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. :) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bring Jack's Sibling Home...

We would like to invite you to be a part of the Riley family journey to bring Jack’s sibling home. There are several different ways you can be a part of this journey…prayer, supporting our fundraising efforts via financial contribution or ideas, and sharing our story.

We learned with Jack’s adoption that it is not only an emotional journey, but also an expensive one. One of my favorite memories from the night Kevin asked me to marry him atop the Empire State Building in NYC is his very mature declaration that we need to start saving “baby shoe money.” I very naively explained, “Ah…don’t worry, I’m a teacher, and we have very good health insurance. It will only cost about $100 copay to have a baby.” Ha! Yes, I’ve learned many times over since then that God’s plans are very different from our own.  Jack’s adoption was worth every cent, and I know that the cost of our international adoption will be as well.

The fees for international adoption go toward paying those who manage the paperwork, navigate the system, making sure that the children being adopted are legally available for adoption, home study, and that the families and children are safe while traveling. The fees also include travel expenses for a 2-2 ½ week stay in China with an in-country guide/interpreter to ensure safety and well-being. The total cost is estimated to be between $35,000 and $42,000. Needless to say, we will need much prayer and support. We have made adjustments to our household budget and plan on saving every extra dime to invest in this adoption. We hope to apply for grants, but the reality is that most of the money will have to come through fundraising. We need your help, and we need your prayer! I remember during Jack’s adoption that I told our sweet social worker from Gladney, Chontel, during the final month that “you need to communicate with Kevin directly for the remainder of the time. I am too emotional.”

We have witnessed God’s miracles first hand in our family many times already, and we know we can depend on our friends, loved ones, and even strangers to support this answer to God’s calling. If you would like to help and be a part of this journey and our family story there are several things you can help:
1.       Prayer…lots of prayer!
2.       Fundraisers…Our first fundraiser is a puzzle piece fundraiser.  This child is the last piece to our family puzzle. We have purchased a 1000 piece puzzle representative of this child’s heritage. You can purchase as many pieces as you would like for $10 each. We will write your name on the back of each puzzle piece you purchase and share with our child the story of how each person on the back of that puzzle helped to bring him/her home. Read about it below.

3.      We will be selling various handmade items as ongoing fundraisers. Consider purchasing one or helping spread the word.
4.       Consider hosting a fundraising event of your own to help. If you have a talent, such as baking, crafting, or photography, we may be able to use your talent to give our child a home.
5.       Share our story with everyone you know! You never know who may be compelled to help Jack’s sibling join our family.

Puzzle Piece Fundraiser
The first and largest fundraiser we want to offer you the opportunity to support is our Puzzle Piece Fundraiser. Every person who donates to our adoption becomes part of our story; a piece of our puzzle. Here’s how it works:
We have purchased a 1000 piece puzzle.

Each piece costs $10. You can purchase one piece or multiple pieces. Maybe your small group, book club, co-workers, etc…want to chip in a dollar or two and purchase a puzzle piece together. Perhaps each of you would consider buying a piece of your own. For every piece purchased, we will write your name, or group name, on the back. The Goal is to get all 1000 pieces purchased so the puzzle will be complete, and we will be $10,000 closer to raising the money we need to complete our adoption.

This will not be easy! 1000 pieces is a lot of pieces. We won’t get all 1000 pieces purchased unless the word gets out! So, please help us by sharing this with friends and family. Share via email or Facebook/Twitter or any other social media outlet.

When the puzzle is all put together, we will frame it in a double-sided glass frame and hang it in our new child’s bedroom. One day, we will take it down to share all the names on the back and tell him/her how God’s love was shown through all who so generously gave to help bring this child home to live with his/her forever family. We will post regular pics of our puzzle progress throughout our journey to grow our family. 

To purchase a puzzle piece and become a piece of our puzzle, you may click on the donate button at the top of our blog page. If you prefer to mail a check directly, just email me at

A sibling for Jack...

Kevin and I have started the adoption process again. Since Jack was very little we have wanted him to have a sister or brother to share his life with; but life always seemed to have other plans for us, mostly returning foster children to their original parents after we nursed them back to health. Each year we ask ourselves who God wants us to be in the coming year. This new year we looked around and felt like we may have one last opportunity to add to our family. The process will take 12- 18 months we thing with Bethany Christian Services. We are pursuing international option and are looking specifically at China or Hong Kong. Ideally, we would look for a child younger than Jack and personally would love to have a little sister for him. We would love for him to be the "big brother." Having said that we certainly will let God make that call and any child we would be fortunate enough to bring into our family will be deeply loved and a true blessing.

We are only in the beginning stages of a very long and emotional process.  While I have been in remission with no evidence of cancer since 2010, we still worry that it may stand in the way.  Your prayer and support is greatly appreciated. Also, this is a very expensive stay tuned of opportunities for financial support as well. 

WOW! It's been a while!

As you likely know, Kevin and I have used this blog mostly to update the ones we love about important happenings in our lives...planning our wedding, adopting Jack, cancer, etc...Today was the day I decided to venture back in and use this great tool for keeping people we love in the loop without them feeling nosy. I could not believe that the last time I posted was 2011.  Just amazing. So much has happened in that time, the main thing being the loss of my Dad three years ago yesterday in 2012. We will begin using this blog again to keep you in the loop on our new family journey. Feel free to subscribe to automatic updates or stop by whenever you like.