The Both Hands Project

Unique charity helps locals adopt a child and support a widow

The Both Hands Project helped the Corley family raise money for adoption, and they in turn found volunteers to help spuce up the home of widow Mary Hellman.
      Kadee Corley waits for her phone to ring. The call she expects will change her life, and the lives of her husband Bryan and their seven-year-old son Bryce. Forever.
       They are waiting to hear if the next member of their family is ready to come home. To Odenton. From Bulgaria.
      “We struggled trying to get pregnant with our first child, and after three miscarriages we finally had our beautiful son,” says Kadee.
      Two years later, they discovered Kadee had premature ovarian failure.
       The Corleys began the arduous process of adoption over a year ago.
“We decided to adopt from ­Bulgaria since the process is pretty quick compared to domestic adoptions,” Kadee explained. “Once a match is made, it is just a month or two later that we get to bring a child home.”
       Still, piles of paperwork stand between the Corleys and their new child.
“We have done the home study, filled out all the papers, but now we are dealing with lots of tiny technicalities in the records,” Kadee says.
       On top of the waiting, the Corleys are also feeling adoption’s financial pinch.       They have spent nearly $40,000, refinanced their house, then turned to their community for help.
      “This is our journey as a family,” Kadee says. “It felt really strange to be asking people for money to bring our child home to us.”
       The family wanted to raise money by doing something with a purpose. Online, they found a nonprofit organization called The Both Hands Project. 
      “It was a perfect fit,” Kadee says. 
      Both Hands helps adoptive families raise funds to cover expenses; the familes, in turn, agree to help a widow in need. A family gathers a team of volunteers and Both Hands coaches them to coordinate a service project fixing up a widow’s home. The family and their team also send letters out to raise sponsorship for their day of service. Those funds support the adoption.
       Once the Corleys had their how, they had to find a who.
       “A lot of people thought it was a scam. They couldn’t believe that someone was volunteering to do all this hard work for them for nothing in return,” Kadee says.
       Eventually they found Mary ­Hellman of Deale. 
      “She was under our nose the whole time,” Kadee says. “We initially asked her daughter, who is also a widow, if we could help her, and she sent us straight to her mother instead.”
      The Corleys gathered a group of 25 volunteers, donated supplies and all the elbow grease they could muster to spend 12 hours on an April Saturday working on Hellman’s house and yard.
       Kadee enumerates a long list of projects:
      “We repainted her living room, foyer and dining room; put new shingles on the roof, which was damaged from a recent wind storm; built a ramp and added electricity to her shed; built a new front porch, replaced deck railing and painted the entire back porch; repainted the exterior trim of the house and shed; weeded, mulched and planted an entire garden in front of the house, cleaned out planter boxes and filled them with donated flowers and plants.
      “We filled an entire dumpster of debris,” she says. “We even repurposed some of her late waterman husband’s belongings into décor so she could keep those memories of him.”
       Hellman has, in turn, grown close to the Corley family.
      The Corleys still need to raise $12,000 to completely cover the adoption costs, so their project is still seeking donations: www.bothhands.org/corley-403.