Football season is in full swing, and fans of the New England Patriots are cheering on their beloved team. If you love the Pats, you likely know the budding linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who was originally drafted by the Lions before coming to the Patriots in 2016. But did you know that, beyond his love for football, Kyle Van Noy has a very special connection with adoption?
Not only was Kyle Van Noy adopted as a baby, but his wife’s father and brother were also adopted, and together, the pair launched a foundation devoted to foster care and adoption.
Kyle Van Noy’s Adoption Story
On March 26, 1991, a future elite athlete was born in Reno. His birth mother placed him for adoption immediately, and around 3-4 months of age, he was adopted by Layne and Kelly Van Noy. They named their beautiful son Kyle. The family moved to California, where they lived happily for about 10 years.
In those early years, Kyle began to notice a stark difference in looks between himself and his older brother, Travis. He also noticed he looked nothing like his parents. His skin color was different, his hair was different. When he turned to his mom and dad for answers, they gave him a simple and honest reply: He was, in fact, adopted.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal. No one acted weird or different about it,” Van Noy said in an interview with patriots.com.
When Kyle was 11, his parents moved the family back to Nevada, where he was born. This is also where he began to show promise in the sport of football. His parents encouraged his athletic ambitions throughout his childhood. He was later scouted by several colleges, and chose to stay close to home by attending (and playing for) Brigham Young University in Utah.
Kyle enjoyed a great college football career and was drafted into the NFL by the Detroit Lions in 2014. He became a Patriot after the Lions traded him two years later.
Kyle often praises his parents and has said that he feels fortunate to have grown up the way he did.
“As you get older, other people find out, and they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re adopted,’ you know, like it’s a bad thing,” Van Noy explained to the Patriots. “Really, it’s a blessing. My mom’s my mom, my dad’s my dad. They never treated me any different. I don’t know what it would be like without them. I just know they’re not my birth parents.”
Of course, Kyle did reach a point in his life where his curiosity about his birth parents grew. He wondered who they were and why he was placed for adoption. These are questions that many children in “closed adoptions” have as they get older and start to form their identity.
Kyle’s birth mother made a closed adoption plan through a private adoption agency. In a closed adoption, the adoptive family receives little to no information about the biological family, and has no direct contact with them. The law protects the birth mother’s rights to remain private. To this day, Kyle has no specific details regarding his birth family. The 28-year-old Super Bowl champion seems just fine with that.
“It was always a question, it was just different, but then you realize ‘these are my parents and everything is good and this is where I’m supposed to be’,” Kyle explained to ESPN.
During his time in Utah, Kyle met now-wife Marissa Powell. During one of the couples’ first dates, when he shared the fact that he was adopted as a baby, “She was like, ‘Oh, my dad and brother are, too.’ So, it was cool,” Van Noy recalled in an interview. This shared connection to adoption strengthened their bond. The couple married in 2014.
The Van Noy Valor Foundation
That same year, in 2014, Kyle and Marissa launched the Van Noy Valor Foundation. This charitable organization works to facilitate foster care and adoption. It also works to remove the stigma that is often associated with adoption, and to show children that adoption is not something to feel ashamed of, but rather, it is something of which they should feel proud.
“I just tell everybody how big of a blessing it is and just try to shine more light to it,” Kyle says. “A lot of people focus on cancer and different diseases. My focus and my wife’s focus and our foundation is to share our stories and promote foster care and adoption and how beautiful it is.”
Everyone has a story. Every NFL player has a story. Some, like Kyle Van Noy, have adoption stories. Some, like Kyle Van Noy, takes their stories to new heights, to help people with similar backgrounds, upbringings, questions, and obstacles.
“It’s meaningful because I’ve lived it, it’s a part of me, it’s a part of my wife and her family,” Van Noy said to ESPN. “We really understand what it’s like, what the process is like, and we’ve been positive outcomes of the situation we were in. So we like to share our message and hopefully it may go to someone else, or bounce off someone, like ‘Man, if they made it through that situation.’
This is one of the Van Noy’s goals – to help children in foster care find their happy endings. The biggest goal, though, is to spread love and awareness, says Van Noy. “We want to spread awareness and spread love into the world… I just want everyone to choose love over anything. If I can do that by raising some money and giving a family that’s never had Christmas before a Christmas, that means the world to me. Or even hanging out with somebody – it’s not even money, it’s just time. For me giving time to somebody that I can have an impact on, that’s what makes me go.”
Kyle Van Noy is certainly not the only NFL star who has been touched by adoption. There are many others who have a great story to share, as well.
If you would like to learn even more about adoption, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love, an adoption agency in Massachusetts. Our caring staff has been matching birth mothers and adoptive families for over 33 years. We can answer any questions you may have regarding the adoption process. Call us at 1-800-722-7731 or contact us online: https://adoptionswithlove.org/contact-us.