Senator John Thune
Out of any title a person can hold, the role of “mom” or “dad” may be the most important. While the title doesn’t bring you fame and notoriety, the role bears tremendous responsibility and brings with it great joy and rewards.
Each year, I recognize a South Dakota family who made a difference in the life of child by opening their hearts and homes through the process of adoption. This year, I nominated Scott and Jamie Nagy and their family from Brookings. While the titles of “mom” and “dad” didn’t bring them notoriety, the Nagy family knows a little something about the spotlight.
As the head coach for the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Men’s Basketball team, Scott has coached his team to the highest levels of college basketball drawing attention to the program and the school from around the country. Yet it is his work off the court that has helped build a loving home for their four biological children and their adopted daughter, Naika.
In 2006, Scott and Jamie adopted their daughter Naika from Haiti, joining their biological children Nick, Tyler, TJ, and Natalie. Through their adoption journey, the Nagys developed a heart for helping others navigate difficult transitions as families learn to unite. Following Naika’s adoption, Jamie collaborated with another adoptive family to create an adoption networking group in Brookings. Jamie, who was adopted as an infant, not only wanted to share the family’s experience but also found that the networking group helped her better understand her own adoption story.
The Nagys’ adoption experience also inspired Scott’s involvement in Samaritan’s Feet, an organization providing shoes to orphans and impoverished children in developing countries. In 2009, Scott was one of the first coaches in the country to coach barefoot during a SDSU basketball game to help raise awareness for Samaritan’s Feet. Since then, Scott has taken the SDSU Men’s Basketball team to Haiti and Burundi to distribute shoes and conduct basketball coaching clinics.Scott and Jamie’s story demonstrates how adoptive parents and families can foster patience, grace, and understanding to open their hearts and homes to a child in need. While the spotlight may remain on the court for Scott and the family, their work to help others understand the effect of overwhelming change in adoption, and their work to bring awareness to children in need will provide them with lasting joy and satisfaction. I hope the Nagys’ story continues to inspire other South Dakota families to make a difference in the life of a child.