John Hays and his wife, Holiday, started out never wanting children. Holiday was afraid because of her painful childhood and John had deep scars because of the Vietnam War. After years seeking inner peace in the new age movement, they tried a new direction. They started attending a Quaker Church where they met the Carpenter from Nazareth.
After much healing, they started desiring to have a child. By 2003, they had adopted 13 children.
In January of 2000, John started working for MNASAP, (Minnesota Adoption Support and Preservation) as a Parent Liaison. He answered crisis calls, found services, and taught parenting techniques to adopted, foster, and kinship families. John will never forget his first call, when he answered the phone, and the lady blurted out, “How long does God expect me to do this!”
As John has been helping families, he has learned an incredible amount and has been rewarded in this work. Eleven of their children had been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The staggering statistics against those with FASD having successful lives inspired the Hays’ and some friends who love the Hays’ children to start HaysKids in 2003. Originally, they dreamed of creating an assisted living center for adults with FASD. At the same time, they saw how teaching parenting techniques specific to FASD could really improve the quality of life for children with FASD and those raising them. Thus, HaysKids, a 501c3 nonprofit, was born.
HaysKids is involved in education, advocacy, and designing programming for individuals with FASD, their families, and caregivers. The Hayses have dedicated their lives to serving others.