November is National Adoption Month. Today is National Adoption Day.
Amber Marshall Baker, Kelby Dye and MaeLeigh Dye are Bingham County residents who shared their adoption stories.
Amber Marshall Baker was 8 1/2 months old when she was adopted by Doyle and Ila Marshall.
When she joined the family, she gained an older brother, Travis. He had also been adopted by the Marshalls.
"My life has been blessed beyond measure from the gift of being adopted," said Baker.
Her biological mother was only 15 at the time of Baker's birth. She tried to keep and raise her baby until she determined it was not possible.
"My brother and I were a young age when my adoptive parents told us that we were adopted," Baker said. "It was explained to us that our parents, due to their age and circumstances, were not in a position to raise us.
"Adoption has always been viewed in my eyes as a gift," she said. "My biological mother sacrificed her love for me to give me the change to have more opportunities and a better life with a family that was secure and ready to have children in their lives and home."
Baker is a mother herself now. She is raising her three boys. The oldest in college and the youngest is an eighth grader.
"Adoption is such an incredible gift and blessing, " said Baker. "I cannot imagine my life without all of my amazing family."
Baker has not met her biological parents but says that someday she would like to.
"I would like to give them the knowledge that my life has been successful and blessed," she said, "and to thank them for putting my needs first."
Baker now speaks in local high schools as an advocate for adoption. Telling her story helps teens understand the blessing of adoption and encourages youth to seek out help if they find themselves in a situation where they feel they cannot take care of an infant of their own.
The Dye children—MaeLeigh, age 16, and Kelby, age 14 1/2—were adopted from China.
"I was 34 years old when I adopted MaeLeigh," said her mother, Deanne Dye. "I wanted to be a mom. Adoption agencies were not helping single people.
And then she found West Sands Adoptions, an agency which does international adoptions. The agency is in St. George, Utah.
It took almost three years to get MaeLeigh, Dye said.
"During the Summer Olympics in 1996, I was crocheting baby quilts in a rainbow of colors," she said. "The faster they ran, the faster I crocheted.
"I was certain I was going to get a baby soon," Dye said. "I found out later, the baby hadn't even been born yet."
"MaeLeigh was 5-months, 5-days old when my dad and I picked her up in Wuuhan, China," Dye said. "We were in the country two weeks."
The adoption agency helped to expedite all the paperwork, including government interviews and the immigration forms to come back (into the U.S.), she said.
Two years later, Dye was convinced she would adopt a boy from China.
"God works in mysterious ways," she said. "If you listen long enough, God will bring it to pass. I have two kids to prove it."
Kelby was the only boy in his orphanage in Tianmen, near Shanghai, Dye said. "He was a 21-month-old toddler when my mom, dad and I picked him up.
"For the two weeks we were in China, toddler MaeLeigh stayed with my sister," she said.
"When we arrived at the Salt Lake Airport, MaeLeigh gave Kelby a big hug," Dye said. "He bit her pretty hard."
MaeLeigh said, "Mom, you take him back."
"Where's that?" Dye asked.
"Wal-Mart," she said.
MaeLeigh is now a junior at Highland High School in Pocatello; Kelby is a freshman there.
MaeLeigh wants to be an orthodontist or a neurosurgeon, Dye said. Kelby wants to be a doctor or mechanical engineer.
They are both so kind and they both have direction, she said.
"I'm grateful for adoption," Dye said. "(Adoptees) are kids that need people who will love them, care for them, provide a home and take an interest in them.
"Adoption changes lives, including mine," Dye said. "Adoption has given my life purpose, direction and hope for the future."
The Dye family lives in Firth. Because Dye works in Pocatello, MaeLeigh and Kelby are students there.
Remember, even Superman was adopted.