Episode 21 - One Orphan is Too Many 101 with Doug Riggle
Episode 21 - Listen Now
In this episode, we discuss the plight of orphans in our country and around the world. Listen in to hear about how some amazing people are addressing this issue.
Lance Foulis 0:48
Hello, everybody, welcome back to land slots roundtable we are picking up after the stop of holiday, we had a little bit of a hiatus during holiday. So this is our first recording of 2022. And we are really excited to have everybody listening again and to be back and to be recording. I was talking with one of my friends who's starting a podcast. The first guy on this season Jason spears, and he was talking about how he is really missing recording and I've been missing recording. I've been missing the podcast, he's actually recovering from COVID. So that's why you haven't heard his podcast yet. So we're excited for the launch of their podcast this this year, hopefully, within the next couple months. Anyway, I'm excited we have a very special guest today. Doug Riggle Doug is the founder and president of orphan World Relief as an adopted child. And later as a single parent who adopted from the foster care system. He understands the needs of kids from all angles.
On their website, one orphan is too many is a really great, quote. Orphan World Relief was founded in 2008, after Doug experienced firsthand the needs of homeless and orphaned children in Ukraine. Upon returning to the states, further research, shed light on the global crisis and the millions of orphaned and at risk children around the world. What started as an organization designed to help well run programs in other countries financially, has since blossomed into an organization that understands the needs of children in the US and around the globe. While helping educate people on the needs. These kids are dealing with every day, hashtag hope changes everything. I love that hashtag Doug, I saw it yesterday on the website for the first time. So Doug, welcome to the roundtable. Thank you, Lance. Great to be here. Yeah, I'm so glad that we were able to finally do this. I've been thinking about asking you, I think for the last year and a half. And it took me that long to ask you and to get you on. So yeah, let's just why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself? Sure. So it was Doug. I have lived in central Ohio since 1987. Although I went to high school out in Roseburg and I went to stepped away for college in Texas and
Doug Riggle 3:09
been back here ever since. Which college did you go to? I don't think I knew that. University of Texas San Antonio. Okay. All right. Yeah, county. Why why San Antonio. So I Texas. When I was 17, I graduated high school. And my parents said, we're moving to Texas. You can't stay here by yourself. I had a scholarship to theater scholarship to theater and Otterbein. I didn't know that. And my parents said, You're not living here by yourself. We i i had it all worked out. I had a place to stay. I was and they're like, nope. And they just put their foot down. They put their foot down and I'm like, I'm still a 17. So So okay, so then you go to Texas who paid for your education? I did. You paid for your education. So when you had a scholarship, that's hilarious. Yeah. Well, to be honest, I paid never more than $500 a semester. Oh, wow. After I became a resident of Texas, is that like a Texas thing? It was it was it was back in 1983. When I started college, wow. Wow. Okay. Yeah. And that included books, and I was an English major. They didn't have a theater department at the time. So I'm like, Okay, what's next? I love reading. Let's do English.
I actually thought about English for a second, like majoring English for a second because, well, I didn't know anything when I went to college, like, pretty much about anything. But I was like, I want to be a writer. Like I wanted to write books. Yeah. And so I asked the people, I guess I started Columbus State, and they're like, Oh, you could do journalism, or you could major in English. And I thought about and I took a couple English classes and I'm like, I don't I don't know. It's just college. I have a lot of thoughts on college now being out of it for so long and going through it but it is hilarious to what we decide to major in and why exactly. And we're all just so different. So you majored in you majored in English English, four years, four years. 4.74
I'm sure to be sure I was six. I took three three times before I passed it. Really? It was so boring. I grew up. I mean, I went to school in Ohio. So I had Ohio History in high school. Yeah. And when I got to Texas, they require you to take Texas history. And of course, everyone around me had already taken it because they lived and yeah, I'm like, their their claim to fame is that they were their own country for about a year or so. Yeah. between Mexico and the United States. And then the only other thing I remember of the main board is the very first governor. His, his name was he was governor Hogg. His wife's name was ima. And I just thought that was hysterical. I'm no one else thought that was funny. But I did the Yankee from the north cell. That's, that's really funny. Did you ever develop an accent while you were there? No, actually, when growing up, we lived in different places. And my mom was from Appalachia. My dad really southern Ohio, when they adopted my adoptive parents. Yeah. And I had an accent when we moved from Nevada when my dad retired to Ohio. And I got teased so much in school, it took me a while I lost the accent. Okay, it comes back when I'm really, really tired. Or on the very, very massively rare occasion when I've had too much to drink.
It comes back out. Oh, really? Yes. So fascinating. How old were you when you were adopted? I was a month old. You were a month old. So infant? infant? Yep. Okay. All right. Then Then how did they like was it just through like, whatever agency or whatever they were stationed in Iowa, Waverly, Iowa at the time and zation, like military military, okay. And then they mom had had three miscarriages after my sister. And the doctor said no more. Yeah. Your body's telling. You can't have any children. So they adopted me when they were living in Iowa. Wow. Wow. And then they ended up in Ohio. So my dad's family's from Ohio. Got it. We lived in Iowa, Nevada. They were stationed in Washington state for a while where they had my sister. They were stationed in Mississippi for tech school.
Trying to think we're all saved. And Virginia. Mom's from so when dad would go he repaired radar. Okay, and so when he would go out and repair radar in Alaska, usually
we would go live with family members sometimes. Not in Alaska, not in Alaska. That way we didn't have to do or Alaska said no, because I've always wanted to see it. But I know back then. It's like no, no one went there. Right? Yeah. Yeah. It's it's an interesting place. I there's some people that I know that are in the military.
So we're walking down the hall and this one of his roommates came up there were three boys in this room came up. Hey, Richie, who's this guy? And he grabs me his little hands. He grabbed me by that by the pinky. This is my new pop.
Lance Foulis 0:17
Doug Riggle 0:18
like turning away. Trying not to like, burst out in tears. Oh, yeah. Yeah, he was smart. He knew what was going on. Yeah. Even though he
together Yeah. Wow. So this is my new pop. Yeah,
Kim Foulis 0:32
gosh, I'm not crying you're crying
Lance Foulis 7:43
I think he's, uh, yeah, he's career Air Force. And they've been all over the place. But they I don't know how many years they've been in Alaska. But the pictures that they'll post like a random moose. That there that's like going across the road. And then yeah, like, take a picture at two o'clock in the morning. It's still daytime out. Like, although, yeah, weird stuff like that. I would be hard to get used to daytime at 2am. Or kids would love it. Yeah, probably. Okay. So, English major, and then talk to us a little bit about? Well, let's just let's just talk about we're from the World Relief. Sure. Why you why you founded it, what the purpose of it is,
Doug Riggle 8:22
you know, back in 98, I took my first mission trip ever. And I remember, Pastor, my church, Chris asked us asked me if I wanted to go. And I've never been out of the country before. Well, I've been to Mexico, technically just over the border, into Canada over the border. But I'd never really been out of the US. And I thought about it, prayed about it and like, Okay, let's go. Okay. And so we went there. And it's funny, because just last night, I'm working on a book with a friend of mine, collaborator, Kevin Greg out in California. We just went through this section of the book last night for the like, second or third time.
So you're writing a book to Yes. Oh, we'll get into that. Okay, we can talk
about that. And we went over there and we spent a day there was a young man named Pasha and he worked with homeless boys in this little area in Kiev called Eternal Park, which is a little little island in the middle of the river, you get to by train. And we were there. We kick the you know, kick the ball around, I day played soccer. I kicked the ball. I have no sports ability whatsoever. No depth perception, no sports ability at all. So we ended up playing with these kids, just having a good time with them. They were all homeless kids. Pasha got $145 from an American couple a month that paid for his living expenses and allowed him to do outreach to these homeless boys. Wow. And I spent you know, we spent the day with him. I shared my testimony with them. Yeah, the next day, we were going to visit an orphanage north of town. Funny story where We were driving north of town and our driver URI had made a crack earlier about women drivers. So my interpreter refused to interpret anything. He said to me because she was mad at him. So I asked URI I said, you know, was able to get out in some basic Russian, Ukrainian, where's the orphanage? And he points straight ahead. I'm like, well, that's helpful. And I said, Good yet Chernobyl. I said, Where's Chernobyl? He points straight ahead. Then he's like, he's, I could see him like freeze the turns around in the seats. Like, we stay short time. I'm like, okay. So anyway, when he took you to the orphanage took us to the orphanage. Before we got there, we took a bus. And we had to meet you're in the north part of town. We took a bus and we actually walked under, spent about 20 minutes walking, to get there to meet Yuri to get the bus to go to the orphanage. Sorry, awkward story. We walked under a bridge and I could hear someone call my name. What I know. I'm like, I'm in the middle of Ukraine. And no one except for the people around me know who I am. Yeah. And then I'm like, Just hearing things. And then finally, I had this little voice, Douglas. I turned around, and the bridge we had just walked under. In the rafters of the bridge, were the boys that we had spent the day with the day before. No way. They slept under the bridge that night. Wow. And that was the moment God's like, you're not going to go back to the US and not do something about this. Wow, I'd already been thinking of adopting. And so this was during that same time frame. I'm like, Okay, I know, I know, I you know, I need to adopt, I plan on adopting. I was married before. I wanted to adopt my wife wanted to have our own natural kids. And so there was some conflict there. And I'm like, but uh, now I'm single. Yeah, like, I can't adopt, which, that changed. I changed my mind, which is like, a mindset that you have is mindset. Yeah, yeah. Cuz I knew it'd be hard because my best friend's Rick and Nancy had adopted three girls, and then fourth girl. Oh, that
was after they adopted theirs. Right. About the same time. Okay. All right.
And they were just in the process. And they were still probably in the honeymoon period. Yeah. I didn't have any warning signs telling me not. But it's still at, you know, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's still the right thing to do and what I felt God calling me to do. But I also realized I needed to do something broader. Because growing up, I didn't know anyone adopted. I didn't know any orphans. I just thought I was the only one. Oh, really. And I had no clue that there were millions upon millions of kids in this world who are orphaned, abandoned, eating, you know, kids at risk, were right on the brink of being orphaned or abandoned. And so after that trip, I came back here, and I started to the United States and started researching and figuring out, oh, my gosh, 147 plus million kids orphaned, that they can count. How many 140 7 million
147 million kids globally? Yeah. In the United States
in foster care. There's about 400,000 kids at any one time.
Lance Foulis 13:12
Wow. That's not even I was surprised cuz I saw that on your website. And for some reason, in my head, it was a larger number. So to me, it's almost like, it's, I think I just had the thought like, oh, like, there could be a bigger impact, potentially. Right? Because there's not I thought it would be millions of kids in the foster care, but in the US 400,000. Well, if you
Doug Riggle 13:32
think about the kids in the foster care system, every year, about 20,000 of them aged out, got it. So every year there are 20,000 kids who are now without a family without any support structure, which is one of the programs that we're building right now. It's called foster to adult Yep, that we're getting off the ground to help some of these kids who, in some cases are falling through the cracks. So the Children's Services, county agency where we are at currently. I don't have the exact numbers. And you know, I would probably, like get sued if I say this out loud. But some of the things that they're doing is pulling kids out of foster care. And before they're 18, or reuniting them with their families, that they're out of the system. They're no longer counted as a number. And then they turn 18, though they're with a family that, you know, neglected or abused them before. And now they're back on their own again,
but like, is that going back into a good situation? Or no? Okay. Yeah. Yeah,
it's not, but it's a way to clear the books and save money. Oh, wow. And it's it's really, I'd love to find a good investigative reporter to kind of do some digging.
I would love it. If we had more investigative reporters these days. I
would love them. Yes. Anyone who's actually a reporter. Yeah, right. Yeah. And actual they don't exist anymore like they used to, right. Oh, yeah.
Yeah, definitely. Hey, somebody out there hearing this podcast.
Kim Foulis 15:00
Just heard you. Come talk to me.
Lance Foulis 15:03
Okay. So let's talk about let's, I mean, you mentioned a few things there. So let's talk about I'm, I'm kind of a little bit curious about your childhood. So let's maybe start there. Like, when did you figure out that you were adopting? Like, what does that even like, I was
Doug Riggle 15:17
in fifth grade, and my parents pulled me into the kitchen. And my dad paced back and forth, and like, I'm in trouble. What did I do wrong? It's like he can feel thank me get to get her over with now, whatever I did wrong. Mom would start to speak and she started crying. I'm like, oh, man, they're getting a divorce. But that doesn't happen. This is the 70s. It's like, yeah, all these thoughts going through a kid's mind. And then finally, the they came out with it. And I realized later in life, that was my dad pushing my mom. We need to tell Doug that he's adopted. Okay. Everyone else knew. Sure. So they figured it was your sister knew? Oh, yeah, she did. She was nine years old when they adopted me got it. So she had to know she was Yeah. I would get her in trouble later. And with mom and dad, Debbie said that I'm not her brother. Oh, she get in big trouble for saying that for saying that. Even if she said her. She didn't say I knew that could get her in trouble. So you had that lever. I have that lever over her. Okay. But yeah, so a fifth grade. And I was told I was adopted. I remember. They told me on a Sunday night, Monday morning, I went to school, and we were doing these little men Deleon genetic square things about eye color. Okay, and to figure out your mom has blue eyes. Your dad has brown eyes, what possible color accommodations? And I'm like, I don't want to feel this assignment. So I went up the teacher while we were like working on some of the stuff there. And I'm like, I'm adopted. I said, this, this may not work for me. I don't want to get a bad grade. So it's the cell teacher in front of the entire class. Hey, everyone, Doug's different than the rest of us. He's adopted. Come on. Oh, my gosh, yeah. I and I was a shy kid. And I just like wanted to crawl into a hole. Oh, my. And then lunchtime. I had kids asking me questions. You know, are you a bastard? I didn't know what the word meant. Why? Yeah. So I'm like, I'm like, No, I know what the word meant. I had to look it up when I got home, in fifth grade, eighth grade, and, you know, ask me questions about who my family were. And I'm like, you know, I didn't know. I had no information. They my parents told me when I turned 18, they would share with me about what they knew about my biological family. Interesting, which they didn't. They didn't know I snuck into their their room and broke into the little metal filing cabinet and got the information to myself when I was 19.
Oh, wow. Yeah. I mean, you will be more patient than I think. Yeah, then. So but when you're fifth grade, your parents tell you that Yeah. What does that like?
It? There was parts of it didn't like okay, some of this makes sense now. Oh, sure. I never knew my dad liked me much less loved me until I was out of college. Wow. Now I know now he does. He did you know, he's passed since. But growing up, I just always felt that there was a disconnect. Interesting part. Partly because I didn't understand His love language. Okay. His love language was giving me things and so, okay, I remember one time, I was probably 30 He had this hideous lamp. My dad went blind after like his second open heart surgery. He would go antique shopping with my mom and he, you know, spend money on things that you didn't need, but he had this lamp that was just absolutely hideous, but he loved it. And he wanted to give it to me and I didn't take it. And that hurt him. Oh, wow. Because I was rejecting His love is basically you know, I you know, I wish I'd you know know now what I knew then but sure her knew then what I know now, you know hindsight
Lance Foulis 18:53
toys. It is way easier. Yeah, they're nine site. Okay, so I can't I just can't imagine being in fifth grade and having a truth bomb dropped on you. And then being in the middle of a class and a teacher pulling a stunt like that. Yeah, that's awful. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's okay. That's just unreal. Alright, so back back to the timeline. 98. You come back, you're doing research. Tell me about how you were doing your research because this isn't 98 I think we had the internet right. But it wasn't anywhere like it is now.
Doug Riggle 19:22
No, you're part of it was talking to people and part of it. So I actually then started the adoption process myself to get certified to adopt. Because you can go through the entire class and process and not actually adopt. But sure, I'd like I want to learn more. And fortunate. I mean, I learned a lot about kids waiting kids in the US and in America. But it wasn't until talking with other people that I was connected with at church and other places that I learned about orphanages and what the needs were and I that second day in Ukraine, I'd actually visited a different orphanage. And so I got to see firsthand, a very well run orphanage. There's a story telling in the book about a little girl named Masha and her brother, who were when they were six and seven, it's right at the fall of communism in 91. It's that that weird perspective here in America, we're all cheering communism has fallen over there that it's 45% unemployment. So these parents are just making a decision. Do we watch our kids starve to death? Because we both lost our jobs? Or do we do something about it? So what they did is they taught their six year old daughter to become a prostitute. Oh my gosh, and they drank heavily. And this is the little girl in the orphanage with their brother. And then later on, you know, because they were drinking so much the money away. They sent their son out to work as a sex worker as well, who was seven years old. Geez, so the kids ran away. Fortunately, sadly, though, until live on the streets, all they knew had to do was sell their bodies. So you know, got these now at this point eight, nine year olds filling the bodies to strangers, horribly dangerous, obviously. And this is before we had this big understanding of child sex trafficking. They someone from the orphanage that they were at found them and brought them in. It took psychologist over a year's worth of work with a little girl just to teach her to have fun and play. Oh, wow. So I got to see the positive results of what a good program could do is orphanages get a horrible rap? Yes. I mean, orphanages were gone, probably in the set by the 70s in the United States as well. And we might move to a foster care system by enlarge. Okay, and so
it's never thought about that. We don't have orphanages in the States, we
probably threw the baby out with the bathwater, right? Because at least two orphanages is permanency. Yeah, I'm here. I'm not going from house to house to house. Yeah, I don't know if you know, by the time I adopted my son, I he from age five to age 13. When I got him, he was in about 15 different foster home placements. She's Yeah, that to me did as much damage to him as the reasons that he was taken from his biological frames again, with for sure. I mean, it's think about that. There's no permanency there. There's no, you know, you're in a new house one day, there are new rules, right? And your new relationship, your relationships, and these people are supposed to take care of you. Oh, there's some great foster parents out there. Yeah. But the ones who are like, Okay, we're going on vacation now come take these kids. And they put them into the place of like they're doing more harm. Right. And good,
right. So let's talk about a couple of programs or fun World Relief does. Sure. Let's talk about, well, you can talk about it in any order that you want.
So we started out to all of our programs to begin with for international and we came alongside programs that were well run, and wanted to provide financial support for them. Because they didn't have they were small, but they didn't have a lot of like us support. Yeah, so we want to be able to tell their story. At the same time. We came alongside some of them too, and help them become more self sufficient. God. So for example, in Honduras, Casa Garvey, we worked with them to help them set up a chicken and cattle farm,
Lance Foulis 23:17
an orphanage at the orphanage. Wow, so
Doug Riggle 23:19
that the kids can learn a trade. They are producing protein that's needed for everyone. Yeah, excess. So you've got beef, milk, chicken eggs, excess protein can be sold to community to make them more self sufficient. Wow. It's just an amazing program. Yeah, it's just fabulous. They're kind of like our hallmark of what a good program is. Because it's not just an insular little program, we send money to orphans. It's a program that involves the church, they have a block, the church works with block factories, everything becomes part of the organism that helps the kids there. There's also a nutrition center in Lemo nearby that helps kids and families with provide better nutrition to their kids,
Kim Foulis 24:03
which I've been to, by the way, when I was 15. That's the one that you went, I didn't know that. That's where I went. Tell us about picture downstairs. So I was 15. I was there for a week. And there was a group of people that were working building walls, but then there was a second, like, smaller group that was going to go over to the nutrition center. Okay, so I was like, Yeah, that's me. That's me. And I knew a little bit of span like enough to talk to little kids. And I mean, they just they cling to you, they surround you with all of this. I need love. I want love. But also, this is like my one meal a day. And I'm just you can tell they're they're so hungry for everything.
Doug Riggle 24:39
Everything. Yeah, yes,
Kim Foulis 24:41
it was phenomenal.
Doug Riggle 24:42
I've got some great pictures in the office of there's one of me and one kid on a teeter totter and like eight kids on the other side of the teeter totter. It's just a great like
you're doing the teeter totter with eight other kids. Yeah, that's hilarious. Yeah, it's it's a it's a great program there who came up with the idea for that program? Without you
No, no, no, no, that's that was also run by yovani. The guy who started the church, he started the orphanage. He was a doctor still as a doctor. So he went to work with HIV kids, the nutrition center came about. And it's all this big collaborative effort. They've got a Block Factory, they've got a sustainable tree farm. They have two tortilla factories in the city. They've got a row of houses that they work with women who have HIV. Wow. And the women so it make purses. Every time I go there, I buy a ton of purses and bring them back. They're really beautiful. And I'm like, these several like crazy here in America for a good amount. Yeah, we could get them to commoditize
a little bit more. But that's so that's such a good idea.
Oh, it's amazing. It's amazing.
Kim Foulis 25:42
It's hearing about the whole ecosystem. Yeah, it can build like and be sustainable. And yeah, you're
Doug Riggle 25:47
you're learning responsibility. And like you said, you're learning a trade. That's huge. Yeah,
there was a orphanage in North Africa. I really, I've been trying to find the information about it. I read about it back in like 2000. And they teach the kids to 10 the vineyards. And the adults produce wine and sell that and everything is becomes has become self sufficient. The kids then can go when they leave the orphanage, they want 10 Great finds that get 30 bucks an hour, right? I mean, that's a good skill to have. And yeah, yeah.
That's so awesome. So it started off as International. How long did it take you from 98? Till till like you were able to found orphan road relief.
2008. So a decade. Wow. So I needed to I mean, I had to put a lot thought behind it, figure out who I was going to serve on my initial board. Yeah, how I was going to structure things so that we were different than other organizations so we could differentiate ourselves. So people would want to donate to us. Yeah. So with our international programs, we don't just we don't do child sponsorships, which everyone to ask us to do. I'm like, the infrastructure to do it. Child sponsorship is outrageously expensive, okay. And there's nothing wrong with them that for the larger organizations, compassion, all of those, they're great. But you have to pay for someone to ship the items to the kids, right? Translate letters back and forth, and go take pictures. So you have current pictures of these kids. Every year. Yeah. And me, I'm
Lance Foulis 27:14
like, Okay, we can't afford that. Yeah, that's a lot of infrastructure.
Doug Riggle 27:17
It is a lot of infrastructure. So I jokingly refer to us as kind of like the Wholesale Club for orphans. I love that because it's, we deal in bulk. Yeah. And we want to have the maximum impact. So we have a spreadsheet. Right now we have like seven programs internationally that we support. Okay. Every time like once a quarter, we send out money to the programs. And we take, like, let's say we have $10,000 to send out, we I goes into a spreadsheet that factors in the number of kids being impacted the cost of living for that area of the world, and their annual budget. So we never give more than 20% of their annual budget because we'd never want anyone 100% dependent on us make sense. Because if we fail, they fail. We don't want ever want that to happen. And that happens quite a bit. Sure. But then they each get each quarter equal buying power. So like St. Petersburg, Russia is one of the more expensive places where the harbors located. And so they may actually get the bulk of the money, but they get the same buying power as the three programs that we support in Honduras, God and the same program we support in the Ukraine and Russia. Got it.
Okay. And then when you're when you're doing all of this, the decade before you're able to found it, what's your day job?
Let's see. So I was working at an insurance company here in Columbus, I left there in 2011, which is the the year we got our 501 C three status. We've been doing work before then for our nonprofit, but everything was retroactive, which was great. As far as donations. But I was at that time I was it human resources. Got it. Okay. And I was a communications expert there.
So figuring out how to start up a nonprofit was just on like a side gig. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. And they're like, there are different ways to set up a board. You can find people who are passionate about what you're passionate about, and can come alongside and support your vision, or people with deep pockets. Sure. Pardon me is like I should have chose the people with deep pockets. But I did. I picked you know, three people. Rick, Nancy, who were my best friends and my buddy Steve. They were the original three board members. He was my personal trainer for a while. Got it. They came alongside and supported everything that I did. And yeah, helped me make decisions as we grew. Now. We've got a board membership about 10 people. Wow, I'm in different parts of the US and in Honduras as well. Wow. So it's been an amazing growth since then.
Lance Foulis 29:51
Yeah, that's fantastic. And the impact that you've had is that there are the organizations had is probably quite 1000s of kids. Yeah, yeah. Overall over the years that wouldn't have, it wouldn't have been positively impacted without, yeah, it just kind of blows my mind that you, it's almost like it was just this process that was kind of like laid out, you go on a trip. And that basically is like, essentially plants a seed, and then eventually that seed over time. I mean, you obviously did work, you know, to come back and do all the research and learn. Yep, you adopted during that time. And so you're raising a kid during that time as well. And then you had the ability to, you know, launch this thing that's still going on now and is is grown. So.
Tell me about the book
Doug Riggle 30:46
that you're writing. So right now, Kevin, and I've been working on this for over a year is Kevin from California, half of California, Kevin, Greg, amazing, amazing guy. I've been so blessed. I found him through a company called Upwork. And I interviewed about seven people I've been asked to write this book by people off and on about, it's basically my life story. Sure. And how God has used things in my life to help push me forward and to learn to weather the storms of life. So the books called right now I'd rather be a buffalo. Interesting. So when a storm comes, cows will run along with the storm and just get drenched. Okay, Buffalo will run into the storm. So they get through it on the other side, fast. No way. And I'm like, That is a great way for the way I've been. God has been orchestrating my life. And I'm like, Okay, wow. So instead of like shying away from topic, so, you know, if we get to the topic of my son, later on, he committed suicide 14 years ago, the one I adopted, and I tell the story, over and over again. It was actually two weeks before Christmas. And at Christmas time, I remember sitting with my family, and everyone's walking on eggshells, and no one's talking about Richie and he had just passed. Wow, in my mind, like this is a natural. So I started telling stories. And I started Oh, you know, Richard, but I love this. I remember BB when, you know, his cousin's like, when you guys did this, and you got stuck on to seven, he didn't know where to get off and you drove on to 73 times. before? It's storytelling is so healing and you know, and I look at the Bible, the Bible is full of stories. And not not clean ones either. No, no. Life is messy.
Very messy. Yeah. Let's let's go ahead and talk about Richie. Yeah, you adopted 13. adopt him at 13. I knew Richie. Yeah.
He and your brother used to hang out quite a bit. Shall That's right. Yeah. Yeah. I've got great memories of them camping. We there's a storm came up during the one time we were camping. And I'm like, I got up and got out of the tent. I was sharing a tent. I think with Rick and my buddy James and I got my jeep because I couldn't sleep. So I'm laying there in the jeep and the storm comes up and then I look over and I see what used to be a tent is now Richie and Shawn flailing about. Trying to stay dry as Yeah, keep the tent up. Yep. During this whole time. Whose tent was that? I think it was your brother's.
Lance Foulis 33:18
Oh, geez. Hey, Shawn. Hey, Shawn. Hey, Shawn. So like, yeah, we grew up Sean and I grew up in our family, my brother and my dad, my two brothers and my dad. I got two older brothers, Todd and Sean. And then my dad, we always used to camp and there's something about the weather nodes when you're camping. Yeah, it was. I don't know how many times we set up tents in the rain. Just got absolutely. And like, to me looking back on that. If I had been the dad in that situation. I'd been like, Alright, we're done. We're leaving. Not my dad. It's like we're here. We're nice. We're camping. Camping. Yes. Whether whether the rain stops or not. Okay, so yeah. So you had you had Richie at age 13. Yep. Some reason I thought he was younger. Tell us tell us that story, finding Richie.
Doug Riggle 34:04
So, oddly enough, the year before I had been through the adoption process. And there was another young man named Jason from Ironton, Ohio that I was going to adopt, okay. And he was 17. I was kind of his last hope to have a family. And then I was taking him down, he would come up and spend the weekends with me. I was taking him down. It was getting close to him moving in with me. Uh huh. And he on the drive down. He's like, I gotta just need to tell you that. I don't want to be adopted. Hmm. And so I've started probing a little bit like, Okay, can you tell me more what you know? And he's like, it's not you. It's I just don't want to be adopted. And so I dropped him off as foster home, called the social worker right away. This is a Sunday evening and she called me right back. And so then she went and talked to him and she couldn't get anything out of him other than he didn't want to be adopted. Interesting. And he wanted to stay where he was at in Ironton, Ohio. And so I'm like, okay, heartbroken for one, investing a lot of time. And she's just like, just make a clean break. It's like, like, okay, that's easy to say it's hard to do, right? But I took her advice. She's a social worker, I took her advice, and I didn't have any contact with him. For a couple years, actually. He actually contacted me. After I'd adopted Richie went down to see him, come to find out. His girlfriend was pregnant. And he didn't want to leave her. Got it. So I'm like, okay, dude. Totally honor that. Yeah, I wish you had said something. I said, we could have figured something out. But same time, you know, respect your desire to stay there with your girlfriend. Yeah. But yeah, so then, then I'm like, okay, is this God's way of telling me don't adopt. And so I'm, like, go about life working. And I remember one day, I went upstairs to do something. I had this old house on campus to story. I go upstairs and I look over in the room, which was Jason's, which he would have had. And I saw my my dog, Max, I had a collie max at the time laying on the bed, where Jason was, and the only time Max ever laid on that bed was when Jason was there. And I just started bawling my eyes out. Oh, my gosh, I was like, in tears. Yeah. Like, I still want to be a father. Yeah. And I was still had plenty of time on my adoption, certification to go ahead and adopt. So I like, Okay, let me start this process again. Oh, wow.
So you put your you basically just put yourself back out there? Yeah, essentially. Yeah. So you go through the whole process. How long was that process with Jason? Would you say?
It was about seven months? Seven months? Get
Lance Foulis 36:43
to know him? Yeah. Thinking that. Okay. I'm going to adopt you. You're going to be my kid? Yeah. You have that in your brain? And then he's like, No. And then that's crushing. Yeah. And then now you're like, Okay, I'm gonna put myself out there again. That's one thing. I think I never realized that. Okay. So there's a couple observations, I think I can make anybody and everybody that I know that has adopted or thought about adopting, it's usually been something that's been in their, their mind that they want to do for a long, long, long time. Right. And then it is a long process. And you are really putting yourself out there. Yes. I know, people that thought they were going to adopt and it didn't, and it felt like death. Yes. Is that was similar to very similar? Unreal. Okay, so So, so you're, you're back. I'm gonna put myself out there again.
Doug Riggle 37:36
Yep. By this time, adopt us. website was up and running. And you could see kids available for adoption. So I was looking, I mean, I was paying attention to kids from quite a quite a few states away, because the adoption certification in Ohio was good for a couple of other states. Got it. But then I saw this little boy with big sticky out ears up in Cleveland, Ohio. And I contacted a social worker, she contacted me, we talked on the phone quite a bit. And so I'm like, she was being very hesitant. What I come to find out, like about a month later, is that he had been through a failed adoption to Oh, wow. So the family that were going to adopt him. This is horrible. They brought him into their home. And then they change their mind. And so that what they did, they lied. And they said that he sexually abused their daughter, what they admitted later on that they lied. But he was devastated. That horrible Yeah, was like, people, people don't realize what they do to kids. And it's just kidding. So they like, we need to make sure you're on the up and up, and we need to make sure this isn't going to fail. So we're gonna spend a lot of time talking to you, before we even let you get to meet him. Okay, which Fair enough? Yeah, I totally get her. They sent me. They sent me his paperwork. Oh my gosh, it took me a day to put the paperwork in because there's no structure ordered anything. Okay? This is when everything's physical paper, too. So I've gotten four binders, like three inch binders of paperwork that I first put in date order, so I could read his story from end to end and figure out, you know, there were duplicates. And I had to go through this and that and like, Oh my gosh. So I read his, his his file. Wow. And then I you know, I'm like, called camis. Social Worker opposite Hey, you know, let's, let's go forward with this. So then she had me come up and we had a meeting with two of his teachers. He was living in a residential home in Cleveland. He wasn't in foster care system anymore. But he was in the foster care system, but at a residential home, Cleveland Christian home, okay. And I go up there, meet with them and she's like, look, because of his background. Let's just, you know, you can come up every weekend. spend the weekend with him here. We'll say that you're here to mentor him. Mm, like, Okay, that's fair. And so like, I just like, I'm just being protective. I'm like, No, I totally get it. Yeah. So she brought him into this room and the three of us sat and talked for a little bit. And then we go to the gymnasium there at Cleveland Christian home, and we're playing horse or something. And again, it's sports related, and I'm lousy. So I lost. Even Kim, the little four foot two social worker beat me. But that's okay. And then she's like, let me give you the two of you a chance to talk. It's just like, hey, Richie. Why don't you take Doug to see your room? Like, okay, yeah, this is great. So we're walking down the hall. And this one of his roommates came up there were three boys in this room came up. Hey, Richie, who's this guy? And he grabs me his little hands. He grabbed me by that by the pinky. This is my new pop. Oh, I like turning away. Trying not to like burst out in tears. Oh, yeah. Yeah, he was smart. He knew what was going on. Yeah. Even though he
together. Yeah. Wow. So this is my new pop.
Kim Foulis 41:09
Yeah, gosh, I'm not crying.
Doug Riggle 41:12
Yeah. Wow. And so then, you know, a few months later. So the odd thing was I had already gotten my tickets and promised to go to Ukraine for a month. That next year, which is right around when the adoption when he was going to move in with me. So I had to, he had to stay there for an extra month at the at the Cleveland Christian home. While I was in Ukraine. And I remember, I got there like we need. They got a hold. It means that we need you to call the United States and talk to Richie, like, oh, while you're in Ukraine while I'm in Ukraine. Oh, wow. I don't remember how much that phone call cost. But it was. This is back before cell phones and everyone had lost Oh, yeah. So I called there I said what happened? His teacher, one of his teachers was so connected with him that she was she was acting out. Why do adults do this? She was acting out and she was pushing his buttons to get him to respond. So that maybe the adoption would fall through? And he'd say, yeah, and because he got so mad at her, he took a shoe off and hit her with it. I mean, throw it out her and beat her good. Social Worker got on the phone after I talked to Richie and calmed him down. Because I was I only been there a week. Yeah. Three more weeks ago. Yeah. Yeah. And she's like, I got the whole story. The teacher instigated that verse. He's not in any trouble. It's like, I just wanted you to talk to him. Yeah. Thank you. So yeah, we're good. And then my work was was lovely. They gave me a month off to go to Ukraine already worked that out the year before. Then I go, come back home. And Richie. The next weekend moves in with me. So I had went to work for a week and then I took six weeks off. Wow, for parental leave, man. Got to got all the way up till he started school. Was that
Lance Foulis 43:04
a company perk.
Doug Riggle 43:05
It was a company perk. Wow. So job six
weeks? Yeah. The first two companies I work. I think of all the work for both of these companies. But the first of both of them. They didn't have paternity leave until our youngest right?
Kim Foulis 43:17
Yes. You had no paternity leave until our third child. Yeah.
Doug Riggle 43:22
This was 1999 99. And I was on the y2k project. So Oh,
Lance Foulis 43:26
sure. Oh, my gosh. y2k. Yeah, I turned. I turned 18 and 99. So I was getting ready to go into college. But I remember the y2k thing. I think my dad bought a generator to be prepared. I think nice and nothing happened. I mean, thankfully, yeah, nothing happened. But that's, that's really funny. So Richie moves in with you. You get six weeks off. What was it like? Just tell us about that process of for both of you.
Doug Riggle 43:54
So you always go to the honeymoon period. Everything was great. He loved everything I made. The kid could eat like anything.
Lance Foulis 44:00
Oh my gosh, I forgot. Doug is an amazing cook. Oh, I know this. Like I'm amazing. I've heard many stories. When I was in college. You went and did something and you asked me to like, stay at your place and watch your dogs. I don't remember where you went. This was a long time ago while I was in design college or high school. I don't remember but yeah, you met you made Portuguese? Oh, yeah. I never had a Peruvian. You were like, you told me about it. And then you made Portuguese and that was one of the best meals I've ever had. It was so good.
Doug Riggle 44:30
Angie Volkman makes homemade Parag is really gonna say we trade at Christmas time. I give her tray of baklava she gives me back to frozen protein. Oh, that's adorable. They're amazing.
Lance Foulis 44:39
Do you make baklava? Yeah. Oh, bedsheets? I mean, wow. ridiculously good. So easy. Is it really? Oh, yeah.
Kim Foulis 44:47
It just sounds fancy. I guess
Doug Riggle 44:48
he says it's easy. He says I'd probably light myself on fire. So anyway, yeah, the honeymoon phase. You get a honeymoon phase. He likes everything you're cooking. Yeah.
And you know, we're doing great entered school. This is this is where the odd stuff comes in, like, because he came from so long in foster care of age five to 13. They put him in the most restrictive school in Columbus, which was he'd come home every day with stories of kids jumping out Windows running away. And, and so every day I'd go there, I'd walk him to his classroom. I go there, I pick him up from this classroom. Work was great. They're like, you can get off early to go do that. Wow. And
cuz yeah, this isn't when you can work from home. No, no, no, no, like it is now.
So this is like this third week there at the school and I kept pushing him like, he needs to be in a better school. This does not make sense. He's not a bad kid or an offender and everything. You're just going on the fact that he came from foster care. That's so terrible. It's not fair. And one of the teachers one day stopped me and said, Hey, you're Ritchie's father until I'm like, yeah. Like, he's not gonna be here much longer. I'm like, oh, good as you have one of the teachers. And he's like, No, he's like, but you're the only parent I've ever seen. Come in. Oh, wow. So all these kids are here without any family support. Oh, wow. And so I wasn't there much longer than he entered Middle School near our house on Indianola. Got it?
Lance Foulis 46:17
Got it on? Wow. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's just it. It's an amazing, it's an amazing story. You you. I don't even think I knew you were adopted. Maybe I did. Maybe just out of my mind, but the fact that you were adopted, like your parents telling you when you're in fifth grade, dealing with that, and then the school thing happening, and then having it in the back of your mind, I'm going to adopt plus doing the orphanage thing. It's such a it's such an amazing story. Because I mean, Kim Kim said to me before that she could potentially adopt I've always been like, I don't see that which is almost like what like kind of like I said earlier, it's almost like everybody that I know, that's like, gonna adopt it's been in their mind since before. Like before college, I would say, and they're always like, Yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna adopt. It's such, it's such an amazing, selfless thing to do. And it is really putting yourself out there. And the fact that you're choosing to give a person love unconditionally, and you don't know if they're gonna return that necessarily. It's just such a such a fascinating concept to me. So, I guess maybe I don't want to go. We're gonna make sure Okay, we're good. 15 Okay. Um, can you just just tell me like, and walk me through and the listeners through? the why behind adoption? I guess? What, what? Why for you? Why they why adoption for you?
Doug Riggle 47:54
You described it perfectly. It's the same way that God brings us into His family. Hmm, exact same way. Unconditional love towards someone who's may not be deserving. But because of who they are. Still needs that unconditional love. Wow. Just because they exist. Yeah. Every child deserves a family. Yeah. And I, my biggest complaint was so I've been going to different churches and speaking in different, you know, pastors conferences and talking to, you know, people from pastors from 3040 churches. And I've only ever had one church ever really step up to support what I do. Seriously? Yeah, it's the one I go to. Oh, wow. Yeah. And it's, it's heartbreaking because, to me, God's called us to care for widows and children. Yeah, you know, James 127. And we're not doing it as a church. Mm hmm. We're not stepping up to take kids in there. At this. This is where a not at the risk of sounding horrible. I love the fact that, especially in the church, people have big families. But if they had to make room for just one, one child, Mm hmm. If if one person and you know, single, I'll say person. In every church in America adopted from foster care, we'd wipe out the number of kids available for adoption in foster care overnight. Mm. One person from every one church in America the church. Yeah.
Kim Foulis 49:32
And then every family just one church. Yeah. All the churches in America. Yeah.
Lance Foulis 49:36
Melody said something like that on the podcast if Yeah, she said if one if there was one host family and every single church that they would wipe out, do you know her there that program? My village ministries, Melody mercial, we
Doug Riggle 49:48
partner with them? You do it? Yeah, they're actually going to do some training for our new foster to adopt program.
Lance Foulis 49:54
Okay. That's awesome. Yeah, I mean, that's, that's unbelievable. It's one Family from every church step up. And then the one thing that she had brought up in our podcast that I, I'm sure you'd agree with is the fact that if there was one family that did it, you would have all of the other families, hopefully, or a majority of the families there ready to support and help out? Absolutely. Tell us about that. Did you have support when you? Yeah, tell us what that was like.
Doug Riggle 50:22
So the one thing I always tell people when they adopt make sure you have a good support system underneath you. So obviously, I had built in support with Rick anansie. Yep, I was Uncle Doug to there. You know, 12345 kids, yeah, five, including Jordan. And I was the person so when they would go away, they needed respite care, the two of them. I go watch the kids for them for the weekend. Sometimes it'd be bringing my dogs and Richie in tow. And we have you know, that 15 passenger van to get us from place to place.
Kim Foulis 50:53
Doug Riggle 50:53
way who had that? They did they had that day. And that's right. Yeah. I forgot.
Yeah, it was huge. And it was a little terrifying to drive. I like driving small cars.
Yeah. It's basically the size of a living room. Yeah, no pressure. But,