INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The hot wheels in the hallway and train tracks in the next room over are constant reminders of the love that makes Jon and Amy Riley’s house a home.
There’s 2-year-old Hadley and 4-year-old George. And then there are the reminders of the almost 1-year-old child who is missing from their home.
Jon and Amy talked about adopting a child early on in their relationship. And then almost a year ago, on their fifth wedding anniversary, they started the adoption process. They were told it could be a year until they learned who their child would be, but two weeks later they were told about an Ethopian baby boy.
“He was born right around the time we made the decision to adopt,” said Amy Riley.
Samuel was meant to be theirs.
“When I opened it up I was crying and I said that’s my son,” said Amy.
A son. Thousands of miles away.
“Until we brought him home, we’re missing a member of our family,” said Jon Riley.
They hope to raise the thousands of dollars necessary to do so by helping a woman who is also missing someone from her home.
“Andrew, one of the things I loved about him was just his selfless heart,” said Samantha Smith from her living room couch.
Samantha Smith’s husband, Andrew, was a star Butler basketball player, who died last year after battling cancer. He was just 25.
“He served me every day selflessly and happily and that was his biggest concern as he got sick as just who was gonna take care of me,” Samantha said.
It was Andrew at 6’11” who would paint the top of their walls. Andrew who picked out the mower that was used to take care of their yard.
“I remember sitting in the kitchen and watching him do those things or sitting on the deck and watching him do those things,” she said.
But that deck she would watch him on will soon be painted white. The yard will be fixed up. And other projects will be finished by the Rileys.
“We’re super humbled to be able to serve Samantha just in following her journey,” Amy said.
Butler grads themselves, they immediately reached out to Samantha after learning about Both Hands; a fundraising project for parents hoping to adopt. One hand is for an orphan and the other for a widow. They raise money to for their adoption by getting financial sponsors to support a service project for a widow.
“It’s a small thing we can do to hopefully impact her and Andrew’s journey,” said Amy.
By fixing up the home they shared and yard Andrew loved.
“I know this means a great deal to him,” said Samantha.
As the Riley’s wait to bring their little boy home.
“It will be incredible to bring him home,” said Amy.
If you’d like to contribute to the Riley’s project, click here.