by John W. Kennedy / Sep 16 2021
Ohio natives Nathan Harris and Charece Dyer met as track team runners at Kent State University. They dated for 3½ years and wed in 2004 soon after graduating.
Nate anticipated how athletic their children might be, given their parents’ genes,
“I thought we would have super-fast babies,” the upbeat Nate recalls.
But trying to conceive proved troublesome. Charece had irregular periods, followed by heavy bleeding nonstop — for three years. The condition baffled doctors, until Charece received a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome. She then met with a fertility specialist, who explained she would never be able to have children without medical intervention. The physicians prescribed fertility treatments for her, which entailed a regimen of downing 14 pills a day as well as daily shots in her stomach and hip.
Charece then got pregnant with twins. But she miscarried.
She conceived again, this time with triplets. However, she miscarried all three.
Those emotionally and physically draining experiences convinced her to quit trying to give birth.
“I didn’t care how I became a mom, I just wanted to have children,” Charece says. So she and Nate became foster parents, with plans to adopt. They have been foster parents to 19 children, seven of whom they have adopted.
Nate and Charece began fostering the children anywhere from shortly after birth to the toddler stage. The seven span an age range of just eight years: Devan, 15; Lillie, 14; Ethan, 12; Aaron, 12; Emmanuel, 12; Gabriel, 9, and Miracle, 7. The first adoption occurred in 2009. Adoption of the final four — four siblings — took place in 2019, although Nate and Charece had watched the kids in their home off and on starting in 2010. All the adoptions occurred through the local foster care system.
The Harrises started a brick-and-mortar children’s clothing resale shop in 2009, selling hand-sewn tutus online on the side. The Etsy site for tutus took off, to the point that internet tutu sales exceeded in-store sales of everything else. So the couple decided to give their full attention to ReecieDIY.
The couple operate ReecieDIY from home. The company sells custom clothing such as socks, hats, jackets, vests, ties, maternity wear, and bling shoes for birthday parties, weddings, and other celebrations. Charece, 42, is the full-time seamstress and 41-year-old Nate is the business manager, although he sews a stitch or two as well. While Charece and Nate concoct all the clothing creations, the kids help out with everything from putting together patterns to taking inventory.
Despite their full-time jobs and raising seven children, Nate and Charece devote many hours each week to Life Changers Church International in Fairfield, Ohio. Charece is on staff as creative content/social media director while Nate volunteers as pastor Warren G. Curry Jr.’s assistant. Nate and Charece also oversee marriage ministry at Life Changers.
The Harrises have been attending Life Changers Church International for five years. With their large family, they immediately established a bond with Curry and his wife, Tiara, who have six children.
“They have embraced their kids as their own in how they love them, care for them, and correct them,” says Curry, 46. “The family is also on the go together.”
The family tools around in a 12-passenger van and can be seen regularly going on group bike rides .
Curry has nothing but accolades for the couple’s skills.
“Charece is a creative guru who does all the websites, apps, graphic design, online maintenance, and social media content for the church, while serving clients from all over the country for their home business,” says Curry, who has led Life Changers for a decade. “Nate is a consummate salesperson who handles all the customer service for their entrepreneurial enterprise.”
This fall, Charece is teaching sewing classes online. Her YouTube channel offering clothing designer tutorials attracts thousands of subscribers. Sometimes she shares about her faith and the foster care odyssey in the videos.
“My kids had a different start in life, but they have been such a blessing,” Charece says. “We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe in healing.”
Charece says she has no regrets about not giving birth to children herself.
“I don’t understand why having babies didn’t happen for me when it happens for so many other people, but God gives peace,” she says. “But I feel honored that God trusted me to raise these kids with their hurts, brokenness, and trauma. We’ve had our ups and downs, and it’s not always easy, but overall it’s been a great experience.”
“Nate and Charece are invaluable to the church and they’re a great model for adoption,” Curry says. “They didn’t allow limitations to hinder them — seven times.”
“It’s helpful for African-American families to adopt African-American children because we like to see ourselves,” Charece says. “It’s not the only way, but if your parents look like you, it can be a positive role model of who they can become.”