Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sam's Room...So Far...

Sam plans to bring his own Cars comforter. The rest will stay in his new room.

Party of 4...almost!!!

Wow! God is so good! Things seem to be moving along. We have been so excited about several opportunities since November. In the end, we had two families select us and another agency match us with a foster child after we were matched with the child we had already chosen.  Before the end of 2015 we pray/hope/plan to be parents to four-year-old Samuel from China. Sam has a few special needs, but none that we cannot deal with or make him too special to be Jack Riley's little brother.  Our family of four will have three native ethnicities and only one God, how cool! Recently, I showed Sam's picture to someone at Jack's school and they thought it was Jack, even cooler!

Like Jack, Sam has a lazy eye. Like Jack, Sam is too cute for words. Like Jack, Sam is very smart in his preschool classroom. Like Jack, Sam wears glasses. Like Jack, Sam prefers pants with elastic. Like Jack, Sam isn't very tall, but don't tell Jack I said that. Like Jack, Sam has black hair. Like Jack, Sam is adored by one Cindy Riley and one Kevin Riley. Unlike Jack, Sam has an older brother in the Riley household who cannot wait for him. :)

Sam is 4. He is small for his age. He has hydrocephalus, glasses, and other special needs. He has a large family in Virginia and a "hugging granny" in China who love him more than you can imagine. He loves to read and loves arts and crafts. We cannot wait to add him to our busy family.

The papers have been signed. VA has approved the ICPC. Now it is in the state of MS. If MS signs off before Friday he will be a Riley in 2015...if not it will be 2016. None-the-less he will be a Riley. God's time. We are praying for sooner rather than later. Still, God's time is best.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


First of all, I am thrilled to congratulate several families we know growing through adoption. Natalie & Matt Hamlin added their sweet son Korbin to their family in China this week.  He is a precious doll! We also have neighbors in our community who brought two children home from Poland just last week, the Weems. So, now they are a family of five.  Just ten days ago, I ran into someone I used to see in our community all the time who adopted a beautiful little girl from China who is Jack's age, Jennifer Babb.  We haven't crossed paths in years.  Wouldn't you know, she showed me a picture of a precious little boy her family has been matched with.  They will soon travel to bring him home to join their family. God is so good!

As we continue to move along in the adoption process, your prayers and support are greatly appreciated. When we began the adoption process this time around, we thought we wanted to take the international path.  That is how we started, even attended a couple meetings that way. All of a sudden, out of the clear, blue sky, without any understanding of why, we felt the need to change to the domestic path. This seems a bit crazy, because we are a bit older than traditional couples selected this route.  Still, we held fast. Our home study approves us for any baby born in the United States, so long as the expectant mother picks us.  We have been open-minded all along in accepting a child younger than Jack as well.  We are open to any race, ethnicity, and special needs that our social worker is already aware of.  I comb the Internet daily for opportunities. We pray for peace, patience, preparation, and for the child and family of the child we hope will join our family. We now have two possibilities for adoption, one more likely than the other.  Here is where providence has revealed itself to me.  Both of these children were born internationally, but now live in the United States making them domestically placed for adoption. Our hearts were turned the direction they were meant to go, and we listened.

The most likely one we have known about for almost two weeks and continues to progress. The placing agency likes our profile and home study.  Tomorrow we have a phone interview.  So far ,we feel confident in all that we have heard about this little boy. He is younger than Jack, born in Ethiopia, and cute as a button. He may or may not be the one God intends to be our second child, but tomorrow we will be one step closer to knowing.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Adoption Progress!

We pray daily for the child God plans to add to our family and that He will prepare us to be the best family we can be for this child. We also pray that God will comfort this child and his/her family to know that we will love this new addition without bias. Often we are asked by those who care about us how the process is going.  We explain that our home study is ready and that we are waiting, hoping, and praying for a child.  There are times when we hear about children needing a home or having just missed an opportunity to parent a child being placed with another family.  Even recently, I heard about a young girl in the Alabama community where I used to live who aborted a baby.  I was crushed and heartbroken. Still, I know that God already knows the plans he has in store for us and our child. We continue to wait and pray. 

While we are approved to adopt an infant should an expectant mother select us, I have been seeking out opportunities for older children, but younger than Jack, as well.  I search daily.  Can you imagine? Every single day I search. There have been a couple of opportunities that we did not feel were in the best interest of our family.  There were some that we were denied, because the children could not be placed out of their home state. Others we could not adopt, because their age was too close to Jack's age. There was always a reason.  Still, I know God has a plan.

There has been this one little boy whose face stood out to me each time I looked at his agency.  I never asked about him, because his age was too close to Jack's according to the agency's policy.  Still, he was beautiful to me, just beautiful.  Every single day since July 1st I have seen his face looking at mine, even while I was looking for little girls because Jack wanted a sister. Recently, I began to think maybe we should be more open. So, I started considering boys and girls. I figured, what is one more "no"? I'll just inquire about the little boy whose face smiles at me everyday when I search for Jack's sibling. This time, we were not told "no."  We are currently at a "maybe." Our bio has been accepted and we have been invited to submit our home study ASAP.  I did that today.  We are just so excited and praying that we will know and accept God's will. 

Either way it won't be easy.  If this little boy joins our family, there will be an adjustment period for us all.  If he doesn't, he still needs a family; and we keep looking for a child. Please keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Hurry up and wait...

I have been wanting to post an update for so long.  The sad reality is that as wonderful as it is to work from home online, it's still online.  After a hard day in the virtual office, I find it difficult to be articulate in this blog. Plus, I keep waiting for big news to post. So, after a nice long holiday weekend, I am ready to share an update. 

Let me start by saying that when I was little I remember hearing older people I went to church with say, "The Lord spoke to me." When I say older, I mean older than a teenager. I would think, "How do you know when the Lord speaks to you?" Do you hear his voice? I'm pretty sure I meant that sarcastically way back then, and I do mean WAY. The week before I met my wonderful husband, I finally did hear the voice of the Lord, and I mean really "hear." That is a whole other post you are welcome to ask about. Since then, I've actually "heard" the voice of the Lord a few times.  Trust me when I say you will know when it happens to you. Nonetheless, it was the voice of the Lord that redirected Kevin, Jack and me to change directions with adoption to grow our family- for a few reasons. First, Kevin didn't want to leave Jack for 2-3 weeks and travel to China.  Second, Jack was adamant about not wanting to travel to China.  Third, China only opened the window to adoption for couples with a history of cancer in January.  I was really nervous about the money we would need to invest before being turned away by China. Finally, we feel a strong pull to adopt through domestic adoption.  God spoke. We listened. 

So, we shared our changing path with our Bethany social worker.  Thus, the delay in an update. We are finally excited to share that our home study is complete for domestic adoption. Yay! We are open to adopting from any age through eight, younger than Jack, and any ethnicity.  Please pray for us with your family and church.  I believe God hears all prayers. We have built our own family portfolio through Shutterfly that we are happy to share if you know of someone willing to consider adoption for their birth child. We are happy to have an open adoption.  We truly want to give Jack sibling to grow up with and bond with. We have fostered six special needs children and hosted four exchange students from around the world. God had blessed us immensely, and we want to share his love  with another child and his/her birth family.

I would like to thank the following special friends for their puzzle contributions since the last post: Analisa Warriner, Jenna Flood, Emily Child, Tammy Davis, Cindy Bailey, and Kevin's mom Joyce Riley (again). We continue to work on building our puzzle, which is far from being complete.  If you feel God's calling, you can contribute to puzzle pieces by clicking on the donate/contribute button in the upper right corner of our blog. 

Also, I would like to thank the many friends and family who purchased t-shirts, Amanda, Mom, Kevin's mom, Cindy Bailey, Bridget Harvey, Paula Foltanova and others. Please do continue to pray and spread the word. We are approved to adopt from any state.  Please keep us in mind.  If you know how much we love our Jack, you know we will love his sibling just as much.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Adoption Update

What we've been doing...

We have been especially busy completing paperwork for our adoption. We finally completed all of the paperwork necessary for our home study last week and mailed it off.  We went to Education Day at the Jackson office a few weeks ago.  It was fun to be in a room with several other couples going down the same path as we are, though the others were all seeking domestic adoption. We have attended two different online training webinars, one focusing on taking the fear out of adoption and another focusing on adopting special needs children.  Kevin and I are on the approved list for special needs children.  We decide what kinds of special needs are most compatible with our family and have the ultimate decision on what we are willing to accept. In all, we are required to have at least 30 hours of training. We are up to 10 1/2 each so far. We fell in love with one particular little boy in recent weeks, but sadly discovered on Wednesday that he has been matched to another family who already has a completed home study.  We learned with Jack and the adoption that fell through before he was born, that God already knows which child will complete our family.  While we accept that, it was still difficult to stop the tears and mourning for this child we had already fallen in love with. From this point forward, I will not be looking a child profiles until our home study is complete to prevent the sadness again.

What we are doing now...

We are now preparing for our first home study visit next week.  So, prayers are much appreciated. We will have several visits with our social worker, some at our home and some at their office. We have much fundraising to do. Please help us in any way you can. Adoption is very expensive and we do not have this money saved up already. We are trusting in God that our friends, family, church, friends of friends, and all those interested in the sanctity of life will help us bring Jack's sibling home. Puzzle piece sales have stalled, most likely because I have been too busy to update this blog.  I plan to do better. We have sold 139 pieces at $10 each, and have 861 left to sell. If each of my FB "friends" were to buy one piece, the puzzle would be filled. Here is what we have so far:
Those interested in purchasing pieces can do so via my paypal account: Or you can use the "Make a contribution" button on the top right side of this page to take you directly there. I would like to especially thank Heather Palmer, Shari Leib (Critter Sitterz), Stacie Stowe, Dana Dobryanska, Stacy Rajab, Dean and Joyce Rockhold, and Sam and Ann Burkett for recently purchasing pieces.

We have also designed, with the help of sweet Jack, a t-shirt to be sold in support of our adoption.  Our goal is to sell 200 shirts.  The sell ends May 30th. So far, we have sold 17.  These shirts will be delivered to your door.  Please buy one or a few for your family, ask friends and family to buy one.  We earn over $9 from the purchase of each shirt. Shirts can be purchased at the Riley Adoption Fund.

 The Chinese characters on back say "Hope." 

I would like to thank Susan Johnson, Emily Burns, Sandy Bradshaw, Allison Johnson, Joyce Riley, Kristen Riley, Catrina Leamon, Hannah Kendall, Cindy Bailey and Donna Mitchell for already purchasing t-shirts.

What we are going to do...

We have much fundraising left to do. Please continue to pray for us and let us know how you might be able to help complete our family.  We are open to ideas for bake sales, tournaments, fundraisers, etc... We have home study visits scheduled for May 20, May 27th, and June 10. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Pieces of the Adoption Puzzle

We continue to hurry-up and wait down this long, winding road to adoption. We have submitted our first payment to Bethany and are waiting to receive the next round of paperwork, which I think will be even more detailed. 

Yesterday, we went to our first informational meeting in Columbus.  It was nice to see how organized and attentive Bethany is to the needs of adoptive parents as well as the children and birth parents with which they work. There was another couple across the table from us planning to adopt a baby domestically.  Kevin and I just kept nodding our heads with each step of the domestic adoption process that was mentioned. At one point, I thought I would burst with an "Amen!" Honestly, it was like taking a field trip down memory lane when Jack was born. I hope this couple will be as blessed as we have been. 

We received a big packet of resource material, timelines, fee schedules, etc...for our own path to international adoption. Right now, we have filled in all the blanks we possibly can and eagerly await the next package of blanks to complete that will get us one step closer to bringing our son/daughter home. 

One amazing event that reassured us we were with the agency we should be was when we left the agency and the social worker who will complete our home study asked where we were from because Kevin looked familiar.  As it turns out, her father was his doctor when the Riley family first moved to Tupelo. Not only that, but her brother or brother-in-law is the current preacher at Mt. Hebron West Baptist Church, where I grew up.  Finally, the local director once dated the son of my former youth minister at that same church. What are the odds that all our paths would cross in Columbus, MS? 

We continue to pray for financial blessings to help us afford the great cost of adoption. We know that God will fill all our needs, but we can't be complacent and sit back and wait.  We must continue to seek in order to find. A special thank you goes out to all of you who have contributed to our puzzle to help bring the missing piece of our family home, Rachel Lautenschlager, Jen Smolka and family, Linda Grill, Aunt Linda and the Sport/Eveld/Shirley families, Heather Dodds, and Grandma Joyce Riley.  Thank you also to those who have lifted our intentions up in prayer. We are truly grateful. So far, 121 pieces have been purchased.  We just need 4 more to complete the frame and 879 to complete the puzzle. Here is what it looks like: 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Formal Application Approved!

We finally received the letter from my oncologist we needed to establish that I have been cancer-free since 2010.  Kevin will tell you that I had a small meltdown when I realized it said January 2011 instead of Fall 2010.  I know, six months sounds like small fries...unless you've ever had cancer or wanted to adopt a child...both in this case. :) Nonetheless, my better half reminded me to stop, smell the roses, and smile for all our many blessings. Turns out he was right...I know, not the first time, and surely not the last. We submitted the final piece to our formal adoption application with Bethany and received notice this morning that we were approved! YAY! What a load off my the next round of worries begin. 

I always remember Fr. Henry's admonishment that worry is your way of telling God that you think he can't handle it, that he hasn't worked out the details.  I know he has. I learned that with Jack's adoption. God's WILL will prevail, and it will be best for our family.  Still, I am anxious to know the outcome. :) 

Next, we complete more paperwork, submit it along with our first financial installment among many along the road of adoption.  Thanks to those of you who have already contributed financially and through prayer to facilitate the growth of the Tupelo Rileys. :)