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Ryan, Kim and Makyla Joy Mayeda

Celebrating Life’s Heartbreak and Joy

By Ryan Mayeda (1996) | When my wife, Kim, and I married in 2005, we knew we wanted to build a family. Little did we know the challenges and heartache we would face along the way—or the joy that would eventually result.

Kim has medical conditions that made it difficult to conceive, so in 2006 we started fertility treatments. After spending nearly all of our savings and struggling with the challenges of Kim’s reactions to the meds, we decided to do just one more round.

We got pregnant!

Nine weeks later, however, we experienced our first loss, a miscarriage. In the midst of this, we were dealing with a business that had more problems than had been presented when we purchased it. We ended up closing the business and taking a big loss. Shortly thereafter, our home was hit by a tornado, and we were forced to come up with money to pay the insurance deductible.

Discouraged, broke, and childless, we decided to try to focus on changing our lifestyle, trusting in chiropractic and natural healing for Kim’s body. Meanwhile, we struggled with where God was and why He wasn’t answering our prayers. After a year of radical changes, we got pregnant.

Kyla Ann ChiyokoThe pregnancy went well, with no complications. On Feb. 5, 2010, Kim gave birth to little Kyla Ann Chiyoko—perfect in every way, except she did not start breathing on her own. The lack of immediate oxygen caused irreversible brain damage.

After six days, the doctors determined that she would never regain consciousness or breathe on her own. We made the decision to donate her heart and kidneys. On Feb. 11, 2010, Kyla passed away as we held her in the operating room. Once again we found ourselves heartbroken, lost for words, numb to the world, still childless, and facing a pile of medical bills. The doctors were stumped. They could only shrug and say, “This is just that one in a million case.”

We had started the adoption process before we were pregnant with Kyla, and chose to put it on hold during the last few months of the pregnancy. Shortly after losing Kyla, we re-entered the process. We finished the paperwork, home study, and required classes.

We were chosen by a birth mom on July 21, 2010, and on August 21, 2010, she gave birth to a baby boy. We had our own room at the hospital, and we were able to take care of little Olson like he was our own. In Colorado, where we live, parents sign papers on the fourth business day following birth. On the third day, the birth mom changed her mind and wanted the baby back.

Our agency does a great job counseling birth moms to try to prevent disruptions. We were only the fifth family of 400+ adoptions to face such a disruption. We were discouraged and no longer had the finances to go through another adoption, making the loss and the heartache even worse.

Our agency decided to work with us and keep us in the process anyway. We were chosen for another case in October 2010. The birth mom was a 15-year-old girl in foster care who didn’t want her daughter end up with the same fate as her. On our way to the hospital on November 5, we got a call saying the mom changed her mind.

Our hearts broke.

Makyla Joy MayedaOn December 31, 2010, a little girl was born. The mom wanted to put her little girl up for adoption and she wanted us to be the parents. The father was unknown, so there was still a risk that it would not work out. The baby was placed with a temporary family until all legal risk was eliminated. On February 5, 2011, we celebrated the birthday or our little Kyla Ann, and on February 6 we went to the agency and picked up our baby girl, Makyla Joy.

In the midst of all of the pain, Kim and I decided to raise money for families who were walking similar paths. In November 2010, we started a foundation named Kids For Kyla, Inc. as a legacy to Kyla Ann. The foundation raises money to provide grants to families dealing with infertility or adoptions.

Labor Day Weekend 2011 was the major kickoff for the foundation. At 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning I embarked on what would be the hardest thing I have ever done physically: run 200 miles in three days. Through much pain and injury, I concluded my run at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday night with an entourage of more than 30 friends and family as well as the local fire department escorting us in. The Legacy 5K/10K Run fundraiser is now held every year on Labor Day. We also host an annual Wine and Cheese event to raise funds for families and create a group of ongoing supporters for the foundation. In our first year, Kids for Kyla gave more than $5,000 to help two families. This year we are hoping to double that.

Over the years I have learned that success is truly a measure of what we choose to do with what we are given. On New Year’s Eve Makyla Joy will turn 2 years old. She is the happiest little girl and brings much needed joy to our everyday lives. Our faith in God and each other is stronger than ever because of our journey and our commitment to never give up.

Ryan J. Mayeda is a 1996 Coca-Cola Scholar. He graduated in 2004 from Northwestern as a doctor of chiropractic and is the CEO and Co-Founder of Kids For Kyla, Inc. Ryan also serves on the Board of Directors of his local hospital, the City Planning Commission, and the Board of Directors of the Greeley (Colorado) Chamber of Commerce, where they live. Ryan and his wife Kim also recently helped start the orphan ministry at his church. You can follow Kids for Kyla on Facebook.