Jackie and Stacy Dye live outside of a small town in Kentucky. Surrounded by a horse farm, their homeplace is a pretty good spot to raise kids. In their case, raising kids meant a second round of children—five adoptees from China.
In 2012, they began their adoption journey, with wife Stacy leading the charge. At first, husband Jackie, the planner, was uncertain, but that would change in time.
Their adoption journey started when Stacy was sixteen.
“I had my first child when I was sixteen,” Stacy told us. “So I really didn’t have the mother experience that most moms do because we were growing up at the same time.” As well, Stacy had a medical condition, and her physician warned that another childbirth would risk her life. “I always wanted more children and I knew the only way to do that was to adopt.”
Stacy got that chance. Thirty-one years later.
Eventually, Stacy married Jackie Dye, and they joined their blended family. Stacy had a son, and Jackie brought in two children. The Dyes were married eleven years before they began to seriously consider adoption because they wanted to wait until the youngest child had graduated from high school.
Empty nesters, Stacy and Jackie, forty and fifty years old respectively, were ready. Well, almost.
Recognizing a great need.
Jackie was reticent to adopt because he felt since he’d already raised his own children, it was probably time to relax and rest. But he also noted that kids can really keep you going, keep you alive.
When Stacy brought up the adoption idea, it certainly wasn’t a new concept for the couple. Though they’d had conversations before they were married, the renewed interest came in an unexpected way.
In December of 2011, their niece died suddenly. She was a young mother and left behind a little boy whose father wasn’t in the picture. Though Jackie and Stacy didn’t adopt their grand-nephew, they realized there was a great need for adopted children to find homes. They started their own adoption process the next month.
Though the Dyes talked about domestic adoption, they felt an international adoption would be a better fit for them. When they talked with their caseworker, she suggested China. Given their age, their family situation, and China’s guidelines, the caseworker felt they’d be well-suited for a Chinese child.
The Dyes soon discovered that most of the adoptions were “special needs” cases. The caseworker informed them that the special needs designation entailed a wide range of conditions, such as cognitive defects and cerebral palsy.
Because he and Stacy were in their forties and fifties respectively, Jackie became concerned that their age could be an issue when caring for a child with potentially a severe condition. “Can I provide for this child if I pass away?” Jackie asked himself.
Despite any reservations both Jackie and Stacy shared, they became committed to staying the course.
Great resources when starting the adoption process.
For the Dye family, their local pediatrician was their first go-to resource.
As well, they discovered the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Cincinnati Children’s international adoption clinic provided the Dyes with information and talked to them about what to expect, including how to care for children with special needs.
“Our caseworker, when she first visited us, she scared us to death,” commented Stacy. But ultimately, they found her very helpful. Though the caseworker explained everything that could go wrong, it ultimately prepared her and Jackie for a big commitment.
Stacy and Jackie joined various Facebook groups, but one of their greatest resources came from other families in their community who were in the middle of an adoption at the time.
The Dyes felt fortunate that a close friend was adopting, and just two steps ahead of the Dyes, so they followed closely in her footsteps.
For readers interested in adopting, the Dyes named two extraordinary books, The Connected Child and Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child, as solid resources that helped them in their adoption journey.
In October of 2012, the Dye family brought home their first adopted child, Emelia (Emmie) Grace ,whom they lovingly call “Amazing Grace”.
Her special need concerned Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), a type of brain damage when an infant doesn’t receive enough oxygen and blood. It is common in premature babies, and Emelia was premature. Since Emilia was diagnosed with HIE, she might develop complications like epilepsy, cerebral palsy, a learning disability, among other possible issues. Only time would tell.
But they did know they had a special child when they met her. Jackie remembers vividly when he and his wife arrived at civil affairs, China’s government office responsible for adoption and children’s welfare .
“I remember the bus ride and going through the iron gates. They were running late. And unlike the other parents, I stood outside on the steps because I couldn’t wait. When she got out of the car, she was covered head to toe in a blanket because it was wintertime. And she had on three layers of clothes.”
Jackie recalls inside that he pulled at the blanket so he could see her. Emelia Grace’s brown eyes opened up, and it was unlike anything he’d ever experienced.
The Dyes brought their three older kids on the trip. For wife Stacy, she loved what that meant. “With my side and his side, Emelia brought us together.”
One might think after the international travel and the paperwork, that the Dyes might be done for a while. But not so much. While they were still in China, Jackie said to Stacy, “You know we’re supposed to do this again. God would want us to do that. We have room in our house.” A speechless Stacy was a bit surprised but pleased. In December of the same year, they were back in China for their second adopted child, Kaeson, also from the same province as Emelia.
Trust your instincts with kids in traumatic situations.
The orphanage’s attachment specialist in China said that the two-year-old boy the Dyes wished to adopt was having major issues. The week before the Dyes’ flight, she told them that the boy wasn’t interacting with anyone and that he was very detached. She reported that she’d never heard him speak. Or cry. Or smile. She thought he may not be able to express or show love, likely from brain damage.
This was tough. But Jackie reminded Stacy that she typically didn’t believe those kinds of reports.
When Jackie and Stacy arrived for Kaeson, they wondered if the boy had ever been held. Kaeson was standoffish and just stared at them. However, when the Dyes brought Kaeson back to the hotel, they put Kaeson and young daughter Emelia down together. “She gave Kaeson a big hug, handed him a toy, and that’s all it took,” Stacy said. Kaeson began smiling and playing like a typical child.
Soon the Dyes became aware they adopted a very bright child. A good learner, Kaeson was also caring and sensitive—the opposite of what they had been told. They now urge future adoptive parents to make sure not to judge children’s actions in traumatic situations such as these. Trust your instincts, and give the child love.
Before long, the Dyes chose to continue what they’d started and adopted three more children; Kylie, Kaeson, and Josie.
Real Wood Floors’ Commitment
At Real Wood Floors, our purpose is to work until the day every child is home. We actively help to find ways for orphan and foster children to gain families and homes. We think the Dyes sum it up pretty well.
“We know Real Wood Floors commitment to our mission, and it plays a huge part in bringing our family together. We had the ability to adopt four kids with your help. We are very grateful for your role in our family story.”