Couple hosts fundraiser for their ‘missing piece’
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – Robyn Oakley has felt a tug on her heartstrings for children in Africa since she was a child.
Before she married her husband Aron she made sure he was OK with one day adopting a child from Africa.
The Oakleys have three daughters of their own – ages 1, 3 and 4 – and after embarking on a journey to Ethiopia twice, they’ll add a beautiful baby boy.
Their first visit will be for a court hearing and to meet their new son. Their second trip will be to bring him home.
But before going to Ethiopia the couple is coming up with creative ways to raise money for the adoption process, which will cost about $35,000 total, including travel.
“A lot of times people don’t understand how expensive adoption is and a lot of people don’t have that money, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it,” Oakley, who owns Bella Grace Floral in Cornelius, said. “A lot of people in the community are willing to help.”
To get the ball rolling the couple is holding a silent auction July 14 from 2-5 p.m. at eeZ Fusion and Sushi at Birkdale Village in Huntersville.
All of the auction items have been donated from area businesses, including Aron’s employer, Penske Racing.
Bids can be made in person, on the phone or online by visiting the couple’s blog: ourjourneytobringyouhome.org.
The couple is also running a second fundraiser called “Will you be the missing piece?” It features a 1,000-piece puzzle of a mother and child giraffe. Each piece of the puzzle is being sold for $10. On the back of each piece, the Oakleys will write the name of the person or business who donated. Once the puzzle is complete it will be framed in a double glass frame, “so forever, he can see all the people who helped bring him home,” Oakley said.
All of the donations to the Oakleys are tax-deductible because the payments can be made directly to the couple’s nonprofit adoption agency, West Sands.
Payments can be made by check, PayPal or cash. All of the proceeds will be funneled through West Sands to the Oakleys’ adoption fund. The family hopes to have half of the money they need by October.
While the Oakleys have already started fundraising, they’re still very much at the beginning of their journey.
The couple had their first home visit from West Sands Saturday, June 30, and they’ll have to undergo at least two more. Then they will have to fill out a series of legal documents and send money to go along with that.
If they are approved they will then placed on a waiting list.
Once they’re on the list it could take anywhere from two months to several years before a child is available for adoption.
“The process is long, but it could be worse,” Oakley said. “The time fluctuates, and that’s the hardest part for a lot of families, but I know as long as I know that going in, it’s just a matter of being patient.”
Oakley said when she and her husband first started discussing adoption they didn’t have a preference on the baby’s sex.
“But after having three girls, we thought it would be fun to add a boy to the mix,” she said.
Oakley’s older sister adopted a young girl from Haiti two years ago, which has helped her daughters better understand what’s going on. Oakley said her daughters are excited about getting a baby brother.
“There’s no reservation in their minds and I think the same way,” Oakley said. “It doesn’t matter where we go, it’s a human being that needs a home, parents and siblings. We’ll look different, but that’s OK. And we’re trying to teach them that.”
And even though the baby boy will make four, Oakley said they are open to the idea of even more siblings.
“We’d never close that door,” she said. “I can’t fathom saving one and not the other because it’s not an infant. If we have a baby and they have an 8-year-old sibling, I guess we’ll be coming home with two.”
Want to learn more?
For information on the adoption process or the fundraiser contact Oakley at 704-224-6178 or by email at Robyn@BellaGraceFloral.com and visit the couple’s blog at ourjouneyto