Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sticking Together Forever. . . .

This weekend was a particularly special weekend for our family. As many of you know, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (to learn more about what we believe, please feel free to follow the link). As members of the church, we believe that marriage and family are central to the plan of our loving Heavenly Father and that families can be together, not just in this life, but for eternity. In our temples, a sacred ordinance, known as a "sealing" is performed by a person having authority given by God (known as the priesthood) to perform this ordinance. In marriage, this sealing ceremony binds a husband and wife together, not just until death parts them, but for all eternity, if they uphold the covenants (a two-way promise between a person and God) made during that ceremony. Any children born to that couple are considered "born in the covenant" and a sealing ceremony is not necessary to bind them to their parents. However, if a couple adopts a child, the sealing ceremony must be performed to bind that child (or children) to their parents. (I know this is a lot of information to throw at those who are not familiar with the LDS church and we Mormons tend to have a language and culture all of our own, but I hope this explanation is not completely confounding!)

This weekend (Saturday), we had the opportunity to take our family to the Columbus, Ohio LDS Temple and have Joshua and Evan sealed to our family for eternity. Where most adoptions are final once a judge issues a decree, for an LDS family, a temple sealing is the culminating event! We have been looking forward to this day since we committed to adopt our boys and it was truly a great day for our entire family. The ceremony was simple (and by simple, I mean, it really takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish), but beautiful. In the temple, those participating in the sealing ceremony dress in white (in our case that included myself, Richard, Joshua and Evan, although Maren wore a white dress as well) and at the conclusion of the sealing, the couple or family being sealed has the opportunity to look into a mirror together and the reflection is endless (this is achieved by placing mirrors on parallel walls so that they reflect each other, causing the reflection to go on an on) in representation of eternity. What an amazing experience it was to look into those mirrors with all of our children and know that we will be together as a family forever!

Later that evening we went over to my parent's house to celebrate our forever family with our extended family and our friends! The theme of our party was "Stick"ing Together Forever and was complete with a banner and cake with stick figures of our family (thanks for lending us your creative mind Charity)! A great time was had by all!

How grateful we are for a loving Heavenly Father who has provided us with the opportunity to be with our families forever! We could not imagine life without our two newest additions and feel so blessed to know that they will be ours forever!

The Rieben kids outside the Columbus, Ohio LDS Temple

The whole family!

Mommy, Daddy, Josh and Evan

Nana (my mom) and Evan


Our family banner

The cake my mom decorated for us!


Kathryn said...

The pictures are beautiful. I'm so happy for your family!

Maia said...

Wow, that sounds like a beautiful ceremony. Congratulations to your whole family!

Dunstan Family said...

awwe congrats! My eyes started welling up as I read about your sealing. I am soo so so happy for you. Your family is inspirational.

Charity Brown said...

I absolutely loved seeing all the pictures of your beautiful family in white!!! I am so happy for you guys! Congratulations!!!!!

Also, the cake and banner turned out soooo cute! Your mom did a great job on the cake!!! I wish we could have been at the party!!

Cortney said...

Congratulations!!! Having your children in the sealing room with you is such a precious thing!

JamieSue said...

That is soooo awesome guys! Congrats! You might not even read my comment but wow oh wow and congrats again and again! You guys are amazing and seriously some of my heroes! We are thinking we'll adopt eventually too and it's awesome to learn from you guys what its like!

Dolores said...

Beautiful family, beautiful day!! I love these days and you've explained it well. Congratulations!