Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Tears of joy here at the Rice Ranch- the Archers received a private donation, and combined with all of the generous donations that have come in the past week they are now...


Thank you so very much to every single person who donated, shared and prayed for the Archers. We will post the winner of the iPad in the next few days, as well as photos of the Archer boys' Gotcha Day very soon...

Happy happy day !!!

The Adventures of Aunt Lily and Baby K

*We interrupt this three for three giveaway to bring you a little entertainment. Please make sure to keep praying for the Archer family and keep spreading the word about our iPad giveaway!

Once upon a time there were two little children who shared everything...

Monday, July 30, 2012


Our family blog is now public again. And there's a giveaway going on over there to welcome everyone back. Happy summer!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

amelia update/ three for three

Just a quick update on Amelia....so many of you have been praying for this precious little girl, who weighs 12 pounds at 12 years old. Her mama just brought her home from the orphanage in B****** where she spent her life in a crib.

From my friend Elizabeth, who spoke with Amelia's Mama: Thanks to Jenny's experience as a critical care RN, she was able to get Amelia safely home.  They are being super careful to minimize all stress for her, and they've figured out a bottle and a formula mix she will take, so she's able to be home at the moment....  As long as Amelia continues to be clinically stable, she will stay home today.  They will be seen tomorrow by the specialty pediatricians at University of North Carolina hospital, where Jenny works. 

Many of you have followed Susanna's journey to bring Katie home from this same orphanage. Susanna explained in an email what these children face transitioning from life in an orphanage to one in a loving home, and I wanted to share it here...

She is just so emotionally fragile.  She has the ability to drink out of those horrid bottles, but is traumatized and refusing everything just like Katie did.  Even with the extra pound she gained this past spring due to Tokuda, she still has so few physical reserves, and that’s partly what makes this stressful and scary for Jenny. The orphanage diet has slightly improved, but it’s still far from what it should be..  Too little too late.  Primarily, now that Amelia’s cut loose from everything that was familiar to her, she’s bottoming out because her emotional reserves are nil.  Part of our praying should be that she opens up to Jenny emotionally and begins to find comfort from her, and attach to her, so she can heal.  The lack of that bond and human contact is partly what caused her condition, and if her receptors have been so badly damaged that they aren’t working any more, well, let’s just pray that God continues to work His miracles in her.  NOBODY is past the ability to learn to receive love, but it can be a very long process.  Amelia is suffering the effects of 8 years with no baba (volunteer caregiver), and then 3 1/2 years of a NOT-good baba.  It is possible to roughly connect the condition of the children in Pleven with the factors that caused the condition they’re in.  How old/how long in Pleven, their original dx or lack thereof, “cute” or “not-so-cute,” on the top floor or no, baba or no, good baba or bad, what percentage of the child’s life they had a baba—and from all this you could come up with a fairly accurate picture of the child’s condition without ever having met them.  

Three little boys lie in that same orphanage, waiting for their family to come bring them HOME in a few weeks....

Thank you to every single person who has donated to our Three For Three giveaway. In less than a week you helped raise $2,618 - we are now over halfway to our goal of fully funding the Archer family!

$2,382 is the final amount we are shooting for this week. You can read details HERE about how to be entered to win a brand new iPad and help the Archers bring their boys home. Every single donation, no matter how small, helps tremendously.

Thank you to all who have prayed, shared, and donated to the Archer family, and thank you to every person who prayed Amelia home.

Friday, July 27, 2012

the most important post I have ever written

A year and a half ago I stayed up late into the night pouring my heart out onto the keyboard of my computer. It was a few weeks before Christmas and I had a little girl named Olga on my heart - I was desperate to do something to help her. At that time I was inspired by a friend, who had run a giveaway for another little girl named Julia. She raised almost $20,000 for Julia's rescue by hosting an iPad giveaway. I had never seen anything like that before- a giveaway to help bring orphans home. The traffic to Lily's blog in those days was a fraction of what it is today- it still boggles my mind that in just a few weeks over $17,000 came in for both Olga and another beautiful little girl named Kareen, after I wrote that post- The Most Important Post I Have Ever Written. A community of like-minded people with a  heart for orphans rallied together to help save two little girls.

Since that first giveaway, multiplied thousands of dollars have been raised here by Lily's readers and many, many others who follow adoption blogs to help rescue multiple orphans....Peter, Artem, Albina, Charlotte, Autumn, Taylor...the list goes on.

This isn't a game.

Although we run giveaways and contests to motivate people to give to orphans, the stakes are very real.

This is Amelia. She's 12 years old and 12 pounds.

Right now she is fighting for her life in a hospital in B*******  Her mama Jenny made the final trip to bring her home, and she didn't even make it to the airport. This message from Jenny was sent to my friend Elizabeth early this morning:

I just returned from the hospital. Amelia is admitted she will stay until the very last moment in other words she will be having a taxi pick me and Amelia from the hospital to the airport for our flight. We leave B***** 0715 (time here) to Germany. Amelia has a PH of 7.28. her blood glucose is 36. they have her on IV fluids with Sodium Bicarbonate I have just gotten back to teh hotel and am packing our suitcases so I can go quickly to the store, pay off our hotel and go back to the hospital. please . please pray. The us embassy has arranged for Dept of Homeland security to meet us once the plane lands Washington and through the line so we can get to our next gate."

Amelia needs our prayers - please, friends, will you pray her home to the US hospital where she can get the help she needs? My dear friend, Susanna, went through something very similar with her little Katiebird last year, and today Katie is a living miracle.

Which leads me to the title of this post- The Most Important Post I Have Ever Written.

Right now there are three little boys lying in the same orphanage that Amelia just left.

Noah, age eight, in the arms of my sweet friend Susanna

Jacob, age seven

Moses- SEVEN years old

Several days ago I started our Three For Three giveaway. We're giving away an iPad 3 (donated by an anonymous family) to raise money to help the Archer family rescue these three little boys. They will be traveling within the month to bring them home.

If you’ve been waiting to donate, the time is NOW.  Go back up and look at Moses and realize that with his profound malnutrition and failure to thrive, he is at high risk for something called “refeeding hypophosphatemia” and needs to be in an American hospital… yesterday.  Not six months from now.  Yesterday.

Please, please PLEASE friends- these boys need our help. Your donations are crucial to this adoption. They literally- LITERALLY - mean the difference between life and death. 

The Archer family is $3,800 away from bringing these boys home to safety and to the medical care they need.

I've seen Lily's readers raise that in ONE DAY. Together we can do this- I do believe that. 

If you're a  long time reader on Lily's blog, but have never given to an adoption fundraiser before- PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO THE ARCHER FAMILY.  

Maybe you think your ten dollars won't make a difference- believe me, it will. These giveaways are not successful because of large donations. Primarily they are successful because of hundreds of readers giving ten, twenty, or thirty dollars to an orphan. Every donation counts, no matter how "small" it may seem to you. 

Please, help spread the word that Amelia needs our prayers.


Please spread the word that the Archer boys need to come home.  
Donations are tax-deductible, and can be made via the paypal gadget at the top of my sidebar. 

 Please leave a comment on the giveaway post, saying you donated to the Archers, to be entered to win a brand new iPad.

You can receive an additional entry by bidding on the Archer's ebay auctions HERE - just leave a comment on the giveaway post stating that you did so.

Thank you to all who have donated and helped to spread the word- almost $1,200 has been raised since Tuesday, but we have $3,800 to go. 

And as always, thank you for your beautiful, compassionate hearts for orphans.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

three for three giveaway

GIVEAWAY CLOSED  - fully funded !!!!

 My heart is in my throat right now, after reading the adoption blog of a friend of a friend.

I am feeling overwhelmed by the kind of love some people have and demonstrate, and I'm realizing there are some people in life who you cannot out-give.  Some people who pour out their lives for others, and when they've given it all? Give again. And again. And again. 

The kind of people who adopt children that the world say are broken, and love them like their own. Who choose to go rescue babies with Down syndrome overseas, at the age when most people decide their caregiving years are over. And when they come home, go back and rescue some more.

 The kind of people who send handwritten thank you notes to every person who has donated to their adoptions. Who give to other adoptions in the face of their own need, and rally support for them as well. The kind of people who sell their heirlooms to fundraise, because they love their babies that much.

The kind of people who look at three little angels who have been discarded, and although their home is filled to the brim with love, decide there's room for more....

Teddy, Val, and Steward on Reece's Rainbow

When my beautiful friend, Elizabeth texted me last week, and asked me to help her raise the final funds for the Archer family, I knew I couldn't say no. Because Elizabeth is one of those people who you can't out-give. Elizabeth - a mama to five,  and two of them with special needs - has been in a battle for her life the past three years, against invasive lobular carcinoma (read: cancer). Wouldn't you think that would be enough to keep a person occupied? And yet Elizabeth spends her days consumed- and I do mean consumed - with how she can help the Archers get their boys home.

Elizabeth has blogged, hosted fundraisers, helped run auctions, donated, prayed, and poured out her heart to help the Archers rescue their boys. Thanks to her efforts, the Archer family is now in the home stretch. 

They need a little less than $5,000 for their final trip next month to bring their three boys home. 

Lily's readers rallied last month to help the Dewberry family bring their little girl Taylor home. Just a few days ago Nicole Dewberry brought her daughter home from Eastern Europe and gave me permission to use these photos of her meeting her daddy at the airport.

That's what you helped do. You helped raise ten thousand dollars in two days to make a little girl's dreams come true.

Today you have the opportunity to do the same for THREE little boys.

We have THREE weeks to get them fully funded.

THREE weeks to raise $5,000

And as an incentive, an anonymous donor is giving away this brand new Ipad THREE ...

Apple iPad MD328LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, White) NEWEST MODEL


 Here's how to enter our Three for Three Giveaway: (there are 3 ways to enter)


*Donate ten dollars or more to the Archer family (paypal box is on the sidebar) and leave a comment saying you did so.

*blog about this giveaway, and leave the link in the comment section

*post this giveaway on facebook and leave a comment saying you did so


Currently the Archer's paypal box reads $11,565. We need that box to read $16,565 for them to be fully funded.

The giveaway ends when we hit that magic number.

One winner will be drawn by random.org from the comment section to receive a brand new Ipad.

Spread the word- THREE little boys need our help.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Hey y'all, Lily here.

Guess what?? Something verrrrry exciting is coming up here on A Perfect Lily.

Mom says I'm not allowed to spill the beans yet, but I'll give you a hint.

Can you guess what it is?

Come back tomorrow to find out !!

Friday, July 20, 2012

seven things I love about saturday mornings

*This post was supposed to go up last Saturday. However...some things got in the way. Namely ~ Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And that pretty much sums up how life at the new and improved Rice Ranch has been since moving. So here you have it..my Seven Things I Love About Saturday Mornings post.... on Friday.

#1 The family bed

I don't know how this ritual started, but it seems almost exclusively reserved for this day. Sam wakes up hours before me and leaves for prayer at our church, so maybe it's his empty spot in the bed sounding out a silent Morse code to the subconscious minds of our little ones: space available; get in while you can. Or maybe there's a little alarm that goes off in their collective brains: It's Saturday morning - party in Mom's bed. Whatever the true cause, Saturday mornings mean multiplied little Rice kids sleepily stumbling into my bedroom at the crack of dawn, each one whispering to the next to "scoot over a little bit"... until I'm pretty much taking up the last three inches of our queen sized bed.

#2 Lily's Bedhead Look

I love her in braids, ponytails, or just a sideswipe with a bow. She can rock pigtails like nobody's business, and one of her readers even went so far as to leave this comment: must.wear.pigtails.always.  But my favorite hairstyle is her classic Bedhead Look. Which is admittedly not reserved for Saturdays alone, but seems to display itself more ferociously than on any other day of the week.

And can I just say, the world would be a better place if the Bedhead Look was a badge of honor to be worn in public, at least on Saturdays?

#3 Sleepy Smiles

Looking back on photos of my children- especially my oldest three who are now adults - my favorites are not the carefully posed shots where outfits were color coordinated and every hair was in place. Rather, it's the unscripted moments captured on film (that ancient method of preserving memories!) that form a lump in my throat and make me wish I could go back to that point in time. Pictures of Jason and Josiah enjoying waffles in bed on a "sick" day, their hair haplessly sticking up and sleepy smiles spread across their (healthy!) boyish faces as they grin guiltily into the camera ...  Or a photo of Mackenzie, waking up on her birthday morning and running into the kitchen to see a present-laden table. Her eyes crinkled in half moons and the pattern of a blanket softly imprinted on her cheek, she is oozing anticipation. I want to capture those childhood memories for all of my children, even if it means surrendering my three inches of a warm bed to find a misplaced camera for that purpose...

#4 Sibling Love

They're just like any other kids- they're each others best friends and worst enemies. We have to remind them daily...sometimes hourly...be kind. talk nicely. forgive. But somehow Saturday mornings bring out the best in them, and it's like there's an unwritten rule ~ this day is drama free. Almost instinctively they wake up in happier moods and treat each other more gently. It's as if some Magic Sibling Fairy waved a wand over their sleeping heads and whispered into their little ears: kindness only today.
I just wish I knew how to convince her to make it a daily ritual :)

Caleb had hernia surgery last week...ice packs, vicodin and sisterly love went a long way towards healing.

#5 Old Skillets

 I know. That makes no sense. But it would if you were here last Saturday. Because my trusty old skillet decided to give up the ghost after one sad and final little batch of ruined buttermilk pancakes.

Now why would that make my seven things I love about Saturday mornings list, you ask? Good question. 

Enter...  My Hero (aka Sam Rice) who is able to drive to Bed Bath and Beyond leap tall buildings in a single bound and purchase for me a brand-spanking-new aluminum non-stick skillet in less than fifteen minutes, thus rescuing seven little Ricelets from a pancake-less Saturday morning. 

Any excuse to buy something new for my kitchen makes me happy. And her too...

Lily, post pancake bliss

These two had a pancake eating contest....

Guess who won??

Still bff's even after a pancake smackdown??? That's what Saturdays can do...

#6 Saturday Morning Chores

This tradition stretches back through the ages, long before the Rice Ranch was even a twinkle in Sam's eye.

However, if I could travel back in time and tell nine year old Patti Kopp that one day she would be singing the praises of Saturday Morning Chores, she probably would have smacked me in the face with her bottle of Lemon Pledge. And after that she might have snatched the Johnny Mathis record off our turntable and cracked it over my head just for emphasis. Because at that age- when Lemon Pledge and Johnny Mathis were to Saturday Morning Chores what peanut butter and jelly are to bread - I LOATHED Saturday Morning Chores. They got in the way of everything. Sleeping in, being lazy, and most of all- Saturday Morning Cartoons. To this day the smell of Lemon Pledge in the air sends shivers down my spine. (Although I admit to tolerating Johnny Mathis every once in awhile, purely for nostalgia's sake.)

So what changed? I dunno. I really don't, except maybe somewhere in between age nine and forty-four I developed a love for all things clean and tidy. And it helps that I have an army of little people who are dragged kicking and screaming willingly volunteer their time and effort every Saturday morning to achieve that goal.

Lily, putting away dishes from the dishwasher

a counter full of dishes? not a problem. call in the troops and crank up Pandora - set to Disney soundtracks....boo-yah, baby.

And last but not least.....

#7 Lily's Bedhead Look

Oh, did I mention that already? Well it deserves a second shout-out. I mean who couldn't love that little crinkly eyed smile framed by sticky-syrupy-golden locks? She makes Saturdays...make that every day... come alive with her wild-child hair and matching personality. If she didn't already have us completely wrapped around her bent little pinky, this look would have sealed the deal. She's a pint-sized pixie with a triple dose of charm...in fact, if you look up the word charm in the dictionary, this picture will be right next to it.

Well, it should be, anyway !

Happy Almost Saturday !!!

p.s. what do YOU love about Saturdays?

Friday, July 13, 2012

when hearts break

Dear Friends,

If you read my post the other day, you heard the exciting news that an adoption opportunity had presented itself to my oldest son, Jason, and his wife Naomi. Years ago, when they were dating, Naomi found out she could not have children. They have always known God has a baby for them...a baby sent from the stars...but the road to that baby has been long and difficult. They've poured their hearts into foster care- and watching them, as well as my sister and Naomi's sister, give themselves to that system has convinced me that some people just have hearts about a hundred times as big as mine. Because I don't know how you pour your life and love into children, only to have them leave your home...and sometimes that is done knowing those children are at risk again.

How do you take a newborn home from the hospital, love them as your own and have them call you Mama ... knowing the day may come when you hand them over to another person? How do you give your heart away, piece by piece- because these babies deserve every bit of your love for the amount of time they're entrusted to you - knowing the end result is not always adoption? I honestly don't know how you do that- but I've watched my loved ones do the impossible these past few years and wondered if maybe some people should be wearing super heroes capes every day of their lives. If maybe some people are just made of stronger stuff than I am, and their hearts are capable of infinitely more love and compassion than mine.

Or maybe....

Jason and Naomi and their foster baby, K.

...maybe they're just ordinary human beings with hearts that break just as easily as yours and mine. Maybe they weren't born with an overwhelming amount of love and compassion, but they chose to have their hearts stretched beyond what they thought they could endure. Maybe they took a look at all the risks that life offered and decided some things are just worth it. And that even if it meant having their hearts crushed in the process, they would be making a difference in the lives of children who needed someone with that kind of heart- the kind that says I'm here for you, no matter what.

Two weeks ago, Jason and Naomi were given an opportunity they weren't even looking for at the time. Private adoption is outrageously expensive, and they've been working and saving for the day that they could enter into that. When an agency called with a baby for them- at half the cost of a typical adoption- they jumped at the chance. We've been praying and planning and waiting with nervous hearts for the arrival of that baby sent from the stars, and so many wonderful people gave liberally to help. Naomi and I spent the past week exchanging texts and tearful phone calls, as each heartfelt donation came in...we were blown away at the kindness of loved ones and strangers alike. It's been hard for me as a mama to know I can help raise multiplied thousands of dollars for strangers' adoptions- and not be able to do the same for my own kids. And I do know there is a difference between blogging for the fatherless and blogging for the childless- but I also know that its impossible to measure one kind of hurt against another. And unless you've walked a mile in their shoes...

So last night Jason called me to tell me that the baby they'd been waiting to bring home was no longer available for adoption. Things changed regarding the birth father, and the agency could not continue with the adoption. Time and money have been lost, but greater than that is the loss of a dream that seemed just about to come true for my kids. I absolutely hate watching this process, and yet I do believe with all my heart that there is a baby waiting for them at the end of all this. I just wish I had the power to make that happen today.

 The only thing I can think to do is to ask for prayer- for that baby sent from the stars to find its way into their arms - and for those who know and love my kids to consider helping them in any way they can. I do know that finances are limited for so many of us, and I know many of Lily's readers don't have any vested interest in my kids. But for those of you who do know them, and have been praying for and supporting them over the past four years of their journey to adoption...would you consider showing your support for them today?

I promise to be back to blogging about Lily and Down syndrome and orphan rescue in a few days. I hope you understand my desire to help my own loved ones right now.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and love,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Dear Everybody,

My mom has been unpacking boxes FOREVER. And she almost had a heart attack when my dad told her a week and a half ago that Comcast couldn't come to our new house for a long time to set up our internet. I was pretty miffed myself. After all, I have a lot of friends I keep up with online. Friends like Addison and Russell and Pudge and Biggs and Moxie and Nella and George and ...you get the picture. I was not a happy gal.

Only guess what??

The Comcast guy came today and Mom ran out the front door and did a happy dance for all the new neighbors to see !!

Just kidding.

But she did do one behind the door.

So now that we're back online I have SO much to tell you.

I love my new house. I mean realllly love it.

It's up in the hills instead of looking out over a sheep pasture. I miss my sheep, but guess what I get to see every.single.day?

Oh, deer.

 Oh deer, oh deer, oh deer.

They're everywhere!

this isn't my house. it's just down the street from mine, though. we go on walks all the time now!

We see them in people's yards, when we're driving to the store, when we go on walks, they come in our backyard late at night and eat our rose bushes.... we see big bucks with antlers, we see mamas with their little fawns, and yesterday my brothers and sister went on a walk with Monique and saw SEVEN deer ! Mama says she misses our sheep, but our deer are sooo much prettier.

And so are the views!!

This was a walk we went on the other day. There are trails all over our neighborhood.

 They lead to the sweetest places - waterfalls and brooks and bridges

 and secret forts and forests and lookout spots.

You don't know what a lookout spot is? My brothers found one. They MADE my mom go back with them to see it. They told her she had to close her eyes til she got to the top.

 My mom had a really hard time when we first moved here. She missed our old house so much. She says it's because we had so many memories there. I heard her crying one night, telling my dad she felt like someone died. That's how sentimental my mom is!

But guess what? She says she's starting to be friends with our new house. She said she keeps getting little glimpses of beauty in unexpected places that make her feel like everything is going to be alright.

our sunroom- my mom's favorite spot!

And meanwhile, I'm just making myself right at home.

My dad told my mom that the more memories we make here- family meals, and game nights, and playing in our backyard, and gardening, and spending holidays here...

...it will start to feel like home.

And now I have to go on a walk with my mom, but before I do, I have one more thing I have to tell you about.

 Mama says that there is something else that's going to make it feel like a new home- a new little niece for me to play with !!!!

I hope you can help my big brother and his wife bring her HOME!

Love always,

Lily oxoxox