Joe and Nancy are the parents of 19 children, three biological and 16 adopted internationally. Together they are the Kayes family.
“We still go to parent-teacher meetings,” says Nancy. “We still climb into bleachers alongside the soccer field to cheer our kids on the field,” chuckles Joe. There aren’t many grandparents out there who still have kids in primary school, but this isn’t your average family. For the Kayes, being average was never a goal. Building a loving and supportive family was and is their goal as parents.
The Kayes family includes children from India, Korea, Hong Kong and Bulgaria. Beyond language barriers with some older adoptions, many of these children also have physical challenges. Matt Kayes is limited to his wheelchair and communicates via computer but his smile can light up a room. Mark Kayes can open a snack bar with his toes but not as a trick; he was born without arms and his feet serve as his hands. Other children have cerebral palsy or spina bifida.
Joe and Nancy are grateful for the medical knowledge and support of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital International Adoption Center. Founded and run by Dr. Mary Staat, the center provides pre- and post-adoption medical assistance for families adopting internationally. The Cincinnati facility is one of just 12 such centers in the US. For each of their international adoptions, the Kayes have teamed with Dr. Staat, who also has adopted internationally. (Season 3, Episode 16)