how you know what’s the what’s the ballpark range that you might have done since then.

Dan Kulp :

Oh, i don’t even know a lot probably yeah, a good number. I’m I don’t have the most under my belt that some of my friends do in this sort of arena. But I, you know, i’ve done a good number of them in it and again, it’s just been such a privilege.

Jacob Barr :

So when it comes to, so you’re currently through an agency so if someone wanted to you know to find you today where you know which, how would they go about finding you to see if your you know your availability and for booking?

Dan Kulp :

So, yeah, my, the agency that represents me for PRCS is Ambassador Speakers Bureau. And Gloria is the agent that handles all of that sort of stuff and she’s terrific she’s passionately pro-life Many of your listeners are going to already know who she is i’m sure she just does a terrific job, makes it a painless process to book me. And now anybody is able to find me you know, you can find me on Facebook, you can find me, you know, Google search me or whatever i have a website, you can find me that way and connect with me but if you’re connected with APRC and you want me to come, I’ll just hand you over to Gloria not because I’m, you know, too you know Snooty to work with you myself it’s just that they’re the ones that really introduced me to that arena and kind of trained me on how to do it. And so I just, I let them handle all of that stuff and I’m very appreciative for them bringing me into that. You know, again that first one I did was an isolated sort of call but ambassador introduced me to the whole world and i was able to understand it much better after I got on board with them so, yeah, Ambassador Speakers Bureau, you know, get a hold of them or get a hold of me and then I’ll steer you to them.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah. And when I first met you, I remember thinking, you know, that you were, you know, that you were helping with fundraising events as a speaker, using your comedy to really draw people in. But I didn’t, I didn’t know your story until I read your book about how you have literally changed, you know, made an impact, made, you know, a serious impact on for adoption, for life, for those with Down syndrome or these scenarios. And just that adoption world like literally you have made a global or at least a, you know, an impact on the Chinese country in that space.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah again, I don’t know if we deserve any credit for that i again, I give it to the Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth because they had somehow they had some sway and were able to use their i don’t know if they use their celebrity or whatever it was, but they were able to get him on that waiting childless all we did was show up to bring him into our family and.

Jacob Barr :

You’re on the same team as the Chapmans it sounds like he might have been, he might have been the coach, but you, you’re definitely one of the players on that team.

Dan Kulp :

I’m very grateful for their for their work, put it that way.

Jacob Barr :

Sure yeah. So how did you so like your desire and interest in comedy came at a much. Well, sounds like you came much earlier in your life. What was your inspiration to be a comedian?

Dan Kulp :

Man, you know, I I’ve always loved comedy i grew up on comedy my first of all, my home was a happy home. There was a lot of laughter my dad was a really funny guy my mom’s a really funny woman and laughter was a huge part of my life. And I was, you know, sort of I’d be the class clown and stuff like that at school and being overweight my entire life, I would use it almost like a defense mechanism. I didn’t have any deep seated issues or anything like that, but I just, I always loved to laugh and I always loved bringing laughter to people, especially my dad i loved making my father laugh it was just loads of fun when I could do that. And i remember my first comedy record ever was Bill Cosby’s why is that her error and I was in about fifth grade and I listened to that over and over and then as I got older, I started to listen to other comedians and of course I grew up on late night or not late, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and would see comics there. And so when I was in college, I entered a comedy contest that was held in the cafeteria and it was very last minute i was really nervous i wasn’t intending to enter, but a buddy of mine had signed up like weeks earlier, so he got up to do his thing. He was a guy I’d gone to high school with and now we’re in college together. And he went up to his thing and the MC then said, well, he’s unopposed is there anybody that wants to come up and it was a contest that lasted weeks and this is like the last week of it and all my friends you know mutual friends are sitting around going damn, damn, damn so I got up and I winged it I told a few jokes that I’ve been working on and so at the end of that the MC said well we had a comedy club in town called Yuk Yuks and he said the prize was the winner was going to go on to the club and so at the end of the contest he my buddy won but he said we’ll have you go too because you know you got up last minute and it was close and all that so we both went to Yuk Yuks, we performed a set and then I signed up again for like a week later and this is how dumb I was. I had no idea that was the end of my comedy career back when I was 18 or 19 years old. And the reason being was i thought that I had to come up with the new 5 or 7 minutes every time I went to the club so when they invited me back the following week here, I’m racking my brain like, oh, I got to come with seven new minutes, not knowing that, no, when you’re a comedian, you work on the stained material over and over and hone it and craft it so at the end of the second week, I was like, oh, I’m done. You know, I couldn’t think of anything else. So I never I didn’t go back into comedy for like a good well it was like 15 years or so and but I was touring with the band as I mentioned the lead singer of this rock group. When we stopped touring in about 2007 I wasn’t sure what to do with my life. The other guys were fine one guy had a family business another guy joined the National Guard and went and fought in Afghanistan another guy was had his real estate license but I didn’t know what to do with my life because I put all my eggs in that basket. I thought we were going to be the next great Christian rock band out there. And so I knew I had this really great story. And I’m like, you know, I’m going to, I think I got a friend who’s a musician who had done a lot of work with our band and opened for us before and filled in on musical instruments when we were missing somebody. And he was a funny guy and I said, you know, I think I’ll have him his name was Jason i think I’ll have him. I’ll book another tour we’ll call it the stories, the Songs tour. He’ll do some songs and I’ll tell these stories. And as time went on, the stories got funnier and funnier. And my comedian buddies, they were comedy musical duo named Dave and Brian. They were going to be at Syracuse University one night and they’re about, which is about an hour from my home. And Dave called me up and said, hey, we’re performing at Syracuse University. I know you’re doing these twenty stories, do you want to come open for us? And I said, yeah, OK, sure, that’ll be fun so I drove out to the Syracuse. I opened for them and I didn’t think I did particularly well or anything like that. But Brian pulled me aside afterwards and he said, Dan, I know you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life. I think you should go into comedy. And i thought, oh, you know, OK. I thought about that all the way home. I woke my wife up at like one thirty in the morning, who is such a trooper she put up with me being a tour, you know, touring musician for all those years, woke her up and said, I think I’m going to go into comedy. And she sat up and she sighed she went or not sighed but took a deep breath and went OK, like here’s the next, you know, part of your journey, I guess, you know. So I the next tour that I booked, I booked without my musician buddy and I billed myself as a comedic storyteller. So that was like the transition into being a stand up comedian.

Jacob Barr :

Wow. So going back to your, yeah, your adoption stories and you know, the work with Princey Clinics and you know, your history with comedy. So where would you, what’s if I asked you about where do you see God’s fingerprints in your, in your story, serving him and these different capacities? What comes to mind is a story where you can see, you can say, you know, I feel like God really worked here in my life or, you know, he opened this door or, you know, somehow we’re, you know, where do you see God’s fingerprint in your story?

Dan Kulp :

Well, all over from beginning to end. I mean this whole full circle idea of me growing up in this home with this incredible example from my parents to, you know, and having four siblings with Down syndrome to then being able to adopt the first child let out of China to the US with Down syndrome. And that whole story is you read from the book, Jacob is miraculous i mean, if you remember, we started down the road of adopting for adoption of another child like somebody else. And it was because I attended a Steven Curtis Chapman concert and signed up to win a guitar and shoved it in the box. I was there with the youth group i was a youth group leader at a church and I said, oh, Steven Curtis Chapman’s coming town let me bring him to this college and he’ll see a concert. I got up to go to the bathroom and as I’m walking through the lobby, I see this display it says when Steven Curtis Chapman’s guitar. So I was like, yeah, I pulled out a card, shoved it in and then went off to the bathroom, then went back to the concert. That put me on the mailing list for the Chapman’s Ministries at the time it’s called Show Hannah’s Hope. Now it’s called Show Hope. And I was getting these emails that is a single man I didn’t care a whole lot about because they were about adoption and stuff like that. But then as I got married and my wife had the story, this experience in China and we were considering adoption, I started to pay a little bit more attention to their newsletters you know, found out about this little boy with Down syndrome that they were deaf. It said something like desperately looking for a family or for parents to adopt this boy with Down syndrome from China and i called my wife and we had already started the process. We had paid a bunch of money and non refundable fees and she laughed. The first time she laughed at me, she was like, Oh yeah, we’re going to just stop mid road and go adopt another child. But anyway, all of those are God moments i mean, if I never filled out that card, if I hadn’t been born into the family i had been born into, if I never met Elizabeth, all of it, you know, and my life hasn’t been completely all roses you know, I was married years ago to somebody else and for five years and at the end of that five years she just, she left and so i was very broken i was very hurt. We didn’t have any kids thank the Lord for that. And I was in that broken period in that time of great devastation that’s the time that I met the band and that’s the time that I met my wife Elizabeth and all of these incredible things happen you could just see God cradling me and holding me and ministering to my spirit you gave me the best friends in the world that I’ve ever had. And then gave me the best wife, a guy I could have. And I look at my children today and I say I would never change anything from my past because all of that led me down the road that I that I’m at now.

Jacob Barr :

Oh, that’s sweet. So how would you consider encouraging a pregnancy clinic team to consider adoption maybe, yeah. You know, how might you phrase it to, you know, a team of volunteers who are providing clients with advice or counsel or they’re advocating for clients for parenting and adoption? You know, how might you encourage them to look at adoption like as you looked at it as a plan A, how might you encourage, you know, encourage these people who are talking to women in unplanned pregnancy scenarios, how would you encourage them to embrace the idea of adoption?

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, i think that you have to tell the stories. You know, you have to beat that drum of adoption constantly in a positive manner. You know what does our society show when it comes to adoption so a lot of times you hear the horror stories, you know, you hear about the orphan that was adopted and came home and there was all these issues or problems and sometimes adoption is kind of made fun of it’s like a punchline in the media and that sort of thing but you have to tell the stories of people like me and so many countless other parents that have had these wonderful experiences with adoption and let a woman know that is really one of the most heroic things she can do is to bring that baby, you know, deliver that baby and then give that baby to another couple. And also, you know, one of the things they may struggle with more than anything is if they find out they get a prenatal diagnosis of some type of physical disability and or, you know, like Down syndrome or Alfie syndrome or I told you I have a son who has spina bifida that that’s getting more and more diagnosed in the womb now as well. But you have to be able to share the stories of parents who are willing to adopt children with special needs. That mom that comes into your center needs to know that there are parents that will adopt that baby no matter what because they may think, oh, nobody’s going to want my child if they have physical disabilities or challenges. And you know, i also recommend it to centers you know, when you walk into a centre, what do you see often you’ll see these beautiful blown up pictures of these beautiful children, you know, healthy children on the walls. And those are great. What I’d love to see included in some of those centers are like pictures of my son in his wheelchair. One of my favorite pictures I have of my son Shay is he’s on a horse and his wheelchair is up on this deck behind the horse. You gotten off the chair and onto the horse and it’s just this beautiful picture. I’d love to see pictures like that at centers so that people knew, you know, you say that you value life let’s show them all aspects of life.

Jacob Barr :

So your son Shay is that was he? Who is he and your list of children like how did how did he come into your list of children?

Dan Kulp :

Are you losing track, jacob? well.

Jacob Barr :

The new name, I’m just trying to keep that.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah so Shay was of the third child we adopted and he would we went to Ukraine two years after we got Danielle from China and so he was one that my again, my wife found online and we flew back over to Ukraine, adopted him from an orphanage and brought him home he was about to turn 5 when we when we got him and now that same son is 15 years old and he just, he just went to his regional competition and track and field. He does shot put, javelin and discus and he also races his wheelchair. He has a wheelchair racer, I should say he races and he just qualified for nationals so he’ll be out in Colorado this summer, competing against the best of the best.

Jacob Barr :

Wow. So for those listening, how might you know? How might people pray for you and your ministry and your you know, your career slash ministry? You know how? How could someone pray for you in an effective way?

Dan Kulp :

Oh man, thanks for asking that question. I really appreciate that. The first thing I asked people to pray for is energy you know, my wife and I are tired quite a bit like the home I grew up in, though I can say there’s a lot of humor we love to laugh in our home but energy is a factor it would be great you know we just feel like we’re our home is chaos and we’re running from one thing to the next all the time. So there’s that you know we dates are a little fewer and far farther in between than we would we would prefer but we still manage to have them i do a marriage seminar it’s at Heartbeat and Karnet quite often and we find ways to have our date nights for sure. But the second thing would be you know when COVID came all of my appearances around the country got flushed right down the toilet within a matter of four or five days. And i’m in kind of the rebuilding stage now so you could pray for bookings that’s part of our family income that’s how I earn a living and you know i could just use more of those around the country and so book me if you’re listening to podcast I’d be honored to come and I’m just I just been praying lately Jacob that God would even expand my platform even more. So I appreciate you having me on the podcast that’s just.

Jacob Barr :

A pleasure. Another So my follow up question is what’s the last passage do you remember reading the Bible or the last passage that comes to mind do you remember hearing like from a Sunday sermon?

Dan Kulp :

Well, it’s funny you say that, cause for the last year and a half or so, I’ve been the interim associate pastor at my church because our pastor retired and I was first filling in for him and then while he went on a medical leave and then he decided he’d retire. So we’re getting our new pastor a few weeks so i preach every Sunday and or no, excuse me, not every Sunday i preach every few Sundays i’ll preach. We have an interim pastor they just kind of had me stay on to help with this transition. So, but the last passage that I read was for a funeral that I did this past Sunday, and it talked about Jesus Christ being our advocate and how he would go to the Father on our behalf, and he became a great sacrifice for us. So that would be the last passage. I’d have to look up the scripture reference, actually, because actually, I might.

Jacob Barr :

Well, the Dan the Dan Colt paraphrase is probably fine.

Dan Kulp :

Good yeah, I’m glad to hear that.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, the cult version.

Dan Kulp :

But you know all of the scriptures that I read in funeral that was for the main message. I always open funerals i don’t do the typical you know, everybody does Psalm 23 You know, I though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death i’ll fear no evil that i don’t use that at funerals unless I’m asked to by the family. I love opening and I think your audience will appreciate this. I’ll come out at the beginning of the funeral before I even say a word and I start reading Psalm one thirty nine, which is you know that God knows us he knit us together in our mother’s womb we are fearfully and wonderfully named. All the days laid out for all the days of our lives were laid out before us before God, even before one of them came to be again paraphrasing, but all of those wonderful things about the value of life and that even when we’re in the darkest of darks, he is still with us. So I open with that and then in every message that I do for a funeral I use also use Roman Romans 8 that talks about who will separate us from the love of God, either you know height or depth or famine or sword or nakedness or hunger and it talks about us being more than conquerors. So I think all of those are incredible scriptures and part of this movement.

Jacob Barr :

So how are those 3 passages or you know, the passage of one thirty nine, The Value of Life and from Psalms as well as Romans 8? How might if you were to think about those passages when it comes to your need for more energy, your need for more bookings, and in the in the concept of expanding your platform, how do those passages speak to those three areas of your life?

Dan Kulp :

Wow, right now you’re putting me on the spot. Now you’re trying to.

Jacob Barr :

Confict your time Oh no, this is.

Dan Kulp :

This is one of my.

Jacob Barr :

Favorite things is to ask someone like what their need is what’s the last thing read in the Bible and how does it apply?

Dan Kulp :

That’s pretty sneaky, Jacob, But yeah, that’s a good strategy i like that. You ought to be a pastor, you know that.

Jacob Barr :

No i’m more of a repeater.

Dan Kulp :

That’s pretty good. Well, you know the Psalm one thirty nine speaks to that god has ordained everything. So and I did learn that during COVID. You know, when all of the. So the year leading up to COVID was already my worst year in like 12 years of doing this. And I had no idea why, but I had less bookings on the calendar. But that April was going to be my best month of the entire year. I had appearances.

Jacob Barr :

All over the place month of April 2020 right that’s when everything just went.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah and i was so like for months i was like, oh, I just got to get to April i got to get to April financially. And then it was like, I think the first five days of April or something like that. I just saw him fall off the calendar and I was beside myself i was a wreck. And I remember being in my car in the driveway sobbing my wife actually walked out to the car and I was just, i couldn’t believe it i thought God was really out to get me. You know, I made it all about me not to mention the whole world was going through this. But what I saw during that year was how again, God, like I mentioned, when my wife had left me back in the early nineties or the late nineties, God cradled me and held me and provided for our family in really incredible ways. And we ended up looking back on that year going, Oh my gosh, we had blessing like there were blessings to us that we, like, never expected. And I realized, OK, you know, it was during that year again that my pastor gave me a call and said, can you fill in for me for a month or two? And then that turned into, I’ve been doing it a year and a half. I saw God do that he was in charge the whole time. So now I’ve told people if there’s another COVID or there another, you know, and I hope not i hope there’s not another time where they shut everything down. I’m much more trusting and filled with faith to be able to handle that. And going on to Romans 8, it says we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus you know, that that’s like a, you know, Braveheart kind of thing. You know, that’s just not that we get by. You know, that’s more than like what is a conqueror a conqueror goes in and takes down everything and wins the land. The Bible tells us we’re more than that, you know, So, yeah, and then the main passage that I preached from that talks about Jesus being our advocate. I can see that Jesus is always my advocate. He’s always going to the Father on our behalf so thank you.

Jacob Barr :

For thank.

Dan Kulp :

You for turning those into in, you know into my life that that’s wonderful that i could reflect like that in those few moments.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome well, I really appreciate this time to talk with you and to hear your story i mean reading your story honestly was just phenomenal and I would encourage people to find your book on Amazon or I’m assuming it’s on Amazon, right?

Dan Kulp :

Or it’s on Amazon.

Jacob Barr :

Sure and it and it was Confounding the Wise by Dan Colt.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah and that’s from the scripture that says that god uses the foolish things to confound the wise. And I always love that scripture. And you know, and I thought about it in regards to my parents and in regards to my life, how foolish it must have looked to the rest of the world as they looked at the choices my parents made. And yet the wise are confounded by, you know, they’re confounded by that. But when God puts his thumbprint on people’s lives like that so and before you end this Jacob, I do want to say that we had two more biological children. So i want to do a shout out to my daughter Emily who’s 10 now and my little son Steven who’s four and they both keep me hopping too so.

Jacob Barr :

You have five kids wow.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah.

Jacob Barr :

That fills a minivan.

Dan Kulp :

You know, I was thinking about it yeah, it does. We’re filled to the top. It fills a wheelchair accessible minivan no less. But i was thinking about it i thought, you know, i just think it keeps me young, you know, like i’m 52 years old i do not feel 52 despite the Gray and you know in this here, I don’t feel like a 52 year old i feel younger and I thought let’s see all my friends who I graduated high school from, they’re actually on to grandkids now i guess that could make them feel young. But you know if my wife and I like started heading towards retirement what would be you know would be going to play bingo or you know like craft fairs or what you know, i’m going to my daughter’s picnics at school and chasing my 4 year old around on our trampoline and stuff like that. It’s bound to keep me young.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah well and yeah it’s five kids will definitely keep you young and that’s just and all the different stories I feel i feel like there’s just so much, you know, you can see God’s fingerprints and his working through the stories and the and the stories of adoption seem to have a special story when it comes to what precisy clinics need. You know, need to share for encouraging these women that are in hard situations who might be seeking abortion for them to consider, you know, not just parenting, but also adoption as a primary choice that is life giving and beautiful and yeah, and just full of life.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, and but you know, i think even beside the adoption stories, the value of life story is really what connects with the centers. Because i’m able to tell them by the end of my evening with them that hey, you are my superheroes for your life saving work. And this is one thing I say and I during the appeal, and I mean it every single time I’ll tell the audience is the writing out their checks i’ll say this is my favorite moment of the night because as I look at you writing out those checks I realize that you are the people that would never let a child be abandoned in the woods in the middle of winter on the day he was born. And I mean that and those women that work for those centers and those men too, they are my superheroes because of the value of life that they are fighting for on a daily basis that’s meaningful to me and my children and my wife.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, and not the real superheroes, you know? You know, superheroes in the movies are not really saving lives those are just fictional stories but a lot.

Dan Kulp :

Of special effects.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, and the superheroes in the prison clinics are actually saving lives and helping people find the value in life.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, and that’s one of my closers too just before the appeal, I tell a funny story about watching the pilot episode of the TV show Batman. And you know that’s not the cool looking Batman of today you know that was the polyester pajama war in Batman of yesteryear. But i tell a story about that and how when I was a kid, I saw that I wanted to be a hero when I grew up but how as I grew older, my view of what a superhero was radically changed. As I looked at my siblings, as I looked at my parents, as I looked at my wife, who really is my ultimate superhero. And then i tell them all the all the folks I have them stand up and I and I say you are my heroes that’s why I’m here tonight is because of you.

Jacob Barr :

The real superheroes work in pricey clinics they work at churches, They work in the Firehouse, you know, helping people, getting people out of burning buildings they work at the hospitals. They work in these places where people are really being helped. It don’t work in Hollywood, Hollywood i mean, Hollywood is fine, but saving lives, you know, happens locally in the certain places like pricey clinics and churches.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, I agree with you 100 %.

Jacob Barr :

After I finished reading, when I read your book, i was making notes and highlighting i was really enjoying it. But then I didn’t intend to keep it i intend I gave it to someone at my church and I recycled it so I would encourage people who get a copy of Dan’s book, don’t let it collect dust on your bookshelf but yeah, make sure you give it to someone else who needs to read it, because it’s that good.

Dan Kulp :

Oh, thank you very much. Yeah well, i appreciate that thanks. I’m working on some other books now, so, but that one took me like 7 years to write because I’m so slow at doing it so hopefully I’ll do this next one a little bit sooner.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, you got to the learning curve on the first one and you’ll be, I hopefully get done in four years.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah.

Jacob Barr :

So would you close our podcast by you know praying for, you know maybe praying for in the adoption world or in the in the price of clinic world perhaps.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah i’d be i’d be honored to do that sure. Yeah thank you. Lord, i pray right now for all of those volunteers and all of those staff that are in centers, scattered all over the country and in other parts of the world as well. I pray that he would renew their strength, give them energy god, as I prayed for it tonight or I asked for, I pray that you would affirm their life saving work, that they would know that they are heroes because you called them to where they are and they answered the call. I pray ultimately God that lives would continue to be saved from the mother who walks into that center confused. I pray that you would help shine a light on her confusion and use those volunteers and staff to do that. I pray that for the mother who is struggling because they’re carrying a child who has special needs or disabilities or challenges, I pray that they would be convinced to give birth to that child anyway. I pray that adoption would be a drum that gets beat over and over and over again by Christians in our country and by the centers that they would know that there are people out there who will take these babies and love them and bring them into their family. So God thank you, I thank you for the life saving work of the centers. I thank you for Jacob and his podcast for enlightening people and shining a light on so many different people that work for the cause of life. God bless their work and walk beside them in the fight and ask all these things in the name of jesus amen.

Jacob Barr :

Amen yeah, the prayer for energy bookings and expanding territory, you know that’s definitely true for you and it’s also I think that’s also true for Precy clinics. They need more client bookings or appointments like that’s you know and the energy to you know to keep on the good fight and expanding into new territory especially with Roe being overturned soon. You know, we’re going to have to expand into the ways that keep serving women and unplanned pregnancies under new, you know, in a new under new laws or new legal.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah.

Jacob Barr :

A new a new legal scenarios.

Dan Kulp :

Yeah, it’s becoming a new world and you got to duck in weaves, you know all the time, right, when you’re in the fight.

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